Saturday, May 31, 2014

Música Campesina (2011) ✭✭✭✭


Música Campesina, currently showing on HBO Signature, is a rough hewn marvel of a film. Made for $20,000 and shot on a Panasonic DSLR, Música Campesina (Country Music) is the story of a Chilean tourist named Alejandro (Pablo Cerda) who makes a poorly planned trip to America and eventually ends up in Nashville. Friendless and flat broke, Alejandro wanders the surreal landscape of cheap motels and country music dives that line bustling Interstate 40. As we learn more about this enigmatic figure, a comical and poignant backstory is revealed and Alejandro becomes a living symbol of the rustic romantic ideals found in many country music ballads.


Written and directed by Chilean filmmaker Alberto Fuget, at the time an Artist-in-Residence at Vanderbilt University, the film has a mood similar to RIchard Linklater’s early work, with a few darker doses of Michael Haneke’s alienation thrown into the mix. Think Slacker meets Code Unknown and you’re in the ballpark. The editing is intentionally arrhythmic, giving viewers plenty of time to appreciate the film’s subtle eccentricities. The bulk of the film’s first act consists of telephone conversations that cleverly establish Alejandro’s lack of options, and give us the first hint that there’s more going on here than just a character study of an aimless drifter.


Along the way, Alejandro befriends two young hipsters (James Cathcart and Cole Kinnear) and their largely improvised conversations are often hilarious while having an undeniable ring of truth. These scenes, filmed on a ramshackle front porch where you can almost feel the global warming, are among the film’s best and presage an upward turn in Alejandro’s dour prospects. Fuget captures naturalist moments without a trace of that smug ironic stammering that passes for realist performances in so many recent Hollywood films. Perhaps it takes an outsider’s eye to truly appreciate the humidity laced quirks of post-millennial red state America.


If you enjoyed the somber yet amusing flavors of recent films like Inside Llewyn Davis and Nebraska, you’ll find Música Campesina cut from similar cloth. Its ending feels a bit removed from the real world - perhaps an evocation of a dream - yet it brings the film’s allegorical thesis full circle in a satisfying way. As Alejandro adjusts to his new world, and vice-versa, he learns an important lesson. None of life’s inevitable setbacks are ever wasted, especially on Country Western singers.


Música Campesina (2011) ✭✭✭✭


Música Campesina, currently showing on HBO Signature, is a rough hewn marvel of a film. Made for $20,000 and shot on a Panasonic DSLR, Música Campesina (Country Music) is the story of a Chilean tourist named Alejandro (Pablo Cerda) who makes a poorly planned trip to America and eventually ends up in Nashville. Friendless and flat broke, Alejandro wanders the surreal landscape of cheap motels and country music dives that line bustling Interstate 40. As we learn more about this enigmatic figure, a comical and poignant backstory is revealed and Alejandro becomes a living symbol of the rustic romantic ideals found in many country music ballads.


Written and directed by Chilean filmmaker Alberto Fuget, at the time an Artist-in-Residence at Vanderbilt University, the film has a mood similar to RIchard Linklater’s early work, with a few darker doses of Michael Haneke’s alienation thrown into the mix. Think Slacker meets Code Unknown and you’re in the ballpark. The editing is intentionally arrhythmic, giving viewers plenty of time to appreciate the film’s subtle eccentricities. The bulk of the film’s first act consists of telephone conversations that cleverly establish Alejandro’s lack of options, and give us the first hint that there’s more going on here than just a character study of an aimless drifter.


Along the way, Alejandro befriends two young hipsters (James Cathcart and Cole Kinnear) and their largely improvised conversations are often hilarious while having an undeniable ring of truth. These scenes, filmed on a ramshackle front porch where you can almost feel the global warming, are among the film’s best and presage an upward turn in Alejandro’s dour prospects. Fuget captures naturalist moments without a trace of that smug ironic stammering that passes for realist performances in so many recent Hollywood films. Perhaps it takes an outsider’s eye to truly appreciate the humidity laced quirks of post-millennial red state America.


If you enjoyed the somber yet amusing flavors of recent films like Inside Llewyn Davis and Nebraska, you’ll find Música Campesina cut from similar cloth. Its ending feels a bit removed from the real world - perhaps an evocation of a dream - yet it brings the film’s allegorical thesis full circle in a satisfying way. As Alejandro adjusts to his new world, and vice-versa, he learns an important lesson. None of life’s inevitable setbacks are ever wasted, especially on Country Western singers.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

TCM for June 2014




TCM kicks off summer with a mix of the silly and the sublime. Bad sci-fi and a Rock Hudson - Doris Day festival stand along side such heavyweights as Night and Fog and Kieslowski's Colors trilogy. Truly something for everyone this month. My picks below. All times Eastern. Full schedule HERE

6/2

8:00 PM
A typical day in the life of the Beatles.
BW-87 mins, Letterbox Format

9:45 PM
This film looks at the British pop music scene in 1964, featuring performances by The Beatles, The Animals, and more.
C-70 mins, CC, Letterbox Format


The DC5 are Having a Wild Weekend


11:15 PM
Advertising executives turn a model's romance with a stunt man into a publicity stunt.
BW-92 mins,

1:00 AM
Rocket scientists consider naming a space ship after Herman's Hermits.
C-86 mins, Letterbox Format

2:45 AM
Herman's Hermits travel to England for a high-stakes greyhound race.
C-95 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

Night and Fog. A tough watch but everyone should see it.

