What I’m Watching #5

Usually I do one of these posts twice a month but since I missed it on the 15th I decided to wait until the end of August to write it up. So, this post will cover every film I’ve watched since August 1.

Films Watched for the First Time:

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927): With its breathtaking cinematography, assured auteur direction and powerfully simple story of love, Sunrise is about as classic a movie as you could possibly get. An effective film that has stood the test of time. 9/10

Junkopia (1981): Haunting short from Chris Marker. 8/10

The Magic Flute (1974): What giddy excitement and fun! A film unlike any other Bergman has ever done, The Magic Flute is pure brilliance from its incredible opening prologue to its stunning final frame. Sven Nykvist’s cinematography is as powerful as ever in transporting the setting from a stage to an infinitely expanding universe of wonder. I loved this movie. 10/10

The Gold Rush (1925): Perhaps the best Chaplin film I’ve seen so far. Hilarious and wonderful. Be cautious of different versions. 9/10

Je, Tu, Il, Elle (1974): Chantal Akerman’s first feature length film released around the same time as her magnum opus Jeanne Dielman. I have to say this film disappointed me. Despite some excellent cinematography, fluid dialogue and intriguing style, it is far slower than it needs to be and offers little of interest. Worth seeing perhaps for an incredible ten minute lesbian sex scene that borders on pornographic. 5/10

Blow Up My Town (1968): Chantal Akerman’s earliest short, made when she was only eighteen, is a messy and silly exercise that makes no sense and is not as effective as it is obviously intended to be. Strange as fuck. 4/10

La Chambre (1972): Marginally more interesting Akerman short, though many will dismiss this as pretentious arthouse twaddle, which I’m sorry to say it probably is. 5/10

Hotel Monterey (1972): You remember how creepy the hotel in The Shining looked and felt? Well that’s nothing compared to how Chantal Akerman makes hotel Monterey feel in this hour-long experimental artwork. I was concerned I wouldn’t like it; I was wrong. It has absolutely no sound at all, and is one of the most subtly creepy things I’ve ever seen. Brilliant. 8/10

News From Home (1978): Though none of the Akerman films I watched this month beat the masterpiece that was Jeanne Dielman (1975), News from Home is definitely my second favourite Akerman. Little more than a series of video images of New York City with letters from Akerman’s mother read aloud in the background, the film is initially slow and middling but soon becomes strangely transfixing. Avant-garde as hell, but fucking fantastic. 8/10

L’Atalante (1934): Jean Vigo only made four films before his untimely death, and this was the only one I hadn’t seen. I’m glad I finally watched it, as it’s as wonderful, powerful and emotional as I’d expected. Lovely. 9/10

The Meetings of Anna (1978): Relatively ‘meh’ film from Chantal Akerman that outstays its welcome and drags on for far too long, though its not without some merits. 6/10

While You Were Sleeping (1995): I have no idea why some people like this film. IT IS SHIT. 3/10

Strike (1924): Technically brilliant film from Sergei Eisenstein that doesn’t approach the sheer raw epicosity of Battleship Potemkin but thrives just as well in searing politics. 9/10

The Searchers (1957): Exactly what I expected it to be. 9/10

Katzelmacher (1969): R.W. Fassbinder’s second film, based on a play he wrote. Takes too long to get into its plot, and even when it does, it’s not as strong as it should be. 6/10

Black Moon (1975): This movie has a talking unicorn. 8/10

A Day in the Country (1936): A short film from Jean Renoir that was originally supposed to be a feature but was never finished and instead edited into this brief but beautiful encounter. Such a simple story of love, but one that truly resonated. Magnificent. 9/10

Sweet Movie (1974): Probably the most disgusting movie ever made, but unlike other films it is not explicit content for the sake of explicit content. It’s wonderfully in-your-face and doesn’t hold back from the most incredibly revolting stuff you may ever see. I loved it. 8/10

Gosford Park (2001): Interesting ensemble drama from Altman, but not one of his best. 8/10

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007): What an underrated movie. Brilliance in every single frame. Amazing cinematography, more-than-solid acting, excellent score, top notch direction; pretty much flawless. 10/10

Chopper (2000): Eric Bana is beyond words in this popular Australian cult classic. 8/10

Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2008): Da fuck? 1/10

Louis CK: Shameless (2007): Beyond excellent comedy special. This man is a genius. 9/10

The Raid: Redemption (2012): Possibly the best action movie ever made, or certainly a contender. It’s hard not to get swept up in the awesome pull of this movie’s incredible violence. 9/10

Louis CK: Chewed Up (2008): Another excellent comedy special. 8/10

Martyrs (2008): It’s second act is nowhere near as powerful as its first and third, but this astonishing highlight of the New French Extremity is arguably one of the best films of its genre and a truly magnificent horror. 7/10

