Films Viewed (August 2012)

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To Rome With Love was made worse by how competent Woody Allen‘s last film was. A hit or miss compilation film that felt tired and uninspired. The most compelling sequence was another riff on the premise of his last film. I usually see these “Allen stinkers” coming a mile away, but I ignored the signs and went for it. Whoops! (The Charles)

Ruby Sparks was smartly done take on who men perceive women and how they tend to create them in their art, the “male gaze” as written by a female screenwriter. An acclaimed writer struggles to create his second novel. Magical, implausible things begin to happen. As soon as I accepted things as metaphorical, I was along for the ride and enjoying myself. (Cinemark Egyptian 24)

God Bless America is a dark ride, and I enjoy a dark ride. A man diagnosed with terminal cancer decides to eliminate all the people in America who annoy him, especially those on reality television. Sharp satire, probably the most enjoyable dark comedy since Idiocracy. Makes me want to be better about seeing the films of noted auteur Bobcat Goldthwait. (Netlfix Instant)

I meant to just take in a bit of Wanderlust when it was on in the apartment, but got sucked in and had a very good time watching it again. A bit miffed that the Bluray rental copy did not have the extra features, especially the bizarro version of the film that I would very much like to see. (Netflix)

The Dark Night Rises IMAX was a journey of a literal kind, the projector breaing down twice while we tried to view it. In the end, I was glad to see it again, the IMAX sequences really looking different aspect-ratio-wise and more impressive, as was the case with The Dark Knight IMAX. I enjoyed Anne Hathaway‘s performance more this time. (Museum of Natural History DC)

Modern Times is the Chaplin I have looked forward to the most, just based on the description and the stills. Paulette Goddard’s performance was excellent, so live-wire and ahead of it’s time. A great film and a great time. You can see why prints of Chaplin’s films remained popular “rentals” long after their initial runs in the pre-television twentieth century. (The Charles)

The Campaign was not a funny as I hoped it would be. Some good moments, but the thing just didn’t congeal the way all involved tried to make it. The more they tried, the more it wasn’t as good. A small town campaign goes ballistic. Tried to be too many things at once. (Landmark Harbor East)

Gunky’s Basement presented Silence of the Lambs, and it remains an excellent film. I enjoyed seeing it once again. (The Charles)

It felt like I had stumbled onto a true underground movement in going to a sold-out screening of Rifftrax Live: Manos: The Hands of Fate. The old, non-Joel Mst3k crew can still bring it, even when messing with Manos again. I await the HD restoration. An amazing inchoerent film taken to the next level by being mercilessly skewered by the gang. (Cinemark Egyption 24)

Kuroneko was an atmospheric Japanese ghost story/ parable that was a fine choice for a revival. Amazingly blase’ opening sequence that soon unfolds into horror. A returning warrior must slay the demons that haunt Rajomon Gate. But these demons seem very familair… (The Charles)

Miss Bala was a great film from a Mexican auteur. An aspiring beauty pagent contestant becomes intertwined with a cartel. Powerful for showing how average people can get caught up in this messy complicatred business that is below the surface and ever-present. Stephanie Sigman is the key, and she holds the entire film together with her performance. (Netflix)

The Trip (2010) was recommended by a co-worker. I like Steve Coogan usually, and did enjoy this one a bit, but it never really got me laughing, which maybe wasn’t the intention. Two celebrities travel the English countryside, one a family man, the other a fading Lothario. Shot-through with melancholy and repitive celebrity impersonations, which maybe point out how weird impersonations are in the first place. (Netlfix Instant)

You can’t go wrong with Grand Illusion. Complicated men survive war as best they can. You can’t help but get caught up in their gallow’s humor and brio as the principle characters face the horrors of the new age of modern warfare. Beautiful print. First time seeing it on the big screen. (The Charles)

I have continued to enjoy the Sight Unseen screenings, this time the program, entitled Scene Missing, focused on experimental film that incorporated other people’s (found) footage. Always a good way to re-boot the palette and consider other film methods than those standard. (Curent Gallery)

I enjoyed Searching for Sugar Man.I tend to enjoy these sorts of music docs, finding them right up my alley. A gifted but unrecognized musician ahead of his time was huge in South Africa, but never knew it. An improbable tale well told. (The Charles)

Total: 14 films, 1 short film anthology (10 in theaters)

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

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