I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, all of which will be 90 minutes or less.
Title: Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer Release Date: September 29, 1975 Director: Thom Andersen Production Company: New Yorker Films Summary/Review:
Created as a student film by Thom Andersen (Los Angeles Plays Itself), this documentary covers the contributions of Eadweard Muybridge as a pioneer in motion pictures. Muybridge created a means of capturing motion through an array of cameras and trip wires to take multiple photos in sequence. Over the years 1882 to 1893, he photographed 100s of subjects including various animals, men, women, and children performing various actions for scientific study. These were collected in a massive portfolio called Animal Locomotion: an Electro-photographic Investigation of Consecutive Phases of Animal Movements.
The movie is narrated in a clinical tone by Dean Stockwell and offers a short biography of Muybridge (he killed a man!), a catalog of his works, some tantalizingly few details about the identity of the people in his photos, and some reflection on how they were often nude despite the strict mores of the era. The film also notes that despite pioneering motion pictures, he had little effect on cinema. By the 1890s, new cameras using reels of film swiftly made Muybridge’s zoopraxiscope obsolete. I suppose it could be argued that Muybridge provided the antecedent for the animated GIF!
This is fascinating and well-made documentary that provides a look into some odd but groundbreaking research of the late 19th century.
I will turn 50 in November of this year, so my project for 2023 will be to watch and review one movie from each year of my life. The only qualification is that it has to be a movie I’ve not reviewed previously. If you have any suggestions for movies from the past 50 years, please drop them in the comments!
Title: Carol Release Date: November 20, 2015 Director: Todd Haynes Production Company: Number 9 Films | Film4 Productions | Killer Films Summary/Review
Therese (Rooney Mara) is working as a clerk at New York City department store during the holiday season of 1952 who is drawn to a glamorous customer, Carol (Cate Blanchett), who is shopping for a gift for her daughter. They make a connection which eventually leads to a romantic relationship. Carol is divorcing her husband Herge (Kyle Chandler) and they are fighting for custody of their daughter. Herge uses Carol’s earlier lesbian relationship with her friend Abby (Sarah Paulson) and her relationship with Therese to invoke a “morality cause” to gain full custody.
The movie features strong, nuanced performances by Blanchett and Mara. It’s also gorgeously filmed with some memorable shots. It kind of feels like Edward Hopper paintings come to life. The movie also owes a debt to David Lean’s Brief Encounter. The Christmas theme is tied into the film’s color palette and surely the name Carol is kind of a pun? The examination of homosexuality in the repressive 1950s is well done, and I found it fascinating that the movie is a faithful adaptation of a book published in 1952, The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith.