Finite Focus: A little bit of seduction in Children Of Paradise

. In a beautiful poetic film of many diverse and wonderful characters, my favourite moment comes down to pure carnal desire. It’s a simple look and casual statement made by a sleepy-eyed woman to a man. Contrary to what he may think as she stands near a bed, she’s not tired in the least. Her gaze is direct and her smile is anything but coy.  ...

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Finite Focus: The Pool Party in Boogie Nights

. Whether you want to call it homage or straight up borrowing, P.T. Anderson’s great Boogie Nights certainly shows off its influences. Altman and Scorsese figure prominently, but another inspiration is Mikhail Kalatozov and his film I Am Cuba (which also happens to be a big Scorsese favourite too). Aside from being drop-dead gorgeous and a remarkably...

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Finite Focus: The Opening of The Warriors

. The MovieClub podcast was kind enough to ask me to join them late last year for a roundtable discussion of John Frankenheimer’s 52 Pick-Up and Walter Hill’s The Driver. I had a great time, learned a thing or two about Elmore Leonard (thanks Kurt!), discovered a link between 52 Pick-Up and Jacques Demy’s Model Shop (thanks Jandy!) and used...

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Finite Focus: Buster Keaton tries to relax (Our Hospitality)

Buster Keaton has always been famous for his daring stunts and his deadpan face. Rarely does he break expression as he tumbles down mountainsides, fights vicious storms or survives buildings crashing around him. One of his best stunts occurs near the end of his classic Our Hospitality – as his beloved floats uncontrollably towards a huge waterfall and...

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Finite Focus: The Mother Summons Her Strength (Aparajito)

1955′s Pather Panchali (which translates roughly to “Song Of The Little Road”) was Satyajit Ray’s breakthrough on the international stage when it first made waves at Cannes. He followed it up the next year with the second part of his “Apu Trilogy” entitled Aparajito (“The Unvanquished”) which furthered the story...

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Finite Focus: Monsters vs. ALIENS

[Prometheus is coming. And to celebrate the Alien universe and all its permutations, I'm pulling this 2009 Finite Focus entry from the archives, which looks at one of the quieter moments in Jim Cameron's entry into the series] When one thinks of James Cameron‘s re-invention of the premise from 1979′s Alien, it generally is the macho bravado of the...

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Finite Focus: Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said (Nowhere to Hide)

There is something both delightful and exhausting about Lee Myung-Se’s Nowhere To Hide. On one hand, the director plays with form to turn a dead-simple police procedural film into an evocative avant garde experiment; a clothesline for hanging every manner of stylistic tic and exudation of cinematic coolness. On the other, it’s entirely too damn long...

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Finite Focus: Ben Affleck Gets His Comeuppance (Dazed and Confused)

I only saw Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused for the very first time about a year ago and it became an instant favorite. It’s one of those flicks that I find insanely rewatchable because of the distinct characters, quotable dialogue, terrific soundtrack and a general sort of laid back, “it’ll be all right on the night”...

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Finite Focus: Blowing Up The Photographs (Blow-Up)

The first time I saw Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 film Blow-Up, I made the mistake of watching it as a simple narrative story and so by the end of it I was not only slightly confused but also a bit frustrated. It had a sudden, abrupt ending and some very odd scenes of shifting perspectives. For example: 1) Photographer Thomas (played by David Hemmings)...

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Finite Focus: Albert Brooks’ Gold Fish (Out of Sight)

Albert Brooks might feel a bit snubbed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences considering all the critical love for his performance in Nicholas Winding Refn’s genre-delight, Drive. One has only to look at the image above to see why perhaps the Academy wasn’t overly keen on recognizing the picture in any category outside of Sound Editing....

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