Death is always behind them.
Perhaps no other film is more emblematic of the “Foreign Art Film” than Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 opus, The Seventh Seal. Endlessly referenced, parodied, and canonized, it seems that everyone who loves film has to see this. So as far as Blind Spots goes, this is a big one.
The film itself had become in my mind, before I had yet seen it, already burdened with the imposing weight of Greatness. And the stark image of Death with his arm stretched out and the black cloak billowing was already so familiar, that I expected an overburdened seriousness to pervade the film.
One of the greatest fictional characters created in the 20th century is Doctor Stephen Maturin, half of the celebrated Aubrey-Maturin duo that are the subjects of a 20-volume series of novels by the late Patrick O’Brian. The series began with the 1970 novel Master and Commander, and was to be continued in a 21st volume which was in the draft stages at the time of O’Brian’s death in 2000. The books follow the career and life of “Lucky Jack” Aubrey, a Captain in His Majesty’s Royal Navy, and his close friend, Maturin, during the time of the Napoleonic Wars, from roughly 1800 – 1815.
I don’t intend this site to be for movie reviews, properly speaking, but I am inspired by the Coen Brothers’ latest film to share a few thoughts. There might be spoilers, so please refer to my newly-minted Spoiler Policy.
Hail, Caesar! is a fantastic romp through the early 50s Hollywood studio system, following the adventures of a fictional studio “fixer,” Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin). Mannix is charged with not only ensuring that the movies Capitol Pictures are producing come out nice and shiny, but also that the public images of the stars they employ remain as pristine as possible. And so we see him visiting soundstages, screenings, and an editing room, but also at work on squelching several potential personal scandals.