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The latest release from Intrada is a two-disc set featuring an expanded version of what may not be Craig Safan's best known score but is arguably his finest work, SON OF THE MORNING STAR, the ambitious two-part CBS TV adaptation of Evan Connell's novel about General Custer and Little Big Horn, starring Gary Cole as Custer and adapted by Melissa Mathison (E.T.).


Varese Sarabande is expected to announce one new limited edition CD today.


CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK

The Clowns - Nino Rota - Quartet 
The Curse of La Llorna - Joseph Bishara - WaterTower [CD-R]
Hellboy - Benjamin Wallfisch - Sony 
The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot - Joe Kraemer - La-La Land
Son of the Morning Star - Craig Safan - Intrada Special Collection 

Terra Willy: Unexplored Planet
 - Olivier Cussac - Music Box 


IN THEATERS TODAY

After - Justin Caine Burnett
Billboard - Patrick Wilson
Blowin' Up - Dan Michaelson
Crypto - Nima Fakhrara
A Dark Place - John Hardy Music
Dogman - Michele Braga
Girls of the Sun - Morgan Kibby
Hellboy - Benjamin Wallfisch - Score CD on Sony  
Little - Germaine Franco
Mary Magdalene - Hilda Guonadottir, Johann Johannsson - Score CD on Milan
Mia and the White Lion - Armand Amar - Score CD Mia et le lion blanc on Decca (import)
Missing Link - Carter Burwell
Rottentail - David Findlay
Teen Spirit - Marius de Vries - Song CD on Interscope
Wild Nights with Emily - Karl Frid, Par Frid
Working Woman - Michal Koren


COMING SOON

April 19
High Life
 - Stuart Staples - Milan 
Under the Silver Lake - Disasterpeace - Milan
April 26
Gorath
 - Kan Ishii - Cinema-Kan (import)
Knife + Heart - M83 - Mute
The Last Days of Planet Earth
 - Isao Tomita - Cinema-Kan (import)
Red Snow
 - Yas-Kaz - Rambling (import)
The Sentinel - Gil Melle - La-La Land 
The Son
 - Nathan Barr - Varese Sarabande
May 10
Being Rose - Brian Ralson - Notefornote
First to the Moon: The Journey of Apollo 8 - Alexander Bornstein - Notefornote
Shazam! - Benjamin Wallfisch - WaterTower
May 17
Bumblebee - Dario Marianelli - La-La Land
The Quinn Martin Collection: Vol. 1 - Bruce Broughton, Jerry Goldsmith, Dave Grusin, John Parker, Nelson Riddle, Lalo Schifrin, David Shire, Duane Tatro, Patrick Williams - La-La Land
May 31
Fletch Lives - Harold Faltermeyer - La-La Land
June 14
Dragged Across Concrete - Jeff Herriott, S. Craig Zahler - Lakeshore
Date Unknown
The History of Eternity
 - Zbigniew Preisner - Caldera
Hunter Killer
 - Trevor Morris - Rambling (import)
Laurette/Rashomon/Death of a Salesman
 - Elmer Bernstein, Laurence Rosenthal, Alex North - Kritzerland
Lean on Pete
 - James Edward Barker - Rambling (import)
Malevolence 3: Killer
- Stevan Mena - Howlin' Wolf
976-Evil II
 - Chuck Cirino - Dragon's Domain
The Paul Chihara Collection vol. 2 - Paul Chihara - Dragon's Domain
A Simple Favor
 - Theodore Shapiro - Rambling (import)


THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY

April 12 - Russell Garcia born (1916)
April 12 - Edwin Astley born (1922)
April 12 - Ronald Stein born (1930)
April 12 - Herbie Hancock born (1940)
April 12 - David Raksin begins recording his score for Right Cross (1950)
April 12 - Hugo Friedhofer begins recording his score to Soldier of Fortune (1955)
April 12 - Herbert Gronemeyer born (1956)
April 12 - Andy Garcia born (1956)
April 12 - Miklos Rozsa begins recording his score to Lust For Life (1956)
April 12 - Lisa Gerrard born (1961)
April 12 - Elmer Bernstein begins recording his score for Rampage (1963)
April 12 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score for One Little Indian (1973) 
April 12 - Georg Haentzschel died (1992)
April 12 - Dennis McCarthy records his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Shattered Mirror” (1996)
April 12 - Jay Chattaway records his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “The Changing Face of Evil” (1999)
April 12 - Richard Shores died (2001)
April 12 - Bruce Broughton begins recording his score to Eloise at the Plaza (2003)
April 13 - Vladimir Cosma born (1940)
April 13 - Bill Conti born (1942)
April 13 - John Addison wins his only Oscar, for Tom Jones's score (1964)
April 13 - Joel J. Richard born (1976)
April 13 - Teo Usuelli died (2009)
April 14 - Ali Akbar Khan born (1922)
April 14 - Shorty Rogers born (1924)
April 14 - A.C. Newman born (1968)
April 14 - John Barry wins his third Oscar, for The Lion in Winter score (1969)
April 14 - Win Butler born (1980)
April 14 - Georges Delerue wins his only Oscar, for A Little Romance's score; David Shire wins song Oscar for Norma Rae's "It Goes Like It Goes" (1980)
April 14 - Elisabeth Lutyens died (1983)
April 14 - Jay Chattaway records his score for the Star Trek: Enterprise episode “E2   (2004)
April 15 - Gert Wilden born (1917)
April 15 - Michael Kamen born (1948)
April 15 - Dick Maas born (1951)
April 15 - Carlo Crivelli born (1953)
April 15 - Bernard Herrmann begins recording his score for A Hatful of Rain (1957)
April 15 - Lalo Schifrin begins recording his score to The Hellstrom Chronicle (1971)
April 15 - Francis Lai wins the score Oscar for Love Story (1971)
April 15 - John Greenwood died (1975)
April 15 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score for Parts 1 & 2 of Masada (1980)
April 15 - John Williams records his score for the Amazing Stories episode "Ghost Train" (1985)
April 15 - Tim McIntire died (1986)
April 15 - Arthur Morton died (2000)
April 15 - Dennis McCarthy records his score for the Enterprise episode “Cogenitor” (2003)
April 16 - Charles Chaplin born (1889)
April 16 - Warren Barker born (1923)
April 16 - Henry Mancini born (1924)
April 16 - Perry Botkin Jr. born (1933)
April 16 - Chaz Jankel born (1952)
April 16 - David Raksin records his score for Pat and Mike (1952)
April 16 - Alex North begins recording his score for Cheyenne Autumn (1964)
April 16 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score for The Detective (1968)
April 16 - Basil Poledouris begins recording his score to Quigley Down Under (1990)
April 16 - Jay Chattaway records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Frame of Mind” (1993)
April 17 - Jan Hammer born (1948)
April 17 - David Bell born (1954)
April 17 - Recording sessions begin for Bronislau Kaper's score for The Power and the Prize (1956)
April 17 - Ernest Gold wins his only Oscar, for the Exodus score (1961)
April 17 - Elmer Bernstein begins recording his score for Summer and Smoke (1961)
April 17 - John Williams begins recording his score for Stanley & Iris (1989)
April 17 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score for Dennis the Menace (1993)
April 17 - Paul Baillargeon records his score for the Enterprise episode “Vox Sola” (2002)
April 18 - Miklos Rozsa born (1907)
April 18 - Tony Mottola born (1918)
April 18 - Buxton Orr born (1924)
April 18 - Mike Vickers born (1941)
April 18 - Kings Row released in theaters (1942)
April 18 - Andrew Powell born (1949)
April 18 - Miklos Rozsa begins recording his score to The King's Thief (1955)
April 18 - Ed Plumb died (1958)
April 18 - Maurice Jarre wins his second Oscar, for Doctor Zhivago's score; presumably decides to stick with this David Lean kid (1966)
April 18 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score for Players (1979)
April 18 - Dave Grusin begins recording his score for The Goonies (1985)
April 18 - John Debney records his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Progress” (1993)
April 18 - Recording sessions begin for Marco Beltrami’s score for Red Eye (2005)
April 18 - Robert O. Ragland died (2012)

DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC

BLACK '47 - Brian Byrne

"'Black 47' arrives on our shores fresh from its smash-hit success in its native Ireland. The performances are pitched perfectly, with potent dialogue in Irish Gaelic and English. It is constructed with precision by director Lance Daly, its sombre tone and harrowing tableaux emphasised by veteran American cinematographer Declan Quinn's desaturated, bleakly majestic landscapes and grim faces in the gloom, and by Brian Byrne's moody, edgy score. And if at times the accumulation of miseries, fateful twists and ragged, spectral extras becomes a bit too much, there is no denying the power of this affecting, artful history lesson and tribute to Celtic tenacity in the style of a lean, mean western."
 
Angie Errigo, The List
 
"Frecheville doesn't have Clint Eastwood's charisma but momentum is maintained by the film's elegant cinematography, stirring soundtrack and thrilling shoot-outs."
 
Andy Lea, Daily Express 

"The story does sometimes meander. A few of the action sequences give in to confusion. At times, the determination to include every historical detail causes the package to strain uncomfortably at the corners. But the grey pools of Declan Quinn’s cinematography and the evocative strains of Brian Byrne’s score -- keening traditional flourishes balanced by angular melodies -- keep the brain twitching in even the glummest moments."
 
Donald Clarke, Irish Times 

"And so this may well be the first encounter international audiences will have had with the Great Hunger, and for them Daly delivers a resonant, beautifully performed Irish Western that benefits from the exotic sound of Irish Gaelic spoken as a living language, and the brackish majesty of cinematographer Declan Quinn’s wide vistas. But Quinn is more closely associated with such intimate dramas as 'Leaving Las Vegas' and the films of Jonathan Demme, and he never loses the humans for their bleakly picturesque backdrop. Similarly, Brian Byrne’s ominous score contains some traditional uilleann pipe flourishes but avoids cliched Irishness with its brooding, disquieting anti-melodic edge of modernity."
 
Jessica Kiang, Variety 

A CROOKED SOMEBODY - Andrew Hewitt
 
"The cast is excellent but there are some production choices that hold back White’s film, especially as it builds to a climax. There’s a misguided over-use of score in the final act, something that often happens in movies that are trying to build tension, but it’s distracting here. There are also some underdeveloped threads in the relationship between Michael and his father, a religious man, and the disingenuous way in which Michael views what he does as not too different than what his father does. The film teaches him it’s very different, but it would have been nice to see Harris & Madigan used more; same with Mosley & Ben-Victor, two actors I was very excited to see show up and then aren’t given much to do."
 
Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
 
DESTINATION WEDDING - WIlliam Ross
 
"The music shifts from low-key but cheery jazz from the charming score by composer William Ross to a trumpet trill like the opening of a bullfight as we see the film’s title, followed by its more telling alternate: 'A Narcissist Can’t Die Because the Whole World Would End.' Subsequent chapter title cards let us know that we are not here to be beguiled by the ostensible charms of the countryside or the festivities, by the welcome baskets or the tour of the winery. The real feelings of Lindsay, Frank, and the movie itself about the various events are revealed because what they think is shown but scratched out: 'Just what the world needs -- Another Goddamn sunset wedding.'"
 
Nell Minow, RogerEbert.com

"Levin, a veteran writer and producer of such ‘90s sitcoms as 'Dream On' and 'Mad About You,' captures Frank and Lindsay’s self-imposed alienation from the rest of society by shooting the film’s other characters from a distance. The only context in which we even see the other guests at the eponymous wedding is in long shots from Frank and Lindsay’s perspective, as the pair sits on the perimeter of the rehearsal dinner, in the back row of the wedding, or hidden between wine barrels at a wine tasting. With its detached gaze and ironically bouncy gypsy-jazz soundtrack, 'Destination Wedding' might be praised for its tonal consistency -- it’s nothing if not droll—but this consistency comes to feel a lot like repetitiveness as the film progresses."
 
