Feature Friday: “Withnail & I” (1987)

OK, so don’t get your hopes up; this is a pretty poor copy of Withnail & I. I mean, you wouldn’t want to watch it this way, not when the gorgeous Criterion edition exists. But it is the whole film, and as such perfectly fine for leaving on in the background while you down lighter fluid and watch your thumbs go all weird…

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Feature Friday: “Syndromes and a Century” (2006)

Easily one of the best films of the past seven years, by one of the greatest living filmmakers, Apichatapong Weerasethakul.

A funny story: I actually knew him, when I lived in Thailand (2003–5). I was given his cell phone number by a mutual film friend. One day I went to visit him at his studio in northern Bangkok. We sat around for a while, talking movies. Finally I asked what he was working on. [Note that this was in 2004, by which point I had seen only his first feature, the brilliant exquisite corpse Mysterious Object at Noon (2000).] He told me that he was finishing a new film, trying to get it ready in time for Cannes. “If we finish in time, we go,” he said. “If not—mai pen rai” (“no worries”).

That film turned out to be Tropical Malady (2004), which went on to win Cannes’s Jury Prize, effectively launching Apichatapong’s career. I’m glad I didn’t distract him overmuch!

Two years later, Apichatapong followed it up with a film some consider even better. (I myself rank them about the same, which is to say that they are both essential masterpieces of contemporary cinema.)

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Feature Friday: “Celine and Julie Go Boating” (1974)

What a surprise to find this up at YouTube! Although less and less surprises me these days.

How to describe Celine and Julie Go Boating, other than “one of the greatest films ever made”?

Two women, Celine and Julie, a magician and a librarian, bond over a shared interest in magic and the occult. Together they discover one of the weirdest haunted houses in all of cinema, a mansion in which a Henry James novel is being eternally reenacted. Celine and Julie can enter the house, which will expel them after a few hours with no memory of what’s going on inside. But when they eat a magic candy, they start to remember what they witnessed…

It’s funny and cool and sexy and more than a little spooky.

It’s inspired in part by Lewis Carroll, and was partial inspiration for Desperately Seeking Susan (1985).

Also, it’s one of the greatest films ever made.

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Feature Friday: “Sleuth” (1972)

John recently stripped this site of its “Features” tab, where I was steadily and secretly stockpiling links to feature films that are up in their entirety at YouTube. So maybe I’ll just start embedding them on the main page? One every Friday?

This week’s film will be:

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A D & Jeremy Talk about Movies: Source Code, Friends, Woody Allen, The Man from London, Sucker Punch, Zardoz, Tron, Willow, and Shoot ‘Em Up

[Last weekend, while en route to Abu Dhabi, my good friend Jeremy swung by my cold-water Chicago flat. After a lengthy Indian-wrestling match, we headed downtown to the AMC River East 21, where we caught a screening of Duncan Jones’s latest film, Source Code. Two hours later, expelled into the brisk April evening, we hunkered down at the nearest Applebee’s and, after ordering multiple appetizers and pitchers of Stella Artois, recorded the following conversation.]

A D: Jeremy, did you like Source Code?

Jeremy: It didn’t offend me.

That’s high praise. I can envision it emblazoned across the film’s poster (which is hideous and which did offend me).

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