If you are not me as you are reading this page, then I say "How the hell did you get here?"

Sep 30, 2009

The Night Digger - old fashioned filmmaking and a chance to let the audience viewer to imagine how great the danger on screen might be.

I am a big fan of Bernard Herrmann because of the quality and emotional scope of his music and his contributions that empowered the films of Orson Welles, Hitchcock, and De Palma.

Last night - September 29, 2009 - on TCM they showed The Night Digger (aka The Road Builder) directed by Alistair Reid.

I bought the soundtrack sometime in the mid-1990s, and it was pretty cool to finally get to see it.

The music in the mix appeared to be subdued ( at least it was on TV) which would be in keeping with the overall mood and tone of the film. You immediately know when you are hearing a Herrmann score and he tends to be powerful and you wouldn't want to allow it to dominate the film at the expense of the story. I would like to see it in a theatre. Alistair Reid's direction of the film was restrained, deliberate and methodical. It was very old fashioned and pleasing just the same. His suggestion of ideas and the moments when we are to consider the pleasure of the flesh is not too chaste, it is just clearly and briefly offered.

Sep 25, 2009

10-2-09 Dollars to donuts to de palma. My final revision is now in place for my De Palma train station appreciation.

I am now ready to move on from further revisions of  my opinion piece about Brian De Palma and his use of numbering in The Untouchables train station sequence.

That sequence came to mind as an example of a successful suspense scene. Numbering and the use of shapes and forms in films are a fascinating aspect of making content to be perceived. It is one of the standard methods employed by directors and their production designer/art director team; a specific strand of the fabric of cinematic communication in films and certainly used by Alfred Hitchcock.

Throughout the piece I have tried to free up my voice about the bum rap that Brian De Palma has gotten over the years. Although he doesn't need me to defend his art, I appreciate how hard it is to get anything done in living life. If you love film and you have been inside the working of the machinery at any level, you can really understand how hard it is to accomplish anything.

No artist is immune to criticism or negative evaluations, and there are moviegoers and critics alike who will routinely reject out-of-hand the possibility that De Palma has something to offer in his art. I grimace at the drubbing that De Palma receives in print or online. Most opinions make absolutely no attempt to appear balanced or indicate any reasoned understanding of what is taking place in the storytelling, and overall they fail to make any indication of having seen anything of value.

Brian De Palma 's biggest box office success to date has been Mission Impossible, according to Box Office Mojo.

Click this link to see...........  De Palma box office numbers

The films that he has made as a director and writer (or co-writer) - Blow Out, Dressed To Kill, Body Double, Raising Cain, Obsession and Sisters, I find to be his most interesting and they have fared less well at the box office. From the same site they list his total numbers for the 17 films dating from Redacted back to Obsession as: Lifetime Gross Total (17): $636,033,843.

Artitstic content has never been a variable when creating a tally of gross receipts for box office rankings.
The audience continues to vote with their wallet and their vigorous involvement with Netflix and the internet. The new obstacle to avoid is when the audience can kill a film by electronic word-of-mouth with instant messaging direct from the theatre as the film is in progress which can sink any film before it has a chance to find the intended audience.

There was an interesting article in the Los Angeles Times about the limitations on a film's success when the
producers have forgotten to include advertising dollars into the overall strategy for the release of the picture.
Link below...

Every person should be honest in forming a personal opinion of their reaction to a film, but they shouldn't kill it before someone else has a chance to form their own opinion.

Below are two quotes attributed to Stanley Kubrick regarding meaning in a film.
"I would not think of quarreling with your interpretation nor offering any other,
 as I have found it always the best policy to allow the film to speak for itself."

Here is a famous exchange from an interview of Stanley Kubrick by Joseph Gelmis.

Gelmis was inquiring about 2001.

Gelmis - "What are those areas of meaning? "

Kubrick - "They are the areas I prefer not to discuss because they are highly subjective and will differ from viewer to viewer. In this sense, the film becomes anything the viewer sees in it. If the film stirs the emotions and penetrates the subconscious of the viewer, if it stimulates, however inchoately, his mythological and religious yearnings and impulses, then it has succeeded. "

Sep 20, 2009

copyright info

The copyrights for films mentioned in these blog posts do not belong to me but belong to the various studios and copyright holders.
The writing and opinions and configured image in these posts are by Randy Aitken.
All screengrabs featured in these posts are being used as a point of reference to illustrate the artistry of the filmmakers and their films.
I encourage everyone to seek out and purchase legitimate DVD copies of these films for further edification and enjoyment.

Randy Aitken 2009

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