Pat Brown, Slant Magazine

DON'T LEAVE HOME - Michael Montes
 
"Tully, along with cinematographer Wyatt Garfield and composer Michael Montes, has crafted an elegantly creepy pastiche. Through the foggy landscapes and grottos, and the imposing country house with its menacing Sheela na gigs and visions of a hulking cowled figure, the dream logic of the narrative unfurls. Sinister things are indeed in store for Melanie, but Tully rightly keeps some cards to himself. Often, contemporary horror films go out of their way to make everything crystal clear, but 'Don’t Leave Home''s elliptical tone is pitch perfect and the ending is quietly stunning. Forgo the warning of the title and enjoy the goosebumps."
 
Josh Kupecki, The Austin Chronicle

"There are some great ideas in 'Don’t Leave Home' about the intersection of faith and art, but they’re all too thinly developed. Tully has an intriguing concept and a fantastic final scene, but he didn’t flesh out the movie between the credits. And so he has to rely on too many filmmaking tricks to try and keep it interesting -- slow-motion, over-use of score, a dream within a dream twice. Even more damagingly than the distracting style choices are the performances, which feel wooden or exaggerated, as if there’s a style that Tully is going for in the acting as well but not quite reaching. As wonderful as it is to see a filmmaker with more uncommon inspirations than some of his peers, it’s equally disheartening when he falls short of them."
 
Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

"All this is bordering on contorted overplotting, but Tully maintains an admirably even hand, his restraint faltering only in the cheesy Celtic pipes of composer Michael Montes' score during the transition to misty rural Ireland. You half expect a rascally leprechaun or a line of jaunty folk dancers to pop out from behind a rock."
 
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter 
 
HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING - Alex Sommers, Scott Alario, Forest Kelley 
 
"RaMell Ross’ documentary, 'Hale County This Morning, This Evening' cannot be watched while simultaneously distracted by outside forces like cell phones or conversations; its immersive lyricism demands the full brunt of our attention. The film has an unusual, time-jumping cadence that’s punctuated by strange sounds, odd music and beautiful, superimposed visions of sky and earth. There are unexpected camera angles and long moments that at first seem monotonous but pay big dividends. Ross weaves all these elements together in such a way that you eventually realize the film is teaching you how to watch it, subtly coaxing you onto its wavelength. Suddenly, you feel like an honorary citizen of the titular place, someone temporarily woven into its fabric. I understood this the moment that Ross’ camera sped down a street he had slowly perused in the film’s opening scene. Not only did I recognize buildings and stores, but I knew exactly when the car travelling this road would see the Alabama state highway signs."
 
Odie Henderson, RogerEbert.com

THE LAST SUIT - Federico Jusid
 
"The solid production package offers a look of stylized naturalism that makes it stand out from the many over-lit telepics on this subject. Antonio Frutos’ cutting smoothly incorporates the flashbacks, and Federico Jusid’s judiciously used klezmer-inflected score is a big plus."
 
Alissa Simon, Variety 
 
"Sola plays Buenos Aires oldster Abraham Bursztein, who is surrounded by loving family members (and one greedy granddaughter he has to bribe to take a picture with him) on an occasion that proves less happy than it appears: His daughters are selling his house and forcing Dad into a retirement home. After a bit of ineffectual grousing, Abraham convinces his family to let him spend one more night alone as a goodbye to his home of so many decades — then sneaks off as soon as they're gone, hunting down a clandestine after-hours travel agent and informing her that he needs to fly to Poland now. He has to settle for a roundabout itinerary with an initial layover in Spain. In a scene accompanied by a mischievous klezmer-tinged score, we watch Bursztein board that long flight and use some funny reverse-psychology to get a whole row of seats to himself."
 
John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

MUSEO - Tomas Barreiro
 
"Earlier in this scene, before the boys get the big kiss-off, the collector tells them about the dispute over the rights to a sunken Spanish galleon carrying gold worth $500 million. While he’s talking about this, the camera turns to an aquarium and spends a little while gazing at the gold-colored fish swimming there. This is typical of the unexpected visual wit that Ruizpalacios employs throughout. In both of his films, his assured compositions and other stylistic strategies convey an easy, practiced mastery together with a joy of filmmaking that is infectious. Here, he receives notable support in the terrific work of cinematographer Damián Garcia and composer Tomás Barreiro."
 
