Kar-Wai: 2046

I mentioned kar-Wai more than a year ago: In The Mood For Love. Tonight I revisited the last piece if his trilogy:2046.
This movie gets better with a second visit, the non-linear narrative that involves multiple characters becomes a bit easier and some minor details are clearer. 2046 is a good movie, in fact it's a very good one if you don't mind the self-indulgent story. The protagonist from In The Mood For Love is -again- in the center, he is a martial-arts novelist who is trying to overcome - via writing- his loss of the woman he wasn't able to keep. The movie is also about coping with memories and in some moments it borrows from Resnais' Last Year in Marienbad.

Kar-Wai used the Australian Christopher Doyle (as usual in Kar-wai's) for the cinematography of both movies and in my opinion they are both Doyle's best work (He did a good job in Paranoid Park too). Both movies are worth watching on mute and with no subtitles only for the sake of the stunning visuals: the indoors framing, the color tones, the perfect editing... etc.

Kar-Wai's sound track is well done and fits the whole mood (for love), he borrows a theme from Kieslowski's Decalog:

This is the US trailer

This is one of the main musical motif in 2046:

2046 can be watched and understood without watching In The Mood For Love but I wouldn't recommend doing that. Overall I think that both movies are amongst the very very few decent ones made about lost love and memories that leave the viewer thinking even after the movies are over, and the following day one discovers (based on the visual memory alone) some hidden details he/she missed here and there.

Masterclass: John Sayles


Wild Kingdom (3)

This is not to say that modern nature documentaries should be sanitized to the point of cloying sentimentality, only that there is a line that is too often crossed in the name of gratuitous violence for the sake of mere violence, not anything educational. The producers of Wild Kingdom, however, never crossed that line.

In looking at these old episodes I got the sense of being taken back in time to my youth, a time when the world was captured in a television screen — even the small black and white one my family owned. I miss those times, but watching these shows revived not only a past worth reviving, but a future worth embracing; and one made better, in no small part, by the people responsible for such a fine series.

The DVD has no special features to speak of, but, really, what could be added? All in all, the Wild Kingdom DVDs are small treasures that, for the meager price I paid for each, are a hardy investment. Most interesting, although in a negative way, was how many of the Arctic themed shows are vestiges of the past. As example, one of the episodes deals with polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba, scrounging for food in human garbage dumps while waiting for pack ice to form in Hudson’s Bay. Nowadays, a few decades later, that ice never forms at all. Sadly, the DVDs evince not only their show’s history, but a history of earth as extinct as the dinosaurs. Nonetheless, enjoy the moments, for they will not come again. Rest in peace, Marlin!

Wild Kingdom (2)

Both packages contain three disks. The African Wild has three episodes on Dian Fossey and her gorillas on Disk 1. Disk 2 has three episodes on elephants, and the third disk has three episodes on capturing African game, and a fourth featuring memorable moments from the show. Mammals Of North America has three episodes on polar bears and seals. Disk 2 has an episode on arctic mammals, one on otters, and one on training seals. The final disk has four episodes: one on desert life in southern Arizona, another on bighorn sheep in Utah, another on a roundup of ponies on an island on the Delmarva peninsula, and the final one an episode on why conservation is a key. In many ways, this episode and the whole series were years, if not decades, ahead of the curve.

Often lampooned by comedians, one of the favorite moments in many episodes came when Perkins would speak to the camera (or in voiceover) in a monotone, while observing Fowler engaged in some dangerous activity, often with a dangerous animal like an alligator. This would be phrased in a manner like, "While I survey the area with Park Ranger Smith, Jim has his hands full with an angry grizzly bear. Attaboy, Jim, you show him who’s boss." But, the show was always family friendly. It almost always avoided showing the moment of a kill.

Wild Kingdom (1)

In the 1960s and 1970s there was no mass cable television. There were no channels devoted to one lone subject, like nature documentaries. Thus, the fix for lovers of animals and adventures came down to a foreign import, the underwater television specials of Jacques Cousteau, and the weekly television series, Mutual Of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. It was a nature show for the family, and did not feature computer graphics and slow motion shots of animals killing each other.

It was hosted by the retired director of the St. Louis Zoo, Marlin Perkins, and co-hosted by naturalist Jim Fowler and several others over the years. Each episode focused on the peculiarities of an animal, and ended with Perkins stating that this or that was important to ‘the Wild Kingdom.’ While I loved watching the show as a child, over the years, I had let it slip through the crannies of my aging. Then, a while back, while selling some old books and DVDs to a Half Price Books store, I noticed two DVDs containing 10 half-hour episodes each of the old show. One was on The African Wild and the other was on Mammals Of North America.


This Sporting Life

My review is online.

