Posted by keithosaunders on July 13, 2016
I’ve always felt that 2001 A Space Odyssey would have been a much better film had I written the screenplay. Take the dawn of man scene, for instance: (In my version the monolith talks.)
Now let me tell you something you damn, dirty apes…you think you’re hot shit sharing that water hole with these warthogs and antelopes and that rival ape tribe? Well you’re not. If you puke-faced cro magnons would cut out your humble bragging for a second and listen to me, the monolith, you might learn something.
YOU! Yeah I’m looking at you, Moongazer. Grab that bone over there and USE IT AS A WEAPON. Now go kill an antelope and before you know it you will have invented the internet. And cook the meat, for Christs sake. What are you, a Freegan? COOK THE MEAT. How? Do I have to show you nimrods everything?! WITH FIRE.
Shit, I don’t get paid enough for this gig…
Posted in film, Uncategorized | Tagged: 2001, 2001 A Space Odyssey, classic films, cro magnon man, film, Freegan, humble bragging, life, monolith, Moongazer, Planet of the Apes | 1 Comment »
Posted by keithosaunders on June 28, 2016
2001 A Space Odyssey is to Stanley Kubrick what Stairway to Heaven was to Led Zeppelin. (minus the lawsuit) It’s like no other film he ever made. In fact it’s like no other film I’ve ever seen. I have seen 2001 dozens of times and it remains riveting, suspenseful, and mind-bending.
A lot of people find this film boring. There are huge swaths of it with no dialogue — the docking scene at the space station, the scenes in the pod, and of course the psychedelic final 20 minutes of the film.
In fact, much of the dialogue is small talk. (Almost all of the action in the film unfolds in maddeningly deliberate real time.) There’s a scene in the 2nd act of the film in which scientist Heyward Floyd leads a meeting at a space station above the moon. It’s one of the wordier scenes in the film, but most of the dialogue is the exchange of pleasantries between the scientist!
I just finished re-watching the film on a 3 day installment plan. Day one was the dawn of man through the moon sequence. Day two was the beginning of the Jupiter mission through the intermission. Day 3 began with the pod accident. While astronaut Frank Poole is attempting to replace an ‘antenna control device’ he is rammed by his EVA pod, controlled by HAL, the computer, severing his oxygen supply and causing his death. This is one of the most chilling scenes I’ve ever seen in cinema. There is literally no sound in the scene other than Pooles breathing. Once he is rammed the perspective shifts to his fellow astronaut Dave Bowman and the remainder of the scene — Bowman’s attempt to rescue Poole – takes place in silence. This is followed by Bowman having to reenter the ship through the airlock and subsequently deactivate Hal.
The 4th act, the descent into the star gate and the evolution of Dave Bowman, is the most ambiguous and provocative part of the film, but for this time around I enjoyed focusing on some of the more mundane happenings: Bowman receiving a video happy birthday from his parents, the stewardess on the shuttle retrieving a floating, weightless glass of water from a sleeping passenger, and the aforementioned small talk. It was these touches, contrasting with the futuristic and metaphysical, that made the movie realistic, as well as otherworldly.
Posted in film, Uncategorized | Tagged: 2001 A Space Odyssey, classic films, classic movies, Dave Bowman, Frank Poole, HAL, Led Zeppelin, science fiction, Stairway to Heeaven, Stanley Kubrick | 3 Comments »
Posted by keithosaunders on September 22, 2015
Big news. The archive of Michelangelo Antonioni directing Blow-up, long thought to have been lost, has been unearthed. Let’s go to the set for a live look-in:
[flashback harp music]
MA: CUT PRINT! THAT’S A WRAP FOR THE DAY. THANK YOU GENTLEMEN I’LL SEE YOU TOMORROW. CALL IS 10AM. EVERYBODY GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP — WE’LL BE FILMING THE SCENE WHERE HE STARES AT THE PHOTOGRAPH FOR 10 MINUTES AND NOTHING HAPPENS. I WANT EVERYBODY ALERT!
Assistant.Director: But Mikey, babes, it’s only 11AM now, are you sure you want to break for the day? We only shot 30 minutes of film!
MA: YOU DARE QUESTION THE MASTER?! GET YOUR THINGS YOU’RE FIRED. GET ME HERBIE HANCOCK! WHERE’S HERBIE?!
HH: You called, big A?
MA: Yes, do you have the source music I requested for the opening montage?
HH: Yes, I have two measures of a Gsus b9.
MA: PERFECT! WE’ll LOOP IT OVER THE ENTIRE FILM. NOW LET’S DO LUNCH!
Posted in film | Tagged: Antonioni, Blow-up, Herbie Hancock, Italian cinema, jazz, Michelangelo Antonione, New Wave | Leave a Comment »
Posted by keithosaunders on September 18, 2015
I watched Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-up the other day. What a bloated, over-rated piece of garbage. This movie is 110 minutes long and it contains roughly five minutes of action, and believe me I use the word ‘action’ loosely.