Godfrey Cheshire, RogerEbert.com
 
"He also suggests that Juan has a strong personal attachment to the museum. Ruizpalacios flashes back early in the film to show him visiting the site as a boy with his father, then cuts to an elaborate Steadicam shot that snakes through a group of schoolchildren visiting the place in the present to find Juan working there as a security guard. Wilson, who narrates the film, explains that Juan took the job in order to pay for his marijuana, thereby undercutting the sense of wonder engendered by the fancy camerawork. When the film gets to its stunning credits sequence -- which features close-ups of ancient artifacts set to bombastic orchestral music -- Ruizpalacios has already set an complex tone that's half sincere and half ironic. The subsequent heist is the movie's centerpiece, and it represents a trove of cinematic invention. Employing the same music he used in the credits sequence, Ruizpalacios follows Juan and Wilson as they climb over the museum gate, run across the courtyard (the camera briefly turns upside down as they do), and enter the building. A wide shot of the museum's exterior throws into relief the close-ups that follow, which show the array of tools the men use to break open display cases, the beautiful Mesoamerican artifacts they steal, and their astonished reactions to their own cunning. This sequence, in its intricate detail, recalls the famous heist of Jules Dassin's 'Rififi' (1955), and it's just about as suspenseful. An escape through the museum's ventilator shafts evokes numerous prison escape movies, though Ruizpalacios undercuts the allusion with a subjective shot of Juan hallucinating -- he thinks he sees the Mayan king Pakal watching him in the shaft. Soon after, the director undercuts the men's sense of bravado with another wide shot, this time of a collection of monuments in a town square where Wilson stops to pee on his way home."
 
Ben Sachs, The Chicago Reader 

"Composer Toma´s Barreiro’s music is another invaluable contribution, seamlessly working between all these moods, it often dares to dip into incongruity. As Juan and Wilson lurk outside the museum, a sweetly classical theme plays. Then suddenly, insolently, it is interrupted by a wedge of swooping, swirling, bombastic Bernard Herrmann-esque intrigue. All of which somehow makes the cut to the vast quiet wide shot of the nighttime museum courtyard, with Juan and Wilson scuttling through it tinily like Tom and Jerry, even funnier as a result."
 
Jessica Kiang, Variety 

"Apart from its startling ability to match the amusing/infuriating incompetence of its thieving duo with scenes of serious tension and suspense, 'Museum' has a pleasing aura of historical melancholy that recalls Shadi Abdel Salam’s anti-tomb-raider film, 'The Mummy.' A bit closer to home, Chano Urueta’s 1939 Mexican tragedy 'The Night of the Mayans' is frequently referenced, especially its eerie soundtrack composed by Silvestre Revueltas and retouched here by Tomas Barreiro."
 
Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter 
 
PICK OF THE LITTER - Helen Jane Long
 
"The packaging is bright, straightforward and a little pedestrian, including the slightly cutesy tenor struck by Helen Jane Long’s original score."
 
Dennis Harvey, Variety

SLEEPLESS - Michael Kamm
 
"Rubino’s men have kidnapped Vincent’s teenage son Thomas (Octavius J. Johnson, 'Ray Donovan') to get the drugs back -- and just in case you missed that, either Rubino or Novak bellows, “WHERE ARE MY DRUGS?” every five minutes or so. But Jennifer has taken half of the cocaine for evidence, not knowing that Vincent is undercover, and this confluence of events should lead to some ticking-clock suspense. Instead, we get lots of people threatening each other, Vincent’s wife Dena (Gabrielle Union) doing that concerned-mom-on-the-phone thing, composer Michael Kamm’s score churning into overdrive over nothing, and more of those skyline shots."
 