6/3


6:45 AM

Documentary cameras contrast the horrors of Auschwitz with the peaceful countryside surrounding it.
C-31 mins, CC,

7:15 AM
A college professor uses the crises in three lives to illustrate his theories about human behavior.
C-127 mins, Letterbox Format


6:15 PM
A swimming-pool salesman gets mixed up with beauty queens and bodybuilders when he falls in love.
C-97 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

8:00 PM
Classic sci-fi epic about a mysterious monolith that seems to play a key role in human evolution.
C-149 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

10:45 PM
The crew of a broken down space ship accidentally picks up a deadly alien life form.
C-116 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

Destination Moon was quite the deal in its day.


1:00 AM
A crusading scientist defies the government to launch an expedition to the moon.
C-90 mins,

2:30 AM
Three U.S. astronauts face a slow death when their rockets fail during a space voyage.
C-129 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

4:45 AM
A space mission to Venus discovers a society of Amazons.
C-80 mins, Letterbox Format


An early, silent version of Wizard of Oz

6/8


12:30 AM

In this silent film, a farm girl learns she is a princess and is swept away by a tornado to the land of Oz.
BW-72 mins,

2:00 AM
A streetcar conductor loses his true love during Brazil's carnival season.
C-108 mins,

4:00 AM
A poet follows his dead wife into the underworld, only to fall in love with Death.
BW-96 mins,


6/9


10:00 AM

A group of zanies tries to save a pretty girl's sanitarium.
BW-109 mins, CC,


6/14


Marilyn at her best in The Misfits

4:00 PM
A sensitive divorcee gets mixed up with modern cowboys roping mustangs in the desert.
BW-125 mins, CC, Letterbox Format







6/19


8:00 PM

A man and woman carry their feud over the telephone line they share into their real lives.
C-102 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

10:00 PM
An ad exec in disguise courts his pretty female competitor.
C-107 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

12:00 AM
When he mistakenly thinks he's dying, a hypochondriac tries to choose his wife's next husband.
C-100 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

Come September with fun in the Italian sun.

1:45 AM
A womanizing tycoon ends up chaperoning a group of American girls who have rented his Italian villa.
C-113 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

3:45 AM
A sporting goods salesman who knows nothing about fishing must enter an angling contest.
C-120 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

6/20


5:30 AM

Celebrities reveal the classic movies that influenced their lives in interviews with acclaimed film critic/interviewer Elvis Mitchell.
C-29 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

6/21


Alan Bates and Charlotte Rampling in Georgy Girl


10:00 PM

A misfit fights for happiness in the world of swinging London.
BW-99 mins, CC,

12:00 AM
A photographer discovers a murder in the background of a candid photo.
C-111 mins, CC, Letterbox Format
6/22

2:00 AM
A woman struggles to find a way to live her life after the death of her husband and child.
C-98 mins,

3:45 AM
A Polish immigrant wants to get even with his former wife.
C-90 mins,




Jacob and Trintignant in Red

5:30 AM
An accident creates a relationship between a model and a retired judge who spies on his neighbors.
C-99 mins, Letterbox Format


6/24

2:00 PM
An adulterous couple discovers that their children are sexually involved.
C-130 mins, CC, Letterbox Format



4:30 PM
A San Francisco couple travels to France in search of Pablo Picasso.
C-94 mins, CC, Letterbox Format


6/26

6:15 AM
The mob sets out to catch a child killer whose crimes are attracting too much police attention.
BW-111 mins,





Rock and Angie get friendly in Pretty Maids all in a Row

12:30 AM
A young man's first sexual explorations are threatened by a string of murders.
C-91 mins,

2:15 AM
A bored rich man buys a new life from a secret organization.
BW-106 mins, Letterbox Format

6/29


2:00 AM

A lonely widow turns to prostitution to make ends meet.
C-202 mins, Letterbox Format



TCM for June 2014




TCM kicks off summer with a mix of the silly and the sublime. Bad sci-fi and a Rock Hudson - Doris Day festival stand along side such heavyweights as Night and Fog and Kieslowski's Colors trilogy. Truly something for everyone this month. My picks below. All times Eastern. Full schedule HERE

