Monday, July 28, 2008

Monday Movie Meltdown, 3rd Ed.

I've decided that every Monday, I'm gonna awkwardly scribble down some thoughts on the movies I watched over the past week, except those which I've already reviewed. Good idea, right? So original too, OMG.

Since there wasn't one last week, I decided to include a couple from that time frame that I actually want to talk about, so it's NOT just because I had a lackluster week! In the last two weeks, I also saw Love Songs, Breaking & Entering, Billy Elliot, Pretty Persuasion, Fanny & Alexander, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight (which I can't review until I see it again).

The Secret Life of Words -- I really, really, really, really, really loved this. It really shouldn't be as obscure as it seems to be. It's both warm and cold, and despite what happens and what's revealed, it makes you feel a little better by making you feel a little worse. Hanna is an incredible character, expertly crafted and shadowed, and Sarah Polley gives an absolutely incredible performance - I might even hazard a guess that it's the best of her career, thought most are sight unseen. She's that great. Tim Robbins, Javier Cámara, and Julie Christie (in an outstanding cameo) are all great as well. See it. Now.

Interiors -- Fun fact: this is the first Woody Allen picture I've ever seen that WASN'T made in the last 4 years! Don't look at me like that. I know it's bad, and I know I had to break that habit eventually (especially after the dreadful Cassandra's Dream), but I didn't know when it would actually happen. Thankfully, it has, and with his Bergman movie, no less. I loved it (more or less) as much as the three Bergmans I've seen, too! A good deal of it went like a thousand miles over my head, but I didn't care. I knew what I was watching was something I can go back to throughout the latter stages of my life, and within each viewing I can understand it more and more and I would never love it less, perhaps more. In typical Allen fashion, the ensemble is almost uniformly great, especially Diane Keaton and Mary Beth Hurt. I don't understand Geraldine Page's apparent acclaim, but she definitely had her moments. Wonderfully haunting, complex art.

The Cranes Are Flying -- One of my favorite things about TCM is their Imports series that happens every Sunday/Monday morning. It's basically an excuse to air semi-to-extremely obscure foreign language films that are already readily available from Criterion, and I couldn't be more grateful. After all, it's how I first watched Fanny and Alexander! TLLL: You're digressing again. Right, sorry. The film is absolutely devastating, both in it's romantic and completely human story, and in the way it was made. A film like this made in the USSR in 1957?! Nope. Can't be. And yet... *jumps up and down screeching like a little boy on Christmas morning* The cinematography and editing work is some of the best I have and will EVER see, and it works magnificently with Kalatozov's completely masterful direction. Tatyana Samojlova, our lovely Audrey Hepburn-esque lead, does everything right. So much so that I can't find any faults within her performance. Through her journey, we just witness absolute perfection. And I've gotta say, the ending is one of the most beautiful, non-specifically patriotic things ever made. So is the film.

Hellboy -- I never cared about this enough to see it up until now. It's kinda awesome, kinda funny, kinda del Toro. That's pretty much it.

Porco Rosso -- Excuse this, but it was surprisingly fantastic. Yeah, it's a Miyazaki, but it's lesser for some reason, and for some reason I was expecting lesser. LOL, 'lesser' so doesn't exist. Bad me. It's damn excellent, and an exhilarating juggle of comedy and poignancy, and because it's by who it's by, awesome flying sequences. I loved Gina too. Very entertaining in a different way than his other movies, and it's very comforting to know that.

So, how was your film week(s)? And how many times have you seen The Dark Knight? More than likely, a lot. The highest number gets a cookie, a ghost story and a beating, so speak up!


elgringo said...

Glad you're breaking into the Woody Allen universe. Once I started watching his stuff, I couldn't stop. They're so good that you have to judge them against other Allen films because they're on another level then everything else.

I've never seen Porco Rosso, but I've always meant to.

Dark Knight viewings: One, almost two, but the IMAX screenings were sold out for the next two days.


Mark said...

I had a great movie week Mr. J.D.!

I'm just about to go TiVo some of the TCM Exports right now, now that you say..(and, dammit, I missed Wild Strawberries..)

TDK Viewings: Two. BEAT ME

Largo said...

That's the reason I love Porco Rosso so much, Jeff. It's so different from the rest of his films. It's funny, crazy, and madcap - and totally brilliant.

That being said, I'm glad you actually watched it. I was afraid my love of it would make you NOT want to watch it... :P

Barry said...

The Dark Knight was fuckin' fantastic.

Pretty Persuasion was excellent and I love the ending. The scene between Evan Rachel Wood and Elizabeth Harnois, and that slow close up of ERW's face, is devastating.

Marcy said...

My week in film was fine, thank you :)

I like most of the Woody Allen movies I've seen, so I might want to check out Interiors.

Yeah, I don't have much to say about Hellboy either. I enjoyed it a lot and that's pretty much it.

I have Billy Elliot on VHS somewhere. I need to see it again one of these days. Jamie Bell and Julie Walters are pure awesomeness in that movie.

I've only seen The Dark Knight once (and loved it) and probably won't be seeing it until it comes out on DVD. I can't wait to hear your take on it, J.D.

nick plowman said...

What an amazing list of films!

"Interiors" is one of my fave Woody films too, and a lot of it went over my head too! So snap :)

I need to see "The Secret Life of Words" in its entirety, it was really good [what I did see, lol]

"The Cranes Are Flying," great as well, and I suck in the Miyazaki department...

I have seen TDK twice, once in IMAX and once normal, and both game me unbelievably glorious headaches!

MMM is awesome. Duh, it's by who it's by.

J.D. said...

Scott: Ooh.

Mark: Sorry, but IMAX is worth two points, whereas regular is worth only one, so you have been beat'd.

Largz: Paul Dano. THAT's my answer to your rambling. ;)

Barry: It sort of is, but that greatness inside it could've been portrayed A LOT better. The ending was great, up until that close-up. It looked like her face over-botoxed and couldn't move! And that ONLY works for Nicole Kidman, as we all know.

Marcy: Billy Elliot is one of my all-time favorite movies, and my recent re-watched definitely solidified that. JAMIE!!!!!! JULIE!!!!! EVERYONE ELSE IN THE SUPPORTING CAST!!! I also realized that the cinematography was absolutely excellent. The tears were literally FLOWING, too, which like never happens. *wails*

Nick: You've seen The Cranes Are Flying? I didn't know that. re: Miyazaki - as long as you're working to fix it. ;)

the misomaniac said...

saw the dark knight once in theatres, once in imax, once online, and another time online except it turned out to be italian porn instead of batman.

now give me my cookie, you depressive freak.

J.D. said...

LOL, touché.

*throws cookie into your tank*

Hayden said...

Interiors is just perfect. I love the color scheme.