Been a while since anything film-related was posted here, mainly because life with Jack has caused my film consumption to dwindle to almost nothing or, at the very least, nothing worth writing about. Three separate attempts to watch Jean Pierre Melville's ARMY OF SHADOWS have ended in failure (quick review: what I've seen so far is great - a quiet tension that builds over the course of the film's various vignettes), and THE BURMESE HARP hasn't even been unwrapped yet.
So instead of an in-depth review (a bunch of which are sitting around waiting to get done, including the two above), here are a couple little tidbits and recommendations. Wider coverage to recommence as soon as Free Time graces me with Her presence again.
Saw this pop up over at twitchfilm.net, which is great for learning about obscure and foreign films. Paul Zaloom's name might not be familiar, but his face certainly is. He is the star of Beakman's World, a zany science show that was a zany 90's version of Mr. Wizard's World (which, by the way, RIP Don Herbert). However, Zaloom's got a lot more in him then science shows, and his newest venture takes from the classroom to the depths of Hell itself. DANTE'S INFERNO is a cut-and-paste animation of the first book of the Divine Comedy, updating the tale to a more modern environment. There's a trailer on the website, and the animation looks fantastic, especially in our current over-saturated CGI market.
Once upon a time, Bravo used to show movies completely uncut and unedited, commercial free. One of the films it used to show constantly was a tiny British film called IF...., a staggering depiction of youthful rebellion taking place at an English boarding school. Every time it came on I was hooked, watching from beginning to end. It was one of those films that, for me, was a personal discovery. No one had ever mentioned it, I never heard or read anything about it...one day I turned on the television and was stopped in my tracks. Utilizing a blend of visual styles and a powerhouse performance from a very young Malcolm McDowell, IF... finally gets it's due in a deluxe 2-Disc edition compliments of Criterion. I can't wait to see if the film lives up to the impressions it made on my as a youngster when I first caught it all those year ago.
So far I have missed every single summer "tent pole" release, and as each one moves away, I get less and less concerned. In fact right now my biggest sense of loss is not missing SPIDER-MAN 3 or PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 3 or FANTASTIC FOUR 2 (that one's a relief, actually); it's missing out on WAITRESS, Adrienne Shelly's quirky romantic comedy about love and, uh, pies. No really - if you haven't seen the trailer check it out. Looks great, and it's a shame about what happened to Shelly, whose life was cut far too short.
And speaking of Adrienne Shelly, when the heck are we going to get a decent DVD release of TRUST? That was my first introduction to both Hal Hartley and Adrienne Shelley, and a film that also long overdue to get some cool treatment.
Are you listening, Criterion?