To me, the threshold for repeat viewings is this: The first viewing must beckon you back for a second. It’s not enough to feel like you’d missed something the first time […] but you have to like the film and feel compelled to return, like an itch that needs scratching.
Don’t focus too much on this idea that your influences will be similar to people whose films you admire. In fact, it’s really the opposite: You like people who are doing something completely different, and it’s very relaxing to you because they’re dealing with all kinds of problems you don’t have to deal with.
For a film that worships the military, and is in turn worshipped by the military, Top Gun seems perversely uninterested in the military—or foreign policy, or warfare—as anything other than a crucible that sweaty, shirtless, constantly showering men must endure on the route to über-awesomeness. The enemy is deliberately shadowy because the real enemy is self-doubt and moral weakness.
Blessed with 20/20 hindsight, we’re now able to look back on a given era’s “future” and glean some of what was percolating through the collective unconscious.
“Comedy thrives inside a fixed frame. It’s not an essential element, but as with dancing and magic tricks, it’s always more impressive if the viewer can see the performer’s hands and feet at all times. In Sherlock, Jr, Keaton moves the camera when he has to, during all of the movie’s crazy chases. But even then, the motion is limited: Keaton tracks alongside the actors, or he attaches the camera to the front of one of the moving vehicles so that he can keep all the action inside the rectangle.Sherlock, Jr. is at its funniest, though, when the camera stays still, and the characters move in and out, like figures in a side-scrolling platform videogame. Maybe that’s because the fixed frame emphasizes the characters as characters, arriving into the picture exactly when needed for the plot—and sometimes remaining stuck there, like the projectionist, never confident that he can find a way to break out of the box.”
Noel Murray kicks off our Movie Of The Week discussion of the 1924 classic Sherlock, Jr. with an examination of how Buster Keaton’s physical comedy thrived in a fixed environment of boxes and lines. [Read more…]
Buster Keaton insta-reblog rule in effect.
Samantha and Barbara are idealized, objectified versions of women based on the main characters’ tastes. In Don Jon, Gordon-Levitt’s Jon repeatedly calls Barbara the most perfect thing—note the “thing”—he’s ever seen, an evaluation based primarily on her physical resemblance to the women in the pornography he spends hours watching each day. In Her, Samantha is literally the ideal woman for Joaquin Phoenix’s sad-sack Theodore Twombly, an intuitive piece of technology that adapts to him, without him even realizing she’s doing it. She’s everything he wants, without him having to say, or even understand, what he wants.