Theyre about half decent Ill agree. All except for OH BROTHER.
I gather you rate this fully decent? I love the film. But let me start with Miller's Crossing which I think is really a classic matching the best of the genre. I put it as within a (rough) category of their films where the classic device of omnipotent viewer where author/film-maker are purposefully invisible. But that device is only partially satisfactory to me. I'm really rather more fond of films where the creators are made apparent by the playfulness of what I'm watching, as in Fargo, Big Lewbowski and Oh Brother.
And for that reason, I don't think anyone working in film matches Britain's Dennis Potter or, to a lesser degree, our David Milch.
Thu 31 Jan, 2013 07:41 pm
Haven't seen Memento. Confess I know nothing of it. I don't get around as much as I should.
And most painters and novelists and poets and sculptors are steeped in some tradition of their art and that is why most works of art are not timeless.
Tough standard, if even imaginable. It's not as if Shakespeare had nothing prior upon which he could and did model his plays. But I do know what you're reaching for here, even if it's foggy, and I agree.
It's only foggy if you don't have the clarity of mind to see.
Certainty is very compelling, aesthetically, isn't it? But then again, so are nice boobs. I'll let you have your certainty and I'll take the boobs.
Thu 31 Jan, 2013 11:34 pm
Saying that art is the product of culture is the merest tautology. If that were strictly true, we'd still be painting on cave walls and playing reed flutes.
I was at a pre-concert lecture once, and after the lecture, the musicologist who had been speaking solicited questions. No one else had anything to say, so i said, although not in exactly these words: "Beethoven's first two symphonies are really bad, but the third is pure genius, a complete departure from previous forms. Do you think, if he had lived, Mozart would have made such a departure?" He gave that some thought before he responded, and then he said no. He went on to explain that Mozart was a product of his era, and his genius did not lie in innovation. I understood immediately what he meant. Beethoven's first two symphonies suck because they were pallid imitations of Haydn. This is not surprising, because he studied composition with Haydn. With the third symphony, though, he broke out of the mold, and produced a work which was such a departure, that it ushered in a new era in musical composition.
Haydn was an innovator, too. He took the sinfonia concertante, expanded it, and created what was virtually a new form altogether, the modern symphony. Mozart fully embraced this new form, and was a master of it in short order--but he did not, and likely could not have created it. Mozart would not take Beethoven on as a student, because he said that old Ludwig (then young Ludwig) had no performance skills. That may well have been true, i certainly cannot comment on that. Mozart had been a performer since he was four years old, and there was none better. His compositions show how much that was a part of his genius; he was able to put himself in the audience, and hear the work "from the outside." The Gran Partita is a perfect example of this . . .
. . . there is a wonderful conversation going on among the instruments that you just don't hear from other composers. But, once again, Mozart was a consummate performer and a genius as a composer, but he wasn't an innovator.
Haydn was a brilliant innovator. When he was seventeen, he no longer had the voice to sing in what we call the Vienna Boys' Choir, and after a prank, he was dismissed. He became a freelance musician, and had the good fortune to begin learning composition from various composers in Vienna. In the year that Mozart was born, when Haydn was just 24, he got a job with an Austrian baron at his country estate. Being a patron of the arts, especially of music, was very much the thing among the aristocracy, and aristocratic patronage was the only real career path open to musicians and composers. Haydn immediately showed that he was an innovator. He invented the string quartet. That form allowed the aristocratic patron to display his cultural superiority through new music, but at a cost which he could afford. Not everybody was an Esterhazy, who kept a full orchestra, a full, mounted military band and a full choir for church music. It was just ten years after Haydn had gone to work for Baron Carl Fürnberg (for whom he had created the string quartet) that he was employed by Prince Esterhazy. The rest, as they prosaically say, was history.
No, art is very much more than some paltry sum of the cultural parts to which the artist is exposed. Genius can be of the kind Mozart displayed in expressing the existing forms to their fullest. But even a ham-handed pianist and socially awkward boy from Bonn can be a genius, because he invents new things!
This is the funeral march from Beethoven's third symphony, which represented such a departure from previous forms:
Fri 1 Feb, 2013 12:47 am
This can been seen, by the way, in areas other than music. In the last decade of the 15th century, Leonardo da Vinci was employed by Ludovico Sforza in Milan. Not long after that time, he painted eight portraits, only four of which survive. La Gioconda, generally referred to as the "Mona Lisa," is one of those portraits, his most famous work and arguably the most famous painting in the world. Leonard used oils, but so skillfully that, as with tempera paintings, the brush strokes cannot be seen. One critic said that the technique would make the most confident master despair and lose heart. The portraits from this period which have survived are almost perfectly preserved, and show no signs of repair or over-painting.
But his genius in portraiture in that series has another aspect. He attempted to capture the person, and not just their image. In the "Mona Lisa," the garments and the background sort of fade away, and do not compete with the face and hands in the portrait. He had a sense of humor, too. This:
. . . is a portrait of Cecilia Gallerani, who was the principle mistress of Ludovico Sforza. Note that she is holding an ermine, the symbol of a monarch. It is said that the ermine bears the features of Sforza. Everyone got the joke, so it's a good thing Leonardo was no longer in Milan.
His technique, and his introduction of a very human aspect to the figures and portraits he painted had a profound effect on Michelangelo and Raphael. Da Vinci produced innoavtions in painting technique and compositional style which forever altered the art of painting.
