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About Cronopio

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  1. Even though my 9-year-old self loved Grease when it came out, and it marked the first time I went to the movies with a member of the opposite sex on what we thought was a date, I can't even muster up enough nostalgia to find it watchable, while Hairspray makes me wanna dance, even though I'd normally rather have my eyes poked out than dance.
  2. 'Ordinary People' is an underrated movie that has become unfairly maligned because of its Oscar win over 'Raging Bull'. I love them both, they are incomparable.
  3. In his documentary "My Journey Through American Movies" Scorsese makes a strong case for the importance of genre movies, especially as a vehicle for filmmakers to explore social themes by smuggling them as subtext under the thrills of the plot, and I think it's interesting that his own excursions into full blown genre film-making like "The Departed" and "Cape Fear" don't seem to have all that much under the surface. Can't he take his own advice? (I also read him quoted as saying that after he made the caper film "Boxcar Bertha" John Cassavetes told him "you just spent a year of your life making a piece of shit" so maybe making genre movies makes him feel like he's slumming it.) In any case, I don't see much of what makes Scorsese interesting in this movie, not even stylistically, except for a few flourishes in the editing, and the movie is fun but feels bloated and pointless. "Infernal Affairs" on the other hand embraces its low-budget genre origins, runs with its premise, and finds more subtext and meaning despite not having the trappings of a big film. I get that the premise is ludicrous, as Andrew Ti points out, but aren't most genre movies predicated on some big silly "what if" idea? Like, what if a scientist became a fly? What if the bus explodes if it goes under 55 miles an hour? etc. I've watched The Departed three times, and the last two times I've been wishing it had been directed by Michael Mann or Kathryn Bigelow instead. I think they would have gotten more juice out of it, and there probably wouldn't have been so much "Gimme Shelter" on the soundtrack.
  4. Cronopio

    Episode 153 - Cry Uncle! (w/ Lloyd Kaufman)

    You can make a case for a lot of exploitation movies in all their varieties, from the already much mentioned "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" or blaxploitations flicks like "Coffy" or "Across 110th Street", a women in prison film like Jonathan Demme's "Caged Heat, to the nunsploitation Mexican horror of "Alucarda" - but any of those movies have a spark of inspiration, or at least some panache in the filmmaking, which "Cry Uncle" just doesn't have. Fun, but no.
  5. Cronopio

    Episode 148 - Point Break (w/ Andrew Barker)

    I had a different read on the end of Zero Dark Thirty, where the woman who has been essentially the representative of "America" is alone, and with no sense of direction. She boards a military plane , representative of American military might, that is an empty vessel with no flight-plan or a clear destination...this is triumphalist propaganda? In any case, even if my interpretation is completely wrong, calling her a Leni Riefenstahl seems hyperbolic to me.
  6. Cronopio

    Episode 148 - Point Break (w/ Andrew Barker)

    First of all, I had to smile when Amy brought up Von Stroheim's Greed, which reminded me why I listen to this podcast. I thought I was going to be all in YES on this movie. I was in film school in the early nineties and this was a much beloved film among my peers - I watched the laserdisc over and over, poring over Katrhyn Bigelow's technique and I agree with much of what Andrew Barker points out: it's the first great nineties action film, it gives us "action Keanu", it is wonderfully devoid of clever "you're dead" quips (although I wish somebody had once said "pop goes the weasel" after blowing up a bad guy), and there is a lot of subtext here - but masterpiece? I don't know. I think it falls short of that. There is nothing I can point to specifically, other that I think the whole isn't greater than the sum of its very good parts. As far as early Kathryn Bigelow movies go, I prefer Blue Steel, and I think Strange Days is the more interesting film she did in the nineties. Also, while listening to the discussion about directing actresses I was reminded of The Weight of Water, a movie that doesn't come together at all but which features one of the greatest unsung performances I've seen, by Sarah Polley, which speaks to Kathryn Bigelow's ability with actors even though she is known for being good with a camera.
  7. Cronopio

