Yearly Archives: 2012

One More Bibliographic List

Here are some links to pieces of mine that are available online elsewhere, but not (yet) on this site, in chronological order, over the past six or seven years. Many of them include various lists of their own. — J.R.

10 Favorite Offbeat Musicals (March 2006):

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/articles/10_offbeat_musicals.htm

Ten Overlooked Noirs (April 2006):

www.dvdbeaver.com/film/articles/noir.htm

A Dozen Eccentric Westerns (June 2006):

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/articles/westerns.htm

Ten Neglected Science Fiction Movies (August 2006):

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/articles/sci-fi.htm

Ten Overlooked Fantasy Films on TV (and Two That Should be Available) (October 2006):

www.dvdbeaver.com/film/articles/fantasy.htm

A Dozen Undervalued Movie Satires (January 2007):

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/articles/dozen_undervalued_movie_satires.htm

Eleven Treasures of Jazz Performance on DVD (April 2007):

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/articles/eleven_treasures_of_jazz_on_dvd.htm

18 Thrillers You Might Have Missed… (July 2007):

www.dvdbeaver.com/film/articles/18_thrillers_you_might_have_missed.htm

Ten Underappreciated John Ford Films (December 2007):

www.dvdbeaver.com/film/articles/ten_underappreciated_john_ford_films.htm

My Dozen Favorite Non-Region-1 Box Sets (June 2008):

www.dvdbeaver.com/film/articles/dozen_favorite_nonR1_boxsets.htm

My Dozen Favorite Non-Region-1 Single-disc DVDs (November 2008):

www.dvdbeaver.com/film/articles/dozen_favorite_nonR1_single-disc.htm

Trial and Era (on Jim McBride’s early films) (posted April 3, 2009):

http://www.artforum.com/film/id=22423

The Consequences of Fame (on Roman Polanski’s arrest, posted Sept. 19, 2009):

http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/29/the-polanski-uproar/#jonathan

Tony Tony Tony (on The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, posted December 23, 2009):

http://www.artforum.com/film/id=24395

Great 30s Movies on DVD (…and a few more that should be available) (February 2010):

www.dvdbeaver.com/film/articles/great_30s_movies_on_dvd.htm

Too Many Greats Ignored (on the Oscars, posted March 4, 2010):

http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/do-the-oscars-undermine-artistry/#jonathan

Gertrud and Light in August (posted October 26, 2010):

www.criterion.com/current/posts/1635-gertrud-and-light-in-august

Visions of the South (March 10, 2011):

www.nashvillescene.com/nashville/from-brimstone-preachers-to-baby-dolls-the-belcourts-new-series-surveys-life-below-the-mason-dixon-line-on-film/Content?oid=2300712

A Star Who Knew Who She Was (on Elizabeth Taylor’s death, posted March 28, 2011):

www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/03/23/is-it-harder-to-be-a-celebrity-now/a-star-who-knew-who-she-was

Acid Test: The curiosity of Otto Preminger’s Skidoo (posted July 20, 2011):

www.movingimagesource.us/articles/acid-test-20110720

Capitulating for the Camera’s Sake: the Late Artistry of Raúl Ruiz (Nov.Read more »

Best DVDs and Blu-Rays of 2012 (My DVD Beaver Ballot)

At the suggestion of a reader, Philadelphia cinephile David Ortega, here is the ballot I submitted to DVD Beaver‘s poll late last year. Note: Sadly, the absence of any titles from the excellent U.K. label Masters of Cinema can probably be explained by the fact that this label stopped sending me any of its releases about nine months ago, after sending me all of its releases prior to that  — a decision that I continue to find baffling. [P.S.: A couple of people have pointed out that, in fact, Park Row wasn't released on Blu-Ray; it came out only on DVD. Sorry for this error. This is also available, by the way, from Masters of Cinema, but I haven't included that version because I haven't seen it -- although Craig Keller was kind enough to send me a PDF of that edition's excellent accompanying booklet.] — J.R.

Top 10 SD-DVD Releases OF 2012

(NOTE: Please ONLY DVD releases that are NOT available on Blu-ray!)

