Sunday, August 19, 2012

My own stab at this whole Sight and Sound thing

Thought I would jump on the whole “if I had a ballot” thing making its way through the blogosphere. This is in no way a definitive list; I still have so much to see and so much to learn about film. This is a reflection of how I feel now in 2012. I hope you enjoy.

About this list: these are the films that make me happy. In essence, this falls more into the “favorites” kind of list rather than “the best” (isn’t that always the inner-debate with lists like these?). I tried to pin down the films that have shaped how I watch and think about movies, and (most importantly) how I think about life; I've opted for these kinds of films over more obvious, erudite selections. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Summer of Slash: Happy Birthday to Me

Note: This is the final entry for this summer’s Summer of Slash series. Thanks for following along and reading! More horror reviews will return in October with the 3rd Annual Italian Horror Blogathon. Until then…

Before I begin with the review proper, allow me to give a brief history of the Canadian slasher: Canadian slashers are a different animal – they favor character development and plot over grimy aesthetics and gore effects – so it’s no surprise when one sits down to watch Happy Birthday to Me that not only do we get a slasher that nearly clocks in at two hours (!), but we get a film that is interested in following through on all of the plot points it introduces instead of just rushing through The Meat with bloody killing after bloody killing. In fact, Happy Birthday to Me boasts "SIX OF THE MOST BIZZARE MURDERS YOU WILL EVER SEE!” on its poster, and it’s true, they are quite creative (the coverbox has always been a favorite of mine), but they’re very tame in contrast to what people were seeing from slashers thanks to the work that Tom Savini was doing in the early ‘80s. So then, it seems that the biggest difference between Canadian slashers and American slashers is the preference for tone and pacing and character development over gore and gratuitous nudity. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

8 1/2

Edited 8/4/12: I wrote this a little over a year ago, and, in light of the recent S&S polling, I thought I would repost my thoughts on what I feel is the greatest film ever made (in lieu of new content while I'm on vacation). Enjoy.

"His film is as whole, as simple, as beautiful, and as honest as the one that Guido, in 8 ½, wants to make."
                              ---- Francois Truffaut

From its first surrealistic seconds of asphyxiation, synec doche, and eerie silence that hovers over the action, Federico Fellini's 8 ½ states its thesis clearly: Fellini is cutting the umbilical cord to his neo-realist ways and introducing his postmodern, dreamlike (not to mention carnivalesque and farcical) motifs that would be found in all of Fellini's films post-La Dolce Vita. Fellini's style would venture into the baroque with films like Roma and Juliet of the Spirits; however, it was with 8 ½ that the auteur was at his most Jungian. It is within the dream world of 8 ½ that Fellini becomes a cartoonist (Terry Gilliam, in the Criterion DVD introduction to the film, says this, too) who mixes the absurd and dreamlike aesthetic with a narrative that is poignant and effective. Yes, the aesthetics are impressive (I believe whole heartedly that Fellini's film is just as important a visual textbook as something like Citizen Kane), but for this viewer it is the narrative that continues to impress and affect with each subsequent viewing.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


The blog has been unofficially on vacation this week and will continue to be on vacation for most of August. I have one final Summer of Slash post that will go up next Monday (it's been in the can for a while; I just haven't been able to edit it) and that will act as the final post for a couple of weeks. I will continue my Pollack retrospective throughout the fall. Viva vacation!