This is it: Hedonistic, misogynistic, proto-Austin Powers photog goes to the park with his camera takes a few photos of a random May-December couple. He goes home, develops pictures, stares at them a long time, blows up the photos and notices a dead body.
I’ll never get that hour and 50 minutes back.
Here’s the same film in Keitho-vision.
Dirty old man in raincoat goes to the park hoping to expose himself but while there notices a nude couple having sex. He videos the couple, goes home but on the way is side tracked by zombies and has to behead all of them with his medieval sword.
He arrives home to find his house being looted by meth heads. He takes out his 44 magnum and shoots them. Then he takes meth.
Posted in film | Tagged: Antonioni, Austin Powers, Blow-up, classic film, Dirty Harry, film, Herbie Hancock, photography, The Strain | 2 Comments »
Posted by keithosaunders on September 5, 2011
The other night I was flipping through the channels when I happened across Clint Eastwood’s 1971 film, Play Misty For Me. I came in at the halfway point, but ended up watching the remaining half. I’d seen it several years ago, but I had forgotten much of it.
Two things struck me about the film. One was how many similarities there are between Play Misty and For Me, and the 1987 thriller, Fatal Attraction. The most notable difference is that in Misty, Clint Eastwood’s character is a single man, whereas Fatal Attraction’s Michael Douglass is married.
On the one hand you have this 70’s era cautionary tale about the pitfalls of being a promiscuous single man, and on the other you have an 80’s allegory on what can happen when a married man strays from the path of the straight and narrow. Even though both movies are titillating in their way, in the end they are proponents of celibacy, and in that way they are conservative.
In both films a psychopathic woman attempts to commit suicide by slashing her wrist as a means of getting attention from her obsession. And both films feature a final confrontation between the lovers, culminating in the grizzly death of the woman. It’s interesting that both films paint the woman as an evil temptress — like the snake in the garden of Eden.
The other striking facet of Misty is the music. Of course you are treated to a generous helping of Errol Garner’s Misty, but that’s not all. In the middle of the film there is a ten minute scene of uninterrupted music without dialogue. While Clint is falling in love with a new girlfriend, Roberta Flack is heard on the soundtrack singing The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. The song eventually went on to become an enormous hit, due in no small part, I m sure, to this film.
The very next scene shows Clint and his new girlfriend attending the Monterey Jazz festival. Again, there is no dialogue — the music takes center stage, both literally and figuratively. The scene begins with a burning trombone solo played by a man named Gene Conners, aka the Mighty Flea. The solo goes on for several choruses. Conners is playing in the Johnny Otis band. Otis was a rhythm and blues musician, as well as composer, and his heyday goes back to the ’40s.
After the trombone solo the scene switches to none other than the Cannonball Adderley Quintet! They are playing a funky boogaloo and you can see his brother Nat on trumpet, as well as a young Joe Zawinul on piano. (he even had some hair then) You can hear the great drummer, Roy McCurdy on the track, but he is unseen in the film.
I thought it was striking to see such a long scene without dialogue in a mainstream film that was not a musical. That would never happen in today’s market-tested, corporately-driven films. This was as if Clint (who is a huge jazz fan) was saying, “Fuck it, it’s my film, I love jazz, and I’m going to shoehorn these great artists into the scene if it’s the last thing I do!”
I’m glad he did.
Posted in film | Tagged: Cannonball Adderley, Clint Eastwood, Fatal Attraction, Gene Conners, Glenn Close, Jessica Walters, Joe Zawinul, Michael Douglass, Misty, Play Misty For me, Roy McCurdy, the mighty flea | 6 Comments »
Posted by keithosaunders on May 4, 2011
No, this is not another rant about airport security! I was scanning through the cable channels after watching a Dodgers/Cubs game, when I came across the film, Airport. I remember seeing this with my parents when it came out — I must have been 10 years old at the time. Since then I’ve seen it on TV a handful of times, but not in many years.
For those not old enough to remember, Airport is a film about a bomb that goes off on a transatlantic flight, and the crew’s attempts to land the plane. You may remember the Jim Abrahams /David Zucker send-up called Airplane, starring Leslie Nielson and Lloyd Bridges, which was released in 1980. (It’s actually a better film!)
Airport, released in 1970, was the first disaster movie. It presaged Earthquake, The Poseidon Adventure, and The Towering Inferno by a few years. It was what passed for a blockbuster in the age before Jaws and Star Wars. It had a high-wattage cast of thousands, which included a middle-aged, but still handsome, Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Maureen Stapleton, Van Heflin, Jean Seberg, Jacqueline Bisset, Helen Hayes — who won an oscar for best supporting actress — and George Kennedy.
