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EPISODE 526: TCM Classic Film Festival 2017

16 Apr

In this episode, David and Scott are joined by Jake Bart to discuss this year’s TCM Classic Film Festival.

The L.A. Rep-port: 3/14 to 3/20, by Scott Nye

13 Apr

As David mentioned on the podcast, I’ve been unusually preoccupied these past few weeks, so apologies for the lack of columns, but there was no question, none at all, that I would carve out time to spotlight UCLA’s Friday night double feature of Orochi (1925, 35mm) and The Mark of Zorro (1920, 35mm). Now the chance to see the Wayne-family-killing Zorro on film with live accompaniment by Cliff Retallick is special enough, but samurai film Orochi is the real draw. In the silent era in Japan, instead of the piano accompaniment we’re used to, films were narrated by benshi, who would explain the major actions in the film and even talk back to the screen when they saw fit. Major stars even grew out of this tradition. For all the obvious reasons, such performances don’t really happen anymore, but UCLA’s bringing it back, along with a composed score performed live with traditional Japanese instruments. This is an insanely rare, and very cool opportunity.

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New to Home Video 4/11/17

11 Apr

Review

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New to Home Video 4/4/17

4 Apr

Review

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New to Home Video 3/28/17

28 Mar

Review

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The L.A. Rep-port: 3/24 to 3/30, by Scott Nye

24 Mar

The big happening this week is undoubtedly the annual Noir City series happening at the Egyptian over the next ten days, full of seedy crime films both rare and popular, some virtually unseen and not available on DVD and some standard-bearing classics. This year has an interesting twist – they’re pairing the films by year, showing an A-picture and a B-picture for each night, much as they would have been shown upon release, and proceeding chronologically. They won’t be hitting every year between 1942 and 1953, but they’re getting most of them.

You’re better off just going to the Cinematheque site and browsing the schedule yourself, but my experience with the series over the years has been that it’s hard to really go wrong on any given night. Eddie Muller and Alan Rode of the Film Noir Foundation assemble the program, and they know their stuff, which partially means knowing what plays to an audience. And baby, these films play. I can certainly vouch for This Gun for Hire (1942, 35mm), Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950, DCP), and The Big Heat (1953, DCP), but with titles like Quiet Please, Murder (1942, 35mm), Escape in the Fog (1945, 35mm), Behind Green Lights (1946, 35mm), and I Was a Shoplifter (1949, 35mm), I’m excited to see what’s in store for us.

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Song to Song: They’re Never Really Gone, by Scott Nye

19 Mar

Romance, the feeling, is a key component to most of Terrence Malick’s films, but he’s heretofore ducked and dodged from Romance, the genre. Days of Heaven, with its pulpy con plot beginnings, comes closest, but he maintains the same distance he did in Badlands by utilizing a dispassionate observer as our point of view into its world. As his career has gone on, he’s abandoned more and more such literary devices nearly every time out, coming closer to the pure shit (some critics would drop the article) of a lived cinema. Beginning with To the Wonder in 2012, he has gradually rid himself of plot, narrative coherence, or sometimes even common sense, chasing the Eden his characters so often find and lose. Song to Song is reportedly the last film he’ll make, for now, in this mold, and rightly so. Here he has perfected it. Here he has tired of sailing past his Indies, and found peace in consummated love.

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Home Video Hovel: One Million Years B.C., by Scott Nye

15 Mar

At once remarkably audacious and kind of dumb, One Million Years B.C. is, if nothing else, beautifully, perfectly a film of its time. Released in 1966, it anticipates and in some ways one-ups the tripped-out journey to the past for which 2001: A Space Odyssey would be so celebrated, beginning with an abstract voyage through space and landing on a primitive people who never once speak a comprehensible dialect. The conflict is clear enough though – in a hunter/gatherer society, a tribe is fighting amongst themselves for what little food is available. This fight leaves Tumak (John Richardson) banished, and soon enough fighting dinosaurs. Righteous. He wanders the ancient landscape until he comes upon paradise in the form of scantily-clad women fishing in the ocean, seemingly lead by Raquel Welch, who live in harmony and make art and dance and have a sort of genuine civilization going. The 1960s are strong with this one, friends.

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The L.A. Rep-port: 3/10 to 3/16, by Scott Nye

9 Mar

UCLA’s Festival of Preservation keeps plugging away, starting with He Walked by Night (1948, 35mm) and Open Secret (1948, 35mm) on Friday. He Walked by Night is one of the many luminous collaborations between director Anthony Mann and cinematographer John Alton, and stars the absolutely superb Richard Basehart, but I gotta say, aside from the beat-The-Third-Man-down-the-drain finale, I don’t think very highly of it. It sort of feeds this weird postwar appetite audiences must have had for laborious explorations of how cops go about catching a criminal. Might go over better if you’re really into procedurals. I will be arriving late to catch Open Secret, a long-forgotten film noir tackling anti-semitism and starring the no-slouch-himself John Ireland.

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New to Home Video 3/7/17

7 Mar

Review

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