1.DANIÈLE HUILLET & JEAN-MARIE STRAUB, Volume 7 (Editions Montparnasse)

2. DRIVER X 4: THE LOST AND FOUND FILMS OF SARA DRIVER (filmswelike)

3. ECLIPSE SERIES 34: JEAN GRÉMILLON DURING THE OCCUPATION (Criterion)

4. POLISH CINEMA CLASSICS (Second Run)

5.Read more »

How To Like THE RAINS OF RANCHIPUR

Fresh from one of the my favorite boutique labels, Twilight Time, comes the Blu-Ray of Jean Negulesco’s opulent, ridiculously overripe 1955 CinemaScope remake of his own 1939 The Rains Came, which I hadn’t seen since I was 13 or so — a highly enjoyable bad movie, which on some level must mean that it also qualifies as a good movie. Perhaps the most morally neutral adjective to be employed here is one of those used by Julie Kirgo, Twilight Time’s ever-industrious in-house scribe: “lurid”.

None of the characters here is ever quite believable — Lana Turner as wealthy, aristocratic maneater Lady Esketh, Michael Rennie as her self-hating cuckold husband, Richard Burton as the innocent and idealist doctor and one-time Untouchable who falls heavily for Lady Esketh, quotes Eliot and Shakespeare, and spouts profound aphorisms, Eugenie Leontovich as the urbane Maharani who raised the doctor, Fred MacMurray as a well-to-do and secretly virtuous alcoholic, Joan Caulfield as the latter’s oversheltered protégé — but every one of them is, shall we say, exceptionally vivid, and the performances are all much better than they need to be. Similarly,  the special effects trotted out for the title catastrophe are worthy of Cecil B. De Mille, with Lahore, Pakistan and (I presume) various Fox soundstages standing in for Ranchipur as fearlessly as the mesmerizing White Russian refugee Leontovich pretends to be Indian, or the no less self-validating Lana Turner pretends to be candid.Read more »

Elliott Stein (1928-2012)

I can’t remember precisely when it was that I first met Elliott in Paris, but I’m sure it was in the early 70s, and I suspect it was the late Carlos Clarens, another Cinematheque regular, who introduced us, most likely after some Palais de Chaillot screening. It wasn’t much later when I discovered we were neighbors living a few blocks apart — me in a small, sunless flat on Rue Mazarine, Elliott in a large room stuffed with all sorts of arcane memorabilia at the Hotel de Verneuil on Rue de Verneuil. He was already a pack-rat then, especially when it came to his collection of clippings, and he continued to live that way years later when he eventually moved back to New York — first to a hotel on lower 5th Avenue, then to a roomy loft in Soho on West Broadway. It was a tragic moment for him when he had to move out of the latter place, leaving behind or giving up many of his treasured possessions (including, as I recall, a table once owned by Robert Ryan). And only a few days ago, at the Viennale, hearing about the ravages of Sandy on New York and environs, my friends and I were concerned about whether or not Elliott was okay.… Read more »

Eduardo de Gregorio, 1942-2012

On October 14, 2012 I received the sad news from Pierre Bayle d’Autrange that his longtime partner Eduardo de Gregorio, also a longtime friend of mine (since 1973), died Saturday night at the St. Louis Hospital in Paris, not long after his 70th birthday.

I wrote the following for the festival catalogue of the Buenos Aires Festival of Independent Film in 2004, to accompany a retrospective of Eduardo’s films — as far as I know, the only such retrospective that was ever held. It is also reprinted — along with a short essay of the same length on Sara Driver (also the subject of a BAFICI retrospective that year)– in “Two Neglected Filmmakers,” a piece included in my most recent collection, Goodbye Cinema, Hello Cinephilia as well as here.  — J.R.

Eduardo de Gregorio’s Dream Door

It must be a bummer to be an Argentinian writer and/or filmmaker and constantly get linked to Jorge Luis Borges. It must be especially hard if you’re Eduardo de Gregorio, whose first major screen credit is on an adaptation of “Theme of the Traitor and Hero” for Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1970 feature The Spider’s Strategm.

I don’t mean to question the credentials of de Gregorio as a onetime student of Borges — just the appropriateness of a too-narrow understanding to impose on a singular body of work that owes as much to cinematic references as to literary ones, and one that indeed juxtaposes the two almost as freely as it juxtaposes different languages and historical periods (while including all the cultural baggage that comes with each of them).… Read more »

A Master Index To This Site (as of October 1, 2012)

Trevor Vartanoff, one of the frequenters of this web site, has just come up with an invaluable gift to me and to others — an alphabetical master index of all (or almost all) the postings here, complete with links. “I found it useful,” Trevor just wrote me, “maybe you or readers will too.” — J.R.

