Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Films Viewed (October 2010)

The Social Network was hands-down great if you are a fan of David Fincher and are as interested as I am in the new socially networked world that has emerged in recent times. Still in theaters due to great reviews and solid box office. I say see it.

The Heartbreak Kid (1972) was an odd one. I have been meaning to see more of the films of Elaine May since reading an appreciation of her early work in Film Comment a few years ago, and Netflix provided the opportunity. Why this was re-made (apparently terribly) by Ben Stiller and company is a mystery since the original barely functions plot wise. Hard to go wrong with a young Cybil Shepard, though.

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? is what happens when Herzog and Lynch get together AKA Awesome + Weird. If you are a fan of either, this is highly recommended.

Plastic Bag, a short by Ramin Bahrani voiced by Wener Herzog, was an extra feature on the above DVD. Haunting, minimal, and effective.

The Jerk was a surgery-recovery choice while trolling through the Comcast On Demand at my mom's house. Early Steve Martin has its moments, but he is not in full filmic blossom quite yet.

Extract, another On Demand choice, was like Mike Judge lite. Diverting but never quite got anywhere interesting.

Jaws III: works every time. I wish I could see it in the original 3D. Perhaps James Cameron could get behind this restoration as well as his other more personal conversion projects?

I Need That Record! was an uneven love letter to the now-disappearing independent record store, my home away from home wherever a reputable one can be found still surviving. The good outweighed the bad in this, but the writing is on the wall.

The Art of the Steal
was a double hit in my apartment that it was about both the art world establishment and the world of the non-profit. Delineates the art heist of the century and shows one idea of the art museum (small, for the common man, for arts education, not for critics) losing out in favor of the predominant mode (bus tours, big show, gift shops).

Trash Humpers was quite a rough ride, courtesy of Harmony Korine. A lo-fi American nightmare. I think one day all films will look and play out like this one. This is because I am a cynical person. Banned from Netflix!

John Carpenter's The Thing was a gory paranoid hoot, especially on the big screen. I can see why many old-school FX Fangoria types pledge their allegiance to this one. Screened as part of the new series Gunky's Basement (more info on future screenings here).

Blind Woman's Curse
was a WTF Japanese Yazuka/Horror hybrid. Absolutely bizarre at points. An oddity in both genres. Not a bad way to spend a Friday night.

The Killer Inside Me was an eyebrow-raising look inside the mind of a psychopath. Not for the faint of heart. Memorable performances throughout from Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba, and Kate Hudson. A rom-com it was not!

was another great film from Ulrich Seidl, a director I was introducted to by John Waters via his Maryland Flm Festival screening pick of a prior film of Seidl's in 2004. In it, a woman leaves the Ukraine to find work in Vienna. A man leaves Vienna to find work in the Ukraine. Bleak and terrible things happen, thanks to the new global economy. Hooray Capitalism!

The City of Lost Children can now be checked off the list. A big beautiful film that somehow feels empty and hollow. The way-station between Delicatessen and Amelie that makes you feel creeped-out/uncomfortable more than a few times.

Water Lilies was a French film about two young women coming of age who. Yes, there is synchronized swimming, but it was shot strikingly. Yes, there is LGBT sexual confusion and tension. Yes, you can watch it on Netflix Instant. Played DC, but never made it to Baltimore.

I Am Love did make it to the Charles, and I regret not catching it on the big screen, as it was clearly meant to be seen. Sumptuous visuals detail the downfall of a wealthy woman (Tilda Swinton) who manages to wear a different super-chic dress in every new setting in the film. She gives it away, all for love. Operatic and borderline ridiculous, I still had a good experience with it.

The Charles
The Rotunda
The Senator
The Landmark Harbor East
Suburban Multiplex
Netflix/ DVD/ On Demand
(PLEASE NOTE: all DVD-available releases are now linked to their page on the Netflix website)
Total: 16 films, 1 short film (2 in theaters)