Seen [2012 w/notes, I of III]
By: Mr. Arkadin
So I started the year doing month-by-month lists, but have decided to simply combine my entire viewing for the year into one master list. In addition to notes/wall postings/brief reviews of the films that left the greatest impression on me, I’ve also added some best of/worst of categories for each month. The idea for categories really came from a much superior list to this one, authored by Coheed 2.0. His movie-watching pace also puts mine to shame. Check out his list here.
Each month I’ll also tally the number of films watched (with a running total as the year progresses). I’m also endeavoring to list ratings for every film watched this year, even if I don’t have much to say about the film itself.
+ = Seen in a theater
[fst] = First-time seeing it
[re:] = Rewatch
VIEWING PATTERNS (if any): January marked a concerted effort on my part to see more films in theaters. Because of where I’m living, a fairly sizable drive is required to see anything of interest, which has led me to see less and less on a big screen. My desire both to see films sooner (rather than being forced to wait for them to show up on DVD/Blu) and to see them in their “native format” (whatever that means) led me to make the effort though. January’s in-theater viewings were mostly disappointments, but I’m still fighting the fight.
BEST (first viewing): TIE: Pigs and Battleships/ Suddenly, Last Summer
BEST (rewatch): Possession
MAN, I HATE THAT MOVIE (1st viewing or rewatch): TIE: Salt/ Mission Impossible-Ghost Protocol/ Young Adult/ Dr. Magorium’s
BIGGEST Disappointment: The Grey
MEH-of-the-MONTH: Blue Car
WTF-of-the-MONTH: Love Exposure (no contest)
LAST PERSON on mubi to SEE it: The Piano Teacher
FILMS SEEN in a THEATER: 4/30
FIRST-TIME VIEWINGS: 25/30
+ [fst] 1. Drive (2011; dir: Nicolas Winding Refn; 7/10): My favorite sequence: Gosling wearing his Bronson mask, fighting with Ron Perlman on the beach. Managed to remind me of both Kiss Me Deadly and Halloween in the same scene. Also the pawnshop getaway that lifts so much from Bullitt’s seminal car chase. Also also invoking the scorpion/frog story that Welles tells in Confidential Report. … I’d need to see it again, though, before I can say if it effectively transcends all those cooler-than-cool film references: Bullitt, Point Blank, The Limey, Out of Sight etc. (and also apparently a bunch of Michael Mann films I’ve yet to see).
UPDATE 4-9-12: Still haven’t decided how great it is independent of its influences. Also, the central relationship between Gosling and Mulligan still seems problematic in its familiarity (at least familiarity in the context of the genre). A friend of mine argues that scenes like the one where they drive through the concrete sewers are perverse for the way in which they skew, wink at, lampoon the cliche nature of such scenes. Can’t say I exactly buy that. Certainly going to rewatch it on Blu-ray when I get the hankering.
[fst] 2. Blue Car (2002; dir: Karen Moncrieff; 2/10): Overall an unfortunate, surface, all-too-familiar treatment of the topics: Poetry student being raised by distant and flaky single mom uses poetry to process feelings about her broken home life. Her poetry piques the interest of her 40-something high school lit teacher, himself married to an alcoholic and distant wife. He encourages the student’s talent to the point of taking advantage of her sexually. She dresses him down in public, via the power of her poetry. No thanks.
[fst] 3. Blue Valentine (2010; dir: Derek Cianfrance; 6.5/10): I’m sure this one will be ripe for re-evaluation before long.
[fst] 4. Z (1969; dir: Costa-Gavras; 6/10)
[re:] 5. Bullitt (1968; dir: Peter Yates; 6.5/10)
[fst] 6. Valhalla Rising (2009; dir: Nicolas Winding Refn; 5/10)
[fst] 7. We Won’t Grow Old Together (1972; dir: Maurice Pialat; 7/10)
[fst] 8. Adelheid (1970; dir: František Vláčil; 7/10): Gorgeously lensed. His framing and photography of faces, especially those of the two principal characters, is alternately eerie and heartbreaking. When Viktor steps suddenly in frame to block the military official from approaching Adelheid—or the repeated close-ups of Adelheid agonizing over her circumstances—it’s perfection for the few seconds that it lasts.
[fst] 9. Pigs and Battleships (1962; dir: Shôhei Imamura; 10/10): Did anybody else think for a second about the opening of Touch of Evil while watching the start of this? Imamura’s camera pulling back through the streets, past the open doorways of one shop after another, each shop’s particular soundtrack spilling out onto the street as the camera passed? … Utterly fantastic. (Also: the MoC Blu-ray is tops.)
[fst] 10. Love Exposure (2008; dir: Sion Sono; 9/10): Read my review here.
[fst] 11. Salt (2010; dir: Phillip Noyce; 1/10)
[fst] 12. Imitation of Life (1934; dir: John M. Stahl; 3.5/10)
[fst] 13. Point Blank (1967; dir: John Boorman; 7.5/10): This one’s all about the delirious and deliberate (often deliberately delirious) editing. Also, as somebody on the film’s wall said, “Lee Marvin standing in as a force of nature.”
[fst] 14. Imitation of Life (1959; dir: Douglas Sirk; 7/10): But where did they put the pancakes!?!? Seriously though, Sirk’s version is head-and-shoulders the better …
[fst] 15. Targets (1968; dir: Peter Bogdanovich; 6/10): Just for the scene between the sniper and his wife in their bedroom.
+ [fst] 16. Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol (2012; dir: Brad Bird; 1/10)
[re:] 17. Tenebrae (1982; dir: Dario Argento; 9.5/10): UPDATE: 04-21-12: Previously I’d included several paragraphs discussing how my thoughts on the film have changed as a result of repeat viewings. I went ahead and posted it as a review here. FYI, images NSFW and spoilers abound.
+ [fst] 18. Young Adult (2011; dir: Jason Reitman; 1/10)
[fst] 19. Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (2007; dir: Zach Helm; 1/10)
[fst] 20. Black Widow (1987; dir: Bob Rafelson; 3.5/10)
[fst] 21. Ashes and Diamonds (1958; dir: Andrzej Wajda; 7/10): Visually arresting throughout. According to Wajda, Zbigniew Cybulski was channeling James Dean and the film’s DP was channeling Citizen Kane. (And, could it be possible that De Palma lifted the idea for the penultimate killing in Blow Out from this film’s fireworks scene? Probably not, but the one couldn’t help but make me think of the other…)
[re:] 22. Possession (1981; dir: Andrzej Żuławski; 10/10): Just finished rewatching this (thanks TCM); forgot how great Heinz Bennent is (especially when his proximity to the monster strikes him temporarily blind…). And, FYI, according to www.cinefamily.org/films/the-mad-unbelievable-genius-of-andrzej-zulawski/ there’s a North American retrospective coming this year. Would that I could make it to New York or LA … *And if you’re interested at all in Zulawski, check out my list.
