Tag Archives: criterion
Pure cinematic honey.
A few days ago, I went to a one night only showing at BAM of Minnie & Moskowitz, one of my very favorite Cassavetes films. They’re currently doing a 20-film retrospective, including some films of his that are long out of print on DVD (such as the aforementioned, which thankfully has recently become available on Netflix Instant in HD, after being on there for ages with probably the worst SD transfer I’ve ever seen in my life) and some that have never even been released on DVD in America (such as Love Streams). This goes on until the end of the month, so if you’re in NYC, get your ass there. The prints are all gorgeous 35mm. Cassavetes really doesn’t get enough credit for his colors, because on DVD, they tend to look muddy, but their subtle vibrance comes through wonderfully on film. (Here’s hoping the recently announced Blu-Ray upgrades showcase them better.)
The film played perfectly well in a theater setting. The audience laughed at all the right moments, and genuinely so. I can’t think of a single joke in it that fell flat. You would’ve sworn the film came out yesterday, rather than back in 1971. Like honey, time hasn’t spoiled it whatsoever, and its sweetness hasn’t diminished one bit.
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A gorgeous shot from The Plague of the Zombies (1966).
Even setting aside its dubious social politics, I think it’s thoughtless and ugly and boring. It has a routine as codified and rigid as Scooby Doo, but instead of that show’s good-natured-if-dull hippyism, it’s got nothing but contempt for its characters and audience. It’s a death march to samesy gore scenes in which the human body pulls apart as easily as tissue paper full of spaghetti sauce. I’m not impressed, and I resent it.