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The first movie that really made an impression on me was THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH. Then I had to see VERTIGO. I might have gone to see that on my own, I was 9 then, though I probably went with my sister three years older. I think she took me to see REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. Mom took me to see EAST OF EDEN. I don't think I would have seen that on my own. So my aesthetic really flowed from that. Could be why I like Polanski, Wenders and Lynch a lot.
Masked and Anonymous (2003)
In MASKED AND ANONYMOUS, the 2003 movie by Larry Charles. Bob Dylan plays Jack Fate, a singer who is bailed out of jail (for an unspecified crime) by a couple of promoters, Sweetheart and Nina (John Goodman and Jessica Lange), to play a benefit concert (again unspecified) in an unnamed country. I felt that it was Central American country. Maybe like Nicaragua or Honduras. A dictatorship where the President is on his deathbed and parties are lurking for a takeover. Fate seems to know them all. Fate is hounded by a reporter, Tom Friend (Jeff Bridges) and aided by one of his close friends Bobby Cupid (Luke Wilson). There are various cameos by some rather famous actors, probably friends of Dylan and Charles who just wanted to be a part of the movie. Most of the action takes place in a large convention hall with a stage and a trailer for the 'promoters' , managers and band. Dylan and his band play tunes from his album 'Time Out of Mind' and various others from over the years.
I imagined that Larry Charles left it to Bob Dylan to provide dialogue. Well, I felt like this was a memoir, travelogue. Bob Dylan has been around the world a few times, had the ear of and listened to many people, including more than a few politicians. I felt like the characters were composites of these people. Sweetheart and Nina, the business people, Tom Friend the press. The President and and his successor Edmund seemed be the politicians. I bet more than a few asked Dylan's advice. And of course he got to address you and me. And such music! Above all Bob Dylan is a master musician.
The Numbers Station (2013)
THE NUMBERS STATION really reminds me of Anton Corbijn's 'The American' a lot. Emotionless espionage operatives discovering them. In both instances these males are swayed by females reminding them. Very different results to the stories, however.
THE NUMBERS STATION is definitely the more dark of the 2 films, filmed in the English country side, and in a forbidding fortress like facility in which codes in the form of 4 digit strings are broadcast relaying instructions to field espionage personnel and military units. John Cusack is the protagonist, an operative about to break down from the stress and unable to carry out an assignment, a murder. So he's reassigned to a numbers station, to more or less rest. He has no such luck when the station is attacked by parties who wish to broadcast false assignments. His partner, an attractive young woman played by Malin Akerman, is personable enough to invoke the fellow's emotions. Very poetic, and again, very similar to the Corbijn film.
Again I'm reminded of another film, Nicholas Ray's ON DANGEROUS GROUND , in which a detective who has become brutal and excessive, is reassigned to a rural murder case, becomes infatuated with a woman there and is relieved of some of his stress. Also I have an record by the rock band Porcupine Tree named 'Stupid Dream' in which one of the songs, 'Even Less', has a sample of these number strings being intoned. My guess is that it's a parody. I always wondered what they were.
The American (2010)
What a gorgeous film! Stunning photography! Very like Hitchcock in that it's sad at the same time. Unlike Hitchcock, it's humorless.
Jack, the gun expert and assassin, is on the run and is assigned to build a weapon for a compatriot. He holes up in a picturesque part of Italy and reluctantly mixes with the locals. Although this does aid him.
Jack is so torn, as many military and criminal elements are. Their intelligence shows them beauty but they must keep dealing in death and ugliness. He likes butterflies and uses photography as a cover. Just heartbreaking when he begins to fall in love with a prostitute, Clara. And she is conflicted also. Ironically, Ingrid, his client, is attracted to him also, and he is to her. He brings her to his countryside hideaway to test the rifle. another time he brings Clara there also. She steps on one of the bullets in the stream. Poetic.
I think this is one of the more difficult roles George Clooney has performed. It reminds me so much of NOTORIOUS . The ill fated lovers.
The Social Network (2010)
I liked this movie a lot. Another accidental invention. I'm guessing that without Sean Parker's inspiration, Facebook wouldn't have evolved from where it was. Probably someone else would have done it. Facebook is a stripped down version of My Space. More devoted to the chat room aspect as opposed to having your own website. Very good acting, all of them seemed involved. The strong story helped. If I were Zuckerberg, I would be flattered. Maybe he felt he had to disclaim a few things. One of your more interesting and intelligent people. One wonders why he isn't in NASA, the military or corporate world (maybe he consults?) Facebook has become a bit more than he envisioned. I personally see it as a means of expression. Nice look at the computer world for the layman. Reminded me of PI, HACKERS and SNEAKERS . very impressed with Eisenberg and Timberlake. I liked how the Jessica Albright story tied the film together, and gave you perspective as to Zuckerberg's character. Like the lawyer tells him, 'you're not as a**hole, but you try real hard to be'. Almost like he's trying to emulate some of the people around him. He's an obsessive minded programmer who has to take on some of the aspects of corporate chicanery. Can't wait until the DVD comes out so I can watch it at my own speed.