[re:] 23. The Otherside of the Wall: The Making of Possession (2009; dir: Daniel Bird; 8/10): Kudos to whoever got this added… Bird has done yeoman’s work in his writing about (and interviewing of) Zulawski. This doc offers a number of fascinating insights into the film and its making (including info on planned characters that were cut after filming, some of whom still show up in the film, just missing their back story). Apparently there’s a Silver Globe doc, too: www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOGlEfM0cuo
[fst] 24. The Island (2006; dir: Pavel Lungin; 3.5/10)
[fst] 25. The Slaugther Rule (2002; dir: Alex Smith, Andrew J. Smith; 3.5/10)
[re:] 26. Mission: Impossible (1996; dir: Brian De Palma; 6.5/10)
[fst] 27. Suddenly, Last Summer (1959; dir: Joseph L. Mankiewicz; 10/10): Full of deliriously iconic moments (those near-constant, dream-wipe closeups of Elizabeth Taylor’s face while she recounts what happened to Sebastian could’ve embedded her in film history all by themselves). Clift, Taylor, and Hepburn all deliver complicated, subtext-ridden performances. And though the film has some of the densest, most wall-to-wall dialogue I can remember, never does it drag or become reduced to plodding exposition. (In fact, though I’ve never been an especial fan of Hepburn, she delivers what amounts to a ~10-minute monologue toward the beginning of the film, and her delivery, body language, presence—it’s a real master’s class. I queued it up to check out the beach scenes that Argento borrowed for *Tenebrae*—I came away having seen a real masterpiece.
[fst] 28. Eye of the Beholder (1999; dir: Stephan Elliott; 7/10): Evokes so many other voyeur/obsession films—the bell tower from Vertigo, the gun-mounted mic from The Conversation, Craig Wasson’s character from Body Double (especially in the way McGregor reacts to the first murder he witnesses) etc. (In fact, the debt that the film owes De Palma seems immense, with hints of both Femme Fatale and Obsession popping up all over the place … doesn’t hurt of course that Geneviève Bujold shows up in both …) I might change my mind once I see the original (Mortelle Randonnée, which I would watch if I could find a flippin’ uncut version) but this one plays pretty solid (and always solidly strange).
+ [fst] 29. The Grey (2012; dir: Joe Carnahan; 2.5/10): A lot of folks whose opinion I respect seemed quick to label this one an “unsentimental masterpiece” … so why did I find so much of it corny and cliche?
The wolves (and their menace) are CGI’d and done in a way that reminds me more of Twilight (or Disney animatronics) than anything particularly serious. The musical cues, cuing the audience up for their next, necessary emotion, are nothing if not heavy-handed. And the “profound” musings of the doomed characters—trading stories of the loved ones they’ll never see again because they’re all going to die—well, they’re really not that profound. More like naturalistic cliche. (And the film’s whole handling of “man vs. nature” is no more sophisticated than what you would find in, say, Crane’s “The Open Boat” or that old story “Leiningen vs. the Ants.”)
(Also: the men, all foul-mouthed, ex-con, “assholes” [as Neeson’s character calls them]—they are all cardboard types, each with their own shorthand variation on that type. I’m not sure how that translates to profoundly serious or substantively unsentimental.)
The faux-verite shots, the constantly unstable camera (I kept thinking: hey, when did somebody change the channel to NYPD Blue!?!?), Liam Neeson in the wilderness cussing at G-d—I guess these things are supposed to be “harsh” and “gritty” and the hallmarks of a masterpiece. I would say:
If someone would like to see a recent man vs. nature/survival-in-an-uncaring-natural-universe type of movie, go see Essential Killing instead. There aren’t any wolves I don’t think, but it is unsentimental pretty much all the way through. And the almost complete lack of dialogue helps that I think. (I kept thinking, would that these characters in The Grey had all lost their ability to speak as a result of the plane crash, then maybe I wouldn’t have to listen to them deliver hallmark cards every night when they stopped to make a fire.)
Also: Neeson’s character’s wife is dead. He keeps having dreams/flashbacks to a single memory—gauzy lighting, all-white pillows and sheets—where she lays in bed next to him and repeats: “Don’t be afraid.” We get this exact—E-X-A-C-T—scene I think 3 times, 4 times? The last time we get it, the camera moves so as to show us that she’s been lying in a hospital bed all along, hooked up to an IV, most certainly as the result of some long-term illness that eventually killed her. Really.
Also also: Neeson delivers a four-line poem 3 or 4 times in the movie, I guess meant as poetic comment on the futility of his (and the men’s) situation. He reveals, during his hallmark-card session, that the poem was written by his otherwise inarticulate, hard-drinking, no-smiling Irish father (no cliched sentiment there, nosireee) and makes him feel particularly close to him now that he’s dead. Except the poem is just a dumbed-down riff of some lines from, I believe, Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade,” the old: if you’re heroic, then you’ll go “once more into the breach my friends,” for that is what the cruel and uncaring universe requires of us MEN.
Somewhere somebody argued that the film can be summed up as: “Macho death myths dismantled.” That’s true if you compare it to, say, Rambo III, but I’m not sure that’s true, you know, in relation to the rest of the history of cinema. So “unsentimental” or particularly sophisticated it is not.
[fst] 30. The Piano Teacher (2001; dir: Michael Haneke; 7/10)
VIEWING PATTERNS (if any): Two trends: 1. More rewatches than I’d planned. Ran into a patch of underwhelming films and retreated to some already-seen films I knew I’d love. 2. Catching up on some sci-fi I’ve somehow missed: This trend really takes off in March, but in February I managed to watch Alien, Possible Worlds, Chronicle, and The Andromeda Strain.
