Archive for April 14th, 2010

by Sam Juliano

“Nothing in the world can be compared to the human face. It is a land one can never tire of exploring. There is no greater experience in a studio than to witness the expression of a sensitive face under the mysterious power of inspiration. To see it animated from inside, and turning into poetry.”
      – Carl Theodor Dreyer, “Thoughts on My Craft”

     Carl Theodor Dreyer’s shattering expressionistic masterpiece, The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) was voted the greatest silent film of all-time by 15 bloggers in the long-running Wonders in the Dark polling.  Featuring Renee Falconetti as the celebrated martyr in a performance many consider to be the greatest of all-time by man or woman, Dreyer’s film is a cornerstone of any serious film class or of those wanting to observe the power of the cinematic close-up.  Reached at his home, Voting Tabulator Extraordinaire, Angelo A. D’Arminio Jr. reported that three voters placed the film #1 on their ballots, while the film was named on nearly every submission.  Joan of Arc garnered 280 points, while the #2 film, F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise finished close behind with 257.  Rounding out the top ten were Nosferatu (245), Potemkin 235), Metropolis 233), Napoleon (205), The Gold Rush (196), The General (185), La Roue (172) and Greed (156).

     Said Allan Fish in his countdown review of a few weeks ago, where he placed the film as his #5 choice: (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(USA 2005 124m) DVD1/2

Aka. Frank Miller’s Sin City

Delusions of eloquence

p  Elizabeth Avellan, Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez  d  Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller (and Quentin Tarantino)  comic books  Frank Miller  ph  Robert Rodriguez  ed  Robert Rodriguez  m  John Debney, Graeme Revell, Robert Rodriguez  art  Jeanette Scott

Mickey Rourke (Marv), Bruce Willis (Hartigan), Clive Owen (Dwight), Jessica Alba (Nancy Callahan), Nick Stahl (Roark Jnr), Powers Boothe (Senator Roarke), Rutger Hauer (Cardinal Roark), Elijah Wood (Kevin), Rosario Dawson (Gail), Benicio del Toro (Jackie Boy), Jaime King (Goldie/Wendy), Devon Aoki (Miho), Brittany Murphy (Shellie), Michael Clarke Duncan (Manute), Josh Hartnett (The Man), Marley Shelton (woman in red), Carly Gugino (Lucille), Michael Madsen (Bob), Alexis Bledel (Becky),

Robert Rodriguez’s film of Frank Miller’s cult comic book series was hardly a film I was looking forward to.  In general terms I hate comic book movies, they very rarely capture the darkness of the originals and are generally as two-dimensional as the drawings on which they are based.  Yet Miller’s books are a different breed of animal, they are not about super-heroes, even though many of the male antiheroes have superhuman survival instincts and physique, they are really ultra-violent descendants of the hoods and heavies that permeated the world of post-war film noir.

            Welcome to Basin City, an unnamed metropolis where the sky is perpetually in the dark of night and where the atmosphere is a darker shade of black.  Into this sinful atmosphere we follow three concurrent, non-consecutive and overlapping story arcs; a soon to be retired detective prevents a senator’s degenerate paedophilic son from raping an eleven year old girl and has to take the rap for a crime he didn’t commit, a criminal who has recently returned with an altered face gets involved in the accidental death of a brutal, woman beating cop in the prostitute controlled Oldtown, and a fearsome ex-con avenges the murders of a prostitute he spent the night with and his lesbian parole officer, and finds out that those responsible are right at the top of the city’s crooked government.  All of this is neatly book-ended with a marvellous seemingly separate arc about a hit-man about his business with two very different young women.  (more…)

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