selenak: (The Americans by Tinny)
Emmmy nominations: as a fan of The Americans, I'm pleased that Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys and Alison Wright were all three recognized at last. Will root for them accordingly, which is all the easier since frustratingly, Bates Motel' final year went without an Emmy nomination again. Freddy Highmore has been fantastic throughout, and especially in this last installment where the show had to at last enter the same narrative territory as Psycho, and succeeded with flying colours, very much because young Highmore has managed to make an iconic role his own. (Very Farmiglia would have deserved nominations in all preceeding years, but I can understand she didn't get one this year, since she played "only" Mother, not Norma anymore.) My loyalties might be slightly split for best actor because of Bob Odenkirk for Better Call Saul, and I'd be happy if he wins, too, but if I had to decide and push came to shove, I'd go with Rhys over Odenkirk. Speaking of Better Call Saul, I call fail on the nomination of Jonathan Banks for best supporting actor over Michael McKean (Chuck). Or for that matter Michael Mando (who plays Nacho). Look, I get the Mike cult, and Banks is always solid, but Mike really did not have all that much to do this season. Whereas Nacho got core emotional dilemma stuff, and the actor rose to the task. And McKean may have played the most disliked character on the show, but I don't think the most fervent Chuck hater on the planet would dispute he did so amazingly, and this season, it was a lynchpin performance, with Chicanery and the s3 finale as the two particularly outstanding episodes in this regard. As for the utter lack of nomination for Rhea Seahorn as Kim, don't get me started. Though, again: makes it easier to root wholeheartedly for Keri Russell and for Alison Wright in their respective categories.


Yesterday there was a lengthy interview with Christopher Nolan in one of my regular papers, apropos his upcoming movie Dunkirk. Two issues caught my particular attention: a) he mentions having written the script for a movie about Howard Hughes, only to be foiled by the Scorsese/Di Caprio movie "Aviator", which made it unlikely for a few years studios would finance another movie about Hughes, and now when the time would have been right again, Warren Beatty struck first and made Hughes a non-subject for a few years more. But, quoth Nolan, he hasn't given up and swears this script is the best he ever wrote. To channel some writerly frustration, he added, he put some of his Howard Hughes characterisation into Bruce Wayne in his three Batman movies. And suddenly Bruce's utterly self indulgent hermit phase between movies II and III as well as his bizarre rewriting on why things didn't work out with Rachel in I as voiced by him in II appears in a new light. :) Or maybe Howard Hughes' decades in Las Vegas hotel rooms do - clearly the cover for a secret vigilante identity. Come to think of it, old Hughes sueing unauthorized biographers does resemble the Frank Miller version of Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Returns somewhwat, no?

Anyway: b) the other particularly interesting-to-me Nolan statement was that in preparation for Dunkirk, he watched All Quiet on the Western Front (classic 1930 film version of Erich Maria Remarque's WWI novel, directed by Lewis Milestone) and was amazed such a movie was possible in 1930. But, says Nolan, it probably only was because it was an American movie based on a German novel, because an American director would never have presented American soldiers in this way, and the Germans wouldn't have made the movie to begin with, "so hooray for one culture speaking for another in this case", ends Nolan. Thinking about it, I concluded he was right that the German film industry would not have made All Quiet on the Western Front in the early 1930s - the book had been a big bestseller in Germany, but the movies were utterly dominated by the UFA by then, and the UFA was owned by Alfred Hugenberg, hardcore conservative who'd go on to support Hitler in his 1932 and 1933 election campaigns. As it was Goebbels orchestrated an anti All Quiet on the Western Front campaign when the movie was released in Germany - SA guys loudly protesting in the cinemas, white mice released, I kid you not -with the result that the movie was quickly withdrawn and most Germans saw it only once the Third Reich had come and gone. (My paternal grandparents back in the day did see it in the cinema, but they had to travel to Belgium to do so, which they did because not only did Granddad own the book, but he regarded it as a matter of local pride - he was born and raised just a few streets away from where Remarque, the author, had been born and raised in Osnabrück. And my grandfather, who'd lost his father in WWI when he, Granddad, was still a toddler, always regarded the book as a way to figure out what his father might have been like.)

Last year, when I heard a lecture by Elizabeth Bronfen on war movies in Zurich, she compared the aesthetic and thematic treatment of All Quiet on the Western Front with what WWII movies and news reels quickly established as standard in US movies, and it really is strikingly different. Not being an expert on war movies, my lay woman opinion would be Nolan is right in the American part of his statement as well, that an American movie about US soldiers like All Quiet on the Western Front at the time and for some time to come would never have been made. Probably not until the genre of Vietnam movies started, and that came and went again; more recent US movies, no matter about which war, which present US soldiers being lured into a war by propaganda and then fighting pointless battles and dying with no heroic justification or reward whatsoever (i.e. not even saving a comrade's life or turning a battle, or getting an epilogue declaring that their cause lives on or their sacrifice is remembered or what not), don't come to mind, either. Or am I missing something?
selenak: (Carl Denham by Grayrace)
[personal profile] cadma is learning German but, having apparantly only been shown sad and depressing German movies, asked me for comedy/fun ones in order to practice. Contrary to our image, these do exist. Some even exist on Youtube, subtitled. Here are some favourites, in order of production, and then some addendums who aren’t what I’d rec as movies for beginners but which are of interest to Erich Kästner fans, of which I am one. But first, the favourites for the enterprising discoverer of funny and fun German movies:

German fun, not German angst )

The other days
selenak: (Eleanor - Saava)
Tagged by [ profile] iamsab, in whose safe return to ljdom I hardly dare believe.

1) Total number of films I own on DVD/video:

No idea. Though I try to reduce the number of videos by giving those in a good condition to friends. Let's just say... a lot.

2) The last film I bought:

Aviator, yesterday.

3) The last film I watched:

In the cinema? Batman Begins. But on DVD, it was Attack of the Clones, due to my recent SW rewatching after the release of RotS. I watched a lot of Dr. Who episodes after that, but that wasn't the question.

4) Five films that I watch a lot or that mean a lot to me:

a) Lawrence of Arabia. Still my all time favourite movie. David Lean at his directing best, Robert Bolt's script, top performances from everyone (everyone being the likes of Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Omar Sharif and of course Peter O'Toole in the title role) - I never get tired of it. Or of the desert. The DVD has the complete restored version Lean sanctioned a few years before his death and some neat extras, like a making of documentary and Steven Spielberg completely going fanboy over this film. It's very endearing.

b) The Lion in Winter. Aka the film that made me fall for Eleanor of Aquitaine and Katharine Hepburn both. (I saw the classic Hepburns, from her youth, afterwards.) In retrospect, I suspect that a couple plotting against each other all the time and yet loving each other might have imprinted me for certain types.*g* Anyway: KH as Eleanor: rules. O'Toole as Henry is superb, too.

c) Blade Runner. My favourite sci-fi film of all time. Ridley Scott at his directing best, perfect noir, and the replicants - the androids - hit all my buttons with their anger at their slave existence and their desperate wish to live. Rudger Hauer was never as good as he was here, playing Roy Batty. Oh, and of course this would be the film from which a lot of others took their cue as to aesthetics and looks. TV shows as well; you can't tell me that the design for Chiana in Farscape isn't influenced by Pris. I don't have it on DVD yet, but I have both the director's cut and the cinematic release on video. (Siding with the director's cut version here.)

d) The Kid. My favourite silent movie. The one to show to anyone who doesn't get why Chaplin was one of the cinematic giants. The funny scenes are still funny - like the most often shown outtake, the kid breaking windows so the Tramp can repair them - and the heartrendering scenes (the kid being taken away, the Tramp in pursuit and finally catching up) are still heartbreaking. So many decades later. Ave, Charles. My DVD version is part of the excellent complete edition of Chaplin's films.

e) Citizen Kane. My favourite Orson Welles movie is actually Othello, but Kane I rewatch more often because it's easier to take. I'm not getting into an argument as to whether CK deserves the "best film of all times" accolades. But it's, to use a Dr. Who term, bloody fantastic. And as opposed to many brilliant debuts, it has an element of exubarant playfulness in it instead of the more usual worthy earnestness. Young Mr. Welles called a movie set the biggest train station a boy ever was given to play with, and it shows. The DVD has several good documentary extras, but I am somewhat irritated it didn't come with the big documentary about the Welles vs. Hearst showdown, The War over Citizen Kane.

5. Tag five people who have to do this meme.

Hm. [ profile] karabair, [ profile] honorh, [ profile] andrastewhite, [ profile] k_julia and [ profile] thalia_seawood.


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