BEST (first viewing): The Moon in the Gutter
BEST (rewatch): TIE: Vengeance is Mine/ Pale Flower
MAN, I HATE THAT MOVIE (1st viewing or rewatch): Slaughter Hotel
BIGGEST Disappointment: Possible Worlds
MEH-of-the-MONTH: Safe House
WTF-of-the-MONTH: The Moon in the Gutter
LAST PERSON on mubi to SEE it: Alien
FILMS SEEN in a THEATER: 2/31
FIRST-TIME VIEWINGS: 18/31
[fst] 1. Deep End (1970; dir: Jerzy Skolimowski; 7.5/10): Psychosexual drama meets coming-of-age confusion + class commentary. I was struck by how little we really understand or know about the characters (much of what we assume about them is implied instead of told; there were many moments when I expected exposition to intrude, but instead found only odd and ambivalent expressions on the characters’ faces [or, otherwise, meandering silence]). Anxious to watch more Skolimowski…
[re:] 2. Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971; dir: Dario Argento; 7/10): Just rewatched this, on the occasion of its Blu-ray debut. The disc’s a/v presentation is a decidedly mixed bag: It’s fantastic to have the English soundtrack finally running at correct speed, but the disc contains new audio problems not on previous discs. Also, their attempt to fix the high-speed camera sequence just ends up mucking it up in a different way. Sadly, a “definitive edition of a lost classic” it’s not.
[re:] 3. Lizard in a Woman’s Skin (1971; dir: Lucio Fulci; 8.5/10)
[fst] 4. The Imperialists are Still Alive! (2010; dir: Zeina Durra; 5/10): The seemingly unspoken (and underexplored) tension of the film lies in the disparity between how well-off and upwardly mobile the main characters are, in comparison to their besieged counterparts (friends, family) living in places like Beirut. Élodie Bouchez’s low-key performance helps keep things moving. (And, surprisingly, its hipster quotient didn’t bother me … though maybe it would if I ever watched it again.)
[re:] 5. Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985; dir: Paul Schrader; 9.5/10): Re-watching this, I realized that the scene where Ogata portrays Mishima during his St. Sebastian photo shoot holds, in miniature, everything that fascinates me about the film.
[re:] 6. Afraid to Die (1960; dir: Yasuzo Masumura; 7.5/10): I think the key to this one is your relative interest in Mishima. If you’re fascinated by his life and work (including his sometimes oddball forays into film), then this one will probably hold your interest. If not then, uh, not. Signature elements: the opening prison assassination sequence (which includes M. showing off his developing physique); the asthmatic hitman; and Mishima’s over-the-top escalator death.
[fst] 7. The King of Marvin Gardens (1972; dir: Bob Rafelson; 6.5/10): Every second of Nicholson’s opening monologue is a master’s class (a master’s class in just about everything) … will have to watch it again, though, to decide if the rest of the film lives up to this. (The relationship between Dern and Nicholson is more than a little heartbreaking, and Ellen Burstyn is magnetic and terrifying all at once, but …)
+ [fst] 8. Safe House (2012; dir: Daniél Espinosa; 2/10): You know, Denzel Washington absolutely is a screen presence, and Ryan Reynolds managed to make me forget for 115 minutes that he starred in National Lampoon’s Van Wilder, but this one is ultimately all paint-by-number. Achieves no suspense; never any doubt when it comes to the mastermind villain; schmaltzy and offensively simplistic characters; and enough pointless shaky cam to give me a nosebleed.
[fst] 9. Intruder (2004; dir: Claire Denis; 7.5/10): Real mesmerizing film. Having watched it back-to-back with Haneke’s Time of the Wolf, it was interesting how much overlap—how many shared, same notes—showed up in the two films. (And interesting to me how much, in what ways, I preferred the Denis film.)
[fst] 10. Time of the Wolf (2003; dir: Michael Haneke; 5/10)
[fst] 11. Slaughter Hotel (1971; dir: Fernando Di Leo; 0/10)
[re:] 12. Everlong (1997; dir: Michel Gondry; 7/10)
[re:] 13. Hurt (2003; dir: Mark Romanek; 8/10)
[re:] 14. Come to Daddy (1997; dir: Chris Cunningham; 7/10)
[re:] 15. Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground (2002; dir: Michel Gondry; 6.5/10)
[re:] 16. The Hardest Button to Button (2003; dir: Michel Gondry; 6.5/10)
[re:] 17. Fell in Love with a Girl (2002; dir: Michel Gondry; 6/10)
[fst] 18. Alien (1979; dir: Ridley Scott; 8/10)
[fst] 19. Possible Worlds (2000; dir: Robert Lepage; 3/10): The first half, especially the police procedural stuff, plays like a made-for-TV movie (the credits seem to indicate as much). The second half, though marginally more interesting (and, thankfully, with more for Tilda Swinton to do), still seems slight and uninspired. The few “mind-bender” moments (including the use of a house that was maybe Lost Highway-inspired) add up to a zero-sum take on what could’ve been …
+ [fst] 20. Chronicle (2012; dir: Josh Trank; 6/10)
[re:] 21. Vengeance is Mine (1979; dir: Shôhei Imamura; 10/10)
[fst] 22. The Limey (1999; dir: Steven Soderbergh; 7/10): I’ve not watched much Soderbergh, but this one has much to recommend it: Stamp’s performance and delivery, which manages somehow to be both theatrically artificial and spot-on; the displaced and overlapping dialogue (a technique reused to much effect in Drive); as well as the always-gorgeous-to-look-at framing and visuals (I could’ve done without the sometimes overly processed effects on flashbacks though).
[re:] 23. Pale Flower (1964; dir: Masahiro Shinoda; 10/10): A masterpiece in so many ways: Ryo Ikebe’s performance (his loud-print suit seems to be the obvious cinematic precursor for Asano’s in Ichi the Killer); the b&w cinematography; the “death race” on the highway; the dream sequence; and most of all the end. The fact that they ended the film where they did—that final shot, that final withholding of resolution and plot—!
[fst] 24. Three Colors: Red (1994; dir: Krzysztof Kieślowski; 6/10): It’s like the most beautifully shot Dickens’ film (that isn’t a Dickens’ film). I wonder if the narrative’s sometimes staggering reliance on coincidence (the trait that it shares with so much of Dickens’ fiction) sometimes lessens what is otherwise poetic, artful, and affecting (especially visually affecting) about the film. Most enjoyed the scenes between Trintignant and Jacob.
[fst] 25. The Andromeda Strain (1971; dir: Robert Wise; 5.5/10): Technically proficient, slow-burn science fiction. Plenty of production value and neat-o visuals. Its pace perhaps ends up being a little too slow, its exposition a little too clunky, its overall effect a little too bloodless. (Though the “red light” scenes with the epileptic doctor were pretty memorable, as were the computer animations of the strain itself.)
