The Penelopiad

Megan Follows- why isn't she a Hollywood icon?

Theo Angelopoulos Dead

Reports say he was killed by a motorcycle, at 76, and some reports claim it was a Greek donuteater. Fuck! No trilogy ending. Release The Dust Of Time on DVD in the USA! Release all his films!


Bill Cunningham New York Trailer

A good, solid doc that's been wildly overpraised, but which fails to get at the nub of the man. It plays it too safe.


Victor Erice's The Spirit of The Beehive

Erice is one of those directors that very little is known about them. He made three movies only, one of them is a documentary. The other two are "The Spirit of The Beehive" and "The South". Only Beehive (Erice's very first long-feature work) is available in the US (thanks to Criterion) and it is a superb work.
In one line, it's about Anna: a little girl who lives a traumatizing experience. But the film is an excellent study of childhood via Anna and her sister Isabel, one of the best I've seen. Adding to this is the superb (painting-like) cinematography and the visual settings that Erice used in the movie.
The cinematography was done by Luis Cuadrado who started to suffer from a blinding illness during the shooting of beehive, he ended up with total blindness a few years later.

I hope the movie will play one of these days on a big screen in NYC so I can watch it the way it is supposed to be watched. His other work (South) is supposedly a masterpiece too, Criterion should consider acquiring it, meanwhile I will not pay $100+ to get it from France or Spain.
The movie is available on Youtube (though not the way it should be watched), I re-watched it tonight on Hulu (on a big-screen TV).

Links for the DVD extra (Criterion) and the movie itself:

Ulysses´ Gaze Best Scene


Ceylan's Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Though Ceylan's latest work is described as a movie about police procedural and a detailed trip to recover a corpse, it is intended by Ceylan to be about the psychological/internal/existential journey that the involved professionals (mainly a prosecutor, a police officer, and a doctor) will take during this trip. There are other interesting characters, like the criminal himself and the driver but they are relatively less developed. The film promises a rewarding experience, but this is not the case. Despite the effort to give those characters depth and a believable existential struggle (the whole point of this movie), the result is half-acceptable for the most developed ones (the prosecutor and the doctor, to a lesser degree the driver), at times cartoonish (the officer)...etc
After the first half and especially towards the last third the movie starts to lose focus, some scenes are not needed, some scenes are forced to give some depth (the doctor going through old photos of his ex-wife to "explain" his reaction towards one woman they met on the trip). Though I think it will be criticized but I'm glad that Ceylan left the motive behind the murder almost unexplored, and so is the criminal's character. (At some point it is hinted that he is not actually the killer) This would have even a much stronger effect on the movie if the characters were written with more complexity to achieve the existential trip that Ceylan wanted.

That doesn't mean the movie is bad, but it is not an excellent work. Ceylan still suffers (despite the help from his wife and his friend) content-wise. This is a major problem. Some moments are great and well crafted and executed, those were mostly some mundane ironies that are scattered in the movie (similar to those in climates and distant). Visually the film is stunning (maybe his best).
Visually this movie is very similar to tarr's work (usually I don't compare Ceylan's to Tarr's work but I couldn't escape the resemblance with the Man From London and Damnation despite those being in Black and White). Theme-wise it has a lot of Kiarostamian moments: the landscapes of The Wind Will Carry Us, the falling objects: in "Close Up" an empty bottle, in The Wind Will Carry Us a fruit, here an apple keeps rolling aimlessly and is tracked by the camera. The professionals and even the trailer above itself may resemble Tarkovski's Stalker, though is movie is not even close to Tarkovski's excellent work.

So overall, it is a major step up from Three Monkeys substance-wise and style-wise (less contrasted and less digitally manipulated), but it is not near Distant or Climates. Maybe Ceylan will never be able to make a third great movie again, unless it's a skeleton cast of 2 or 3 unprofessional actors with less ambitious stories, or maybe he won't at all.

A much milder disappointment than Three Monkeys.