Poll

Your Favorite John Cassavetes Film Is...

Shadows
4 (10%)
Too Late Blues
0 (0%)
A Child Is Waiting
0 (0%)
Faces
0 (0%)
Husbands
0 (0%)
Minnie and Moskowitz
0 (0%)
A Woman Under the Influence
16 (40%)
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
4 (10%)
Opening Night
0 (0%)
Gloria
0 (0%)
Love Streams
1 (2.5%)
Big Trouble
0 (0%)
haven't seen any
13 (32.5%)
don't like any
2 (5%)

Total Members Voted: 39

Author Topic: Cassavetes, John  (Read 7731 times)

Sandy

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Re: Directors Best Poll - John Cassavetes
« Reply #50 on: October 30, 2014, 08:24:32 AM »
 :)

I looked at that picture for a good long time. There's not much to go by, but just the proximity, her little smile and her fingers on his head, speak a tender connection. Wonderful choice.

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Directors Best Poll - John Cassavetes
« Reply #51 on: May 14, 2015, 09:03:35 AM »
Shadows
Opening Night
A Woman Under the Influences

Faces
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
"It's all research." -roujin

chardy999

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Re: Directors Best Poll - John Cassavetes
« Reply #52 on: August 31, 2015, 06:13:55 AM »
A Woman Under the Influence
Faces
Shadows

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie


I like Cassavetes more than his movies and I really really like his movies.
Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.
- Groucho Marx

DarkeningHumour

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Re: Cassavetes, John
« Reply #53 on: April 28, 2016, 03:05:15 AM »
A Woman Under the Influence
« Society is dumb. Art is everything. » - Junior

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1SO

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Re: Cassavetes, John
« Reply #54 on: December 02, 2017, 12:56:59 AM »
Updated Rankings

A Child is Waiting (1963)
* * * - Okay
A case where the studio manages to keep the flavor of the director to make the film less mainstream, but not too far from the waters. Similar to The Men, which was also produced by Stanley Kramer, there's an unusual amount of realism which makes the heavy hammering of the message even more of a problem. A difficult film at times, but some great performances and scenes. Judy Garland seems to be missing some character and Burt Lancaster is solid, but the movie is stolen by Gena Rowlands (who I didn't recognize initially) as a mother who appears to have abandoned her child, but is actually doing what she hopes is best. She's torn between the two teachers and her own husband, played by Steven Hill. Their relationship is actually the most interesting of the film.


Too Late Blues (1961)
* * * - Okay
You can draw a line from 1953's I Vitelloni to 1973's Mean Streets and that line would pass through this film. Young men with hopes and dreams, but really enjoy goofing around together, drinking, talking like a bunch of hens, getting into fights, often over careers and women. If you know Cassavetes style it's not hard to imagine how his way of letting a scene breathe fits this type of story wonderfully, if a bit indulgently. It's got a great "cool in the club" vibe, but what sets Blues apart is Stella Stevens as the woman all the men like to flex their power for, but she has no self-esteem. Unusual for the woman to see herself more as an object than the men in her life who are trying to boost her confidence. Another original stroke by the filmmaker.



It's an uncommon opinion but I wish there were more films with Cassavetes working inside the studio and less of his indie films, which have an indulgence I cannot stand at times. Compromised as these films might seem by comparison, he elevates the material in an interesting way.

Knocked Out Loaded

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Re: Cassavetes, John
« Reply #55 on: January 05, 2018, 03:09:51 AM »
A Woman Under The Influence, 85°
Faces, 60°
The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie, 55°
Shadows, 40°
Minnie And Moskowitz, 35°
Gloria, 30°
Extraordinary (81-100˚) | Very good (61-80˚) | Good (41-60˚) | Fair (21-40˚) | Poor (0-20˚)

Eric/E.T.

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Re: Cassavetes, John
« Reply #56 on: October 07, 2021, 06:28:34 PM »
Finally made my way through the box set. Based on these five, it seems Cassavetes got better with time. It was important to me to get this set and check out these films because he influenced a lot of the low-budget and indie films that I like. It's not always pretty, but it's visually compelling stuff.

Shadows (1959) - A movie about being Black but passing for white that, as expected, is completely botched by a white guy. It's lovely to look at, the Cassavete's close-ups are elite, but the racial commentary isn't dealt with all that well. Grade: D

Faces (1968) - Shrill cinema. I know there is a point that is being made, but it's hard for me to get beyond all of the empty laughter, even though I understand why it's happening. The living room scenes, whether at Jeannie's place or the Forst residence, are lively and purposeful in exposing the junk of humanity in addition to issues of aging and fidelity, but contending with it in the moment is difficult. Grade: C

A Woman Under the Influence (1974) - Gena Rowlands gives perhaps the most convincing portrayal of a person dealing with serious mental health issues that I've seen in a movie. Cassavetes also has the courage to avoid psychoanalytic bullshit and leave her condition unsaid. This is the one I have to watch again to take it all in. As with Faces, her Mabel can be tough to deal with, but I felt there was something to learn about the human condition here, as opposed to the emptiness of Faces, to which I'm perhaps too well conditioned and no longer feel is interesting. Probably my favorite Cassavetes. Grade: A-

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976) - Have watched this a couple times, once with the podcast, then again to re-familiarize myself. It's in the upper echelon of crime films for me, mostly for the immaculate style on display, as if Cassvete's were made for the strip club. Ben Gazzara is perfect for the role of the sleazy, though earnest, club owner who gets in way over his head. Easy to believe he's more or less just a guy trying to make it in the world despite the heirs he puts on. BTW, when I grow up, I want to be just like Mr. Sophistication.  ;D Grade: A-

Opening Night (1977) - A bit surprised by this one, did not have too high of expectations after reading a few things on Opening Night. Gena Rowlands gives another superb performance, this time as a famous theater actor that is struggling with being typecast as an aging woman. This is probably the best story I've seen from Cassavetes, a director who, I know, isn't about the narrative but the experience, but this works for him. The variety of shots, including those from the perspective of the crowd, backstage, and of course close-up, emphasize the diversity of points of view present amongst these characters, and needless to say, they all look beautiful. I especially enjoyed the static shots filled with stage. Gazzara and Cassavetes himself both play key roles just as I'm sure the man wrote them out. Interesting stuff that really fills out the near 2 1/2 hour run time very well. Grade: B+

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