17 June 2010

Movies I Saw in 2007

Inspired by my brilliant filmmaker and film critic friend, Carlos Herrera (visit his blog www.exiledfromcontentment.blogspot.com), I decided to also keep a tally and journal of the films I watch. Except, unlike Carlos, my list is entirely comprised of films watched on Netflix, and rarely any made after 1975.

My movie-watching activity can only be traced back to November 2007, so I will start with that year and try to recall as much I can about my thoughts on each film. UMG-endorsed films followed by a red star *. Double stars ** mean that I loved the movie.

(Disclaimer: I am extremely discriminating before watching a movie. You will see that throughout most of 2007 and 2008, I had plenty of amazing films to catch up on available through the watch-me-now feature. But as I approach 2009 and 2010, I've exhausted the repertoire of instant viewing options, and you'll see many less endorsements.)
  • Angel Heart (1987): Watched this movie during a streak of curiosity about things New Orleans and/or voodoo. It was hard to shake off the image of Lisa Bonet in anything other than the Cosby Show, but Mickey Rourke still had his youthful, clean-cut look. I remember there were some creepy and gory scenes, and overall, I enjoyed the movie as solid, relatively well-written entertainment. There is a twist at the end that you won't fully expect.* 
  • I Walked with a Zombie / Body Snatcher (1943): I don't remember much about the Body Snatcher, but I do remember that for a movie made in the early 1940s, the voodoo scenes - particularly with the drumming sound effect - were quite spooky. One my favorite parts of the movie was Sir Lancelot performing the Fort Holland Calypso Song, which he wrote.**
  • The Bicycle Thief (1948): I first watched this in a screenwriting class at Carnegie Mellon, with the fabulous professor and writer Sharon Dilworth. So 9 years later, I felt it was time to watch it again. The simplicity of the plot is something every aspiring filmmaker should study. Also, it's a very depressing film, but beautifully shot.**
  • Nights of Cabiria (1957): You might say this film could not exist without the direction of Federico Fellini, but I would say that it could not exist without the exquisite acting of Giulietta Masina. She is half clown, half woman, playing the role of Maria "Cabiria" Ceccarelli. She is sad and she is happy, she is beautiful and clumsy. So clumsy, she is not very good at being a prostitute, and you feel rather embarrassed for her.**
  • The Lady from Shanghai (1947): One of Orson Welles' finest. I can only recall the ending scene with the mirrors and the shooting. A true depiction of "smoke in mirrors."**
  • Emperor of the North Pole (1973): I'll admit, I fell asleep through most of this one because we watched it very late at night. This was one of Shand's picks. The best part was Lee Marvin yelling to Keith Carradine at the end, "Stay off the tracks. Forget it. Its a bum's world for a bum. You'll never be Emperor of the North Pole, kid. You had the juice, kid, but not the heart and they go together. You're all gas and no feel, and nobody can teach you that, not even A-No.1. So stay off the train, she'll throw you under for sure. Remember me for that. So long, kid."*
  • City of God (2002): Haunting cinematography, and unbelievable that these violent, impoverished favelas are homes to humans. You will probably feel grateful for whatever your living conditions are after you see this movie. You will also be resigned to think that crime and corruption and violence are never-ending cycles. It's useless to stop it.**
  • Bugsy (1991): All I can remember is Warren Beatty, and that's because I cheated and looked it up on IMDB. Unmemorable film.
  • La Strada (1954): Who can forget the wailing trumpet theme? Again, here you have half-clown half-woman Giulietta Masina, playing a character named Gelsomina who actually plays the part of the clown, along with Anthony Quinn, who plays a mean old man named Zampanò. Another Fellini masterpiece. Possibly, the most brilliant movie ever made, epic in scale, following the life of a girl as she's sold off by her family to marry and perform with a performing strongman, and travels "the road."**
  • Shampoo (1975): All I can remember is Warren Beatty, and that's because I cheated and looked it up on IMDB. Unmemorable film. Although I do remember it was funny and entertaining.*
