Films Viewed (October 2012)

Black Narcissus was surprising  the “return of the repressed” playing out among evangelizing nuns in India. Another Powell Pressburger triumph. Although some of the scenes now play as camp, there was edgy life to the film that I did not expect to be present. (The Charles)

When I said I was not looking forward to the rest of the Chaplin series, I forgot about The Gold Rush. Clearly, this is the Chaplin to end all Chaplins, so many iconic and often referenced scenes, so much you feel you already know. Glad to finally see this one in a brilliant restoration. (The Charles)

The challenging, difficult Margaret entered my life finally, keeping me up late and vexing me by being both super long and feeling cut short.  A self-absorbed young woman navigates coming of age and a witnessed tragedy in a New York City  that seems to be both contemporary and antique. Worth my time, but I felt like I need to recover before plunging into the extended cut. (Bluray DVD)

My students recommended 21 Jump Street by constantly acting out scenes from it in class. Two cops go undercover at a high school and find out much has changed since 2005 (2005? 2005 was seven years ago!). I enjoyed the film’s lucid profanity and as a continuation of the work of Jonah Hill and company. Channing Tatum nails the dumb jock like no other. The film was punching above its weight and surprised me more than once. (Netflix)

To see Dirty Harry for the first time in 2012 was a good experience, I think. Sure, it is a right-wing fantasy, but it is also a living comic book with an amazing soundtrack. A cop who doesn’t play by the rules is hunting a serial killer in 1970s San Francisco. Grainy, pulpy, and occasionally arty. Odd to come to it after seeing Zodiac so many year before., the newer film informing the older ur-text.(The Charles)

Casa De Mi Padre was an interesting experiment that just did not cohere. Will Ferrell plays a ranch hand living in the midst of what I saw as a Telenovela, but there may have been other filmic traditions being referenced I did not recognize. Only made me laugh out loud a few times. Yes, mostly in Spanish. I think if I was more in tune with how “grade school” Ferrell’s Spanish was I would have laughed harder. (Netflix)

I will always enjoy Young Frankenstein. It was a key “funny movie” of my childhood. Gene Wilder is a Frankenstein, returned to the castle. Makes a monster. Zany, irreverent  with an excellent cast. (The Charles)

People I work with are talking about Argo at the lunch table, and I can see why. An “untold story” of the Iran hostage crisis. Note perfect late 1970s evocation. Government agent conceive of a fake movie in a desperate attempt to free hostages trapped in revolutionary Iran. That Ben Affleck can direct a film, I tell ya. (The Rotunda)

My Perestroika was the first diverting doc of the Superstorm Sandy hunker-down.  Communist youth reflect on the changes wrought in Russia in thier lifetime and thier impact. Almost claustrophobic in it’s evocation of life in contemporary Russia. Competent but not amazing. (Netlfix Instant)

Marley was the second diverting doc of the Superstorm Sandy hunker-down  Long lovely documentary about the life and times of Bob Marley. Once you get away from the dorm room poster, you have the life and music of an interesting and talented man to examine. (Netlfix Instant)

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 was the third diverting doc of the Superstorm Sandy hunker-down. Outsider perspective on the Black Power era thanks to Swedish television. Piecemeal but relevatory in a bright shining moment that descends into despair and disillusionment. Very glad to have seen it. (Netflix Instant)

Total: 11 films, (5 in theaters)

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

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