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
 
SUBMISSION - Jeff Russo
 
"It goes without saying that 'Submission' arrives with more baggage than Francine Prose or Josef von Sternberg (or Vladimir Nabokov, for that matter) ever had to carry. And, for a while, it seems as though Levine’s adaptation is going to be a valuable riff on a crisis that has bubbled up to the surface in the time since its source material was published. Even if the kooky score and bemused voiceover ominously locate us in 'American Beauty' territory, there’s something helpful about the fact that this story is told with a lightness of touch; without diminishing the importance of his subject, Levine and his cast are able to texture it with human shades of gray."
 
David Ehrlich, IndieWire

THE NEXT TEN DAYS IN L.A.

Screenings of older films, at the following L.A. movie theaters: AMPASAmerican Cinematheque: AeroAmerican Cinematheque: EgyptianArclightArena CineloungeLACMALaemmleNew Beverly, Nuart and UCLA

April 12
CHOCOLAT (Abdullah Ibrahim), WHITE MATERIAL (Stuart Staples) [Cinematheque: Aero]
DIRTY HARRY (Lalo Schifrin), ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ (Jerry Fielding) [New Beverly]
DIRTY MARY CRAZY LARRY (Jimmie Haskell) [Nuart]
THE HATEFUL EIGHT (Ennio Morricone) [New Beverly]
TROPICAL MALADY [UCLA]

April 13
BEAU TRAVAIL (Charles Henry De Pierrefeu, Eran Tzur) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THE BLUES BROTHERS (Ira Newborn, Elmer Bernstein) [New Beverly]
DIRTY HARRY (Lalo Schifrin), ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ (Jerry Fielding) [New Beverly]
JURASSIC PARK (John Williams) [New Beverly]
NENETTE ET BONI (Tindersticks), 35 SHOTS OF RUM (Tindersticks) [Cinematheque: Aero]

April 14
BEN-HUR (Miklos Rozsa) [Laemmle Ahyra Fine Arts]
THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (Malcolm Arnold) [New Beverly]
JURASSIC PARK (John Williams) [New Beverly]
TROUBLE EVERY DAY (Tindersticks), LET THE SUNSHINE IN (Stuart A. Staples) [Cinematheque: Aero]

April 15
THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (Malcolm Arnold) [New Beverly]
EYES WIDE SHUT (Jocelyn Pook) [New Beverly]
THE SOCIAL NETWORK (Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross) [Cinematheque: Aero]

April 16
BLOODY MAMA (Don Randi), THE CYCLE SAVAGES (Jerry Styner) [New Beverly]
HAROLD AND MAUDE (Cat Stevens) [LACMA]

April 17
FAMILY PLOT (John Williams), BLACK SUNDAY (John Williams) [New Beverly]
THE MAD ADVENTURES OF "RABBI" JACOB (Vladimir Cosma) [Laemmle Royal]
QUAI DES ORFEVRES (Francis Lopez) [New Beverly]

April 18
FAMILY PLOT (John Williams), BLACK SUNDAY (John Williams) [New Beverly]
THE JUNIPER TREE (Larry Lipkis) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
MONTY PYTHON'S LIFE OF BRIAN (Geoffrey Burgon) [Laemmle Ahrya Fine Arts]
MONTY PYTHON'S LIFE OF BRIAN (Geoffrey Burgon) [Laemmle Monica]
MONTY PYTHON'S LIFE OF BRIAN (Geoffrey Burgon) [Laemmle NoHo]
SAFETY LAST!, THE NAVIGATOR [Cinematheque: Aero]
THE SIXTH SENSE (James Newton Howard) [Laemmle NoHo]

April 19
THE GREAT DICTATOR (Charles Chaplin, Meredith Willson) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THE HATEFUL EIGHT (Ennio Morricone) [New Beverly]
MANDY (Johann Johannsson) [Nuart]
THE ODD COUPLE (Neal Hefti), BAREFOOT IN THE PARK (Neal Hefti) [New Beverly]
SOCIETY (Phil Davies, Mark Ryder), BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR (Richard Band) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]

