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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Only Five Episodes Left - HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT

❝I don't want to be presumptuous, but could this (UNDER THE SKIN) be the best collection of visuals from this series?❞ -Andrew E.

❝Very cool line-up! Glad you're splitting GONE WITH THE WIND even in two parts it will be hard to pick just one shot each.❞ -Joel6

THE MATRIX is actually an unexpectedly awesome choice for this series❞ -Mark

 

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Entries in Hit Me With Your Best Shot (132)

Wednesday
Jul232014

Best Shot - Final 5 Episodes of 2014

Hit Me With Your Best Shot always has to step aside for the utter madness of Fall Festivals and Awards Season. It will return for a sixth season next March. So join in now while we're still rolling and see how much fun it is over the course of the next five movies. It's simple to play:

1) Watch the movie.
2) Choose your "Best Shot" (your definition - beauty in the eye of the beholder)
3) Post it online somewhere with a few words about why you chose it. We link up. 

Tues July 29th CRIES & WHISPERS (1973)
Since we're celebrating 1973 all July to coincide with the Smackdown, here's your Best Cinematography winner. Ingmar Bergman's extraordinary movie about sisters and death. Cheerful! 

Tues August 5th THE SADDEST CHILDREN IN THE WORLD (2003-2009)
BITE-SIZED WEEK. Here's a short film trilogy from the super gifted Canadian filmmaker Jamie Travis (For a Good Time, Call...) who I've been obsessed with since 2006 when I first saw his "Patterns" trilogy. Pick one of these films to watch and write about -- they don't need to viewed in order as they're only thematically connected. I'm guessing you'll like it and want to watch all three.

• Why the Anderson Children Didn't Come To Dinner (2003, 16 min)
The Saddest Boy in the World (2006, 13 min)
The Armoire (2009, 22 min)

Tues August 12th SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER (1959)
We're jumpin in on Anne Marie's "A Year with Kate" action this week. Since the Tennessee Williams film was directed by four time Oscar winner Joseph Mankiewicz (All About Eve) and stars Katharine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor (both nominated for Best Actress!) and Montgomery Clift that's five great artists all grouped together for our sensationalistic amusement in this insane story of predatory homos, evil mothers, and primordial gardens with some of the best taglines the cinema ever gave us outside of Susan Hayward pictures:

...suddenly last summer Cathy knew she was being used for something evil!"

The one they're all talking about"

These are powers and passions without precedent in motion pictures."

[Amazon Instant | Netflix | iTunes]

August 19th GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) PART 1
       August 26th GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) PART 2

*READER'S PICK!*

We're going back to Tara for Scarlett, Rhett, Melanie, Ashley et all  but since Gone With the Wind is supersized in every way (3 directors, 2 cinematographers, 1400 women seen for Scarlett, 6 months of filming, 238 minute running time, 1.6 billion dollar box office adjusted for inflation, 8 competitive Oscars and too many iconic scenes and lines of dialogue to count) we're splitting it up into two episodes for its 75th anniversary year. Part 1 Stretches from the opening credits to "I'll never go hungry again" and Part 2 finds Scarlett trying to make Tara happen until Rhett no longer gives a damn.

September 2nd THE MATRIX (1999)
SEASON FINALE. Take the red pill and join us to sing Keanu Reeve a Happy 50th Birthday as we look back on this much adored,  eventually reviled (well, the sequels anyway) but hugely influential sci-fi blockbuster. 

 

Tuesday
Jul222014

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Under the Skin

Each week we pick a film and ask brave cinephiles to choose what they think of as its Best Shot. Next Tuesday is Ingmar Bergman's Oscar winner for Best Cinematography Cries & Whispers (1973) but before we get to that dying sister merriment, let's travel to Scotland where Scarlett Johansson is luring men to their doom. Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin is mysterious enough that it need multiple eyes to decipher it. And the film even repeatedly suggests you do the looking what with it's eyeball construction (?), predatory gaze, and actual dialogue.

Do you want to look at me?

We do, Scarlett, we do.

