Saturday, February 10, 2007

February 10th Log

1981, Lawrence Kasdan, United States
1st Viewing, DVD

Body Heat is a sexy and definitively modern neo-noir in cinematic style and substance. It is a film that is made as a self-conscious reflection of the classic noirs from the 1940s but is made with a modern setting and vision. The opening shot sets the atmosphere and tone for what is a sexually charged film. Through stylish visuals and techniques (including an outstanding musical score, as well as a heavy use of various fans and human body sweat) Lawrence Kasdan establishes a mood that is hot and tense. This is Kasdan’s directorial debut and he also wrote the screenplay. Generally a strong writer, here Kasdan proves himself more stylish and even poetic aspect of filmmaker he has not since matched as a director. There is no doubt that Body Heat is channeling James Cain novels (most obviously Double Indemnity), and it relies heavily on its source influences. Perhaps not original, the film remains effective and a joy to watch on the level that it recreates the 40s noir in a modern world (including the color cinematography). Body Heat features strong performances by William Hurt and heartless femme fatale Kathleen Turner. Both performances reinvent those made memorable by Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity. Body Heat is an inferior film to those that influenced it, yet it stands as a great neo-noir of American cinema.

1966, Sergio Leone, Italy / Spain
Repeat Viewing, DVD

Sergio Leone's western epic The Good The Bad and The Ugly is a joy to experience. It's a film that leaves a smile on my face throughout it's entire 160+ minutes. The film is a celebration of films and filmmaking. From the very opening sequence, the film absorbs the viewer into it's cinematic world of style, excitement, humor, artistic vision, and pure entertainment! There is very little dialogue (it's dialogue-free throughout the first 10 minutes), yet always is engaging. Leone's trademark style is always evident (irony, extreme close- ups, large atmosphere, freeze frames, quick cuts combined with long takes, flawlessly composed long shots, etc). Ultimately, The Good The Bad and The Ugly is a film of human nature and greed. Leone skillfully uses the AmericanCivil War as a backdrop for the films narrative. The legendary composer Ennio Moricone's musical score has spawned countless homages and imitations, and is absolutely classic. Watching The Good The Bad and The Ugly is a refreshing experience that never gets old. Every scene is brilliant, but it's clever and unmatchable climax truly transcends this film as one of the all-time greatest. It's perfection! Leone is one of cinema's truly great filmmakers. His epic vision, irony, and style captures the true beauty and emotions of cinema.


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