Paul (2011, Greg Mottola): I think it kind of proves for me how big a factor Edgar Wright was in how good Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz were (personally I didn’t enjoy Paul nearly as much). A lot of the humour here just seemed so less distinctive and more mainstreamy. Admittedly though I did almost squeal in delight at the Close Encounters of the Third Kind reference, but when the best bit of a film is a reference to another film then there’s something quite wrong with it… Still, I found it amusing enough, I guess. 5/10
Trouble Every Day (2001, Claire Denis): A perplexing, ambiguous horror film. Leaves itself very open as to quite what it’s about, though themes relating to disease, marital problems (I really liked a comparison I read between this and Zulawski’s Possession) and adultery are all evident (and all intertwined). The film is to be commended for making the cannibals sympathetic, and the horror scenes not gratuitous but instead an expression of the pain these people are struggling with as they struggle to hold back their urges. 8/10
Chocolat (1988, Claire Denis): A very well handled look at guilt over French colonialism and the inner conflict between this guilt and the racism which arises as a biproduct of said colonialism. Seems to be regarded as a lesser film from Denis, but it’s one of my favourites of her body of work. 8/10
Beau travail (1999, Claire Denis): Even the scenes in which the groups of soldiers dance feel like they are repressing who they are so that they can become part of a single unit, with the choral music laid over the top emphasising the element of ritual in their training. Perhaps that is why the ending – which should by all rites be ridiculous – is such a profound moment of expression. A beautiful piece of filmmaking, especially with the scenes upon the outright alien landscape provided by the salt flats. 8/10
A.I. Artificial Intelligence fourth watch (2001, Steven Spielberg): My favourite Spielberg. I find the ideas it explores fascinating (and very relevant) and the manner in which it explores them to be both highly compelling and incredibly affecting. It’s a film that is not without flaws but personally I find so much rewarding about the film that the flaws can’t really stop me from respecting and loving it. I adore the ending which is deceptively sentimental and remarkably dark, leaving David in the same situation Monica was in at the beginning. 8.5/10
In Passing (2011, Heidi Elise Beaver, Dean Kavanagh, Rouzbeh Rashidi, Roy Rezaäli, Peter Rinaldi, Kate Shults, Christopher Michael Beer): A wonderful film which fills me with a lot of hope for the remodernist filmmakers and what films may yet come out of the movement. The look at transience throughout the film is very engaging, and I particularly loved the first section Trust which reminds me of Weerasethakul’s work (the final section by Peter Rinaldi is also remarkable). 8.5/10
Big Trouble in Little China second watch (1986, John Carpenter): Really good fun. 7.5/10
Westworld (1973, Michael Crichton): It was quite enjoyable. I mean, obviously the whole thing is ludicrous but that just made it more fun. The only thing that really annoyed me was the goofy “western” music that played at some points. 7/10
Titicut Follies (1967, Frederick Wiseman): I don’t find the subject matter as inherently fascinating as some of Wiseman’s other films, but it’s still very effective. An unsettling look at emotional abuse. 8/10
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975, Jim Sharman, Richard O’Brien): Awesome fun. Soooo want to see this with proper audience participation. 9/10
Cecil, ironic that every single one of those Denis above gets an 8….yet A.I. gets an 8.5….when in my book…A.I. would get not even half of those Denis grades above :P
Really…Jurassic Park FTW instead of the tediousness and the petty Pinocchio rehash in A.I. Hell, any John Carpenter film man is better than A.I. :D
Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit third watch (2005, Steve Box, Nick Park): Amusing. 7/10
A Matter of Life and Death second watch (1946, Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger): The only bit I’m not terribly fond of is the first minute or so (the night sky stuff), but I looooove everything after that. The film looks gorgeous and some of the images are amazing, I love the ambiguity of the film (the question of whether the Heaven scenes are real or all in the main character’s head is never really answered), I love its wit and poignancy, I even love the patriotic speech (which imo is intentionally played over the top for amusement, and yet at the same time serves as a surprisingly concise explanation of American ideals to a British audience that at the time wouldn’t necessarily have seen eye to eye with America), and I especially love the film’s warmth. It was lovely seeing it again. 9/10
A Scanner Darkly (2006, Richard Linklater): The animation was generally very nicely done, and I liked the basic plotline and the ideas it was trying to address, but I found much of the tone of the film irksome: both that it spent way too much time on the quite forced scenes looking at the drug-users everyday lives (and the generally unfunny humour that came with those scenes), and also with the attempts at philosophical pondering which came off as a bit shallow. 5/10
The Straits of Love and Hate (1937, Kenji Mizoguchi): The print I saw was in terrible condition which almost certainly impacted my enjoyment. Despite this it was still a very effective piece of melodrama. 8/10
@Dim, heh I know I’m kind of alone with my feelings about A.I. (well, it’s just me and Rosenbaum at any rate). I can understand why people don’t like it but I find it such a fascinating film.