[fst] 26. The Moon in the Gutter (1983; dir: Jean-Jacques Beineix; 9/10): Has the kind of schizophrenic energy and soundtrack that I’d expect from L’amour braque or La femme publique—sometimes it is electronic and frenzied and churning, other times it is swelling and melodramatic/romantic. Also wasn’t prepared for how fantastically lit it is (when Kinski and Depardieu go in to see the cathedral caretaker I was having serious Suspiria flashbacks). Not sure I’ve seen anything that Kinski was better in.
[re:] 27. L’amour braque (1985; dir: Andrzej Żuławski; 7.5/10): Say what you will about everything that leads up to it, but when we’re shown the video that reveals what the Venin brothers did to the mother of Sophie Marceau’s character—when we get her repressed childhood flashback via projected videotape—it is an agonizing, abominable shorthand for what’s been afflicting all the other characters up till then.
[fst] 28. The Film to Come (1997; dir: Raúl Ruiz; 7/10)
[fst] 29. Indiscretion of an American Wife (1953; dir: Vittorio De Sica; 6/10)
[fst] 30. Man Yuk: A Portrait of Maggie Cheung (1997; dir: Olivier Assayas; 3.5/10)
[fst] 31. Games (1967; dir: Curtis Harrington; 1/10): Lackluster execution of a potentially interesting concept; just too tame for its own good.
VIEWING PATTERNS (if any): More sci-fi catch-up: Repo Man, Half-Life, Death Watch, John Carter, Aliens, The Skin I Live In, Blade Runner, Minority Report, Solaris, and Deja Vu. Also caught up on some horror that I’d never seen: Roadgames, Night Train Murders, Silent House, Carrie, Septien, Seance on a Wet Afternoon, and The Innocents.
BEST (first viewing): Take Shelter
BEST (rewatch): Solaris
MAN, I HATE THAT MOVIE (1st viewing or rewatch): TIE: Night Train Murders/ Stunt Rock
BIGGEST Disappointment: Roadgames
BIGGEST Surprise: TIE: UV/ Septien
MEH-of-the-MONTH: Silent House
WTF-of-the-MONTH: The Skin I Live In
LAST PERSON on mubi to SEE it: Aliens
FILMS SEEN in a THEATER: 4/40
FIRST-TIME VIEWINGS: 33/40
[fst] 1. Repo Man (1984; dir: Alex Cox; 7.5/10): Don’t know why it took me so long to see it, but for me it (mostly) lived up to its rep. Makes Reagan-era America seem positively apocalyptic. The way he “toggles” between the various packs of characters, the converging story lines, also worked for me (though I can see how the film’s structure could be read instead as sloppy). Feels like the sort of caricatured effort you either appreciate or don’t.
[fst] 2. Half-Life (2008; dir: Jennifer Phang; 5.5/10): A promising first 2/3 gives way to an under-realized and somehow inconsequential ending (despite the fact that most of the plot points are wrapped up; e.g., what’s the point of giving the son paranormal powers? Though his powers play a decisive role in the end of the film, that decisive moment smacks, imho, of contrivance instead of any meaningful insight into the characters or film). Presents the coming apocalypse as an all-pervading depression, an inescapable 21st-century malaise that has as much to do with broken homes as aberrant sunspot activity. The performances of Sanoe Lake and Julia Nickson are highlights.
[re:] 3. Inferno (1980; dir: Dario Argento; 10/10): For those of you interested in this sort of thing, there’s a fairly comprehensive comparison of the various Blu-ray editions available of Inferno, including the 3 most easily obtainable: Arrow (UK), Blue Underground (US), and Koch Media (Germany). Discussion of the color scheme debate and apparent picture cropping is included: http://www.landofwhimsy.com/archives/2012/03/some-thoughts-on-koch-medias-inferno-bd/.
[fst] 4. Heroic Purgatory (1970; dir: Yoshishige Yoshida; 8/10): As formally innovative, gorgeously composed, and constantly disorienting as any movie that I can remember seeing. So many of the set-ups and shots could be made into stills that would pass for works of art (from the artfully askew shots of something as simple as people walking down hallways to that mesmerizing bank of repeating TVs). Trying to process the way it collapses time & space (imho) warrants repeat viewings.
[fst] 5. Roadgames (aka Road Games; 1981; dir: Richard Franklin; 5/10): Starts out very promising, with a murder sequence that recalls both the giallo and a movie like Dressed to Kill, but it quickly settles into something more run of the mill. A little too much of Keach quoting poetry and talking to himself about the plot as substitute for anything substantive or stylish happening; also, after some nice interaction between his character and Curtis’, Curtis is kidnapped and disappears from the movie for almost all of its final third. The final confrontation with the killer is also mostly weak.
[fst] 6. Sans Soleil (1983; dir: Chris Marker; 8.5/10): Worth it for what it has to say/show about Vertigo alone.
[re:] 7. Opera (1987; dir: Dario Argento; 9.5/10)
[fst] 8. The Story of Marie and Julien (2003; dir: Jacques Rivette; 5/10): Work by Rivette is always worth watching, but I couldn’t help feeling that it compared unfavorably to other films that share its same themes—and no, I don’t mean The Sixth Sense, I mean The Third Part of the Night … that “forbidden gesture” was pretty creepy though …
UPDATE 04-10-12: The atmosphere, the effect, simply didn’t take hold for me on a first viewing. The repetition of clocks (the protagonist being a “repairer” of clocks, a “fixer of lost time”) seemed just a little too telegraphed. Also his blackmailing scheme seemed to have little motivation or relation to his character as portrayed (other than the obvious, money), and seemed set up solely to provide an excuse to have him connected to the Madame X character, so that she in turn could later “explain” the visitation that he was experiencing.
[fst] 9. Night Train Murders (1975; dir: Aldo Lado; 0/10): I don’t know what exactly I was expecting from this (I have some appreciation for Lado’s Short Night of the Glass Dolls), but the viewing experience was, in a word, awful. No reason to watch the film again (and, in hindsight, no reason to watch it in the first place). Even the presence of so many Argento regulars provided no saving grace from its particular form of unrelenting (and pointless) despair and sleaze.
