I’m taking a few weeks off Bayflicks. I should be back in July. In the meantime, this is the first of a few articles I pre-posted so you can get your Bayflicks fixes without me.
A- Chungking Express (1994), Criterion Channel
A strange and inexplicable movie…mostly in a good way. It contains two separate boy-meets-girl stories, one told after the other. Both men are policemen obsessed with food and looking for love. One woman is a master criminal who carries a gun and is willing to use it. The other is an eccentric waitress who loves The Momas and the Papas. Writer/director Kar-Wai Wong and cinematographer Andrew Lau Wai-Keung find ways to tell a story and make cinema new all over again.
B+ Play It Again, Sam (1972), Kanopy
In one of Woody Allen’s best and funniest pre-Annie Hall movies, he plays a clumsy loser trying to get back into the dating scene after his wife left him. His best friends, a married couple, try to help, but he blows it with every girl he meets, thanks to the very bad advice he gets from his imaginary Humphrey Bogart. Things get worse when he falls in love with the one woman he’s not trying to seduce–his best friend’s wife (Diane Keaton, in her first role with Allen).
This 1972 movie feels very out of date, and not just because of the clothing. A very funny running gag might confuse people too young to remember a world without cellphones. More disturbingly, there’s a cringe-worthy discussion about rape.
By the way, Allen didn’t direct this movie, but he wrote the screenplay from his own Broadway play, and stars in it. I’d call it a Woody Allen movie.
B- The Concert for Bangladesh (1972), DVD
The film version of George Harrison’s all-star benefit concert must be the worst-looking professional rock concert movie ever. But the music is great. With soft focus and a lens often facing in the wrong direction, it’s hard to watch. The stage looks small and crowded, and the dark and muddy lighting doesn’t help. To be fair, there are occasional beautiful shots. But the music makes it all worthwhile. The 1971 concert includes first live performances in years for Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Bob Dylan. Other top performers include Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, and Billy Preston. And all for a good cause.