Nothing Is Invisible

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Posts Tagged ‘Psycho’

Sunshine – Starring Ralph Fiennes & Rachel Weisz

Posted by the editors on Thursday, 12 January 2012

Sunshine (1999) Directed by István Szabó, starring Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient (1996), The Constant Gardener (2005))Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener (2005), The Bourne Legacy (2012, filming))Jennifer Ehle (The King’s Speech (2010), Contagion (2011), The Ides of March (2011))Rosemary Harris (Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)), with William Hurt (see partial filmography below) and others.  This vast historical drama is set in Hungary beginning at the very end of the 19th century and then continuing through two world wars, the end of the monarchy, the 1936 Nazi Germany-held Olympics, Communist take-over, failed revolution, and more, through the story of three generations of one family.  An ambitious undertaking somewhat reminiscent of Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard.  Sunshine has its weaknesses, especially in the beginning, but evolves into a seriously good film after that.  With very good cinematography, and excellent acting, by Ralph Fiennes, especially, but also by Weisz, Ehle, Rosemary Harris and William Hurt, Sunshine poses some very good questions and suggests some interesting possible responses.  A long film, almost three hours, but a very interesting story developing through a complex historical context, Sunshine is certainly worthwhile viewing. (PR)

See our posts on the film Pride and Prejudice, starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth, and the films The Good Shepherd, Vantage Point and Syriana with William Hurt.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Have a great personal film library..  Here are links to amazon.com (Amazon Instant Video, DVDs and Blu-ray Disks, in that order, when available):

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Body of Lies – Starring Leonardo DiCaprio & Russell Crowe, directed by Ridley Scott

Posted by the editors on Thursday, 5 January 2012

Body of Lies (2008)  Directed by Ridley Scott ( Blade Runner (1982), Thelma & Louise (1991), Gladiator (2000), Black Hawk Down (2001), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), and American Gangster (2007)), starring Leonardo DiCaprio (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), The Aviator (2004), Blood Diamond (2006), Shutter Island (2010) and many others) and Russell Crowe (The Insider (1999), A Beautiful Mind (2001), The Next Three Days (2010)) with Mark Strong (Syriana (2005), Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008), Sherlock Holmes (2009), Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011)), written by William Monahan, based on the novel of the same name by David Ignatius.  In this spy thriller, set in the Middle East and the war against terrorism, DiCaprio portrays Roger Ferris, a scraggly bearded, Arabic-speaking and rather naive CIA field operative, as best he can; Russel Crowe is his overweight, out-of-touch-yet-convinced-of the-righteousness-of-his-actions, suburban Washington D.C. boss, in charge of Middle East operations.  Body of Lies is replete with terrorist bombings, spy plane footage of deserts and colorful, dangerous Middle Eastern marketplaces and a plot that has far too many weak points.  Ridley Scott’s directing seems old, and though high in cinematic technicity, is not enough, even with DiCaprio and Crowe, to cover over the weaknesses.  Mark Strong, however, as head of the Jordanian intelligence service, is really very good: sharp, smart, suave and even amusing.  See Body of Lies for its film technique, but don’t expect much of an intelligent look at a complex situation.  Stephen Gaghan‘s Syriana starring George Clooney and Matt Damon is a better choice. (PR)

See our posts on the film Syriana, and on The Next Three Days and State of Play, starring Russell Crowe and on the film American Gangster, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Have a great personal film library..  Here are links to amazon.com (Amazon Instant Video, DVDs and Blu-ray Disks, in that order, where available):

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The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance by John Ford

Posted by the editors on Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)(DVD)  Directed by John Ford (Stagecoach (1939), My Darling Clementine (1946), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), The Searchers (1956) and, of course, many, many others), starring John Wayne (Stagecoach (1939), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949),  The Searchers (1956) and many others), James Stewart (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), The Philadelphia Story (1940), It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), and many others), Vera Miles (The Searchers (1956), Psycho (1960)), Lee Marvin (Cat Ballou (1965), The Dirty Dozen (1967), The Big Red One (1980)) and others.  This excellent, rather sad, western looks at the transition in the American West from wide-open range, and its underpinning of individual justice, to American statehood, and rule by law and order.  The actions and implications of this change are personified in the lives, and personalities, of its two protagonists, Tom Doniphon (I personally thought is was “Donovan”..), played by John Wayne , the independent, rough and gun-carrying cowboy, and Ransom Stoddard, the Easterner, attorney at law, (and often referred to as “Dude” or, by Doniphon/Wayne, “Pilgrim”), played by James Stewart.

