Films Viewed (July 2012)

Going to see Ted was an afternoon of average American watching. We are a people of diverse backgrounds who come together to laugh at weed, poop, and sex. It is what unites us and makes us strong. A child’s teddy bear comes to life magically. Complications ensue. Very much in the wheelhouse of Seth MacFarlane. (Landmark Harbor East)

Come Back. Africa was a gritty close-to-documentary look at a man’s struggle to survive and support his family in South Africa during Apartheid. A “stolen film” made under false pretenses in 1950s South Africa. The music and music sequences in this film are amazing. The agony and rage expressed onscreen in the final scene by the lead actor is unforgettable. (The Charles)

It was nice to watch an animated short like Gerald McBoing Boing online for free thanks to the curation efforts of Network Awesome. (Network Awesome)

Law of  Desire is either an Almodovar I have seen before or all of his films are very similar to one another. We were in the mood for melodrama, and this hit the spot. (Video Americain)

I knew going into Another Earth that it was not as Sci-Fi as it seemed. Essentially an indie drama about making amends and life choices, with the interesting twist of another Earth appearing in the sky. Rarely overcame its smallness, but when it did, was satisfying. (Netflix)

I feel like I am “rote reviewing” these Chaplin revivals. City Lights was good! I liked it! A classic! Looking forward to Modern Times in August. (The Charles)

I could tell that The Amazing Spider-Man was made for another generation of fans. Peter Parker was too cool and edgy for my tastes. I accepted this passing of the torch, but the Sam Rami films (despite diminishing returns over the course of his trilogy) will always make the most sense to me. It is never a problem to watch Emma Stone do anything, so there was that. (Landmark Harbor East)

This is the Life: How the West was One was a great documentary about underground West Coast 1990s hip hop. Stars emerged from the scene, but the emphasis is placed on the forming of a creative community. Great to learn some new things about the history of hip hop culture. (Netflix)

Serial Mom resonates on so many levels. A suburban mom takes care of problems and annoyances she and her family face in the Towson area of Baltimore County. Part of what is turning into a personal home video revival of the films of John Waters. A bonus to rent the film from the video store featured in the film. (Video Americain)

Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon was a documentary about one of the first gay porn stars. A life so interesting and full of twists it kept my attention. Good for it! Watching it and liking it has certainly livened up the “suggestions” Netflix is making for me when I log in. (Netflix Instant)

They Live was a great premise executed flatly, give or take that awesome sequence when Rowdy Roddy Piper puts on those glasses. Still, a lot of fun to see on the big screen thanks to the Gunky’s Basement crew. Erie parallels to today abound. The crowd would roar at points about things happening on screen that I guess are Internet fanboy in-jokes? Most of the times, I got it, but other times I was lost. Oh, the future. (The Charles)

My first screening of The Dark Knight Rises was snuck in on a weekday. I always enjoy Christopher Nolan at work, but I do feel sorry for how much plot he has to cram into these things. I look forward to seeing it again in IMAX in August and continuing to make sure I understand who is who and what is what. (Landmark Harbor East)

Yikes, The Color Wheel! A beautifully shot indie drama that contains one scene that manages to especially shock sophisticated 2012 audiences. The theater shuddered together. I am always impressed when a film manages to pull that off with no money and just sheer pluck and verve. (The Charles)

Take This Waltz was good but uneven. A woman contemplates infidelity in Toronto. Novelistic and actor-performance-showcase based. Michelle Williams acts up a storm winningly. Seth Rogan holds his own. Always good to see a film from a female director that focuses on things from a woman’s perspective. (The Charles).

Total: 14 films, 1 short film (9 in theaters)

(Please note: Whenever possible, all titles are linked to their pages on the Netflix website)

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