Cinema 2014

3 January 2014

I am a lady of lists. 

Whether I actually manage to cross things off of the lists is another thing completely, but, still, lists spill across my desk, fill my notes on my iPhone, and linger in the back of forgotten notebooks. I guess in my mind I feel they help me forge some sort of organised path through the jumbled nature of my life. 
A list I have been compiling recently is one of films to watch. It's started to dawn on me that I have wasted an awful lot of my time watching truly rubbish films & TV, only to have missed out on the classics and other (actually good) cinema. 

Here's a few from the 2014 list:

Nebraska
Heralding on from my fascination with America, I am very much keen to see this Alexander Payne film. It held the forefront at the Cinecity Brighton Film Festival, which I sadly did not get to attend as I wasn't there at the time. I also missed a Q&A with Chuck Palahniuk which made me very sad indeed. "After receiving a sweepstakes letter in the mail, a cantankerous father thinks he's struck it rich, and wrangles his son into taking a road trip to claim the fortune. Shot in black and white across four states, Nebraska tells the stories of family life in the heartland of America." This term I'm gonna be doing a course called 'Documentary America' in which I hope I'll see more representations of this heartland. This past week I started watching Twin Peaks, the 1990 murder mystery TV series helmed by David Lynch, set in rural Washington state, which coincides in my head with the stylised depiction of small towns in Nebraska.  I'm only three episodes in but it's hooked me line and sinker. The cast includes, among many, a young Lara Flynn Boyle. Well, a L.F.B. pre-Jack Nicholson fling and pre-this outfit:

Cracked out ballerina chic.


Blackfish
I took a film class earlier this year at Amherst College, one of the Five Colleges in Western Massachusetts. It was an interesting class with an eccentric teacher who would always rave on about her empathetic relationship with her dog and wear bright green witchy high heels. Essentially it was a philosophy class with some visual stimuli. I had no idea what she was talking about half the time, but we did get to watch some decent films. One of them was Rust and Bone, the 2012 Jacques Audiard movie, starring Marion CotillardThere's one scene, which I wrote an essay on, where Cotillard's character shares a moment with an orca. I won't reveal too much of the plot but the cinematography of that scene is truly mind-blowing, with Cotillard placing her hands on the vast pane of glass separating her from this dancing creature submerged in water of the bluest hue. I think it'll always resonate with me, it's just so beautiful. Anyways, Rust and Bone features the training of orcas, a subject from which Blackfish seeks to bring the injustices to the public eye. I have been waiting for a day to watch this where I have not been feeling too melancholy as I feel this'll definitely be a tearjerker, maybe even as much so as The Cove.


Inside Llewyn Davis 
This is the latest Coen brothers film and it looks rad. Not sure how the casting of Justin Timberlake will pan out (maybe because I just can't take him seriously in an acting role after seeing him pop-and-lock in his music videos) but the trailer makes it look like it'll be (fingers crossed) on par with O Brother, Where Art Thou? which is a personal favourite. I saw Bob Dylan earlier this year and in the preceding weeks listened to a lot of his old stuff, which of course he didn't play at the gig, but I've heard through the grapevine he's on the soundtrack. Also, I just find the idea of '60's/'70's NYC fascinating. Vagrants letting the city raise them. Patti Smith's autobiography Just Kids is an amazing account of kids moving to the Big Apple without a dime to their name and making it big through their artistic abilities, living inside studios in the Hotel Chelsea, none of which, I don't think, could happen in the 21st century. Just look at Bill Cunningham and his enforced exile from Carnegie Hall. 


The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson's latest effort looks to be a corker. All the regulars have returned - we've got Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, etc. And of course, the classic Anderson aesthetic. In for a treat with this one. There's an art house cinema at the bottom of my road in Brighton called the Duke of Yorks. It opened in 1910 and is the oldest continuously operating purpose built cinema in the country. It's even got a balcony with plush sofas. I shall definitely be forking out to see this on the Dukes big screen. 


Nymphomaniac
Lars von Trier's new film has already caused masses of controversy and it's not even been released yet! I read some rumour that the trailer was played accidentally to a group of schoolchildren in Florida, awkward for everyone involved considering its premise is, in one word, sex. Charlotte Gainsbourg, von Trier's muse, plays the protagonist Joe, and the film follows her life as, well, a nympho. It's got what looks like a stellar cast but I have to say I'm mainly intrigued to see it because of the hype. 


White Men Can't Jump 
"White Men Can't Jump is a 1992 American sports buddy comedy film written and directed by Ron Shelton, starring Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson as streetball hustlers." Yes I know this is an oldie. In Massachusetts, I took an Urban Sociology class and in it we watched a documentary called Brooklyn Boheme. It looked at the Fort Greene area and the mad parties Wesley Snipes, Chris Rock, and Spike Lee, among others used to attend. It was a tight-knit area for African American creatives staking their claim on the 90's scene, until the white hipsters moved in. I digress, but yes, I've been meaning to watch this film for a long time and 2014 is the year I hope I can finally cross it off my list.  



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