[re:] 10. Vertigo (1958; dir: Alfred Hitchcock; 10/10)
[fst] 11. We Need to Talk about Kevin (2011; dir: Lynne Ramsay; 6.5/10): Swinton and Miller are fantastic (as they’ve been billed), but I think Kevin’s monologue about TV (delivered on TV) encapsulates what makes me feel somewhat ambivalent about the film on a first viewing. His statements, which clearly inform (or even equal the sum total of) his world view, come across as awfully one-note and familiar; basically: modern life breeds complacency and dissatisfaction in people on account of how mind-numbingly mundane it is … Certainly there’s no desire for easy (cliche) answers, but the apparent, overriding lack of any insight into the characters and situations the film depicts leaves me a little indifferent to the film as a whole. Also, all that red (red paint, red blood, red jam) seems, at first glance, bewilderingly simplistic.
[re:] 12. Death Watch (1980; dir: Bertrand Tavernier; 7/10)
+ [fst] 13. Silent House (2012; dir: Chris Kentis, Laura Lau; 2.5/10): Meh. The twist works no better here than it did in High Tension. Can appreciate the “continuous take” experiment, but there’s really not much else worth mentioning. (Also, the performance of the actors playing the father and uncle are just, um, not good.)
[fst] 14. Carrie (1976; dir: Brian De Palma; 6.5/10): A number of iconic set-pieces (and multiple strong performances, Spacek’s being the best), but I have to say, having finally seen it, that it’s not at the top of my De Palma Favorites List.
+ [fst] 15. John Carter (2012; dir: Andrew Stanton; 5.5/10): Maybe it’s my inner 8-year-old (the same one who read the books way back when), but I was surprised at how much I didn’t dislike the film. It carries with it all the same problems that tend to plague films like these—distracting performances from 2 or 3 of the leads, unconvincingly CGI’d battles (where quantity almost always stands in for quality), sometimes-cringe-inducing dialogue—but there were moments watching it when I could recall what it was like to watch my first few movies in the theater as a kid. And that seems like it’s worth 3 stars anyway.
[fst] 16. The Help (2011; dir: Tate Taylor; 2.5/10)
[fst] 17. Act of Violence (1948; dir: Fred Zinnemann; 7/10)
[fst] 18. La belle captive (1983; dir: Alain Robbe-Grillet; 6/10): Its parts are, at their best, dreamlike and menacing—the character of the gaunt and grinning detective, Walter’s passage through the flooded hall, and the scene where the professor and doctor watch Walter’s thoughts on a TV receiver all come to mind. (And the use of the Magritte painting feels exactly appropriate, if not completely satisfying.) Still trying to decide though what the various ingredients end up making.
[fst] 19. UV (not currently on mubi; 2007; dir: Gilles Paquet-Brenner; 7/10): Its opening recalls the one from Chabrol’s Innocents with Dirty Hands, but it quickly gives way to a much more low-key (and effective) suspense thriller. The stranger, Boris, bears passing resemblance to both Ludivine Sagnier’s character from Swimming Pool and Matt Damon as Mr. Ripley. The final explanation of the mystery lets some of the air out of the film’s built-up mystique, but still it manages to be artful from beginning to end. And Jacques Dutronc is magnetic whenever he’s on screen.
[fst] 20. Tuning the Sleep Machine (1996; dir: David Sherman; 7/10): As effective aurally as it is visually.
[fst] 21. Aliens (1986; dir: James Cameron; 6.5/10)
[fst] 22. Sorry, Haters (2005; dir: Jeff Stanzler; 5.5/10): A kind of thematic companion piece to The Imperialists Are Still Alive!, with both plots concerned with a man that has been targeted (deported? tortured?) by a post-9/11 US government. Whereas the relatively affluent protagonists of Imperialists seem afforded the luxury of being able to go on with their lives, regardless of the missing man’s fate (they show their art at galleries, party, drink, etc.), the missing man’s family here—a cab driver and his apparently destitute sister-in-law and nephew—are hopelessly without options, their access to any kind of life steadily eroding away as the film’s running time ticks by. The reasons behind Robin Wright’s attacks on Abdellatif Kechiche and his family (as well as her real identity) provides the plot with a number of unexpected developments, but the film remains problematic in its approach (imho). Especially when (spoiler) its grimly violent ending is transformed, literally, into a music video.
[fst] 23. The Billion Dollar Brain (1967; dir: Ken Russell; 5/10): This really only seems to work in complete ignorance of the two previous Harry Palmer films. The menace of Ipcress (and the subversive roguishness of Caine’s portrayal in that film) is almost completely MIA here. Musical cues (and some of the set-pieces) plays as nothing but camp, even self-parody. Ed Begley’s apocalyptic capitalist is a highlight, as well as Françoise Dorléac, whose big-eyed looks constantly recall older sister Catherine.
[fst] 24. The Skin I Live In (2011; dir: Pedro Almodóvar; 7.5/10)
+ [fst] 25. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011; dir: David Fincher; 3/10)
[re:] 26. Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno (2009; dir: Serge Bromberg, Ruxandra Medrea; 9.5/10)
[fst] 27. Septien (2011; dir: Michael Tully; 6.5/10): A film full of gaps: the 18-year gap of Cornelius’ disappearance; the gap between what the brothers c/should’ve been—sports star, renowned artist, well-adjusted son—and what they’ve become instead: gas huffer, recluse, confused housewife; the gap between the amnesiac plumber that Red Rooster has become and the sadistic coach he once was; etc. The buildup to the “exorcism” that the three brothers perform along with Rooster contains genuine suspense and unease, but its execution—its filling in of the narrative gap—seems not particularly successful or effective, but as if it needed to be fleshed out in another draft.
+ [fst] 28. Take Shelter (2011; dir: Jeff Nichols; 8/10): Two wrenching performances and as much tension (and sustained sadness) as I can remember feeling in a theater.
[fst] 29. Krakatau (1986; dir: Mariusz Grzegorzek; 7/10): Echo of an image: Watching the sequence that includes the still above, couldn’t help but think of that long scene of Laura Dern approaching the camera in Inland Empire, the contorted look on her face becoming more and more apparent, till it practically fills the screen.
