Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 21: Tue Jan 21

Leviathan (Castaing-Taylor/Paravel, 2012):
Picturehouses Cinemas nationwide, Various times

This film is screening at every Picturehouse cinema today as part of the chain's Discover Tuesday season. Details here

Chicago Reader review:
For this aggressively arty documentary, Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel used tiny watertight cameras to record the sights and sounds of a fishing boat off the coast of New Bedford, Massachusetts. The footage they've collected is colorful, kinetic, and often disorienting; one lengthy shot captures the roiling water below and then, as the camera lens bounces around, a riot of seagulls in the sky overhead. Apart from a few brief, pedestrian comments from fishermen, the movie unfolds without interviews or narration, a barrage of sensory information—the hum of engines, the dead fish slopping around on deck, the immense power of the sea and rain. You may find this tedious, but you may also leave the theater tasting salt water.
JR Jones

Here (and above) is the trailer.


The following screening, originally put up for today's pick, has been cancelled.

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (Cassavetes, 1976): Prince Charles Cinema, 9pm

Chicago Reader review:
John Cassavetes's first crime thriller, a postnoir masterpiece, failed miserably at the box office when first released in 1976, and a recut, shorter version released two years later didn't fare much better. This is the first, longer, and in some ways better of the two versions; it's easier to follow, despite reports that—or maybe because—Cassavetes had less to do with the editing (though he certainly approved it). A personal, deeply felt character study rather than a routine action picture, it follows Cosmo Vitelli (Ben Gazzara at his very best), the charismatic owner of an LA strip joint—simultaneously an asshole and a saint—who recklessly gambles his way into debt and has to bump off a Chinese bookie to settle his accounts. In many respects the film serves as a personal testament; what makes the tragicomic character of Cosmo so moving is its alter-ego relation to the filmmaker—the proud impresario and father figure of a tattered showbiz collective (read Cassavetes's actors and filmmaking crew) who must compromise his ethics to keep his little family afloat (read Cassavetes's career as a Hollywood actor). Peter Bogdanovich used Gazzara in a similar part in Saint Jack (1979), but as good as that film is, it doesn't catch the exquisite warmth and delicacy of feeling of Cassavetes's doom-ridden comedy-drama. With fine performances by Timothy Agoglia Carey, Seymour Cassel, Azizi Johari, Meade Roberts, and Alice Friedland. 135 min.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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