From White Material (Claire Denis, 2009)
11/01/10 Audrey the Trainwreck (Frank V. Ross; 2010; DVD)
I am writing about this in more detail. Will be posted in a few days.
11/05/10 Lethal Weapon (Richard Donner; 1987; DVD)
I don’t know exactly what made me want to watch this again. It’s still a great action movie with bits of comedy. Riggs’s homophobia would be easier to forgive as a product of the times if it weren’t for the more recent related real-life life comments made by the actor.
11/06/10 Hereafter (Clint Eastwood; 2010; Regal Cantera 30)
Tell me there’s a movie about a psychic, and you’re sure to lose me, even if you tell me it’s by Clint Eastwood. But on a weekend like November 6 there just wasn’t much competition. The converging story lines are not as annoying as they are in an Iñarritu or Haggis script, and considering it’s theme, the movie does not over step its bounds with the answers it is willing to give, which is really none at all.
11/07/10 Days of Heaven (Terrence Malick; 1978; DVD)
This is damn near a perfect movie. What really struck me this time was the sound…all the sounds from the dialog to the score to the voice over. Linda Manz’s voice over is amazing, “[I]f you’ve been bad, God don’t even hear you. He don’t even hear ya talkin’.” She’s undeniably the influence of the narration in
George Washington, which also features a young protagonist forced by less ideal vicissitudes to make observations about the world around him that are beyond his years. The Ennio Morricone score elevates the images. And there is certain quietness in the way Sam Shepard’s dialog is recorded that communicates as much as the words being spoken. I am really looking forward to
The Tree of Life.
11/08/10 Restrepo (Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger; 2010; Classic Cinemas Tivoli)
My initial reaction to this was: Okay, it’s great journalism, but is it great cinema? Over the past month, I have come to think, yes, it is great cinema.
11/09/10 Runaway (Michael Crichton; 1984; Netflix)
I used to watch this on HBO when it would play on a loop. Not near as endearingly bad as I was hoping it would be.
11/10/10 Hamilton (Matthew Porterfield; 2006; Netflix)
There’s something really likable about this movie, but I was left with the feeling that it failed, without being able to determine what it failed at. It recalled David Gordon Green, which is good, and even Charles Burnett, which is great. This is on my list of movies that I need to see again.
11/12/10 Irreversible (Gaspar Noé; 2002; Netflix)
This is a brutally awesome movie. It’s so disturbing that I am reluctant to want to watch it again; but it is shot so beautifully I want to see how it’s done. This is my first encounter with Noé and he strikes me as a film maker who is not content with his films being experienced only visually.
11/13/10 Four Lions (Chris Morris; 2010; AMC Loews Pipers Alley)
This is perhaps the funniest movie I have seen all year. It is not quite a “mockumentary” since it never purports to be a documentary, but it does have the single-camera aesthetic seen in documentaries and in fiction programs like
In the Loop or television’s
The Office. The movie follows four Islamic fundamentalists in Britain as they train for an attack. The movie is funny and allows one to invest in the characters without ever forgetting what’s really at stake.
11/14/10 Peeping Tom (Michael Powell; 1960; Music Box)
A movie, more than anything else, about movies. Would make a good double-feature screened with
Being There. This viewing was fun because it was projected from film at the Music Box, but it will probably be a while before I need to watch this one again.
11/15/10 Audrey the Trainwreck (Frank V. Ross; 2010; DVD)
This was the second viewing and there will most certainly be a third.
11/19/10 The Travelling Players (Theodoros Angelopoulos; 1975; VHS)
This is my second experience with Angelopoulos, and it was similar to the first in that it made me feel like I was experiencing cinema for the first time. The first viewing was was basically immersion, without any hopes of understanding or retention, just priming. Notable about this viewing is that it was my first return to VHS in some years.
11/20/10 The Travelling Players (Theodoros Angelopoulos; 1975; VHS)
After the first viewing, I was ready to engage the movie at a slightly higher level. Reading a synopsis at IMDb and Susan Tarr and Hans Proppe’s review proved invaluable.
11/21/10 Chocolat (Claire Denis; 1988; DVD)
I revisited this one to prepare for
White Material later in the week.
11/23/10 White Material (Claire Denis; 2009; Music Box)
This is a strong contender for my end-of-year top 10 list. The Tindersticks score is perfectly placed, especially in a scene with armed rebel children wandering through brush and forests. Isabelle Huppert is great, one of the best performances of the year in my unqualified opinion.
11/23/10 Budrus (Julia Bacha; 2009; Facets Cinematheque)
I think I may have read the complaint online that you never don’t know where this movie is going. That my be true by I find that unconvincing ground to fault this documentary about a small Palestinian town’s peaceful protest against the Israeli government who is building a Separation Barrier on their side of the Palestinian side of the border, unnecessarily through olive tree orchards, grave sites, and within feet of the elementary school. The movie is so good-intentioned and actually very balanced (giving the Israeli border patrol the opportunity to tell their side in very human terms). It’s a movie that provides ground for hope.
11/24/10 The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton; 1955; Blu-ray)
I first saw this on 16mm at Fermi Lab in the late 90s when they had their film society. Since then I have seen it countless times on MGM’s DVD released in 2000, and twice on 35mm when it was restored in 2008. I’m not claiming to know how this is supposed to look, but this Blu-ray looks as good as I’ve ever seen it. This is easily one of my favorite movies. I highly recommend this Criterion release.
11/25/10 The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938; Michael Curtiz and William Keighley; Blu-ray)
This is in fact only my third movie to watch on Blu-ray since I mostly use my player for streaming Netflix Instant, so again this is a great picture.
11/26/10 Unstoppable (Tony Scott; 2010; Goodrich Randall 15)
I have long been entertained by the movies of Tony Scott and actually prefer him to his brother save for
The Duelist and
Blade Runner. This is notably less adolescent than some of his more recent movies, but my goodwill has been spent.
11/26/10 Faster (George Tillman Jr.; 2010; Goodrich Randall 15)
This was surprisingly entertaining; also it was unexpectedly thoughtful taking on themes revenge and forgiveness and dabble in allegory (something about personal hells and demons crawling out).
11/27/10 Prologue [short] (Bela Tarr; 2004; DVD)
A good 5 minute short for the Thanksgiving weekend.
11/27/10 Journey on the Plain [short] (Bela Tarr; 1995; DVD)
I really have nothing to say about this.
11/27/10 Tangled (Nathan Greno and Byron Howard; 2010; Classic Cinemas Charlestowne 18)
This marked Disney’s 50th animated feature. I have seen several movies with my daughter, but this marks the first movie seen with both my wife and daughter. I liked this take on the Rapunzel story; more importantly, Aud really enjoyed it.
11/28/10 A Little Girl Who Did Not Believe in Santa Claus [short] (J. Searle Dawley and Edwin S. Porter; 1907; DVD)
This is my new staple for kicking off the Christmas season.
11/29/10 Hot Tub Time Machine (Steve Pink; 2010; DVD)
I was not entertained by this. If nothing else, it pads my 2010 list.
11/30/10 Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary (Guy Maddin; 2002; Netflix)
Black Swan by watching ballet-themed movies.
From A Little Girl Who Did Not Believe in Santa Claus (J. Searle Dawley and Edwin S. Porter, 1907)