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Under the Skin (Carine Adler, 1997) 3.5/5
A lot has been said about this being Samantha Morton’s breakthrough film and all, but let’s not forget that this is Carine Adler’s feature debut as well. The difference is that while Samantha Morton goes on to build a stellar career for herself as an actress, Carine hasn’t really made anything after this, which is a shame since she did a great job with this film.
Anonymous asked: Paul Thomas Anderson? Thoughts on his films? Quickly scoured your blog here, didn't find any reviews.
I have seen some of his films but way before I started this blog. So IDK, i’ll probably try watching them again at some point. I don’t particularly care for his films though I do remember liking There Will be Blood. I tried watching The Master but the first few minutes of it just made me wanna puke.
All the Vermeers in New York (Jon Jost, 3.5/5)
I really did not know what to expect coming into this film. I was ready to turn it off if turns out I wasn’t feeling it. But then Emmanuelle Chaulet (from Rohmer’s Boyfriends and Girlfriends) showed up and she’s pretty much all I needed to get me interested throughout the whole thing. Her appearance was a total surprise to me, btw. I had no idea she was gonna be in this. Emmanuelle has only been in a few films so the fact that this is one of those films was kind of interesting. She reminds me somewhat of Adrienne Shelly, just with her like built and her physical features, though Emmanuelle is charming in a more aloof kind of way.
Despite the film’s unconventional structure, the film does have a narrative, which was a relief for me. Though as I’ve mentioned, he does have an experimental side and not just with structure, but also with framing and camera movements. It can feel pretentious at times but I do appreciate the breath of fresh air.
I understand the film is trying to say something about New York and art and money but honestly, I’m the type of film viewer who tend to take things at face value so idk, some of the ideas or whatever might have flown over my head. But all in all, this was my first foray into Jon Jost and though it doesn’t blow me away, I definitely appreciate the fact that it’s different and also quite fascinating.
New Jerusalem (Rick Alverson, 2011) 3/5
The strange thing is this reminds me more of a Kelly Reichardt film than a Rick Alverson film. I say that just based off of Rick’s 2012 film The Comedy which is one of my favorite films of that year. I mean this film is super like Old Joy (especially with Will Oldham also being in this), and I wasn’t really a fan of Old Joy. Slow, quiet films about two white guys being contemplative and shit… really not my thing. (Oh, save for This is Martin Bonner which I actually liked.) So yeah, I don’t have anything negative to say about it. I actually liked what the film was saying. I liked how it portrayed loneliness and the things that we do or subscribe to in order to save ourselves from it. But I’m just not particularly interested in the characters nor do I enjoy this type of tone in a film.
The Heartbreak Kid (Elaine May, 1972) 4.5/5
Wow, this film is much darker than I initially thought it was. When I watched this a couple of years ago, I feel like I understood the larger message of it but I don’t think I was able to fully grasp just how troubled and tragic a character Lenny was. It’s more than just disillusionment or dissatisfaction, there’s something inherently disturbing about Lenny’s actions that I believe borders on sociopathic behavior. It was a bit of a shock for me to realize that about his character. Definitely did not pick up on that the first time especially since the film is very good at masking it.
Smithereens (Susan Seidelman, 1982) 4.5/5
An excellent character study of a woman so desperate for fame and so determined to make it, she’s deluded herself into thinking that she’s fooling everyone with her act, when truth of the matter is everyone can see through her. This film really caught me by surprise just by how stark, harsh and cruel it turned out to be. Not because she didn’t deserve it or that you never saw it coming, it’s just that the film conditions you to expect her to always get away with things that when her luck finally runs out, like for real, it’s such a jolt of reality, a huge slap on the face. So yes, I definitely admire the film for its brutal honesty and appreciate it for providing us with an authentic historical document of a certain period in time. Also, this film looks cool as fuck.