***

Featured Texts:

*Corpus Callosum

*CORPUS CALLOSUM

12 Monkeys

12 and Holding

15th Annual Festival of Illinois Film and Video

2 Oxford Companion Entries (Albert Brooks and découpage)

2 or 3 Things I Know About Her

2001: A Space Odyssey

2046

20th International Tournee of Animation

29th Chicago International Film Festival: Mired in the Present

4 Little Girls

4

60s Wisdom

7 Women

8 1/2

8 Mile

84 Charlie Mopic

9 1/2 Weeks with Van Gogh

A Bankable Feast [BABETTE’S FEAST]

A Beauty and a Beast

A Bluffer’s Guide to Bela Tarr

A Breakthrough And A Throwback

A Brief History of Time

A Brighter Summer Day

A Bronx Tale

A Christmas Commodity: SCROOGED

A Cinema of Uncertainty

A Constant Forge

A Couple of Kooks [MY BEST FIEND]

A Cut Above [HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER]

A Depth in the Family [A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE]

A Dialogue about Abbas Kiarostami’s SHIRIN

A Different Kind of Swinger [GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE]

A Different Kind of Thrill (Richet’s ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13)

A Dry White Season

A Family Thing

A Far Off Place

A Few Eruptions in the House of Lava

A Few Things Well [A LITTLE STIFF]

A Film of the Future

A Fish Called Wanda

A Force Unto Himself [on Hou Hsiao-hsien]

A Great Day in Harlem

A History of Violence

A Home of Our Own

À la recherche de Luc Moullet: 25 Propositions

A Little Transcendence Goes a Long Way

A Lucky Day

A Major Talent [on SWEETIE]

A Man Escaped

A Midnight Clear

A Moment of Innocence

A New Leaf

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

A Page of Madness

A Perfect World

A Perversion of the Past

A Place Called Chiapas

A Place in the Pantheon: Films by Bela Tarr

A Place in the World

A Price Above Rubies

A Prophet in His Own Country [Jon Jost retrospective]

A Quirky Cowboy Classic [on THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA]

A Radical Idea [HALF NELSON & THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED]

A Road Not Taken (The Films of Harun Farocki)

A Room With No View [ORPHANS]

A Russian in Hollywood [SHY PEOPLE]

A Scanner Darkly

A Short Film About Killing and A Short Film About Love

A Single Girl

A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries

A Stylist Hits His Stride (ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND)

A Tale of Love

A Tale of Winter

A Tale of the Wind

A Tale of the Wind

A Thousand Words

A Time of Love

A Time to Lie (CROSS MY HEART)

A Time to Live and a Time to Die

A Touch of Class [GOSFORD PARK]

A Woman’s Tale

A World Apart

A Year at the Movies

A Zed and Two Noughts

A.I.… Read more »

A Master Index To This Site, with Links (as of October 1, 2012)

 

Trevor Vartanoff, one of the frequenters of this web site, has come up with an invaluable gift to me and to others — an alphabetical master index of all (or almost all) the postings here, complete with links. “I found it useful,” Trevor just wrote me, “maybe you or readers will too.” — J.R.
***

Featured Texts

 

*Corpus Callosum

 

*CORPUS CALLOSUM

 

12 Monkeys

 

12 and Holding

 

15th Annual Festival of Illinois Film and Video

 

2 Oxford Companion Entries (Albert Brooks and découpage)

 

2 or 3 Things I Know About Her

 

2001: A Space Odyssey

 

2046

 

20th International Tournee of Animation

 

29th Chicago International Film Festival: Mired in the Present

 

4 Little Girls

 

4

 

60s Wisdom

 

7 Women

 

8 1/2

 

8 Mile

 

84 Charlie Mopic

 

9 1/2 Weeks with Van Gogh

 

 

 

 

 

A Bankable Feast [BABETTE’S FEAST]

 

A Beauty and a Beast

 

A Bluffer’s Guide to Bela Tarr

 

A Breakthrough And A Throwback

 

A Brief History of Time

 

A Brighter Summer Day

 

A Bronx Tale

 

A Christmas Commodity: SCROOGED

 

A Cinema of Uncertainty

 

A Constant Forge

 

A Couple of Kooks [MY BEST FIEND]

 

A Cut Above [HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER]

 

A Depth in the Family [A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE]

 

A Dialogue about Abbas Kiarostami’s SHIRIN

 

A Different Kind of Swinger [GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE]

 

A Different Kind of Thrill (Richet’s ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13)

 

A Dry White Season

 

A Family Thing

 

A Far Off Place

 

A Few Eruptions in the House of Lava

 

A Few Things Well [A LITTLE STIFF]

 

A Film of the Future

 

A Fish Called Wanda

 

