Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fall Renewal

The dearth of content on here of late is in part due to a myriad of causes, but largely is simply a result of bad writing habits. Sure, in the last several weeks things have picked up outside of movie ventures; I've found myself working a job that often leaves me more eager to drink wine and lethargically converse with people than focus my attention on a screen; I've suddenly found myself in a rock 'n roll band that is growing in publicity and quality far quicker than my guitar skills are (thus practice does not simply mean cathartic relief through plucking at strings, but rigorous, callus forming, muscle stretching guitar sessions that often must go on longer than my patience can endure); and, as september is halfway through, I'm officially back to the grind of being a full-time college student, which essentially means I'm constantly wondering whether, using the rationale that I'm going to forget most of this material probably within a year, I should simply skip various homework assignments and do what I want to do, or decide to be a disciplined student and really feel good about myself. And that's simply during this pleasant time in the semester when papers haven't started piling up and midterms are still a a good month down the road. 

In spite of all of this, I still can't think of any truly convincing reason not to be posting on here, which is in part why I've decided to write this, and also why I've endeavored to churn something out at least on a semi-regular basis. In truth, I haven't been seeing as much film or television of late, not so much due to lack of interest, but mostly because I started to grow increasingly tired of wrestling to stay awake through a picture, or simply falling asleep during it and then having to finish it the next day (nothing worse, in my mind). There are solutions to this, such as watching in the morning as a springboard for the day rather than at night to let it unwind. Or, as I've started doing lately, during those four and five o'clock afternoon hours when I'm wide awake but not particularly compelled to dig into the day's homework yet. In any case, gone are those days when I would stay up late, cramming in as many movies as possible, and refusing to fall asleep regardless of how heavy my eyelids felt. It didn't matter that I wasn't really absorbing what I was watching, but rather that I was simply watching it. Seeing three movies in a row poorly was more important than watching just one carefully. That, however is a dreadful practice for anyone, and these days my curiosities with regard to the director's aesthetic and my eagerness to pick apart a film even as I'm watching largely keep me from seeing anything of worth unless my mind's at its sharpest (that's not to say I don't sometimes indulge in passive viewing with flat-out lousy movies-though even now I tend to scrutinize the bad stuff since it's arguably just as important to be able to articulate why something is bad rather than good).

That said, cinema is good enough to transcend such minor issues, and often it simply takes the arrival of some masterpiece to suddenly change one's mood and make seeing as many films as possible an absolute necessity once again. In theory I want to watch movies all the time, but at the same time there's a Netflix copy of Lubitsch's Trouble in Paradise on my desk that I simply can't get myself to sit down to-and it's only 80 minutes! You say there's not enough time, but more often than not there is, and one simply has to know how to find it. 

Overall, though, perhaps getting back into movies and writing about them has as much to do with the current cinematic landscape as it does with my own feelings. It has been a particularly lousy few weeks at the multiplex, and as my conviction has increased that good movies in theatres compel viewers to watch even more good ones at home, then perhaps it'll simply take the arrival of something like Gone Girl to get me devouring films again. 

Or it might be that The Drop/A Walk Among the Tombstones double feature I've got planned for Friday. I'm not expecting either film to be great, but I'm a big believer in Scott Frank (The Lookout, which I revisited a few weeks ago, still rocks in my opinion) and Dennis Lehane has always had a soft spot in my heart ever since I saw Mystic River when I was 15 and declared it a masterpiece before it was even over. And shit, both films just look wildly entertaining.

Time now, though, to finally see Christian Petzold's Barbara now that his new picture, Phoenix (fresh out of TIFF), has bounded up to the top of my most-anticipated fall 2014 movies.

P.S. watch the new trailer for Listen Up Philip

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