  • A Dry White Season (1989): A movie I saw in some politics class in college that I decided to watch again because I was on a kick about seeing films about South African apartheid. Stars Donald Sutherland and Susan Sarandon. How's that for a power couple?*
  • The Power of One (1992): A movie I saw in some politics class in college that I decided to watch again because I was on a kick about seeing films about South African apartheid. Except if you're a sap for tragic love stories, this movie has one between Peekay and Geel.**
  • McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971): Did I say Susan Sarandon and Donald Sutherland on screen together were a power couple? Never mind. Try Warren Beatty as McCabeBeatty movie)! Directed by Robert Altman.**
  • The Shooting (1967): If you think you've seen Jack Nicholson in everything, you haven't, if you haven't seen this movie. A Monte Hellman western that's all about - well, the shooting. This movie also planted the seeds for my later adoration of Warren Oates.**
  • The Thomas Crown Affair (1968): Steve McQueen is so dreamy. That's right, I'm not talking about the 1999 version with Pierce Brosnan. Nah. I'm talking about the 1968 version with hot and sexy McQueen. Who can blame Faye Dunaway's character? Impossible to resist the temptation.**
  • Inland Empire (2006): The problem with a David Lynch movie is that it's so twisted and complicated, watching one is like being on drugs, so I think I'll have to watch this one again and get back to you.*
  • Forgiving Dr. Mengele (2006): A documentary about an elder Jewish woman who survives medical experiments performed on her at a WWII Auschwitz concentration camp (her twin does not survive) going through the process of forgiving the doctor.
  • You're Gonna Miss Me (2005): Documentary about the legendary rock musician from Austin, Roky Erickson. His mother is creepy.*
  • Cowboy del Amor (2005): Documentary about Ivan Thompson, a 60-year-old man from New Mexico who offers matchmaking services American men who want to find Mexican women to marry, all for a low fee of $3,000. The documentary follows three of his clients. He's for real, too. You can call this self-proclaimed Cowboy Cupid at 505-531-2681 or e-mail him at ivanthompson1941@hotmail.com.*
  • My Best Fiend: Klaus Kinski (1999): Fascinating documentary about Werner Herzog's experience living with his friend, and main actor of many of his films, Klaus Kinski. Klaus is insane.*
  • Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1967): Sex. Drugs. Rock'n'Roll. And much more, if you can believe it. It's probably considered an underground cult film, and probably offensive to many, but I found it wildly entertaining.**
  • Hoffa (1992): History-based fiction movie on the famous Pittsburgh union teamster. If you're in the mood for a very polished, straight-up, follow-the-standard-rules-of-cinema, historical genre file, then watch this. Starring Jack Nicholson, written by David Mamet, and directed by Danny DeVito.
  • Klute (1971): Very obscure mystery romance starring Donald Sutherland playing a detective investigating dead and missing people, who gets involved with a prostitute played by Jane Fonda.*
  • Bad Day at Black Rock (1955): Not your typical western, starring Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine.*
  • The Tiger and the Snow (2005): I watched this because I'd seen Roberto Benigni in Life Is Beautiful and generally enjoyed it, but this was a bit too much on the whimsical side for my tastes.
  • The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970): Well darn it, I can't remember anything about it. But it's a Sam Peckinpah film, so it must be fabulous, and I'll just have to watch it again.*
  • East of Eden (1955): One my favorite movies of all time based on a John Steinbeck novel, directed by Elia Kazan, who makes intelligent and heart-wrenching movies. His movies get under your skin and somehow connect to the most emotionally dark moments in your life when you feel as if you've been kicked in the stomach. And beautiful cinematography.**
  • Five Easy Pieces (1970): Jack Nicholson, an angry and genius pianist turned oil-rig worker, goes back home to visit his ill father, with his ditzy waitress girlfriend in tow. How it turns out between them at the end is funny, even though it's not funny.*

No comments:

Post a Comment