I came in just as it was getting good, as the passengers were boarding the plane. I was struck by how different plane travel was in those days, particularly the airport security, or lack thereof. Hayes plays a women who is known for stowing away on plane flights. She is able to board the plane simply by telling a random airport worker that her son has left his wallet, and ‘could she please return it to him.’ “Hurry,” the worker tells her, “run and give it to him before the flight leaves!” Just like that she is able to get on the plane. Come to think of it, I have memories of those days — I once was allowed to board a plane to say goodbye to my aunt.
Heflin, plays a down on his luck ex-GI who plans on blowing up the plane so that his wife can collect the insurance. His bomb is in an attaché case which he clings to suspiciously as he wlks onto the plane. One of the workers notices this, and when he mentions it to his superior he is told, “I would worry if he was arriving from overseas and going through customs. Let the authorities in Rome handle it.”
That was all it took for the movie to rope me in. To tell you the truth, it was surprisingly watchable, even though the special effects are laughably primitive. The long shots of the airplane in flight look particularly fake and the night shots contain some of the fakest looking stars I have ever seen. The film does manage to build suspense, however, and there is quaintness to the matter of fact way that it goes about telling its tale.
Somehow they are able to land the plane without any casualities, except for Heflin who dies when the bomb explodes. The film ends with Lancaster driving off into the sunrise to have breakfast, and sleep with Jean Seberg. Of course she’s at least 25 years his junior, but hey, he’s Burt Lancaster.
Posted in film | Tagged: airport, airport security, Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, films of the 1970s, Helen Hayes, Jacqueline Bisset, Jaws, Jean Seberg, Maureen Stapleton, star wars, the poseiden adventure, the towering inferno, Van Heflin | Leave a Comment »
Posted by keithosaunders on February 15, 2011
Watching The Godfather is like eating Lays potato chips — with Lays you can’t eat only one chip, and with The Godfather you can’t turn it off after only one scene. I was scanning around the channels Sunday night and happened upon The Godfather II on AMC. It was just beginning and I said to myself, ‘Let me just watch the opening party scene and I’ll turn it off and go to bed.’ Two hours later, after telling myself I just wanted to get through the Cuba scene, I staggered out of the living room, tired, but happy.
No matter how many times I see these films — The Godfather and its sequel — there’s always something new that reveals itself to me. This time around I realized that when Michael takes a trip to New York to pay a visit to the family friend and associate, Franki Pentangeli, he’s actually visiting the house where he grew up on Long Island where much of the orignal film is set.
The film is extremely well-written and the plot is layered in such a way that one never runs out of things to key in on. This time around I was enjoying the scenes with Lee Strasberg as Hyman Roth. Strasberg plays Roth as a genial, yet cunning old mobster who tries to play up his history and loyalty to the Coleone family throughout the years. There’s a fascinating cat and mouse game between him and Michael — who knows what and how much does he know?
Finally, frustrated that Michael has not been forthcoming with the money due for a business arrangement Roth bears his fangs:
Lee Strasberg as Hyman Roth
There was this kid I grew up with; he was younger than me. Sorta looked up to me, you know. We did our first work together, worked our way out of the street. Things were good, we made the most of it. During Prohibition, we ran molasses into Canada… made a fortune, your father, too. As much as anyone, I loved him and trusted him. Later on he had an idea to build a city out of a desert stop-over for GI’s on the way to the West Coast. That kid’s name was Moe Greene, and the city he invented was Las Vegas. This was a great man, a man of vision and guts. And there isn’t even a plaque, or a signpost or a statue of him in that town! Someone put a bullet through his eye. No one knows who gave the order. [almost certainly it was the Corleones] When I heard it, I wasn’t angry; I knew Moe, I knew he was head-strong, talking loud, saying stupid things. So when he turned up dead, I let it go. And I said to myself, this is the business we’ve chosen; I didn’t ask who gave the order, because it had nothing to do with business!
It’s a riveting soliloquy and serves as the perfect description of the business code of these gangsters. All of the killing and double-crossing — it’s not personal, just business.
Shortly after that scene we see Michael with his brother Fredo and some of Roth’s men at a live sex show in Cuba. Fredo, who is drunk, accidentally let’s slip that he knows Johnny Olin, (Roth’s #1 man) thus revealing to Michael that he has double crossed the family. We see the expression on Pacino’s face slowly morph from curiosity to shock, as he realizes that his own brother has betrayed him. This is all done without a word of dialogue from Pacino. It is a Brando-esque performance and in my opinion is the best acting of his career.
"I know it was you, Fredo -- you broke my heart -- you broke my heart!"
Posted in film | Tagged: Al Pacino, Franki Pentangeli, Fredo Corleone, Hyman Roth, Johnny Olin, Lee Strasberg, Marlin Brando, Michael Corleone, The Godfather, The Godfather II, Vito Corleone | Leave a Comment »