A Force Unto Himself [on Hou Hsiao-hsien]

 

A Great Day in Harlem

 

A History of Violence

 

A Home of Our Own

 

À la recherche de Luc Moullet: 25 Propositions

 

A Little Transcendence Goes a Long Way

 

A Lucky Day

 

A Major Talent [on SWEETIE]

 

A Man Escaped

 

A Midnight Clear

 

A Moment of Innocence

 

A New Leaf

 

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

 

A Page of Madness

 

A Perfect World

 

A Perversion of the Past

 

A Place Called Chiapas

 

A Place in the Pantheon: Films by Bela Tarr

 

A Place in the World

 

A Price Above Rubies

 

A Prophet in His Own Country [Jon Jost retrospective]

 

A Quirky Cowboy Classic [on THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA]

 

A Radical Idea [HALF NELSON & THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED]

 

A Road Not Taken (The Films of Harun Farocki)

 

A Room With No View [ORPHANS]

 

A Russian in Hollywood [SHY PEOPLE]

 

A Scanner Darkly

 

A Short Film About Killing and A Short Film About Love

 

A Single Girl

 

A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries

 

A Stylist Hits His Stride (ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND)

 

A Tale of Love

 

A Tale of Winter

 

A Tale of the Wind

 

A Tale of the Wind

 

A Thousand Words

 

A Time of Love

 

A Time to Lie (CROSS MY HEART)

 

A Time to Live and a Time to Die

 

A Touch of Class [GOSFORD PARK]

 

A Woman’s Tale

 

A World Apart

 

A Year at the Movies

 

A Zed and Two Noughts

 

A.I.Read more »

Ritwik Ghatak at 21

This beautiful photograph, which I’m told has never been published before, was given to me by his maternal niece Rina Chakravarti in Toronto last night, at the Lightbox, shortly before I gave an introduction to a restored, gorgeous print of Ghatak’s 1960 masterpiece, The Cloud-Capped Star. It was taken taken in 1946 in Baikunthapur, Madhya Pradesh.

As one can (arguably) see from the photo below, of Niranjan Roy — the male lead of The Cloud-Capped Star, who plays the character Sanat — there’s a certain resemblance. [9-11-12]

Read more »

A New Leaf

From the Chicago Reader (October 1, 1995); corrected and updated in September 2012. — J.R.

ANewLeaf-May

ANewLeaf-Matthau-Coco

Writer-director-star Elaine May’s first feature (1971). Not all of it works, and the studio cut some of the darker elements (including a murder sequence that May avows was one of the funniest things Jack Weston ever did), but it’s still an often brilliant and frequently hilarious comedy. Walter Matthau, cast wildly against type, plays a spoiled playboy suddenly deprived of his wealth who plots to marry and murder a wealthy, klutzy, and clueless botanist (May, playing sort of a female Jerry Lewis). May’s savage take on her characters irresistibly recalls Stroheim; she’s at once tender and corrosive (as well as narcissistic and self-hating). This is painful comedy, to be sure, but there’s a lot of soul and spirit behind it. With James Coco, George Rose, and William Redfield. (JR)

ANewLeaf-WestonRead more »

Here’s a Movie in the Making That I Really Want To See

Please go to kickstarter.com/projects/1209470946/a-fuller-life/posts for details. — J.R. [8/20/12]

Read more »

Reflections on the New Sight & Sound Poll (and Four Lists, 1982-2012)

1. For me, there have been quite a few surprises in the results of Sight and Sound’s latest ten-best poll of film critics around the world — not so much the displacement of Citizen Kane from first place (which it occupied for half a century, ever since the second poll in 1962) by Vertigo, something that was bound to happen sooner or later, as the first appearance of The Man with a Movie Camera (in eighth place, with 68 votes). And, perhaps most startling of all, seeing Sátántangó tied with Jeanne Dielman, Psycho, and Metropolis (each of which received 64 votes), or seeing Abbas Kiarostami  (represented by Close-Up, in 42nd place — in an incongruous six-way tie with Gertrud, Pather Panchali, Pierrot le fou, Playtime, and Some Like It Hot) doing better than Charlie Chaplin (represented by City Lights, in 50th place, tied with La jetée and Ugetsu Monogatari).