Heavy (James Mangold, 1995) 3.5/5
An understated and possibly forgotten film that should really be recognized more if only for Pruitt Taylor Vince’s absolutely moving performance. One of the best I’ve seen. Subtle yet powerful. I’m really thankful and glad that he was given a part such as this because I mostly just see him playing creeps in movies which I guess is something he does quite effectively but it would’ve been a real shame if we wasn’t given the chance to see this aspect of him as well. Liv Tyler was not only absolutely beautiful but also gives a touching performance in what is one of her earliest films. The film actually has a pretty cool cast what with Debbie Harry and Evan Dando playing supporting characters. Not to mention, Thurston Moore does the music for the film.
I applaud the film’s restraint. Many times, I think the film could’ve gone in different directions that I’m thankful it did not go to. Not really a fan of James Mangold but I’m pleasantly surprised that this is where he started from. This was his debut film. I mean you look at this and you look at like Wolverine or whatever and there’s kind of a disconnect, I guess. I can’t say that this is a film that I would recommend to everyone because I can see how easy it would be to dismiss a film like this but if you’re into like little, quiet films about small towns and people with simple lives but deep longings, then I suggest you give this a chance.
Coal Miner’s Daughter (Michael Apted, 1980) 5/5
I wasn’t super impressed with this film at first. I just thought it was a pretty good film but as I got to thinking more about it, I realized that you know what… this is just about the best biopic of a famous musician I’ve ever seen. The story is real refreshing for one thing. None of the awful stuff usually associated with being a musician. It’s about Loretta and her husband Doo. A couple who dreamed of getting out of the small town and through Loretta’s talent, Doo’s ambition and both of their hard work, found a way to lead a better life for themselves. I really enjoyed watching their love story. Their relationship wasn’t easy nor typical by any means. It wasn’t a fairytale but in a way, it is. A lot of people gave outstanding performances in this film. Tommy Lee Jones, Beverly D’Angelo, Levon Helm… and of course, Sissy Spacek. Spacek’s the main reason I watched this film and she did not disappoint. She was pure joy to watch. She gave the character such life. She portrayed all of Loretta’s charms and naivete and fears and fierceness. Not to mention the fact that she did all of her own singing. My favorite part though would have to be her “breakdown” scene. It was a simple monologue but her delivery made it very moving. Of course I must mention Michael Apted who put all of this together and directed Sissy into an Oscar-winning performance.
I came into this not knowing a single Loretta Lynn song, barely knowing anything about her but I came out if it with a tremendous respect and admiration for Loretta both as an artist and as a person.
P.S. 70’s Sissy Spacek was really something else, man. Badlands, Carrie, 3 Women, Coal Miner’s Daughter… I mean these are not just amazing performances on her part but these are also some of the best films ever made.
Bad Lieutenant (Abel Ferrara, 1992) 5/5
After seeing Ms. 45, I had this strong feeling that I’d probably need to re-watch Bad Lieutenant because there’s a chance I’d been mistaken about it. Not that I didn’t think it was good then but I also didn’t think it was great or anything. Idk, it’s a couple of years ago since I first saw that film. So I watched it again just now, and man was I fucking wrong indeed. This film is not just good nor just great, it’s a masterpiece. Harvey Keitel in this film, man… I don’t even know what to say. Seriously. One of the best performances ever. Like Top 5 of all time or something. That scene when he was talking to Jesus?? Like holy shit. Just unbelievable. The script by Zoe Lund and Abel Ferrara was really good. So aside from wishing that Zoe’s appeared in more films, I also now wish she’s written more. I’d also like to mention the cinematography because I rarely mention that aspect of it but this one has one of my favorite camera work that I’ve seen and I just looked up the DP on this thing and it’s a guy named Ken Kelsch and he also did Big Night which now that I think about it also had pretty outstanding cinematography. The food in that film were photographed beautifully and that last scene with the long take was terrific. And then lastly, I just have to recant an earlier statement that I made saying Ms. 45 is my favorite Abel Ferrara, sorry but THIS is actually my favorite Abel Ferrara. Ms. 45 is a close second though. I love them both.