In keeping with the thematic “restrictions” of  “liberty” which characterise the story, Ford shot The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance primarily on studio sets, in contrast to his repeated use of location shooting, notably the majestic, wide-open spaces of the American West (often Monument Valley in Utah, USA), which have been the setting of so many iconic John Ford films (see above).

In any case, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is essential viewing for anyone interested in the films of John Ford, or any of the stellar cast of actors. (PR)

We recommend that you buy your DVDs. Have a wonderful personal film library..

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Point Omega, by Don DeLillo

Posted by the editors on Wednesday, 27 April 2011

PointOmega.jpg

Point Omega, by Don DeLillo

Point Omega (2010) (novel) by Don DeLillo (White Noise (1985), Underworld (1997), The Body Artist (2001), Falling Man (2007)).  Disturbing, masterful, spare; lucid and complex.

According to DeLillo, the novel considers an idea from “…the writing of the Jesuit thinker and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.”  The ‘Omega Point’ of the title “…[is] the possible idea that human consciousness is reaching a point of exhaustion and that what comes next may be either a paroxysm or something enormously sublime and unenvisionable.”  (According to Wikipedia, Teilhard makes sense of the universe by its evolutionary process. He interprets complexity as the axis of evolution of matter into a geosphere, a biosphere, into consciousness (in man), and then to supreme consciousness (the Omega Point).  The Omega Point is said to denote the state of  maximum organized complexity (complexity combined with centricity), towards which the universe is evolving.)

 As on knows, omega (the last letter of the Greek alphabet) is often used to denote the last, the end, or the ultimate limit of a set, in contrast to alpha, the first letter of the Greek alphabet. In the New Testament, God is declared to be the “alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last”. (Wikipedia)

Omega can equally be thought of as the end of death or even time, or as the name of the end; in linguistics, as the phonological word; in textual criticism, as the archetype of a manuscript tradition

At the end of Point Omega, DeLillo, in his “Acknowledgment”, writes: “24 Hour Psycho, a videowork by Douglas Gordon, was first screened in 1993 in Glasgow and Berlin.  It was installed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the summer of 2006.” 24 Hour Psycho is the showing of Alfred Hitchcock‘s classic film thriller Psycho (1960) slowed down from its usual 24 frames per second, 109 minute running time, so that it runs 1440 minutes, or 24 hours, at approximately 2 frames per second.  In Point Omega, the first and last sections of the DeLillo’s novel take place during a showing of 24 Hour Psycho.

24 Hour Psycho, as an artistic creation, deals with themes common to Gordon’s work, such as “recognition and repetition, time and memory, complicity and duplicity, authorship and authenticity, darkness and light”, as one can learn in an piece in The Guardian.  Moreover, the slideshow and text accompanying it, as highly relevant as they are to DeLillo’s work, are fascinating in their own right.

With respect to the first edition cover of Point Omega, one could wonder at the presence of the sign for infinity, given the accepted literal and symbolic understanding of “omega” as, truly, the end.  Conscious choice and interesting implications of infinite endings, or even, the end of infinity?  Amusing joke?  Artist’s choice?  Coincidence? (PR)

We recommend that you buy your books.  Have a wonderful personal library.

Omega uc lc.svg

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Martin Scorcese: The 11 Scariest Horror Movies Of All Time

Posted by the editors on Thursday, 29 October 2009

Now that many of us here have mysteriously turned our collective clocks back one hour thus welcoming the dark of night at a frightfully early hour, and with a nod towards holiday marketing, filmmaker Martin Scorcese has shared with us his list of the eleven scariest horror movies of all time, to be viewed, preferably, while one is alone in a large, dark, unfamiliar house.

You’re certain to recognize some of the titles, others perhaps not.  Here’s the list: 1)The Haunting; 2)Isle of the Dead; 3)The Univited; 4)The Entity; 5)Dead of Night; 6)The Changeling; 7)The Shining; 8)The Exorcist; 9)Night of the Demon; 10)The Innocents and, naturally, 11)Psycho. 

Surprised?  Startled?  Aghast?  Well, the inimitable Daily Beast has all the gory details, including clips from each of the films.  What more could one ask for?

“11 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time”, by Martin Scorcese, in the Blogs & Stories section of The Daily Beast.

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