“Let’s remember,” Roger Ebert recently blogged, “that all movie lists, even this most-respected one, are ultimately meaningless.” But he goes on to note, correctly, that “In the era of DVD, all of the [50-odd] films on the list are available; in 1952, unless you had unusual resources, most of them could be found only in a few big cities,” which is far from meaningless.… Read more »

Watch for BERNIE (twice upgraded)

 

I guess I must have been simply naïve when I concluded, after seeing and flipping out over Richard Linklater’s The Newton Boys 14 years ago, that everyone else would like it as much as I did. But frankly, I’m even more bewildered by the critical coolness being shown now in some quarters towards Bernie, a masterpiece which might be regarded as a kind of companion piece to The Newton Boys, only one that runs still deeper and is in some ways even more accessible: another edifying film about locals from a part of East Texas that Linklater obviously knows like the back of his hand and deeply cherishes, and another one that ponders the notion of justifiable or defensible crime without ever deserting a sturdy moral code.

The writing (by Linklater and Skip Hollandsworth, whose non-fiction article, which first appeared when The Newton Boys was in post-production, inspired the movie) is so good that the humor can’t be reduced to simple satire; a whole community winds up speaking through the film, and it has a lot to say. In fact, it’s hard to think of many other celebrations of small-town American life that are quite as rich, as warm, and as complexly layered, at least within recent years.… Read more »

IL CINEMA RITROVATO DVD AWARDS 2012

IL CINEMA RITROVATO

DVD AWARDS 2012

IX edition

Jurors: Lorenzo Codelli, Alexander Horwath, Mark

McElhatten, Paolo Mereghetti, Jonathan Rosenbaum

 

 

BEST DVD 2011 / 2012

Read more »

THE COMPLETE HUMPHREY JENNINGS (BFI). An ongoing

series that has recently released the second of its three prefigured

volumes. Jennings was the documentarian who witnessed

British history with a deep and poetic gaze during the 30s

and the 40s.

***

 

BEST BLU-RAY 2011 / 2012

A HOLLIS FRAMPTON ODYSSEY (Criterion). Including

early films from1966 to 1969, films from 1966 to 1969,

films from HAPAX LEGOMENA, and selected films from

the unfinished MAGELLAN series.

***

 

 

BEST SPECIAL FEATURES (BONUS)

 

GODZILLA (Criterion), for its historical contextualization.

 

MOSES UND ARON (New Yorker Video), especially for

inclusion of the libretto in German and English).

 

 

THE DEVILS (BFI), for documentation of the various

 

controversies surrounding the film.

***

 

 

 

BEST REDISCOVERIES

 

PROVOKING REALITY: DIE “OBERHAUSENER”(Editions

 

Filmmuseum München), for a “famous” moment in film history

 

–- The Oberhausen Manifesto of 1962 –- a presentation of 19

 

forgotten shorts made by artists who signed this manifesto.

 

 

LANDSCAPE OF POSTWAR PERIOD (Korean Film

 

Archive), for four Korean features (THE WIDOW,

 

THE FLOWER IN HELL, THE MONEY, A DRIFTING

 

STORY) by four major directors during a very

 

troubled era–an era which is analyzed in the

accompanying booklet.

Index of long reviews from the Chicago Reader, by film (or book) title or subject

Note: items followed by “(i)” have been reformatted and are also illustrated. (There are a few long reviews that appear on this site twice, once with illustrations and once without, although I’ve started to delete the non-illustrated duplications whenever I spot them.) For some strange reason, one of my long reviews, of both Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace and Trekkies, which appeared in the May 21, 1999 issue of the Chicago Reader under the title “Summer Camp,” didn’t make it onto either the Reader’s web site or my own until I recently copied it here. (I’ve also added another text missing from both sites, from the same year, on the four-hour Greed, which I already had in digital form because it was reprinted in my collection Essential Cinema.) Still missing from both sites is my brief ten best piece (actually, 20 best) for 2006, which appeared at some point in December 2006 or January 2007. If readers spot any errors here, I would welcome hearing about them, at jonathanrosenbaum at earthlink dot net.

***

Abigail’s Party, 1/10/92 (i)

The Abyss, 8/11/89 (i)

The Accidental Tourist, 1/13/89 (i)

The Accompanist, 1/28/94 (i)

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, 3/4/94 (i)

The Actor, 4/11/97 (i)

An Actor’s Revenge, 6/3/88 (i)

The Adopted Son, 4/2/99 (i)

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, 3/17/89 (i)

The Adventures of Sharkboy & Lavagirl in 3-D, 6/10/05 (i)

Aerograd, 6/7/02 (i)

The Affair of the Necklace, 12/21/01 (i)

After the Sunset, 11/18/04 (i)

Against the Day (novel), 12/1/06 (i)

The Age of Innocence, 9/17/93 (i)

A.I.… Read more »