From Russia With Love (1)

OK, it’s in many ways, a ripoff of Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, but aside from Goldfinger, has there ever been a better James Bond film? This is simply a taut and exciting thriller, minus many of the sillier elements of later entries, which shows why no other comers even deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Sean Connery, who WAS James Bond. Unfortunately, it’s not as well-known as some of the later—and lesser, entries in the series. Plus, was there ever a better catfight ever depicted onscreen?

From Russia With Love (3)

From Russia With Love (2)

From Russia With Love (4)

From Russia With Love (5)

From Russia With Love (6)

From Russia With Love (7)

From Russia With Love (8)

From Russia With Love (10)

From Russia With Love (9)

From Russia With Love (11)


Stagecoach (10)

Stagecoach (9)

Stagecoach (8)

Stagecoach (7)

Stagecoach (6)

Stagecoach (5)

Stagecoach (4)

Stagecoach (3)

Stagecoach (2)

Stagecoach (1)


Jacques Cousteau

Another favorite from my youth. These tv specials were always intriguing.


Thundercats Film?

ThunderCats Movie Trailer - Click here for more free videos

Oh no!


Some years back I ordered some videos and got a complete episode DVD set of this cartoon series from the 1980s. I watched in gape jawed silence at how blatant this commercial-cum-cartoon was. It's only gotten worse since.


Walking With Dinosaurs (3)

The 50-minute making of documentary is quite informative and enjoyable, and it is interesting to hear not only how the models, puppets, and computer graphics were made and deployed, but also that, in trying to animate the dinosaurs, the animators helped resolve much of the problems that paleontologists had with understanding how certain dinosaurs moved on land, and in the air. The two most interesting sequences are when a scientist declares that an elephant’s movements are not right for a Diplodocus because a) the elephant is smaller, and b) the elephant is a thinking animal, whereas Diplodocus was not; and when various methods are tried to understand how the Ornithocheirus tried to walk, when not in flight. Another interesting feature is an inset feature, during the documentary, where certain effects are discussed while the documentary plays on.All in all, Walking With Dinosaurs is a delightful DVD, and one that children and adults can enjoy. There is some violence displayed, but nothing any more violent than what regularly occurs on real nature documentaries, so enjoy your trip back into the past. Until time travel is invented, it is the best you’ll be able to do.

Walking With Dinosaurs (2)

The six episodes are set in the following times, and have the following plots: "New Blood," 220 million years ago (mya), in the Triassic Period, follows the rise of dinosaurs from their earlier rivals. "Time Of The Titans" is set in the Jurassic Period of 150 mya and follows Diplodocus hatchlings as they survive in a sequoia stand, pursued by all sorts of predators, including Allosaurs. "Cruel Sea" is set 149 mya, also in the Jurassic Period, but follows the sea-dwelling dinosaurian reptilian cousins, such as Liopleurodon and Ophthalmosaurus. "Giant Of The Skies" is set 127 mya, in the Cretaceous Period, and follows the last flight and death of an aged Ornithocheirus, a type of pterosaur. "Spirits Of The Ice Forest" is set in the Cretaceous Period, 106 mya, and follows life in the Antarctic, when it was not covered in ice, and was connected to Australia and South America. The final episode is, naturally, called "Death Of A Dynasty," and set 65 mya, a few days before the K-T Impactor that hit off what is now the Yucatan Peninsula. The show follows the birth of Tyrannosaurus rex hatchlings right before the impact. But it also posits two other main believed causes for dinosaur extinction: the rise of mammals, and the acidifying atmosphere of the earth, due to the volcanic activity of the Deccan Traps.

Walking With Dinosaurs (1)

For male Americans who grew up between the years of 1945 and 1980, there was only one thing that tended to dominate their days — and it was not television, rock and roll, nor film. No, it was dinosaurs. I had a few dozen little plastic dinos, and I had quite a few books on them. A bit later came the space race, and astronomy was also a thing little boys dug (little boys, big things, and all). But always, always, there were dinosaurs — be it from visiting the natural history museums of big cities, watching assorted B films, reading books, playing with toys, or dreaming.

But, over the decades, much of the dreams changed; dinosaurs were discovered to walk differently than thought, birds were shown to be descendants of dinosaurs, the end of dinosaurs has come more into focus, some of the beasts were shown to be warm-blooded, to give birth to live young, and many other things. Thus, the images of dinosaurs that I grew up with — that of Charles R. Knight — was outmoded. Over a decade ago there was a great cable television series from the BBC that kicked off a cottage industry in speculative science, and it was called Walking With Dinosaurs. While I had heard of it, I had never been sufficiently motivated to go out of my way to watch it. But, I saw it, on DVD at a used bookstore for a song, and got it. I’m glad I did. After airing on the BBC in 1999, it aired in America in 2000 on the Discovery Channel. Its narrator is Kenneth Branagh, and the series is six half-hour episodes, and all six are on disk one of the DVD, as well as disk two having a 50-minute long making of documentary.

The House On Haunted Hill

Another Vincent Price classic.