    Episode 147 - The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (w/ Jen Yamato)

    When I was a young punk I was the kind of person that would state "I hate musicals!" Gun to my head, I would admit 'All That Jazz', 'NewYork, New York' and 'Singing in the Rain' are great, "at least they're unsentimental" I'd say, pretentiously smoking a cigarette. My girlffiend (now my wife) declared "you're an idiot" and took me to "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" at the cinema when it was re-released in 1996 and I saw the enormity of my idiocy. Watched it in astonishment and loved it from the first frame to the last. The color palette, the camerawork, Legrand's music, Demy's directorial touch, the audacity of the entire thing brought me to my knees and I spent the next few months catching up on all the musicals I'd dismissed and preaching the gospel of Jacques Demy (I have the box-set of his movies, which I am forcing my children to watch). All this is to say that I voted yes. And if you love La La Land and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, I have a movie recommendation for you: Jacque Rivette's "Up Down Fragile"
  8. Cronopio

    Homework - Fat Girl (2001)

    So excited for this episode!
  9. Cronopio

    Future of the Show?

    That seems to be the very definition of twitter.
  10. It looks like the tiger mauls the gladiator, after all.
  11. I love both films. Butch and Sundance is a perfect entertainment - maybe too perfect, like a studio's well-oiled attempt at cashing in on the cultural moment, being both anti-establishment and establishment at the same time, its tongue-in-cheek rebelliousness masking its conventional heart, almost like a Marvel movie of today. And Midnight Cowboy is the standard bearer for the humanist realist, European influenced films of that era - Panic in Needle Park, The King of Marvin Gardens, Five Easy Pieces, etc. I appreciate how all those movies are very reflective of the social strife of the era, like Weimar Republic silent films, or Italian neorrealist movies. It was a tough choice, but in the end I went with Midnight Cowboy, because it feels more sincere.
  12. This was a great head to head, clash of the musical titans episode, and I really loved the discussion. I voted for Mary Poppins. I think that one of the worst things to happen to film, especially at the end of the silent era, was the over-reliance on theater as source material as it tends to weigh movies down. And I think one of the best things to happen to film is George Melies and his magic-show "look what movies can do" approach to movie-making. My Fair Lady, for me, remains a filmed play, and Mary Poppins is in the tradition of Melies's illusions. Arguably, My Fair Lady is a more mature, more subtextual, more thematically relevant movie, but Mary Poppins is about the exuberance and wonder of movie-making (and the songs are catchier.) If I were to induct a George Cukor film into the canon, it would be The Philadelphia Story - yes, I know, based on a play.
  13. Cronopio

    Episode 139 - The NeverEnding Story (w/ Dave Nadelberg)

    For me, The Neverending Story film is to children's literature as David Lynch's Dune is to sci fi. It's got fascinating visuals and memorable moments, but in the end it just doesn't hang together. I loved it as a kid, my children love it, and I share Amy's admiration for ambitious failures, but I'm going to vote no. Not a referendum on Amy's childhood, or mine.
  14. Cronopio

    Episode 124 - Suspiria (w/ Roxanne Benjamin)

    I think in The Shining, Kubrick was trying to create a credible, realistic space, and its only when you obsess over it and draw up diagrams that the artifice becomes apparent, it's not something you grasp immediately - but in Suspiria, the reality of space is subverted blatantly, sometimes from shot to shot. Rooms and hallways appear out of nowhere (the chamber full of barbed wire, for example). In the first kill, after the killer smashes the window and attacks Pat in her bedroom, Argento cuts to her friend outside the door, and when he cuts back to the attack, they are no longer in the room but in this abstract space with a metal fence in the background, bathed in expressionistic blue and red light - is it the roof of the building? who knows! who cares! I don't think this is a defect of the film, but it is a defining characteristic of it.