And a JC fansite: johncassavetes.tumblr.com
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I accidentally ordered blu-rays of the last days of disco and the three colors trilogy during the criterion flash sale. I say accidentally because i thought i was ordering DVDs since i don’t have a blu-ray player. But apparently, I ordered the blu-rays and now they’re here, so i’m wondering if i should just go ahead and buy a blu-ray player anyway or just sell these off on e-bay?
Hohokam (Frank V. Ross, 2007) 5/5
The fact that a film can manage to be both realistic and romantic at the same time is already a feat in itself but what’s truly amazing is 1.) the lengths that this film go to to ruin all notions of romance (shitting, peeing, burping, puking, ear-wax picking) and yet find a way to remain romantic, and 2.) that this film has absolutely no plot yet manages to be engaging.
The Thing Called Love (Peter Bogdanovich, 1993) 4.5/5
You guys, no one told me River and Peter Bogdanovich did a film together??? I only found out about it because I was randomly browsing films on Netflix and got interested with this film’s title and poster. Then I saw that it was River Phoenix and Peter Bogdanovich and I was like, holy shit! I have to see this at once!
It surprised me how much I really liked this film just because there isn’t anything particularly remarkable or original about it. It’s a small, unassuming film but has a lot of heart. I guess there’s something nice about watching a film that doesn’t try too hard to be different or important. It’s the type of film I’d love to watch over and over or chance upon on TV on a lazy day. I suppose that’s what I love about it. That, and River, obviously. I’d watch him in anything.
Negative reviews of this film put much attention to the fact that this was River’s last film before he OD’ed and as a result, see his performance as lifeless and an indication of his depression, even a cry for help. I think it’s a matter of interpretation but personally, I disagree with that. I had no idea watching this film that it was his last film before he died and without that information at the back of my head, I definitely saw nothing wrong with River’s performance. It’s not his best performance ever but still a really good one. Same thing could be said about this film, not the best but really good and terribly underrated.
Daddy Longlegs (Josh & Benny Safdie, 2009) 5/5
Such a heartbreaking film. Childlike and dreamy on the surface but with so much darkness lying underneath. Ronald Bronstein turns out not only to be a brilliant filmmaker but also a brilliant actor. He delivers a performance that never once feels like a performance. Also, I never say this about any film but something about this truly reminded me of a John Cassavetes film.
Don Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 2013) 1/5
I’m disappointed because the film started off with what I thought was a fascinating premise. Porn is a complex subject that hasn’t been really explored in a lot of films. And usually, the focus is on the porn stars and not on the people watching them. So, I thought he had a refreshing concept that he could’ve really explored. Unfortunately, JGL chose to simplify the whole thing and create caricatures and be cute about it. So yeah, I’m disappointed with JGL more than anything else. I really thought he had more to him than this.
Quietly on By (Frank V. Ross, 2005) 5/5
This film was shot on Mini DV for less than $1000 and it looked beautiful, with a brilliant performance by Anthony J. Baker at the center of it. It reminded me of two other films that I’ve seen: Frownland and Bad Fever. Strong lead male performances portraying unlikeable loners on the edge of sanity with some really embarrassing and cringe-worthy scenes. Frank’s films seem super improvised but I believe all of his films are tightly scripted. He writes them, shoots and acts in them at times, edits them and even does the music for them sometimes. He’s exactly the type of filmmaker I aspire to become.
Tiger Tail in Blue (Frank V. Ross, 2012) 5/5
I’ve been hearing about Frank V. Ross for some time already but I never know where to watch his films. They’re not available on torrent or thru streaming. They’re hardly accessible so one has to make a genuine effort to seek his films out. I think what must have convinced me was Joe Swanberg declaring Tiger Tail in Blue to be his best film of 2013. Not that I’m a fan of Joe but I did feel like hey, maybe it’s time I check this Frank V. Ross dude out. I found out that basically, you can order DVDs of his films on his website or send him an e-mail, which is what I did. I ordered Tiger Tail and his first film, Quietly on By.
After watching this film, I’d have to agree with Joe. Tiger Tail in Blue is the best film of 2013. This film blew my mind. At first, I didn’t feel like there was anything impressive about the film the first couple of minutes, but then its brilliance just slowly creeps up on you. It’s pretty deceptive that way. It’s amazing the way this film was written and performed. Maybe the best film I’ve seen about young marriage and basically just a really intelligent, accurate, and honest portrayal of a relationship. Plus, I don’t wanna spoil anything about it but there’s this thing that Frank did with his 2 lead actresses in the film that’s super brilliant and one of the things that blew me away about this film.
I’ve only seen one of his films so far but I can already tell, this guy is criminally underrated. Please please seek his films out.
Paradise: Love (Ulrich Seidl, 2012) 5/5
Ulrich Seidl mixes a stylistic visual with a documentary approach to create a richly thematic film: a film about love, romance, aging, sex, the sex trade, exploitation, neocolonialism, etc etc. And, he talks about all of these things with such depth. It’s cynical and brutal yet humorous and sympathetic at the same time. This is my first Ulrich Seidl film and needless to say, I’m very impressed and will be on the hunt for the rest of this trilogy and also his other films.
The Loneliest Planet (Julia Loktev, 2011) 5/5
I understand if a lot of people got extremely bored watching this because this film can and will test your patience. The film has a really long build-up but the pay-off is worth it. Super fucking worth it. Of course I won’t spoil what that pivotal moment is or the turning point, but I tell you, it’s brilliant. What amazes me about is it that no one points out exactly what happened but we all know it and we all understand exactly what the problem is. What this film managed to identify about relationships is so universal and human that I’m just blown away.