[fst] 30. Blade Runner (1992; dir: Ridley Scott, 1992 Director’s Cut; 8/10)
[re:] 31. Minority Report (2002; dir: Steven Spielberg; 1/10)
[fst] 32. Death Line (1972; dir: Gary Sherman; 0.5/10)
[fst] 33. Night Moves (1975; dir: Arthur Penn; 6.5/10): Working through Hackman’s 70s filmography for (mostly) the first time. Doesn’t compare to The Conversation, but has enough neo-noir nods to keep it moving (and the ending becomes suddenly, gorily over-the-top and violent). The image of the pilot drowning in the plane, as Hackman watches through the glass-bottom boat, is one of the film’s most effective parting images. (And James Woods looks like he’s, what, 16?)
[fst] 34. Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964; dir: Bryan Forbes; 7.5/10): Kim Stanley invoking her dead child Arthur to enhance her psychic powers during her rainy seances = Piper Laurie invoking her dead child Nicolas to achieve the same, during her rainy seance in Trauma? … Also, I didn’t realize that Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s 2000 film Seance is considered to be a remake.
[fst] 35. The Innocents (1961; dir: Jack Clayton; 7.5/10):
[fst] 36. All Fall Down (1962; dir: John Frankenheimer; 6/10): Warren Beatty is a smoldering, abusive bunch of confused machismo as Berry-Berry, and Angela Lansbury’s mother character is an interesting counterpoint to her role (and its incestuous undertones) in Frankenheimer’s The Manchurian Candidate, but that schmaltzy ending is just too much to take seriously. Also, though we spend a fair amount of time with each member of the family, they still somehow seem underdeveloped.
[re:] 37. Solaris (1972; dir: Andrei Tarkovsky; 10/10)
[fst] 38. Deja Vu (2006; dir: Tony Scott; 3.5/10): Lots of promise, as well as a sequence that reminds me of Banderas watching Elena Anaya on his huge vidscreen in The Skin I Live In. But there are too many failings: flat or nonexistent characterization; cliched one-liners (the KY crack) and lame setups (the men drooling over Patton in the shower) that are sophomoric and unfunny; also, Caviezel is only ever a parody of the character he thinks he’s playing.
[fst] 39. Stunt Rock (1978; dir: Brian Trenchard-Smith; 1/10): Even as camp, even as a joke, even as total wtf-theater-rock-stuntmanliness, it’s just not worth sitting through.
[fst] 40. Betty Blue (1986; dir: Jean-Jacques Beineix; 7/10)
VIEWING PATTERNS (if any):
1. Followed through on the plan to check out as many Australian films (Ozploitation or otherwise). I watched 11 in all, listed in descending order of preference:
Wake in Fright/Mad Max (Tie)
The Last Wave
Picnic at Hanging Rock
2. Continued to focus on genre and first-time viewings, watching Hierro, Dead of Night, The Damned, Klute, The Dead Mountaineer Hotel, Eyes Without a Face, Dead of Winter, Pilot Pyrx’s Inquest, The Missing Person, Murder, My Sweet, Kill List, Pontypool, Silent Running, Logan’s Run, Westworld, The Incredible Hulk, and Dust Devil (the “Final Cut”).
3. Somehow didn’t manage to see a single film in a theater(!).
BEST (first viewing): Mother Joan of the Angels
BEST (rewatch): TIE: Tenebrae/ Mad Max
MAN, I HATE THAT MOVIE (1st viewing or rewatch): TIE: Turkey Shoot/ Autoerotic
BIGGEST Disappointment: TIE: Dust Devil/ The Dead Mountaineer Hotel/ Pilot Pyrx’s Inquest/ Harlequin/ Snapshots
BIGGEST Surprise: Wake in Fright
MEH-of-the-MONTH: TIE: Logan’s Run/ Westworld/ Patrick
WTF-of-the-MONTH: The Dead Mountaineer Hotel
WANTED, REALLY WANTED TO LIKE IT MORE: SEVERAL: The Damned/ The Last Wave/ Pontypool/ Snapshots/ The Dead Mountaineer Hotel
LAST PERSON on mubi to SEE it: Eyes Without a Face
FILMS SEEN in a THEATER: 0/52(!)
FIRST-TIME VIEWINGS: 46/52
[fst] 1. The Man from London (2007; dir: Béla Tarr; 6.5/10)
[fst] 2. Map of the Sounds of Tokyo (2009; dir: Isabel Coixet; 3/10)
[fst] 3. Hamfat Asar (1965; dir: Larry Jordan; 5/10)
[fst] 4. A Fleeting Dream (2004; dir: Henri Plaat; 5/10)
[fst] 5. Echogram (2003; dir: Sergei Alibekov; 6/10)
[fst] 6. Dead of Night (1945; dir: Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden, Robert Hamer; 5/10): Would that each section of the anthology were as strong as the flurry of eerie activity that ends the film. The frame tale and the Michael Redgrave section do maintain a consistent creepiness, but the others only really become effective in the context of the end of the film (with the “Golfing” section dragging the most). Good, in parts. … and for those of you interested in this sort of story, the Suspense episode entitled “The House in Cypress Canyon” (the radio version) is tops.
[fst] 7. Ballet mécanique (1924; dir: Fernand Léger, Dudley Murphy; 7/10): Sections of this are reminiscent of the “kinetic art” screen tests (especially those including Romy Schneider) that can be seen in the documentary on Henri-Georges Clouzot’s unfinished film Inferno.
[fst] 8. Ménilmontant (1926; dir: Dimitri Kirsanoff; 7/10)
[fst] 9. The Fugitive Kind (1960; dir: Sidney Lumet; 6.5/10)
[fst] 10. The Damned (1963; dir: Joseph Losey; 5/10): For me, the film lost its steam at some point while the three principals were languishing in the cave with the kids. The opening is compelling and effectively mysterious; the ending apocalyptic, violent, and depressing (love how ominous that shot of the helicopter trailing the boat seems). The sudden violence of the sculptress’ death (and the lurking presence of the sculptures themselves) are what I’ll remember most.
[fst] 11. Death and the Compass (1992; dir: Alex Cox; 3/10): I couldn’t shake the feeling that Peter Boyle was miscast, and that the nested flashback structure served no real purpose. Had the sort of tone I expected from a Cox movie, but seemed to be trying way too hard to maintain it. (And though the plot is hardly important, the identity of the mystery villain is no real mystery after about a third of the way in.) On the plus side, the soundtrack may be better than the film.
[fst] 12. Klute (1971; dir: Alan J. Pakula; 7/10): Having recently watched one of its 70s-era American cousins (Night Moves), I’d say this one exceeds that film in almost every department. Solid, sometimes deceptively simple neo-noir with occasional whiffs of giallo (the use of the subjective camera throughout, as well as the rooftop skylight scenes that recall, at least briefly, David Hemmings in his apartment in Profondo Rosso).