April 20
ARMY OF DARKNESS (Joseph LoDuca), WAXWORK (Roger Bellon), THE BEYOND (Fabio Frizzi) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
CHEECH & CHONG'S NEXT MOVIE (Mark Davis), FRIDAY [New Beverly]
HOP (Christopher Lennertz) [New Beverly]
NEIGHBORS (Bill Conti) [New Beverly]
SONS OF THE DESERT [Cinematheque: Aero]

April 21
DONNIE DARKO (Michael Andrews), THE EVIL DEAD (Joseph LoDuca) [Cinematheque: Aero]
HOP (Christopher Lennertz) [New Beverly]
ONLY WHEN I LAUGH (David Shire), I OUGHT TO BE IN PICTURES (Marvin Hamlisch) [New Beverly]


THINGS I'VE HEARD, READ, SEEN OR WATCHED LATELY

Heard: The Blackcoat's Daughter (Perkins), Addio, Fratello Crudele (Morricone), Chappaqua (Shankar)

Read: Firebreak by Richard Stark

Seen: Drive, He Said; The Cowboys; Shazam!; High Life; Pet Sematary; The Best of Enemies; They Shall Not Grow Old; The Victors; The Man Who Killed Don Quixote

Watched: Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Land That Time Forgot

"An objectively rotten person"

Given the large number of new films I see each year in the theater, only a small percentage of them are from France, as there are only a handful of current French directors whose careers I make any effort to follow -- namely, Olivier Assayas, Claire Denis (but only recently), Arnaud Desplechin, Christophe Honore, and Andre Techine. And yes, I also see Luc Besson films, but he doesn't seem quite the right filmmaker to group with these others.

Something I have noticed, particularly in the films of Desplechin and Honore, is that the protagonists tend to be, for lack of a better word, a-holes. (Sadly, despite my half-French lineage and two years of high school French, I do not actually know the French equivalent of that word). Watching these films has made me consider three possible explanations:

1. French people are a-holes.
2. French filmmakers are a-holes.
3. French filmmakers are allowed to make films about a-holes in a way that American filmmakers are not, given the conventional Hollywood thinking that all movie protagonists must be "likeable."

I thought of this recently while seeing Honore's Sorry Angel and particularly Yann Gonzalez' Knife + Heart. The latter is an homage to giallo thrillers, set in 1979, about an alcoholic lesbian gay-porn filmmaker (who is practically stalking her film editor ex-girlfriend) whose cast members are being murdered one-by-one in classic giallo fashion (in this case, with a knife concealed in a sex toy). It's the kind of film that one is expected to love simply because it's a faux-giallo about a lesbian who makes gay porn, or to hate for those same reasons. 

I didn't particularly care for it, but certainly not due to moral objections. I love the idea of giallo much more than I love the -- forgive the pun -- execution, and I've never particularly seen the appeal of giallo master Dario Argento. Even the more visually striking Argentos like The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Suspiria and Opera have nonsensical scripts (I'll never forget the one where the killer faked his own death by burning a wooden mannequin -- because apparently the police have no idea what an actual burnt human corpse looks like), and when the visuals aren't there, as in his later Mother of Tears, all you end up with is ugliness (one Mother of Tears murder method managed to offend even me, and that's no mean feat).

Knife + Heart was never particularly scary or even all that visually striking (Crystal Plumage was shot by Vittorio Storaro, and you don't get better than that), and the explanation of the mystery, which seemed to combine supernatural birds with elements of Eyes of Laura Mars (if I'm understanding it correctly), was typically nonsensical.

But I did appreciate the critic in The Onion AV Club, who liked the film much more than I did, but was at least wise enough to describe its heroine as an "objectively rotten person." Now that's what I'm talking about.

(I just saw Claire Denis' High Life, and though Mia Goth was not the protagonist, she managed to irriritate me virtually every moment she was on screen, but I can't be sure if that was the performance or the character).

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Comments (7):Log in or register to post your own comments
trou du cul or trouduc for short is the expression you are looking for

And to be fair, those kinds can really be found the world over, not just in France.

THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT, starring the immortal Doug McClure, the beauteous Susan Penhaligon, and the versatile Zefferelli favorite John McEnery, and gorgeously scored by Douglas Gamley, subjected to the MST3K treatment - perish the thought!!

