After Hours

Oooh! I haven’t seen that logo in a while…

Oh! And that’s that guy! Only younger!

Don’t recognise that guy…

It’s so odd watching movies from the mid 80s… there’s all these faces that seem immediately familiar, but I can’t place them at all? Looking at the imdb, that must be… Verna Bloom? There was no imdb in those days, so we never knew who anybody was…

This is so… is this really a Scorsese movie!? It’s really not something I’d guess was Scorsese. I’d guess… uhm… Coppola. Yeah. 80s Coppola.

So it’s good instead of sucking, is what I’m saying.

This is a really odd movie. The actors are playing this as if they’re in 1976, while the set decorator and hairdresser are going “YES BITCH THIS IS 1986!!!”. So it seems out of time…

This is a very charming movie. It’s all lower Manhattan at 3AM and not having enough money to go back home. (Because they increased the fare to $1.50.)

(Confusingly enough, home is East 91st Street, which is… walk able. I mean, just an hour and a half. I’ve walked longer. Hm… OK, it might be two hours. That’s a schlep. But it’s flat! Hm… I wanna walk that stretch sometime…)

It get more… allegorical towards the end, I guess? And that’s not as funny. But this is a solid movie. It riveting for the first half, and then it dips, but it’s still charming.

Scorsese’s best movie ever? Probably?

[time passes]

I’m listening to the commentary track now, and Scorsese says the he realised that an era was over and wondered whether his career was over (after The King of Comedy had bombed and his subsequent movie was cancelled). And this movie was made under that cloud: A smaller, simpler, cheaper movie to prove a point.

It’s not really a normal commentary track — they’ve interviewed apparently everybody involved, and drop in their voices at various points. It’s interesting — the cinematographer explains how much of the film was filmed in f2.4 etc just because he didn’t have the time or the budget to light it properly.

The commentary from Michael Ballhaus is especially poignant — he’s talking about doing Gangs of New York with a crew 10x the size, and being nostalgic for the days of Fassbinder and this film…

Anyway, this is really good.

After Hours. Martin Scorsese. 1985.

Poltergeist

New editions of old movies is a good excuse to rewatch movies, right? So this isn’t something I’ve thought about watching, but it popped up on one of those “new in 4K” lists, and my brain went “I wanna watch that!”

I remember being scared shitless by this back in the day (but I remember the Mad parody version of this better than the actual movie).

Oh yeah! I remember that tree coming to life!

It’s been 40 years since I saw this, but some things are etched into memory.

Arrest Uri Geller!

This is so well made. I guess jump scares are frowned on these days, but this is still scary.

Well… OK… that special effect isn’t er very impressive now.

And once the Ghostbusters arrive, it’s just a whole lot less scary.

OK, I was wrong — it’s still scary! I need more pillows to hide behind!

Finally a professional!

This is a really swell horror movie. It’s an epic oddyssey — an entire journey. And while there are bits where the movie loses its tension, it’s mostly on purpose. Oh! And I appreciate how rational everybody is about the entire thing — most movies like this would spend half the running time with the woman screaming THIS CAN”T BE HAPPENING and the man having some kind of daddy issue (for Character Development purposes, of course).

It’s admirably un-annoying.

Poltergeist. Tobe Hooper. 1982.

Les Enfants du Paradis

Wow, this has been restored to within an inch of its life. No scratches, no judders, and… they’ve also gotten rid of the film grain?

The soundtrack is likewise totally hiss free.

Eeek! This is more than three hours long… and I have no idea why I have this bluray. Let’s see…

Ah:

t has received universal critical acclaim. “I would give up all my films to have Les Enfants du Paradis”, said nouvelle vague director François Truffaut.

It’s coming back to me now… I read a book of articles from Cahiers du Cinéma (three-ish years ago?), and they were raving about this movie there, so I got a copy.

The “paradis” they’re referring to is this — it’s slang for the balconies, and the film is about a vaudeville theatre, apparently? So perhaps an updated English title would be like, er, “Playing for the Cheap Seats”?

And… I’m not quite sure about this movie? I mean, it does have a convincing atmosphere — it reminds me of… of… Bergman? A couple decades later? Was he a fan? I can imagine he was. But… it seems a bit coldly calculated to me. At least so far. It’s about the “magic” of the theatre, and we’re introduced to all these actors and stuff that have their dreams about doing something stupendous. So we’re in the “Oscar’s genre”, really, which I’m not really that much of a fan of.

Perhaps it’ll become more compelling; I’ve just got two hours and twenty minutes to go.

That’s some bouquet.

It’s not that I’m not enjoying this, because I am. It’s beautifully filmed, and the performances are good, and the repartee is snappy. I guess I just find it hard to care for these characters? That is, they don’t really seem to have that much character? They’re broad caricatures more than anything else, I think.

It’s just impossible to recognise her through that veil!

I guess:

A 1995 vote by 600 French critics and professionals named it the “Best Film Ever”.[citation needed]

Heh heh:

Many of the 1,800 extras were Resistance agents using the film as daytime cover, who, until the liberation, had to mingle with some collaborators or Vichy sympathisers who were imposed on the production by the authorities.

I totally get that this is a film you’d choose if you’re French and you have to vote for “the best French movie ever”. It’s good, of course, and it’s a great tragedy, and it’s funny, but more importantly, it’s got that grand feeling going, like (for instance) Fanny & Alexander or Gone With the Wind. And quantity does have a quality all of its own.

So people in France have presumably been sat down for decades and being told “here’s this great movie”… and it is.

But while a great movie, I think it’s more about those externalities than the film itself, because there’s a bunch of French movies that are even better.

Children of Paradise. Marcel Carné. 1945.