I normally show the choices in chronological order within the context of the film but given Under the Skin's brooding enigmatic events and telling repetitions, the articles are displayed in the order they were brought to my attention from the Best Shot club members. 

BEST SHOT(s)  UNDER THE SKIN
Directed by Jonathan Glazer. Cinematography by Daniel Landin.
19 shots / 23 participants. Click on the images for the corresponding article
MAJOR VISUAL SPOILERS FOLLOW - DO NOT CLICK IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jul222014

Under the Skin and Into the Fog

Formless void and darkness. And then light, blinding light. Jonathan Glazer and his gifted cinematographer Daniel Landin present them in that Biblical order. They toy with them for the remainder of Under the Skin, separating them like they're playing god.

Honorable Mention

Perhaps they are since this haunting film begins, as far as I can tell, with Creation, or a creation of sorts. Is it our protagonist being formed (?) or, rather, assuming a new form complete with vocal exercizes to play the role. (The mystery woman is never named in Under the Skin, and none of the men she entices and lures into her formless void, ever think to ask her for it so we'll refer to her as "She" or "Her" since it's Scarlett Johansson we're talking about). What She needs language for is something of a mystery. She seems to communicate best telepathically in the eery repeated shots of her and her driver/accomplice staring at each other or staring into windows / mirrors. That's as good an explanation as any for how she understands the thick Scottish brogues around her when English is not her mother tongue.

Though the details of what exactly is occuring in any given sequence of this great picture are often indecipherable, the artistry of the film is not. It's alternating visual schemes of darkness and light, its elemental preoccupations (water, air, fire... and, well Earth, all play key roles) and its weird asides (the blinking mask, that golden shimmer interlude, the cake!) and Scarlett's fascinatingly alien comportment all prove more rewarding on second viewing. 

Runner Up

The most powerful recurring image and in some ways the most inexplicably frightening is watching the men slowly sink into blackness, like sailors willfully drowning for a siren's call. You may have your own ideas about what exactly She is harvesting their skin for but I assumed it was the creation of more faux humans like herself. And if so, how perverse that Creation is always doubling as Destruction. 

And speaking of perversity, Here's my choice for Best Shot, below. In a film full of startling imagery, it's something as mundane as a car on the road, and a woman in the fog, from the point of view of a car's dashboard. It's a visual choice as it continues the film's often ingenious play on stark blacks and bright whites while reversing the now familiar feeling of men swallowed up in blackness. It's a narrative choice, marking as it does the transition to the film's last act and reverses our usual view of looking out the car's window with her and for a moment, the same view looking at her. It's an emotional choice as I forgot to breath watching it. She has rejected her calling, an apostate suddenly wandering in a strange land without purpose.

Best Shot. Into the Fog

Glazer leaves us waiting for Her return a full 14 seconds before we join her in the fog. Her emotions are still totally alien to us as she rotates in place, staring into the liquid air. Looking for what? Everything that should be mundane, including this view from inside a car we've spent half the film in, is riddled with complexity and eery wonder. Glazer has the power to render the familiar alien and by the film's end, and rather movingly, the alien familiar.

I'm not otherwise a religious person but the cinema is my church and Jonathan Glazer is one of the new gods. I've watched Under the Skin twice now, both times with equal parts reverent awe and abject fear. I'm a true believer. 

See the whole roster of chosen shots from 22 other HMWYBS participants

 

Friday
Jul182014

"Under the Skin" is Coming

Are you picking a "Best Shot" for next Tuesday? The more eyeballs the better.

Tuesday
Jul152014

Best Shot: Any Batman Film (1966-2012)

Hit Me With Your Best Shot returns from its June hiatus for a 75th celebration of the masked vigilante with a thing for winged rodents (here's the future schedule - next week is Under the Skin). We asked anyone who wanted to play to pick a theatrically released Batman film (there are 9 of them) and choose its best shot. Here's what the participants saw when they looked at these pictures.

Click on the photos to read the corresponding articles. It's the Same Bat-Time on Same Different Bat Channels. 

BEST SHOTS IN BATMAN FILM FRANCHISE
29 images selected from 9 films by 17 participants

Click to read more ...