Monthly Archives: December 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 »

Spielberg’s Audio-animatronic Lincoln

From the Jewish Daily Forward (November 9, 2012, for their November 16 issue). — J.R.

Lincoln-dark

My suspicion that Steven Spielberg can’t really do historical films isn’t anything new, although the fact that he keeps trying shows at least how ambitious he can be. Conversely, the fact that he keeps failing, at least in my opinion, may point to a wider incapacity on the part of his audience, meaning you and me — a failure to grasp and sustain Abraham Lincoln as a myth the way that John Ford and his audience could when Ford made “Young Mr. Lincoln” with Henry Fonda in 1939.

Some of this, of course, can be accounted for by the radical changes in mainstream film-going over 73 years: an audience that has been subdivided by targeting strategies and ancillary markets, reduced mainly to kids, artificially inflated by advertising budgets and split among homes, computers and theaters on screens of different sizes, shapes and textures. But it’s also a sign that in “Lincoln,” we’re much further away from our historical roots than American moviegoers were in 1939, even when a master storyteller and myth-spinner is in charge.

Leaving aside “The Adventures of Tintin” and “War Horse” (neither of which I’ve seen), the diverse cavorting of Indiana Jones and the cartoon extravagance of “1941,” I think my troubles with Spielberg as a historian started with his ignorance about Jim Crow prohibitions in the Deep South involving the front seat of a car in “The Color Purple” (1985).… Read more »

On the Internet, No One Can Hear You Think (or, Datelessness Equals Cluelessness)

The avoidance or frequent absence of history on the Internet is often a problem, but I’ve rarely seen it exploited so shamelessly and cripplingly as it is in a post supposedly “celebrating” Godard’s 82th birthday that quotes fifteen filmmakers on the subject of Godard, including Godard himself, arranged alphabetically from Chantal Akerman to Wim Wenders.

Let’s start with the first sentence in the first quotation, from Akerman: “You can see him excluding himself from the world in an almost autistic manner.” Is this the Godard of For Ever Mozart, the Godard of Film Socialisme, or a much earlier Godard?  It’s impossible to understand, much less evaluate what Akerman is saying, without knowing the answer to this question. Pretend that this doesn’t matter and you’re pointlessly sliming both Akerman and Godard, for no good reason.

Five quotes later, we get, “Luis Buñuel: I’ll give him two years more, he is just a fashion.” Obviously, this statement was made when Buñuel was still alive, which means he had to have said it at some point between, say, 1960 and 1983. Lots of leg room in there — about 30 features’ worth.

And one quote later, from Godard himself: “I am not an auteur, well, not now anyway.” When is “now”?Read more »