Hey, folks — Updating all of you real quick. Today I will list a few movies that I’ve recently watched for the first time. All three made quite an impression on me – one is already in my top favorites, the second is a wasted potential for an incredible arthouse film and the third is an eye popping epic that falls flat to me as a viewer in 2016.
The movies are:
- Zabriskie Point (1970) – Michelangelo Antonioni’s controversial message directed at capitalism and war in America in the late sixties. It is a moving picture, one that carries Antonioni’s signature style of alienation, loneliness and trapped anger and at the same time manages to make it a pleasant trip about love, drugs and memory. Shot on location in the Death Valley, and more accurately in the area of Zabriskie Point, a picturesque setting of dunes and hard rock, Antonioni’s film is an analysis of the struggle that American youth had to go through during the hardest of times. It’s a bloody postcard to neo-realism and a terrifyingly dramatic comedy. It’s beautiful. More later.
- Only God Forgives (2013) – The story of nothing that could have been the story of everything. What a painful experience this was. Nicolas Winding Refn, director of such critically acclaimed movies like Bronson and Drive, directs one of the sloppiest films I’ve ever seen. Only God Forgives, a “story” of a drug dealer that wants to avenge his brother’s murder in Bangkok, is a giant of a movie tamed by its laziness and excessive need to express its artistry. Refn wishes to make his film special by not delivering what makes a movie a movie: a development. A development of any kind, be it character, story or theme. It’s not there. Everything is made out of thin air. Ryan Gosling walking with a dead pan expression on his face is not what makes a movie a piece of art. More later.
- How the West Was Won (1962) – the definition of an epic motion picture that gets overlooked quite a lot considering its grand scale and storytelling technique. A film that yells American patriotism and pride. Directed with a (at the time) incredibly modern camera, the Cinerama 70mm, the film tells the story of the very beginnings of the Wild West with an all star cast that includes golden stars like James Stewart, John Wayne, Richard Widmark, Gregory Peck, Hendry Fonda, Debbie Reynolds, Eli Wallach and Carroll Baker. For me, a viewer in 2016, the film managed to stun me and exceed my expectations with its gorgeous 70mm cinematography that captures beautifully vast landscapes of the America we all heard so much about but never actually got to witness. However, the film fails to deliver emotions and a sense of credibility due to it being literally wrapped in an American flag and being presented as the ultimate account of How the West Was Won. More later.