Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One

Written by Michael Clawson

80/100

Oniony, experimental doc with fewer layers than there are syllables in its title, but still quite a few: set entirely in Central Park, we see a film crew in action as they make a fictional, ill-defined documentary, which its director says is about “sexuality,” without much further explanation. We also see that the crew is, in turn, being filmed by yet another film crew (the crew shooting that crew is off-screen, capturing the outermost layer of the film). That’s it, that’s as simply as I can think to put it. Each level has its moments of interest: when, at one point, the first crew debates what kind of movie they’re making, it’s striking how much the men apparently love the sound of their own voices, the women not so easily getting a word in. Perhaps most fascinating is how the levels are periodically collapsed through an inspired use of split screens, which led me to imagine how it might have worked as a multi-channel video installation versus as a feature film. Meta to the nth degree, its navel-gazing is in service of questions about performance versus authenticity, and the tension between a director as a creative individual and a crew as collective entity.

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One Trailer

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One is currently available to stream on the Criterion Channel and HBO Max.

Follow Michael on Letterboxd or connect with him on Twitter.

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Written by Michael Clawson

80/100

Preminger’s second noir outing with Dana Andrews (quickly becoming a favorite of mine) and Gene Tierney (most definitely a favorite), six years after Laura. Andrews is a hot-tempered city cop with a bad habit of roughing up his suspects, not unlike Robert Ryan’s violent policeman in On Dangerous Ground. While investigating a murder, he slugs and accidentally kills a key suspect, knocking the guy dead in a single punch. He proceeds to try and cover his tracks, while still seeking the thug he’s sure is actually responsible for his murder case. Tierney is the daughter of the hapless cabbie who’ll take the fall for the murder if Andrews doesn’t fess up or get caught. Preminger wrings plenty of suspense out of the scenario, which, as in Laura, also involves Andrews and Tierney falling for each other. But where Laura bears the sheen of its high-society setting, Where the Sidewalk Ends is all dingy backrooms, shabby working-class apartments, and dimly lit side streets. Consensus appears to be that Laura is the better of the two. If it is, it’s not by much. Rather than pit them against each other, better to say they make a great pair: one’s grungy, the other’s glamorous.

Where the Sidewalk Ends Trailer

Where the Sidewalk Ends is currently available to stream on the Criterion Channel.

Follow Michael on Letterboxd or connect with him on Twitter.

Episode 120: Rescreening Yojimbo

“Man is a genius when he dreams. Dream what you are capable of. The harder you dream it, the sooner it will come true.”

Akira Kurosawa, Director of Yojimbo

Links: Apple Podcasts | Castbox | Deezer | Gaana | Google Podcasts | iHeartRadio | JioSaavn | LibSyn | Player FM | RadioPublic | Spotify | Stitcher | YouTube

On Episode 120 of Drink in the Movies Michael & Taylor Rescreen Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and provide a First Impression of the next Rescreening episode title, Max Ophüls Letter from an Unknown Woman.

Yojimbo Trailer

Yojimbo is currently streaming on Criterion Channel and HBO Max and is available to rent and purchase on most major digital storefronts.

Connect with us on your preferred Social Media Platform Letterboxd, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Michael Clawson on Letterboxd | Taylor Baker on Letterboxd

Episode 118: Rescreening A Woman Under the Influence

“The greatest location in the world is the human face.”

John Cassavetes, Director of A Woman Under the Influence

Links: Apple Podcasts | Castbox | Deezer | Gaana | Google Podcasts | iHeartRadio | JioSaavn | LibSyn | Player FM | RadioPublic | Spotify | Stitcher | YouTube

On Episode 118 of Drink in the Movies Michael & Taylor Rescreen John Cassavetes’ A Woman Under the Influence and provide a First Impression of the next Rescreening episode title, Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo.

Connect with us on your preferred Social Media Platform Letterboxd, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Michael Clawson on Letterboxd | Taylor Baker on Letterboxd

A Woman Under the Influence Trailer

A Woman Under the Influence is currently streaming on the Criterion Channel and HBO Max.

Yojimbo is currently streaming on Criterion Channel and HBO Max and is available to rent and purchase on most major digital storefronts.

Episode 116: Rescreening Thief

“Could I have worked under a system where there were Draconian controls on my creativity, meaning budget, time, script choices, etc.? Definitely not. I would have fared poorly under the old studio system that guys like Howard Hawks did so well in. I cannot just make a film and walk away from it. I need that creative intimacy and, quite frankly, the control to execute my visions, on all my projects.”

Michael Mann, Director of Thief

Links: Apple Podcasts | Castbox | Deezer | Gaana | Google Podcasts | iHeartRadio | JioSaavn | LibSyn | Player FM | RadioPublic | Spotify | Stitcher | YouTube

On Episode 116 of Drink in the Movies Michael & Taylor Rescreen Michael Mann’s Thief and provide a First Impression of the next Rescreening episode title, John Cassavetes’ A Woman Under the Influence.

Connect with us on your preferred Social Media Platform Letterboxd, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Michael Clawson on Letterboxd | Taylor Baker on Letterboxd

Thief Trailer

Thief is currently available to stream on the Criterion Channel.

A Woman Under the Influence is currently streaming on the Criterion Channel and HBO Max.