I took this photo just a few weeks after (and not far from) the cat pictures I shared earlier, but since this cat was a stranger to me I didn’t include it in that post. So consider this a bonus cat photo, if you will.
Michael Fassbender, photographed by Sebastien Agnetti.
Finding the “best” shot from Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver is downright impossible. Filmed by Michael Chapman, the movie is basically made up of perfect frames, over 150,000 of them. You can just scroll to any random scene and get something like the shot above, one of the many great night shots with DeNiro driving through New York City. Or you might land on something as simple as an insert shot, but of course one that’s just as carefully framed, like the assorted snacks Travis buys in the adult movie theater. For my best shot, I went with a scene that perhaps isn’t the first that comes to mind when you think about Taxi Driver: the one where Travis first asks Betsy out on a date. On its surface the scene’s setup is pretty conventional – back and forth, over the shoulder, well-light, bright colors. It’s exceptional only by its presence in this movie, which is why I love it so much. (Well, that and my absolute, total crush on Cybill Shepherd.) The scenes in the Palantine campaign offices offer such a stark contrast in tone to most of the rest of the film. It’s almost like they’re cut out of some workplace sitcom. (One I’d definitely watch, too, if it meant I’d get to spend more time with Shepherd and Albert Brooks, the latter hilariously poking out his head behind the pillar here.) The power dynamics in this scene are just fascinating. Travis is basically in disguise, he’s dressed up pretending to be “normal” for her. We know this, but Betsy has yet to figure it out, of course. The way it’s presented here, she is clearly the one calling the shots. Which is why I love the scene’s final shot, and indeed my pick for best shot, which shows us (but not Travis) her confidant, triumphant smile:
I wrote about Wim Wenders’ new movie, “Every Thing Will Be Fine,” at The Film Experience. Plus some musings about possible Best Foreign Film considerations from Germany.
I may have linked to this before, but the What’s My Line? YouTube-channel remains one of my favorite things on the web. They’ve got hundreds of full episodes of the show from the 50s and 60’s.
Song of the week: Ciara ft. Ludacris – “Oh”
The films I saw last week:
- On Sunday, March 22: “Ieri, oggi, domani” (“Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” 1963). 4 stars.
- On Monday, March 23, I rewatched “Who’s That Knocking at My Door” (1967). 4½ stars.
- Wednesday, March 25, I saw “The Breakfast Club” (1985) for the first time, coinciding with Filmspotting #531. 4½ stars.
- Also on March 25, a long overdue revisit of “Brick” (2005). I’m currently reading Rian Johnson’s original novella and shooting script, too. 4½ stars.
- Thursday, March 26: “Brazil” (1985). 4 stars, for now; need to watch again.
- Friday, March 27: “The Equalizer” (2014). 3½ stars.
- On Sunday: Continuing my Werner Herzog marathon with “Herakles” (1962) and “Lebenszeichen” (“Signs of Life,” 1968). 4 stars.
- Also on Sunday: “In a World…” (2013). Still 5 stars.
So it’s come to this: I’m not gonna pretend there’s any more to this than, Hey, I’ve got this folder with photos of pretty people smoking cigarettes, and I figure I can’t be the only one who likes looking at these, so… here you are. A new one every week. Trying to link to official sources and give credit as thoroughly as I can. No need to tell me that smoking is awful, either. I know.
No reviews on Letterboxd last week, but for the record, here’s what I watched:
• On Wednesday, March 18, I watched “Song of the Sea” (2014). 4½ stars.
• Also on March 18, I re-watched “Dredd” (2012) in 3D. 4½ stars.
• On Friday, March 20, I saw “Sans toit ni loi” (“Vagabond,” 1985). 2½ stars.
• On Saturday, March 21, I re-watched “Planet of the Apes” (1968). 4½ stars.
• And on Sunday, March 22, I watched “Boudu sauvé des eaux” (“Boudu Saved from Drowning,” 1932). 3½ stars.