After Boogie Nights I wanted to see what was next. After Magnolia the same.

After Punch Drunk Love my life changed and I knew the films would become events. I had childish, fanboy anticipation in a way that was unique amongst the filmmakers I loved. The only other contemporary filmmakers that are maybe similar are Jarmusch and James Gray, but they don’t really come close.

After There Will Be Blood he became my favourite filmmaker ever, period, regardless.

After The Master, and one of the greatest theatrical experiences of my life he scared me. He’d made two huge films that loomed, just seemed so big, so rich, so full of stuff that needed serious attention that in the case of The Master, I still don’t feel entirely ready for.

So every tiny movement matters now, and I’ll be front and centre for anything he does. And we don’t have to wait long until what’s next. And that’s exciting. And fuck if it doesn’t look like he has nailed the tone of Pynchon’s superb off-kilter pulp thriller. 

He can do no wrong for me. This is exciting.

My Thoughts On…Two Days, One Night

You just simply can’t afford to speak up. You can’t afford to have a mental illness. You can’t slip in any way, even a tiny fraction, or that’s it. You need to be grateful you have a job at all. It doesn’t matter that you want to work and/or are good at your job. Be grateful. Be subservient. Keep silent.

Despite the bleakness of the latest Dardennes film it’s subtle and requires your personal context and understanding to work. It’s a dialogue and a conversation and I know some will see it and think 

Stop crying.

Find another job.

Be grateful.

Stop crying.

It’s enraging and it’s saddening and it’s real.

But the film is clever. It uses narrative tricks and elements to remain gripping and suspenseful and is only somewhat diminished by the utterly ludicrous BBFC trigger warning which gives away a major plot event and has me pondering a strongly worded email. It has the most Hollywood ending imaginable for a Dardennes film in that there is a modicum of hope and stability beneath the almost total fog of despair and should we be grateful for that? Is that living, is that life?

Existence. Clinging on in service to the 1%. Unable to feel, unable to crack and fall occasionally, unable to struggle, Darwinian capitalism at our necks.

We see snapshots of lives and most are struggling. The rest are ignorant arseholes. It’s biting because we know, some of us, that this is the world we live in and faced with this moral fable, on which side of the line would we stand, when the ballot box beckons. 

Gripping, simple cinema imbued with thought and humanism and featuring maybe the world’s greatest current actress just, delivering.

My Thoughts On…Dead Man

A collection of notes. I’m writing a couple of pieces for the release of the new Jarmusch Blu Ray collection in the UK, so just storing notes here for now.

Jarmusch’s 2nd masterpiece. Of three. For me.

Another travel odyssey. They all are. Constant movement, constantly searching.

When Depp mattered. Peerless.

Cleveland. Stranger Than Paradise.

Neil Young’s immense, majestic, insane improvised score. 

Michael Wincott steals it. Iggy Pop in a bonnet.

More decrepit America. The end of the line. Blake has to go beyond it. Beyond (the) Machine. 

Brutal matter of fact violence. 

Back in time but the same themes and preoccupations. Same mastery of and mischief with genre. Weird buddy movie.

Muller back. Incredible cinematography. One of the most beautiful movies ever shot. 

The score in the final main sequence, as Nobody drags a dying Blake ashore and to the builder of sea canoes. Yeesh.

Stunning use of POV.

Hitchockian wrong man Western.

My Thoughts On…Night On Earth

A collection of notes. I’m writing a couple of pieces for the release of the new Jarmusch Blu Ray collection in the UK, so just storing notes here for now.

More Tom Waits - score and songs.

Shot by Frederick Elmes.

Love the clocks.

Less decrepit.

Very playful.

No music moments to speak of.

Very much for fans. Feels very similar to MT, less of a forward advance compared to previous films.

Too long? Mebbe. Lose the Italy segment? Sure. Love RB but tonally and content wise it’s just out of place.

Not his best.

My Thoughts On…Mystery Train

A collection of notes. I’m writing a couple of pieces for the release of the new Jarmusch Blu Ray collection in the UK, so just storing notes here for now.

Tom Waits voice.

Elvis v Carl Perkins

Lurie and Muller again.

More outskirts dwellers, more fringes, more decrepit America.

Blue Moon

"Jun, hold me"

Playing around with time wonderfully.

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins steals it.

Joe Strummer leaning on a jukebox and putting on The Memphis Train nby Rufus Thomas who makes a cameo earlier on. 

Watching these back to back is like taking a freak trip around decrepit America.

Jarmusch leaves NY in STP and doesn’t return until NOE.

 

My Thoughts On…Down By Law

A collection of notes. I’m writing a couple of pieces for the release of the new Jarmusch Blu Ray collection in the UK, so just storing notes here for now.

Jarmusch’s first masterpiece.

For a filmmaker so heavily associated with a NY scene and sensibility his films are a collection of documents of decrepit America. 

No one does the outskirts of life like Waits and Barkin.

Unhappy women in bed.

Musician actors.

Tom Waits singing ‘It’s a sad and beautiful world a cappella. 

Irma Thomas - It’s Raining.

Still Lurie composing, first Muller (stunningly shot). Songs by Waits.

"Not The Shoes"

More post-Apocalyptic locations. 

Sweaty and sleazy.

Benigni hilarious. 

"Lee Baby Sims"

So deliberate, takes so much time, so languid and nonchalant but also confident and lean. Has it’s own progressive logic. Magical.

Claire Denis assistant director.

Sleevenotes // Falmouth to Luton [26/6/14]

A long delay in posting some Sleevenotes because it’s been a long and writing heavy summer of planning and doctorate finishing. 

Was nice though, to spend my first weekend, without any doctorate work to do, for four years, writing up four separate Sleevenotes journeys, although one was kinda one journey split in two. Anyway, they are back. And I’m on the road again next weekend so expect more soon. With less delay in posting them. As always check out the blog where I post them over here.

This lot has one of my albums of 2014 and a desert island disc.

American Interior by Gruff Rhys

Brass by Royal Bangs

Bring It On by Gomez

Bringing It All Back Home by Bob Dylan

(Bringing It All Back Home - Again) by The Brian Jonestown Massacre

Broken Boy Soldiers by The Raconteurs

Broken Flowers by Various (OST)

The Bronx (I)

My Thoughts On…Stranger Than Paradise

image

A collection of notes. I’m writing a couple of pieces for the release of the new Jarmusch Blu Ray collection in the UK, so just storing notes here for now.

Boom! The difference in confidence between this and Permanent Vacation is vast. 

Edson as De Niro.

The opening sequence - Screamin’ Jay Hawkins ‘I Put A Spell On You’, a cinematic announcement. 

Shot and Composed (as was PV) by Tom DiCillo and John Lurie.

One of the most beautiful American movies. 

One of THE great closing lines “What the hell you gonna do in Budapest?”

Fact.

My Thoughts On…Permanent Vacation

A collection of notes. I’m writing a couple of pieces for the release of the new Jarmusch Blu Ray collection in the UK, so just storing notes here for now.

At its worst it feels very much like a student film - it kinda is, Jarmusch made this with tuition money instead of graduating at NYU.

Ingenious use of sound and score in addition to clever location work conveys a post apocalyptic feel and verges near sci-fi at times. 

He’s searching, finding his feet, like his protagonist. Veers between pouting and preening, and pretentiousness. 

Muchos similarity in so many ways to The Limits Of Control. Tonally, structurally and in terms of unabashed confidence and stubbornness. 

The Savage Innocents. Nick Ray.

tear gas is the perfect tool for governments increasingly inclined to look on the public as a potential source of disturbance, rather than their democratic mandate

– yiannis baboulias