6/2

8:00 PM
A typical day in the life of the Beatles.
BW-87 mins, Letterbox Format

9:45 PM
This film looks at the British pop music scene in 1964, featuring performances by The Beatles, The Animals, and more.
C-70 mins, CC, Letterbox Format


The DC5 are Having a Wild Weekend


11:15 PM
Advertising executives turn a model's romance with a stunt man into a publicity stunt.
BW-92 mins,

1:00 AM
Rocket scientists consider naming a space ship after Herman's Hermits.
C-86 mins, Letterbox Format

2:45 AM
Herman's Hermits travel to England for a high-stakes greyhound race.
C-95 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

Night and Fog. A tough watch but everyone should see it.

6/3


6:45 AM

Documentary cameras contrast the horrors of Auschwitz with the peaceful countryside surrounding it.
C-31 mins, CC,

7:15 AM
A college professor uses the crises in three lives to illustrate his theories about human behavior.
C-127 mins, Letterbox Format


6:15 PM
A swimming-pool salesman gets mixed up with beauty queens and bodybuilders when he falls in love.
C-97 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

8:00 PM
Classic sci-fi epic about a mysterious monolith that seems to play a key role in human evolution.
C-149 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

10:45 PM
The crew of a broken down space ship accidentally picks up a deadly alien life form.
C-116 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

Destination Moon was quite the deal in its day.


1:00 AM
A crusading scientist defies the government to launch an expedition to the moon.
C-90 mins,

2:30 AM
Three U.S. astronauts face a slow death when their rockets fail during a space voyage.
C-129 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

4:45 AM
A space mission to Venus discovers a society of Amazons.
C-80 mins, Letterbox Format


An early, silent version of Wizard of Oz

6/8


12:30 AM

In this silent film, a farm girl learns she is a princess and is swept away by a tornado to the land of Oz.
BW-72 mins,

2:00 AM
A streetcar conductor loses his true love during Brazil's carnival season.
C-108 mins,

4:00 AM
A poet follows his dead wife into the underworld, only to fall in love with Death.
BW-96 mins,


6/9


10:00 AM

A group of zanies tries to save a pretty girl's sanitarium.
BW-109 mins, CC,


6/14


Marilyn at her best in The Misfits

4:00 PM
A sensitive divorcee gets mixed up with modern cowboys roping mustangs in the desert.
BW-125 mins, CC, Letterbox Format







6/19


8:00 PM

A man and woman carry their feud over the telephone line they share into their real lives.
C-102 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

10:00 PM
An ad exec in disguise courts his pretty female competitor.
C-107 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

12:00 AM
When he mistakenly thinks he's dying, a hypochondriac tries to choose his wife's next husband.
C-100 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

Come September with fun in the Italian sun.

1:45 AM
A womanizing tycoon ends up chaperoning a group of American girls who have rented his Italian villa.
C-113 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

3:45 AM
A sporting goods salesman who knows nothing about fishing must enter an angling contest.
C-120 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

6/20


5:30 AM

Celebrities reveal the classic movies that influenced their lives in interviews with acclaimed film critic/interviewer Elvis Mitchell.
C-29 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

6/21


Alan Bates and Charlotte Rampling in Georgy Girl


10:00 PM

A misfit fights for happiness in the world of swinging London.
BW-99 mins, CC,

12:00 AM
A photographer discovers a murder in the background of a candid photo.
C-111 mins, CC, Letterbox Format
6/22

2:00 AM
A woman struggles to find a way to live her life after the death of her husband and child.
C-98 mins,

3:45 AM
A Polish immigrant wants to get even with his former wife.
C-90 mins,




Jacob and Trintignant in Red

5:30 AM
An accident creates a relationship between a model and a retired judge who spies on his neighbors.
C-99 mins, Letterbox Format


6/24

2:00 PM
An adulterous couple discovers that their children are sexually involved.
C-130 mins, CC, Letterbox Format



4:30 PM
A San Francisco couple travels to France in search of Pablo Picasso.
C-94 mins, CC, Letterbox Format


6/26

6:15 AM
The mob sets out to catch a child killer whose crimes are attracting too much police attention.
BW-111 mins,





Rock and Angie get friendly in Pretty Maids all in a Row

12:30 AM
A young man's first sexual explorations are threatened by a string of murders.
C-91 mins,

2:15 AM
A bored rich man buys a new life from a secret organization.
BW-106 mins, Letterbox Format

6/29


2:00 AM

A lonely widow turns to prostitution to make ends meet.
C-202 mins, Letterbox Format



80 Years at the Races

Most Marx Brothers aficionados agree that 1937’s A Day at the Races was the last truly great film featuring the zany siblings. Produced by ...