And I find Jurassic Park kinda tedious (at least until the dinos appear) :P
Melancholia – 4 stars
A real knockout. One of von Trier’s best.
Grave of The Fireflies
Dir : Isao Takahata
One of the best anime story I ever watched..
“Dim, heh I know I’m kind of alone with my feelings about A.I. (well, it’s just me and Rosenbaum at any rate)”
Do you like Ishtar too? Because you two would really be bosom buddies then!! ;-)
The ending of Beau travail always struck me as being corny.
I"m standing alone on this one. Beau Travail is an ordinary movie in my opinion, and i feel no shame whatsoever about not rating it!! ;-)
Chains by Raffaello Matarazzo
I’ve discovered another 50s master of melodrama.
“Do you like Ishtar too? Because you two would really be bosom buddies then!! ;-)”
Haven’t seen Ishtar yet, but it doesn’t look promising O.O
Dir: Andrew Haigh
With Tom Cullen and Chris New
A fine and understated little film about two gay Englishmen who meet at a club and spend much of the following weekend in each other’s company. It manages to avoid almost all of the pitfalls such a premise might have — never becoming merely talky or over-actory. Easily the best gay-themed fiction film I’ve seen in many years.
Atlantis (1913, August Blom). DFI DVD
A Danish scientist, frustrated with both his personal and professional lives, finds himself attracted to a dancer who he follows to America.
This early Danish film is impressive in terms of spectacle (the shipwreck sequence is extremely well staged), and the fact that it was released in 1913.
Comanche Station 1960
DIR Budd Boetticher
PROD Budd Boetticher, Randolph Scott
SCR Burt Kennedy
DP Charles Lawton Jr.
CAST Randolph Scott, Nancy Gates, Claude Akins, Skip Homeier, Richard Rust
MUSIC Mischa Bakaleinikoff
The lesser of Ride Lonesome and Tall T but this has a twist at the end that, combined with the iconic last scene, says everything about the Western, the honor code of the lone cowboy, Randolph Scott, and Budd Boetticher.
Peabody: beautifully put. Realize that Budd never ever again made a movie after this one. It’s like he knew it.
Oh man, I didn’t know that. Some might say it was cliche, but the combination of the reveal and that last scene put a lump in my throat.
Striking Distance (1993) 3/5
The Sound of the Mountain (Dir. Mikio Naruse, 1954)
You need to get Hulu Plus just so you can see this. He out Ozus Ozu and he doesn’t even have to resort to any rigid formal fussiness. The film is direct, unflinching, and genuinely heartbreaking. And what felt strange to me about it is that it was heartbreaking almost from the get-go. I never got a lump in my throat and I never welled up with tears, but I had a heaviness the whole time. I suspect that as I explore Naruse more, his films will begin to speak to each other in the way that all the great master directors films do.
Contagion (Dir. Steven Soderbergh, 2011)
Many will not like Contagion because it is light on character development. But Soderbergh, with his pulsating electronic music throughout, gives a fairly imaginative sense of what a large scale event of this nature would be like. SPOILER – I was a little disappointed that they found a cure in the end. I wanted Soderbergh to make the horror aspect of the movie complete by forcing us to stare into the abyss of mass death by unseen agent. And since Contagion was never going to break any box office records with its subject matter, why not go for broke?
“And since Contagion was never going to break any box office records with its subject matter, why not go for broke?”
It’s actually far more realistic the way Soderbergh does it though. I like that he resists the urge to go full on apocalyptic. Viruses like that depicted in the film have a limited epidemic lifespan (only to return later). The idea that (almost) everyone would be killed off is far more Hollywood.
Yeah, I kind of agree with Ari. If it were a von Trier film, yeah everyone would be dead. But the more realistic approach is closer to how Soderbergh depicted it.
However I would’ve been happy to see them all die.
I can see that. About halfway through I was thinking that it was actually a pretty good horror movie. And then it got into the lady who tests the vaccine on herself and the heroism, blah blah blah. I actually just about puked in my mouth when he started playing “All I Want is You” with that mini-prom, but the coda was really nice.
At any rate, I was pleasantly surprised by it.
I think you’re gonna like Haywire.
Same zippy style but in a better genre.
The Darjeeling Limited – 3/4
It doesn’t add up to very much when it’s all over, but while you’re watching, it’s way too much fun to care. I would gladly watch this again.
Wait, what genre could be better than Pandemic?
The Kickass-Woman-Action genre!
Red Cliff (2008, John Woo). E1 DVD (2 disc “extended” edition)
I bought this DVD when it first came out in March 2010….finally got around to watching it.
This 5 hour movie feels and plays like a video game. Roland Emmerich meets Braveheart.