Thursday, September 9, 2010

Films Viewed (August 2010)

The Girl Who Played with Fire was a worthy sequel to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I have been chided by Baby Boomer co-workers for not reading the books and have been told that I am getting a simplistic experience with the films. I respond that I am too busy on Twitter and Faceplace to read books. LOL.

Brighton Rock was the penultimate revival, British gangster noir. Was that really Richard Attenborough as the young conflicted Catholic psychopath? This Richard Attenborough? Carole Marsh was a vision of loveliness.

When You're Strange: A Film About the Doors was the definitive document on this group, if you ask me. After the impact that the Oliver Stoned Doors had on my misspent youth, I found this clarifying. I don't know if I am a true Doors Fan, as it were, but this doc gives legitimacy to their strum and drang via an evenhanded, researched approach.

Red Desert was one of those films you wait to experience correctly. I did, and was rewarded by the new Criterion disc. Beautifully shot and languidly paced, it presents confusion and desire in bleakly nuanced and sharply defined vistas. Comparable to Stalker, another big favorite of mine, which was inspired by this film.

We Live in Public was a perfect descent into the late 1990s, cash being burned as the future was foreseen. A heck of a ride, crashing around the end of the century like most ridiculous things of that era. Josh Harris saw it coming, all of it.

It Always Rains on Sunday was the last revival in the Charles theater series that stretches back to last decade, give or take the occasional brief hiatus. Another British noir, this one was more of a claustrophobic kitchen sink drama. With it, the revivals end for a year, to return when their programmer returns from Rome.

The Kids are All Right was why you go the arthouse; smart, truthful, complex, and unwilling to pull punches. Directed well, acted well, and worth the time of anyone interested in 21st century family dynamics.

Hell House was an old doc in a new DVD box, reminding me in production values of Roger and Me. We see the operation of the first big hell house of its kind, something that is now a nationwide phenomena. Scary in ways other that those intended by the operators of said house.

The Manchurian Candidate... "Wait, you've never seen that film?" "No, I haven't." But it's a classic." Yes, but for years it was unavailable to the public." "It's been available since 1988." "Oh..."

Lovely and Amazing is the second major film in the directorial career of Nicole Holofcener. It was interesting to see this film after seeing her latest, which used some of the same cast/types in different ways. I suspect her films will age well based on how this 2001 effort looked and felt today. Do I dare venture back to 1996's Walking and Talking?

The Beatniks (Mst3k version) was a terrible bore of a film only levied by the jibes of the Satellite of Love crew. Started flat and cold, but redeemed itself by the end. More proof those guys can make any film a hoot.

Bluebeard was the ZOMG highlight of the month. A fairy-tale re-told by the director of Romance? I was in from the first, and was stunned repeatedly by the cinematography and the performances evoked. Proof that film can be art. It is a crime it did not even get a week on a big screen in Baltimore.

It Happened One Night is canonical, a welcome relief on an otherwise dreary late-summer evening. Did not like the creaky sexist attitudes, still enjoyed the back and forth of the two leads and the pre-code licentiousness.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was like a book written for people who don't read. The gamers and fanboys stayed away from a movie custom made for them, a film which represents a possible future of the feature film. I was enjoying myself from the opening Nintendofied Universal logo and theme onward. I wish I had more company in the theater, however.

Jaws was an old friend, revisited with educated eyes. Key scenes remained from my childhood, while others escaped me at the time. Nice way to wrap up the summer, movie-wise, despite declining to stick around to watch the sequel.

The Other Guys was thoroughly "eh" but was still Will Ferrell's second biggest opening box office weekend. I felt somehow not manly enough for this film, or maybe not stupid enough? And I can be a big appreciator of stupid humor... puzzling.

The Charles
The Rotunda
The Landmark Harbor East
Other (Suburban Mulitplex, Netflix! Netflix! Netflix!, Greektown rowhome)
Total: 16 (6 in theaters)