I love the various interpretations and "Secret" messages planned and executed by Leonardo. The Sforza substitute was a "bald ermine" that looked like Ludovico, and Cecilia has him firmy under control in her very big hands.
The Genevra di Bienci painting, one of a very few "two sided" theme paintings by Leonardo has, superimposed the family mottos of the Di Bienci gilr an the Bembo family, which was the dude she was hooking up with in her spare time.
Several of his paintings have his fingerprint left somewhere on the ground , including a Gioconda and the Last Supper
I think the dude was very witty, and very, very deep. It would have been worth one's while to have known him. I don't think most people know the influence he had on painting.
Sat 2 Feb, 2013 11:29 pm
You know, some people are once in an age kind of people, Leonardo was one of them. He painted those portraits on wooden boards with oil paints, and they have held up almost perfectly for 500 years. He introduced innovations in technique, in the use of oils (many painting were done in tempera, because you could smooth them out so that the brush strokes were invisible, he did that with oils), in the exposition of the subjects. He was truly an innovator.
Mozart was a once in an age kind of composer, but only within the genre which was then dominant. No one in his age or since has had his kind of talent. But he was no innovator. Haydn was. He took the sinfonia concertante and created a brand new form from it. He expanded it, he moved from three to four movements, he regularized the succession of tempos, he introduced horns and wood winds into a form which had previously been just an expanded concerto for strings. He didn't change one thing, he changed a series of things which breathed new life into the form. He invented the string quartet, as i've said, which gave small patrons of the arts something they could afford to promote. He was a once in an age musical innovator.
For some people, it's just talent, rather than accomplishment, as was the case with Mozart. Hayley Westenra is a once in an age soprano. When she was six years old, a music teacher told her parents she had perfect pitch. I've heard a recording of her singing at age seven, and it's true. Although i wouldn't call her an innovator, people like Hayley and Sarah Brightman have helped to create new avenues of expression for singers who previously would simply have worked the opera circuit, for far less money, and burnt out by the time they were 40.
This line of discussion grew out of a silly claim that artists are just the product of their cultural milieu. As already noted, it that were actually true, we'd be doing what our ancestors did tens of thousands of years ago.
we give Leonardo all these accolades more for being able to separate himself from paradigms of his age and to "try looking at things differently". The fact is that he got so much of his "natural philosophical" conclusions dead wrong. His codices on things natural , " , like geology of course, are quaint, laughable and Largely Creationist because he tried to extend his anatomical studies and religious views of horses and humans , to the earth. He envsioned "capillarii: of rivers and water sources underground. He was more or less corrected by Fr. Athanasius Kircher a century later (even though Kirchers own findings in other applied fields were equally as laughable)
It wasnt until "De RE Metallica" presented geographic and geologic concepts as results of natural processes and "cycles" that repeat and obliterate that which had gone before.
People who view him shallowly focus on the illustrations in his private notes for flying machines and "tanks"--but those were his private notes, not something he was trying to sell to an employer. The things he dreamed up were not possible give the wood and soft metal technology of his day, and they're not workable even with today's materials. Given that he was untutored in the educational sense, that part is interesting, but barren. He was effective when employed as a civil or military engineer, in an age when there was no formal educational regime for those professions.
I've always thought of him as a brilliant painter--the rest is just interesting marginalia.
Sun 3 Feb, 2013 07:08 am
I shouldn't say always--when i was young and callow and ignorant, i was impressed with his drawings, too. But when i learned more about him and his employments in life, it became obvious that his drawings are impressive because of his great skill, not because any of his "inventions" were practicable.
Fri 15 Feb, 2013 04:56 am
The two films that I thought were brilliant when I was very young, turned out to be groan worthy, "Easy Rider" and "Alice' s Restaurant".
Anything made by David Lynch is outdated as soon as it is released.
Next, a question: Wasn't Plan 9 from Outer Space directed by Ed Wood?
I'm glad somebody remembered Stan Freberg, anyone remember "Marsha" or "wunnerful wunnerful"? He is still alive and is 86 years old.
I saw EZ Rider last year in a tv marathon of old movies of the 60's and 70's. It really doesnt make it through the ages. It had some simplistic truths of the day and as a kid , I found it entertaining then.
The part wjere the townfolks beat the guys as they camp, and bludgeoned Jack Nicholson to death was a hoot. They discussed how theyd return his things to his arents but they really ahd to get to New Orleans.
Even Bugs Bunny cartoons had more of a sense of rality than did Ez Rider.
Like the Billy JAck series, ya only need to see em once
Fri 15 Feb, 2013 05:56 am
I greatly enjoyed Hard Day's Night, when I saw it at the Naval Base theater, in 1964. Tried watching it a while back, but could not keep awake through it all.
Mon 18 Feb, 2013 11:54 pm
watched the Total Recall remake yesterday...and I was very disappointed. The plot sucked...special effects and fight scenes were all that was there.
Here's a project for you, frank. I know you've got the money and the connections. Movie idea.
It will be the case that the members of the Hell's Angels at their high point are all now as old as me or older. Which means, they're having trouble.
They've burned their social bridges...the tire iron through the wife's windshield, pawning mom's walker for wine... that **** is all long gone. So down in California, there must be emerging old folks facilities owned by and run by and populated by, Hells Angels. Bound to be.
So you set your story in this facility. Run with this one, frank. Potential here.