[fst] 13. The Dead Mountaineer Hotel (1979; dir: Grigori Kromanov; 2.5/10): Consistently bizarre Russian science fiction that I wish had been better. One-dimensional characters and disjointed action centered in the titular hotel becomes a mash-up of genre conventions—lifelike robots, stranded aliens, maybe also zombies … not to mention the suitcase from Kiss Me Deadly. Suffers too much from sequences that are, more often than not, amateurish and a bit incomprehensible. A let down.
[fst] 14. Mother Joan of the Angels (1961; dir: Jerzy Kawalerowicz; 10/10): There are images from this film that are literally stunning: when the Sister enters the priest’s room at the end to find him holding what he’s holding (no spoilers here) and telling her to be quiet with his finger—! The self-flagellation scenes also recalled for me the “closet” scenes with Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter, sitting in the dark behind the door, trying to beat his love for Hester Prynne out of his body.
[fst] 15. Eden and After (1970; dir: Alain Robbe-Grillet; 6/10)
[fst] 16. Cracks (2009; dir: Jordan Scott; 4.5/10)
[fst] 17. Autoerotic (2011; dir: Joe Swanberg, Adam Wingard; 0/10)
[fst] 18. Lake Mungo (2008; dir: Joel Anderson; 6.5/10): Genuinely contemplative, genuinely committed to the documentary “screen” that’s framing all its narrative and action. Inventive, well-conceived twists and two or three moments that give me the serious willies. Actual characters whose grief is actually examined and explored. A nice alternative to so much of the thoughtless, cliche crap that passes for horror. Maybe missing only one more moment (or level of) derangement, but still very solid. A great way to kick off my Aussie viewing for the month.
[fst] 19. Eyes Without a Face (1960; dir: Georges Franju; 8/10): Christiane glides around the first part of the film like a lurking, elongated ghost (her too-skinny neck and head sticking out of that high-collared housecoat like some alien’s). And the last shot of her doing the same, wandering out into the woods with her father mauled on the ground and her fiance completely clueless that she does indeed yet live––the film is utterly effective on so many levels (body horror, atmosphere, sometimes also almost a Gothic ghost story). Wonder if its connection to Conan Doyle’s The Adventure of the Copper Beeches could be proven––both contain a climax with the villainous father being attacked by a dog and a storyline that revolves around a mystery woman being held in her family’s eerie home against her will.
[fst] 20. Cindy, the Doll is Mine (2005; dir: Bertrand Bonello; 5/10)
[re:] 21. The Temptation of St. Tony (2009; dir: Veiko Õunpuu; 8/10): I’ve revised down my assessment of the film a bit, after rewatching it this month, though I still think it contains a lot to be excited about. I could do without the whiff of Hostel that shows up toward the end; also maybe the ice-rink scene. Ending on the dog from Stalker with him in the barren landscape would’ve been more effective (and more effectively heart-breaking) I think.
[fst] 22. Dead of Winter (1987; dir: Arthur Penn; 1/10): Other than the opening sequence, which I find compelling for some reason (something about the way it’s shot, always from the driver’s back, so you can’t see her face makes it the most mysterious and subtle thing in the film), the film is one big checklist of “genre conventions I’ve already seen.” Never been much of a fan of Mary Steenburgen either, who’s turn here in three separate roles doesn’t change my mind. (Compare to Susan Hampshire’s triple role in Malpertuis, e.g., where you can watch the film and actually not realize it’s Hampshire in more than one role.)
[fst] 23. Harlequin (AKA, Dark Forces; 1980; dir: Simon Wincer; 2.5/10): Hemmings plays an incredibly unlikable, frustratingly passive character in a morass of other equally unlikable folks. Finding out whether the stranger is or isn’t magic is the only thing that might keep your interest (the political corruption plot is muddled and half-done), but as the film does something meant to flip your opinion on the topic every 11 minutes or so, it just becomes tedious.
[fst] 24. Patrick (1978; dir: Richard Franklin; 3/10): Imho, suffers from the same problems as Franklin’s Roadgames: not enough narrative drive, editing that seems neither deliberate nor particularly effective, and no sense of awareness for pacing (both films just seem bloated). Wanted to be wowed by a lost b-movie classic; instead got to watch two hours of a comatose goofball spitting at the screen and using his telekinesis to type lewd love letters to his nurse. Meh.
[fst] 25. Myshoes (2011; dir: Elisa Resinaro; 1/10)
[fst] 26. Splendor in the Grass (1961; dir: Elia Kazan; 7/10)
[fst] 27. Long Weekend (1978; dir: Colin Eggleston; 5/10)
[fst] 28. Pilot Pyrx’s Inquest (1979; dir: Marek Piestrak; 2.5/10): The animation sequence is really the highlight, with the rest of the film playing as too talky and more than a little bit camp—I’m thinking of things like the constant foregrounding of the pilot’s Ford Mustang or the music-video-ish use of generic heavy metal to punctuate every other scene. Along with Dead Mountaineer Hotel, which I watched a couple weeks ago, it’s the biggest letdown in what I’ve seen this month.
[re:] 29. Mad Max (1979; dir: George Miller; 8/10)
[fst] 30. The Missing Person (2009; dir: Noah Buschel; 6/10): Downbeat and deadpan odd (though not to the same extent as Herzog’s My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done). Michael Shannon’s grimacing, mumbling performance is the main reason to keep watching. Does the 9/11 tie-in work, plot-wise, emotion-wise, gut-wise? Not sure. Maybe also a little too meandering for its own good. And an ending that feels like a fizzle.
[fst] 31. Murder, My Sweet (1944; dir: Edward Dmytryk; 7/10)
[fst] 32. Kill List (2011; dir: Ben Wheatley; 7/10): For what it’s worth, I didn’t feel that knowing the outcome of the movie well before it arrived detracted much from the tension and dread that the film managed. Sure all you think for the last 20 minutes or so is The Wicker Man—and, yes, it seemed pretty obvious who The Hunchback would turn out to be—but it was more effective than a good number of other horror films I’ve watched from this same time period. Will it age well? I have no idea, but I’d put it in the category of “genre films that succeed in being more than a fair sight better (also bleaker) than I expected them to be.”
