film fatales #3: daisies (vera chytilová, 1966)
catching up on books

what i watched last week

Wild at Heart (David Lynch, 1990). There’s no use writing about David Lynch. I’ve said my piece. He is not my favorite director. Still, I occasionally catch up on his back catalogue. I’m sure Wild at Heart turned out just how Lynch wanted, and good for him. Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern do a good job of playing Elvis and (I guess) Marilyn. Diane Ladd got an Oscar nomination for over-acting in a poorly-written part. Willem Defoe acts with his teeth. Let me quote Roger Ebert, and get out of here: “There is something inside of me that resists the films of David Lynch. I am aware of it, I admit to it, but I cannot think my way around it. I sit and watch his films and am aware of his energy, his visual flair, his flashes of wit. But as the movie rolls along, something grows inside of me - an indignation, an unwillingness, a resistance. At the end of both ‘Blue Velvet’ and ‘Wild at Heart,’ I was angry, as if a clever con-man had tried to put one over on me.” #895 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They list of the top 1000 films of all time. 6/10, which is what I’ve given the majority of Lynch films I have seen (I did give The Elephant Man 10/10).

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1972). For some reason, I think I don’t like Fassbinder, so I avoid his movies. I don’t know why this is, but it is true that another critic who avoided him was Pauline Kael, who admitted she didn’t get him, so perhaps it’s as simple as I never got a Fassbinder recommendation from her. Funny thing is, the one time before this I watched one of his movies, I liked it quite a bit (The Marriage of Maria Braun). This one also features Hanna Schygulla, although she is not the lead this time. I don’t know enough about the behind-the-scenes stuff about Fassbinder, and I’m not sure it matters, although I wasn’t surprised to find out his relationship with Irm Hermann was complicated ... he presents her in a very severe way in this movie. Bitter Tears plays a bit like if Ingmar Bergman wrote and directed All About Eve. There is a lot of catty dialogue, little of which seems sincere, so the film moves along and the characters (and actresses) are fun to watch, but I’m not sure there’s much more to the movie. #702 on the TSPDT list of the top 1000 films of all time. 7/10.

Get Carter (Mike Hodges, 1971). Brutal, efficient crime drama with no likable characters, which somehow makes it feel quite modern. What it’s like? Maybe a British Point Blank? Some say this is Michael Caine’s finest performance. Speaking of which, the beginning of the film with the London gangsters had a real Performance feel to it. Once they moved to Newcastle, that was lost. If it was made today, I imagine the cinematography would be much more glossy ... here, it’s practically a kitchen sink movie. OK, I know it was remade a few years ago with Sylvester Stallone, and I didn’t see it, so maybe that movie had a bleak look to it as well. (And it was remade in 1972 as Hit Man, with Bernie Casey and Pam Grier, and no, I didn’t see that one, either, although it looks interesting.) This Get Carter is very highly regarded in England, but it’s good-not-great. #763 on that TSPDT list. 7/10.

American Psycho (Mary Harron, 2000). 7/10.

Daisies (Vera Chytilová, 1966). 9/10.

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