On the other hand, given they inflicted same on Maximillian Schell's HAMLET, the Dougster's in good company!!

trou du cul or trouduc for short is the expression you are looking for

And to be fair, those kinds can really be found the world over, not just in France.


I know, but they are found with unusual frequency as the protagonists in French cinema. (at least in a certain kind of French cinema -- probably not so much in more mainstream commercial films)

"It's the kind of film that one is expected to love simply because it's a faux-giallo about a lesbian who makes gay porn, or to hate for those same reasons. "

That's an interesting observation. I feel the same way about some Argento films. They're beautiful to look at, but they just don't hold together if one thinks about them for more than a few minutes.

It's also a problem I have with films that are either "important" or those one is supposed to like because of some artistic or philosophical approach. To me, that's lazy thinking.

I watched Antonioni's L'Avventura a couple of times, and I hated it each time. Yes, I get the supposed irony of the title, and the dual meaning of the word in Italian. It's just a boring fucking movie, about people I just can't get connected to enough to care about. Blow-Up is good. This and the rest of Antonioni's films, meh. Or Catherine Breillat, whose films I find needlessly pessimistic, joyless, and nihilistic.

Some with Fassbinder. If I never see another Fassbinder film, it'll be too soon. At the same time, I love Herzog.

And there a few directors whose work I have love-hate relationships with (Ingmar Bergman, David Lynch, Terrence Malick, Robert Altman).

Interesting how some films and filmmakers spark that reaction.

trou du cul or trouduc for short is the expression you are looking for

And to be fair, those kinds can really be found the world over, not just in France.


I know, but they are found with unusual frequency as the protagonists in French cinema. (at least in a certain kind of French cinema -- probably not so much in more mainstream commercial films)


Didn't spot any luminaries in the list of directors you submitted. Therein lies the problem.

"It's the kind of film that one is expected to love simply because it's a faux-giallo about a lesbian who makes gay porn, or to hate for those same reasons. "

That's an interesting observation. I feel the same way about some Argento films. They're beautiful to look at, but they just don't hold together if one thinks about them for more than a few minutes.

It's also a problem I have with films that are either "important" or those one is supposed to like because of some artistic or philosophical approach. To me, that's lazy thinking.

I watched Antonioni's L'Avventura a couple of times, and I hated it each time. Yes, I get the supposed irony of the title, and the dual meaning of the word in Italian. It's just a boring fucking movie, about people I just can't get connected to enough to care about. Blow-Up is good. This and the rest of Antonioni's films, meh. Or Catherine Breillat, whose films I find needlessly pessimistic, joyless, and nihilistic.

Some with Fassbinder. If I never see another Fassbinder film, it'll be too soon. At the same time, I love Herzog.

And there a few directors whose work I have love-hate relationships with (Ingmar Bergman, David Lynch, Terrence Malick, Robert Altman).

Interesting how some films and filmmakers spark that reaction.


Indeed. Pompous and pretentious. If some of these directors use their work as therapy, one might hope that the end result might at least be entertaining.

I watched Antonioni's L'Avventura a couple of times, and I hated it each time. Yes, I get the supposed irony of the title, and the dual meaning of the word in Italian. It's just a boring fucking movie, about people I just can't get connected to enough to care about. Blow-Up is good. This and the rest of Antonioni's films, meh.

I've seen L'avventura more than twice (and own it on home video) and love it ... enough for L'avventura to reside within my favorite 100 films.
It's certainly not a boring movie according to my perspectives, so one's reception of such depends very much upon one's sensibilities and aesthetics.
One aspect of all art (not only cinema) is to challenge people to accept viewpoints which are different from their own.
If your pre-conceived viewing habits are conditioned towards 'liking' or 'connecting with' protagonists, then challenge yourself to watch characters who are not to your liking and attempt to accept the filmmakers' intentions.

How is one gonna love all the films in The Criterion Collection if one's mindset indicates that films = entertainment which should gratify audiences instead of provoke them. :)

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