Some rare Sam Peckinpah…

Here is a not-too-awful print of a rare short film by Sam Peckinpah: his adaptation of Katherine Anne Porter’s short story “Noon Wine.” It aired on ABC’s “Stage ’67” in 1966 and stars Jason Robards, Olivia de Havilland, Theodore Bikel, as well as a couple more Peckinpah stand-bys, Ben Johnson and L.Q. Jones. If you’re a Peckinpah fan, I’d love to hear your thoughts about the film, which Peckinpah made between the ill-fated Major Dundee and his triumph, The Wild Bunch. It so happens that Jerry Fielding (blacklisted in 1953 and did not return until 1961) did the music here, and there are some motifs in the score that will reappear in The Wild Bunch.

Robards is great–just the perfect role for him (he will play a similar character in The Ballad of Cable Hogue. Peckinpah manages to get a pretty good performance out of de Havilland (though I understand his methods were borderline sadistic). Bikel is just on the right side of not too over the top and, although only on screen for about a minute or so, L.Q. Jones is terrific. The swedish actor Per Oscarsson plays the escaped loony Olaf. An odd performance, perhaps not well-suited to a Peckinpah film.

I’ve never seen Peckinpah use so many dissolves and superimpositions. They’re there in The Wild Bunch, certainly, but nothing quite like this–but here he has to tell a long story (really a novella) in just under 50 minutes, so I guess they’re necessary.

Can’t seem to embed the video (Arnab?) so here’s a link.

4697645 from John Bruns on Vimeo.

Dark Knight Rises

It’s chilling to think that the same carnival atmosphere I experienced at the midnight showing here in Ohio turned into a bloodbath in Colorado. There is some more poignancy to a light-hearted exchange between Batman and Catwoman/Selina Kyle about the ethics of eschewing guns.

You know the plot from the reviews: Batman has been in self-imposed exile for eight years, paying the price for the canonization of Harvey Dent. Bane arrives in Gotham to complete the cleansing task begun by Ra’s Al Ghul in the first movie of the triology. Batman comes out of retirement, is beaten and humiliated by Bane who engages in assorted terrorism and mock class warfare until Bruce Wayne has recovered enough for the final showdown. This movie links back satisfyingly to Batman Begins in countless ways, large and small, so that we really do see the trilogy as part of a common arc. Continue reading Dark Knight Rises

safe house

if only.

actually, the first 40 odd minutes are not bad. then it goes downhill fast, doubling its rate of descent every 15 minutes. i hate to say it but one of the biggest problems with this film is denzel. he’s one of the executive producers and this i think is what led to his character essentially going through the entire catalogue of charming denzel washington tics. casting a lesser known actor, or even someone like jeffrey wright who could disappear into the role, would have been a better idea.

[spoiler warning]
Continue reading safe house

The Walking Dead

No wolves or vampires here, just zombies. Do we have a Walking Dead thread? I was wondering if anyone else is a fan. I am, and would like to talk about it. We now do TV, right? Hello?

Okay, I’ll throw this out there: Sarah Wayne Callie is the weakest thing in the series. Her acting is so bad at times it makes me cringe. Here’s a tip, Sarah: when you need to emote powerful feelings, do NOT lift your head up slightly, breathe deeply, and look around wildly EVERY TIME.

Strongest thing in the series: Spike Milligan. He’s my favorite.


i watched this last night. i’d wanted to see it on the big screen when it first came out but fear of seeing a major part of my childhood destroyed kept me away. i’d read that the film mashes up the plots of a few books and rewrites characters etc. and all of this seemed like more desecration than i could take. and, of course, i feared the spielbergization of the whole thing: tintin as a young man trying to gain the love of his father (captain haddock probably) and so on.
Continue reading tintin