[fst] 33. The Survivor (1981; dir: David Hemmings; 5.5/10): Its effectively creepy atmosphere is undercut by some occasionally wonky overacting from Powell and too many kill scenes that are supposed to be haunting (but instead play as confused). The image of Agutter with the children in the field—especially when you realize its significance—is unsettling; the plane crash itself (and its aftermath) is also unnerving. Could’ve been better (read: more consistent) though.
[re:] 34. Possession (1981; dir: Andrzej Żuławski; 10/10)
[fst] 35. Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011; dir: Sean Durkin; 5.5/10): In addition to seconding HKFanatic’s post on the film’s wall, I’d also say: If the film could’ve sustained more moments like that last scene/shot, when the outcome of both the film and of M.‘s sanity is suspended in so much doubt (i.e., is it the cult leader in the SUV following them or isn’t it?), then I’d have found the film more remarkable.
[fst] 36. Pontypool (2008; dir: Bruce McDonald; 6.5/10)
[fst] 37. Booty Call (1997; dir: Jeff Pollack; 3/10)
[fst] 38. Silent Running (1972; dir: Douglas Trumbull; 3/10): Contrary to what I expected, the handling of the environmental theme is neither particularly nuanced nor sophisticated. Dern’s soliloquizing, along with the dated, heavy-handed message-music, is utterly black-and-white; and his crewmates just nature-hating, cardboard villains. Dern does become a kind of pitiable sad sack—his isolation as much a result of his social awkwardness as his actual predicament—but still … and did his interactions with Huey and Duey remind anyone else of children’s television?
[re:] 39. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975; dir: Peter Weir; 6.5/10): After watching it twice, I have a reaction I’ve heard elsewhere: the second half of the film takes the brooding, building, audio-visual M-Y-S-T-E-R-Y of the film and does something of a period-piece-police-procedural header.
[fst] 40. Logan’s Run (1976; dir: Michael Anderson; 3.5/10)
[re:] 41. Tenebrae (1982; dir: Dario Argento; 10/10)
[re:] 42. Deep Red (1975; dir: Dario Argento; 9/10)
[fst] 43. Westworld (1973; dir: Michael Crichton; 4/10)
[fst] 44. Hierro (2009; dir: Gabe Ibáñez; 3.5/10): Watching Elena Anaya’s performance in The Skin I Live In a few months back motivated me to seek out more of her films. Since this was also “horror mystery” I thought it might be a good place to start. It does have its moments––the mother’s angled eye in the aftermath of the car crash, or some of the staggering landscapes (and the lost characters moving through them), or the sometimes-genuine eeriness of the set pieces (ferry, trailer home, trailer park, etc.)––but I can’t say that the story ever became more than a stylish retread of much familiar territory. Also seemed on a mission to “out-twist” itself as many times as it possibly could.
[fst] 45. Secret Ceremony (1968; dir: Joseph Losey; 3.5/10)
[fst] 46. Snapshot (aka: One More Minute, aka: The Day Before Halloween; 1979; dir: Simon Wincer; 3/10): Of the Ozploitation stuff that I’ve been able to track down for the first time this month, this was the one I was most excited to see. I can still remember watching Sigrid Thornton play the spitfire rich-man’s daughter in The Man from Snowy River when I was a kid. And having recently rewatched Mad Max, I was interested in watching another performance by Hugh Keays-Byrne. Other than the opening scene of the firefighters discovering the burned corpse though—a fairly effective “hook” that is mostly wordless, whose slow pace, though maybe not deliberate, certainly adds atmosphere—it’s a pointless dip into some pretty tepid psycho-thriller (slasher) waters. The by-now-familiar merry-go-round of suspects—the boyfriend who can’t let go, the puritanical mother who’s really a hypocrite, the sleazy movie producer, etc.—was about as boring a cast as I could imagine. Without some artful or stylish direction to distract from an otherwise uninvolving plot, well … I was spent flashing back to my disappointment over Roadgames. (Hugh Keays-Byrne was solid though, with limited screen time, playing the sometimes-quirky sometimes-creepy fashion photographer.)
[fst] 47. Turkey Shoot (aka Escape 2000; 1982; dir: Brian Trenchard-Smith; 1/10): I hereby vow to stop watching Brian Trenchard-Smith films. (Except for maybe watching The Quest again before I die, if/when feeling nostalgic for childhood.) I mean, even the director himself talks about what a complete piece of garbage his own film is in the DVD extras, so who am I to argue?
[fst] 48. Wake in Fright (1971; dir: Ted Kotcheff; 8/10): Of the Aussie/Ozploitation movies I’ve watched this month (10 so far), this one really stands out. Though the kangaroo footage borders on indefensible, the rest of the film carries shades of a Cul-de-sac-kind-of Polanski (with some Straw Dogs impending dread thrown in). (That quick-cutting montage of nightmare images—culminating with the x’ed-out pennies levitating up to Donald Pleasence’s eyes—is particularly effective.) Basically a charting of debauchery by degrees … And, FYI, the Australian Blu, though exhibiting some a/v softness, was a solid enough presentation of the film imo.
[fst] 49. Dust Devil (1992; dir: Richard Stanley; 3/10): With the film’s troubled production history it’s hard to know exactly how much “benefit of the doubt” this “Final Cut” deserves. But no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get past the acting, which was especially grating from the two leads. The narration, especially at the beginning, also seemed like a clumsy way to simply tell the audience all the plot points we needed to keep track of. Would’ve appreciated some scenes that dramatized that action, instead of someone reading me a script.
[fst] 50. The Misfits (1961; dir: John Huston; 6.5/10)
[fst] 51. The Incredible Hulk (2008; dir: Louis Leterrier; 1/10): I should preface anything I say here with: I love genre. Absolutely love it. And, if pressed, I would argue that everything, every story, every narrative, is a genre story, whether that genre is “80s American slasher” or "Czech New Wave*. I think Mrs. Arkadin’s comment, made between rolling her eyes and laughing till she cried, says it best though: “This movie was made for little kids wasn’t it?”
[fst] 52. The Last Wave (1977; dir: Peter Weir; 6.5/10): Frankly I expected more mystery. More atmosphere. The trial scenes, as well as Chamberlain getting lost in the sewers, don’t support their screentime very well.
Films watched from Jan-Apr 2012: 153
01Nicolas Winding Refn
06Nicolas Winding Refn
12John M. Stahl
26Brian De Palma
27Joseph L. Mankiewicz
41Fernando Di Leo
59Vittorio De Sica
75Brian De Palma
112Alan J. Pakula