Monday, July 5, 2010

Films Viewed (June 2010)

Robin Hood was a movie that I saw at a Cinemark Multiplex in the county. They have radically changed the way concessions and tickets are sold there, creating a confusing "buffet-style" situation. I enjoyed the film, but my expectations were not very high. I am beginning to believe that seeing MacGruber has somehow cursed my filmgoing experiences this summer, but most agree this is a lackluster season.

Respect Yourself: The Stax Record Story re-affirmed by believe in soul over technique, emotion over suavity. Just get out there and get to it!

Harry Brown was a fantasy for a person that is not me, the tale of an avenging oldster taking back the streets from the kids and their rap music. Michael Caine was very good in his role, and things got complex enough to remain interesting. Beautifully shot, all smoky grays and haunted hallways.

Bringing Out the Dead was the last remaining post-Mean Streets Scorsese movie for me to see. Instantly out of date when created, it captured some of the insanity of being really, really tired fairly well, and was otherwise uneven. I did not save the best for last.

Warrior of the Lost World (MST3K Version) was a hoot and a half. I have noticed a tendency to return to such pleasures as the temperatures increase. The summer roster seems to be failing me as of late, so I will take it where I can get it.

Vincere, a movie I was implored to see by the local film community, was operatic, visually stunning, and about a kind of insane love and devotion that was probably not easy for the average filmgoer to understand. I have a weaknesss for such fare, and was glad that I was chided into seeing it by others.

Autonomous Comics One is the short film student work of Brian Nicholson, a Baltimore transplant and raconteur of some prominence.

The Reason Why Our World is Coming to an End is included in the above package I purchased the set at the True Vine, and this films was the superior of Mr. Nicholson's filmic efforts thus far. I wish him the best in all his continued efforts.

The Complete Metropolis was a worthwhile three plus hours, taking in this early silent masterpiece in as complete a version as is possible. Will those final additional seconds ever appear? I hope not, because then I would have to see it again. From the crappy public domain DVD I picked up at Best Buy through all the subsequent re-masters, returns, and revivals, it is a screening opportunity that is hard to pass up.

Fellini's Roma was considered a baffling misfire when first release, but I think makes sense as a doc hybrid today, at least to me. You get images and moments, leaving the idea of a plot eventually far behind.

Crimes of Passion was a overheated scorcher, perfect for a post-show late night. Ken Russell sure does have some issues with women! Comic book on one hand and blatantly Hitchcock psycho-drama on the other, it moved along with a kind of energy that reminded me of the kind of movies I would watch very late at night on pay cable in my youth.

The Scarlett Empress was such fun. I assumed I was tuning into a stuffy melodrama, but this film was having nothing to do with that. Expressionistic sets framed intrigue after intrigue. Don't let the DVD box fool you!

Walkabout was avoided for some time due to my associations with another kind of Australia. I should have known better. You don't get made by Nicolas Roeg early in his career and be referenced by Throbbing Gristle without being worth watching. Jenny Agutter's performance is entrancing.

Spetters seemed like it was going to be standard issue teen motorbike fare, but soon got all Verhoeven on it, which made for a much more interesting movie. I think these past three Video Americain rental choices reflect a kind of "let's see... um, maybe this is good?" stumbling about on my part. In all cases, I was not dissatisfied. I have not yet begin to plumb the depths of their back catalog!

Equus was a rental choice I was faux-chided for making. It was claimed that I was a "dirty, dirty man" for renting this film. I saw it on Jenny Agutter's IMDB and said, "Hey... if Harry Potter can be in a production of it, then I can rent it." Hoo boy! Quite a ride!

Taking Out the Trash/Trash Talking is a film by the Paper Rad collective I have been meaning to see for some time. Thanks to Brian Nicholson for lending it to me.

The Carter Showcases Lil' Wayne in all his sizzurp-swilling glory, breaking through big time. It is the kind of film that would not be allowed to be made about him while it was being made, and so things fall apart as he gets bigger and bigger. Like smoking a joint with Dylan in 1963.

Independence Day can finally be taken off my list of top ten 1995-1997 films I didn't see. I was like seeing 2012 again, but with less advanced special effects, outdated politics and worldview, and Will Smith. You know... it killed a few hours.

Two American Audiences was an interview film with Jean-Luc Godard, made around the time of La Chinoise, included in a Believer magazine film issue compilation of films about Godard in the States called JLG in USA. I think the above film will finally be rented, despite some reservations I may have about it.

The Charles
The Rotunda
The Landmark Harbor East
Other (Video Americain, The Senator)
Total: 16 features, 3 short films (5 in theaters)