Klaus Kinski and Kim Novak: Their Moving Makes You Pause

At first glance, what could these two actors possibly have in common, beyond their blond hair, blue eyes and choice of profession? Not too damn much, and I’m not really going to try and argue that there is anything more. What I believe they share are simple moments of brilliant acting, so similar that I thought I would write about them and see if anyone else agrees, or has experienced similar moments in other films.

I might not have discovered the first moment but for Werner Herzog in his film My Best Fiend, a documentary of Kinski and Herzog’s often volatile (and consistently amusing) partnership. Herzog, while explaining what originally convinced him to work with Kinski, describes a moment in an early anti-war film called Kinder, Mütter und ein General (Children, Mothers and a General) that struck Herzog as brilliant. Kinski, playing a young lieutenant, is asleep at a table. Another officer is across from him. In the morning, the officer taps Kinski’s arm to wake him, and so Kinski does. It is this moment of waking that struck Herzog – the way Kinski executes this simple, seemingly undramatic moment. Perhaps if Herzog hadn’t stressed this instance it would have gone unnoticed, maybe it is Herzog himself that makes Kinski’s awakening appear outstanding.

Regardless, I too found myself impressed with Kinski, and so (many movies later) when watching Alfred Hitchcock‘s Vertigo, I found myself arrested by another simple motion that took place in a scene with James Stewart and Kim Novak. Novak’s character (thought to be possessed by a ghost) had just experienced a manic episode, and as Stewart tries to get her to remember what happened, she leans against a great redwood, her eyes closed and head shaking. Facing away from him, she says, “…somewhere in the light,” then turns to him, “promise me something.” That moment when she turns to him, she goes from having her eyes closed – suffering far away – to staring directly into his eyes with a desperate plea. The quick movement of her head transporting her character between emotional states, I could be blowing this way out of proportion, but I found her timing and precision was incredible and it immediately brought Klaus Kinski to mind.

I simply want to show respect where it is due, and be reminded how great acting is built on smaller moments such as these. If anyone else has been struck by moments like these, feel free to share, I love hearing about the little details… a-hem, er, you know what I mean.

The First Time I Saw Red

Many people I know witnessed a lot of firsts while watching movies as children; most of these filmic first encounters had to do with sex. I know tons of people who could remember what movie introduced them to the image of people doing it (the original Blue Lagoon starring Brooke Shields seemed to be a popular one) and for those of you who watched nature documentaries when young, you got David Attenborough imparting to you the whole concept of “animal instinct,” minus the human players. In any case, while you may be able to credit some fine cinematic feature with giving you your first glimpse of ‘The Deed,’ it’s doubtful that you would, or could, recall in which film you first saw the color red.

I realize that the full spectrum of colors are probably experienced by a kid long before they are plopped down in front of a TV screen or hauled off to the movies (maybe the kids are hauling the parents here), but I would personally like to romanticize the origins of this color from my own childhood, because no memory of red stands out more strongly than from when I first watched Albert Lamorisse’s The Red Balloon (Le Ballon Rouge). I recently watched this movie again and decided that everything I have seen of that color since has stemmed from that brilliant balloon’s redness. The blood that drenched Carrie from above, the dress of kidnapped Princess Buttercup, the flashing of the Stone in The Secret of NIMH… all these shades of red are the descendants of Le ballon rouge. Perhaps this is a rather frivolous claim, as all reds are related, what with belonging to the same wavelength and all, but it’s my way of respecting one of the standout movies of my childhood. Try to deny me that, and I’ll be seeing yet another shade of red. -a brick

Courage in the face of Monster reviews

I have watched a fair share of movies in my day, building off a solid foundation of TNT classics and AMC dramas with movies found beyond the limits of cable television. I have read about them too, but I have never written a review for a movie. Low-and-behold, our fearless leader Ant wants us to write reviews of the movies we have watched for the benefit of our beloved audience. Well, as a proud employee of this fine little establishment, I am posting my first ever movie review; I’ve made it easier on myself by choosing a movie which is just as frightening and funny as writing this review is to me.
a brick

The Host (Gwoemul)
Directed by Joon-ho Bong
Starring Kang-ho Song, Ah-sung Ko and Du-na Bae
2006

South Korean blockbuster The Host is all about relationship politics, breaking-up and staying together, how it happens and why. Egos do battle, casualties litter the landscape, and the president of this state-of-disaster resembles a giant deformed tadpole that wants to devour you and those you love. Every layer of this film is soaked in satire, from America’s policy of international meddling down to the challenges faced by the Park family. Barely able to function from one day to the next, they must strive together to rescue their youngest member who, loved by all, is now lost inside a giant sewer system with all the flushed away goldfish and one man-eating monster. Your gut will be caught in a tug of war, the line taught in suspense, lurching between laughter and horror, and in the end left fully satisfied; though I wouldn’t go swimming until twenty minutes have elapsed, and not in any body of water in which mutants may be breeding. You bathtub is the safest bet.