Films Viewed (September 2012)

I have been circling ever closer to Pentagram for some time, always a bit outside of the world of doom metal. The documentary Last Days Here does an excellent job of chronicling the beyond-the-pale rock and roll lifestyle of the group’s lead singer. Sometimes too “real-life Spinal Tap” to be believed. Still, a doc filled with great music and wild tales. (Netflix Instant)

The Great Dictator is just fine, a bit uneven and occasionally pedantic (for very good reasons). Some of the set pieces and gags are the best I have seen in a Chaplin film to date. The revival series seems to be focused on other, later Chaplin for the next few months, and I am not as enthused. (The Charles)

I managed to make it to another Sight Unseen film night. This time the program was entitled “reWork: Video Dialect.” All of the films used previously existing media texts in some way. Some of the works struck me more than others, but that is always going to be case on such a night. (Metro Gallery)

I Know Where I’m Going! had it’s charms, more enjoyable than the last Powell Pressburger I saw but decidedly less ambitious. A woman heads to the extreme north of Scotland in the WWII era. She gets waylaid, meets a charming gentleman, and things get complicated from there. (The Charles)

Ganja and Hess has been getting press due to a re-re-issue on DVD. I put it in the Netflix queue and got to enjoy it thinking it was newly available. A “black vampire” film as if plotted out by Bergman. Excellent art cinema far ahead of its time. A wonderful mess. (Netflix)

Ornette: Made in America was a good impressionistic time capsule of the composer and jazz musician  Firmly aesthetically stuck in the 1980s, the glimpses of times before then were fleeting. The thorough “American Masters” treatment this was not, but such a singular, arty approach probably best suits Coleman. (The Charles)

Ah yes. The Master has arrived. A gang was gotten up to go see it in 70mm in Silver Spring. Mesmerizing, tantalizing  and vital cinema. Id meets Ego in the from of the two main characters. I enjoyed it. The best release this month? One of the best this year? In a wan early fall season, I feel this is so, but I have been severely limited in my movie-going as of late, and there are the usual heavy hitters coming out in the next few months. (AFI Silver Spring)

In a nod to local baseball excitement, I managed to get Eight Men Out on the viewing docket. The Chicago Black Sox scandal is explored from a decidedly Leftist perspective by John Sayles. The characters all speak in hackneyed slang, but you soon stop noticing. The ensemble work has been long noted as impressive. An odd film about an interesting topic that does not spare it the complexity of the actual events and a polemic disguised as a “baseball movie.” (Netflix Instant)

Total: 7 films, 1 short film anthology (4 in theaters)

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

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