Monday, July 30, 2012

Chris Marker

From personal loss to artistic loss - Chris Marker has died. He was a very great filmmaker, one almost unique - the distillation of the essay film. Essay in content, exploring his subjects - and essayistic in form, trying on the technology, images, sounds, combinations, that make film. Film is montage - the blending of imagery, sound, words, signs - and he perfected it, within film, and beyond film, with his work with photography, video, computers... He was something.

And, you know - cats:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

In Memory

The most recent lack of posting on this blog has sadder causes than usual. My father died, on the 13th. He had been having trouble breathing - maybe pneumonia, maybe something else - it started before the 4th, he got better for a week or so, then got worse again. He was old, 88 and a half, and I guess at that age you are vulnerable to things that don't seem much. He had been having heart problems this year, and we could see him wearing down - though it still came as a bit of a surprise. He had been quite healthy (for 88) up until this last winter - he drove, he got around on his own, he did things around the house, he still taught Sunday School - but this year the years did seem to start catching up with him.

Last summer we made it up to Canada, to visit his family. It was a good thing. It's a bit of a drive up there, and had been particularly hard to make the trip during the last few years of my mother's life. And as it turns out, in the year since that trip, my father and two of his brothers have died - so the timing was very good, as they got to see one another again.

I will miss him.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday 13th Musical Interlude

I've been away, I am back - vacations always seem to make it hard to come up with any content for this blog. You would think otherwise, since I spent this one as much on the computer as ever - but that's how it goes. Anyway - I am back - and I think for today I shall keep it simple - yet another random ten:

1. Sonic Youth - Hey Joni
2. Jeff Beck - Blues De Luxe
3. G.O.N.G. - Inner Temple
4. Wilco - Shot in the Arm (live)
5. The Meters - Sophisticated Cissy
6. Of Montreal - Death of a Shade of Hue
7. Meat Puppets - Ice
8. Johnny Cash - Why Me Lord?
9. Pixies - Crackity Jones
10. Earth - Hell's Winter

But for video - we can celebrate the date a bit:

Pixies, doing No. 13 Baby seem right - I'm in a state...:

And Big Star:

That works. Stay cool, people.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Halfway Through the Year - 2012

All right - I haven't done a very good job of keeping up with writing about films, but I've seen enough... rather unfortunate misadventure today - tried to see Beasts of the Southern Wild - the projector broke, so I ended up seeing To Rome With Love instead. That did not turn out well - I'm inclined to go back to seeing Woody Allen films every seven years... Anyway, that's not why I'm here - this is to sum up the Year So Far. So with no further ado - here is what I think - first, top 10 films released in the states so far in 2012:

1. Moonrise Kingdom - far and away... might be the best of the decade (though 2010 was an awful strong year)
2. The Kid With the Bike
3. This is Not a Film
4. Damsels in Distress
5. In Darkness
6. We Need to Talk About Kevin
7. The Deep Blue Sea
8. The Secret World of Arietty
9. Keyhole
10. Bernie

and - I'd do the best 10 made in 2012, but I don't think I have seen 10 films made this year yet. Specifically, 9:

1. Moonrise Kingdom
2. Bernie
3. The Five Year Engagement
4. Safety Not Guaranteed
5. Mirror Mirror
6. The Pirates in an Adventure with Scientists
7. Wanderlust
8. Dark Shadows
9. To Rome With Love

I know I haven't seen as many films new as some years, and I know I've seen a few of this years films multiple times.... but that's rather sad. I'd better do something about that.

Finally - with half a year gone, and the chance to see quite a few stragglers from last year - an updated list of the best of 2011 - with notes on when I saw them and where they came in at the beginning of the year, if they did...

1. Melancholia - #1 last year
2. A Separation (seen in 2012)
3. The Kid With the Bike (ditto)
4. This is Not a Film (ditto)
5. Meek's Cutoff - 3
6. Take Shelter - 4
7. Le Havre - 2 (seems like some meaningless shifting around these films...)
8. Damsels in Distress (released this year - though I think I might be underrating it - I enjoyed this as much as anything short of Moonrise Kingdom, this year and last year together.)
9. Martha Marcy May Marlene - 5
10. The Skin I Live In - 6