Thursday, August 27, 2009

One Observation on Inglourious Basterds


Having seen Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds just last evening, I scarcely know what to say. It's a cataclysm of a movie; the kind of blistering, near incantatory work no other medium is remotely capable of; but with implications those who unconditionally love the moving image will require a long long time to process. It's a film that will not rest.

I can, however, say one thing with absolute, rock-ribbed certainty:

The final moment, the final shot, the final line of dialogue in this film is the greatest expression of punk bravado in the history of cinema.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Personal Indulgence

Might I be permitted to take up a moment of your time for something you may very well think dubious? I am, for the most part, convinced that my motive for the following is not to boast, not to place before some of you an encomium that had been aimed in the direction of this reporter as if I thought such placement would alter my standing among the cinephile brethren; nor is it meant to service my narcissistic tendencies in a backhanded manner. No, I offer this only because it is, frankly, a mystery to me:

Kevin Lee, over at his estimable blog Shooting Down Pictures, trained his sights about ten days ago on Allen Baron's late-noir masterpiece Blast of Silence (1961). In the course of this entry he quotes from a rather large sampling of articles that have been generated, mostly over the last few years as that film's profile has, with absolute justice, elevated to such a point that even the folks at Criterion sat up, took notice and put the thing out on the market (I do wish they'd retained Baron's commentary from the slightly earlier Region 2 edition; but you can't have everything, I guess).

For those who followed the link I have provided, and may need a bit of direction, I would like you to scroll down just to the point where you see a quotation from Eugene Archer's fogbound New York Times review, then you come upon an image from the film; whereupon the sampling resumes, headlined by what I can only describe as an extraordinary assertion.

I'm not quoting it here; nor will I allude to its character. If you want to know what it says, go forth and behold all. I saw this entry slightly more than a week ago, and I can sum up my thoughts in four words:

I don't understand it.

Of course I understand the words; don't let's be silly. I just don't get . . . the sentiment. I don't know what it means; or what it could mean. I don't see it; particularly in the context of what surrounds it in that entry.

I wrote that article back in the Spring of 2005; no more than four months after I'd started writing for publication again. What's more, I wrote it in less than twelve hours. Now, those among you who routinely conjure three times that amount of, um, writing in one-tenth the time will undoubtedly think that a pathetic rate of production; but in comparison to my present rate of non-productivity, those twelve hours are (were) as all lightning.

My point is, it simply isn't that good; and I don't see what makes it . . . what he said it is. Admittedly this is no one's problem but mine own (and the idea that he might have been kidding has crossed my mind more than once); but this . . . along with another indicator this week that, at least by implication, points in quite the other direction . . . raises in my mind once again the question of what in hell it is I'm doing pursuing any of this nonsense; why I'm subjecting myself to a non-stop cycle of confusion/demoralization when I know that, as rewards go, that is as good as it's ever going to get.

In closing, I think it behooves me to tell those who may be inclined to express such sentiments, that I'm not posting this because I'm soliciting compliments. I thank you for them, but they are, in truth, the very last thing I am looking for. If you have to call it anything, this post is a way of creating a dialogue with myself; a function this here blogger requires from time to time; a personal indulgence, if you will. No more, no less.

Something to Ponder

If it had accomplished nothing else, David Fincher's Zodiac would be invaluable simply for reminding those who may have forgotten it (or who may never have known) the lost beauty of AM radio sound, drifting through the vastness of what a very learned man once called "the new American night."