Louis CK: Hilarious (2010): Not inaccurate title. 8/10

The Cabin in the Woods (2012): The more I think about this movie, the less I like it. However, it’s an original premise for a horror movie that at times is reminiscent of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead films (which I adore) and despite its flaws is pretty watchable. 7/10

Rome, Open City (1945): Important Italian neo-realist drama that didn’t resonate as strongly with me as it seems to have with others, but I did like it a lot. 8/10

Talking Funny (2011): Ricky Gervais, Chris Rock, Louis CK and Jerry Seinfeld talk about humour. It’s alright. 8/10

Sympathy for the Devil (1968): Mockumentary (though not in the way you’re thinking) by Jean-Luc Godard that contrasts scenes of The Rolling Stones rehearsing with various figures spouting political rhetoric. I liked it, Godard haters will spit at it. 8/10

Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011): Not as good as I was expecting. 7/10

Jean de Florette (1986): Gerard Depardieu, Yves Montand and Daniel Auteuil are thrilling and hilarious in this bright French comedy with darker overtones. 9/10

Manon des Sources (1986): The continuation of Jean de Florette, and a superior sequel. Emmanuelle Beart is a fresh and beautiful new face and the film’s final 30 minutes are among the most heartbreaking I’ve ever seen. 10/10

Human Centipede II: Full Sequence (2011): 1/10

Anatomy of a Murder (1959): Damn thrilling coutroom drama that maybe goes on for a tad too long, but that’s never noticeable. James Stewart is the man. 9/10

The Man Who Sleeps (1974): A rare film that truly bowled me over. The story of a young man going slowly insane, his thoughts narrated for him. The conclusion is nothing short of… wowtastic. 9/10

Times and Winds (2006): Beautiful little Turkish coming-of-age film with an excellent score by Arvo Part and wondrous cinematography. 8/10

La Chinoise (1967): One of Godard’s last “normal” New Wave films, this heavily political movie about obsessive revolutionaries has surprising power. 8/10

Ice Palace (1987): Very rare Norweigian film based on a well-known book. Not as incredible as I expected, but damn if it isn’t mesmeric and deeply affecting. 7/10

Ulysses’ Gaze (1995): I waited too long to see another Theo Angelopoulos movie. I haven’t hated a single one of his films and Ulysses’ Gaze is among the most stunning. It’s an epic three hour masterwork, the defining staple of which is an incredible ten-minute single take that made my jaw hit the floor. 8/10

Journey to Italy (1954): Nowhere near as great as I expected from a film featured in the Sight and Sound Top 50. Ingrid Bergman is good but this film falls apart at times and would’ve been better directed by someone like Antonioni than Rossellini. 7/10

Garage (2007): Quiet but delightful little Irish film with an endearing central performance from Pat Shortt. 8/10

The Mascot (1934): Stop-motion short that precedes Toy Story in both its story and clever tricks of animation. 8/10

Paisan (1946): The second film in Rossellini’s war trilogy, which began with Rome, Open City, and weaker than I expected. I guess I’m not a Rossellini fan, because this film at no point particularly impressed me, though it is a decent watch. 7/10

Rewatches Since August 1

Sans Soleil (1983)

Back to School (1986)

Reach the Rock (1996)

The Alphabet (1968)

Audition (1999)

Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

Seven (1995)

Freeway (1996)

Mulholland Dr. (2001)

Psycho (1960)

Cape Fear (1991)

The Turin Horse (2012)

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

I Stand Alone (1998)

Crash (1996)

Fargo (1996)

 

Number of Films Watched in August:

  • New Watches: 45
  • Rewatches: 17
  • Total: 62

Films Watched in August, Ranked

10/10

The Magic Flute (1974)

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

Manon des Sources (1986)

9/10

A Day in the Country (1936)

The Gold Rush (1925)

Jean de Florette (1986)

The Man Who Sleeps (1974)

The Raid: Redemption (2012)

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)

L’Atalante (1934)

Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

Strike (1924)

The Searchers (1956)

Louis CK: Shameless (2007)

8/10

Sweet Movie (1974)

News From Home (1978)

Hotel Monterey (1972)

Ulysses’ Gaze (1995)

Louis CK: Chewed Up (2008)

Louis CK: Hilarious (2010)

Rome, Open City (1945)

Times and Winds (2007)

Black Moon (1975)

Sympathy for the Devil (1968)

Chopper (2000)

La Chinoise (1967)

Garage (2007)

Gosford Park (2001)

Junkopia (1981)

The Mascot (1934)

Talking Funny (2011)

7/10

Martyrs (2008)

Ice Palace (1987)

Journey to Italy (1954)

Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)

Paisan (1946)

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

6/10

The Meetings of Anna (1978)

Katzelmacher (1969)

5/10

Je, Tu, Il, Elle (1974)

La Chambre (1972)

4/10

Blow Up My Town (1968)

3/10

While You Were Sleeping (1995)

2/10

1/10

Human Centipede II: Full Sequence (2011)

Birdemic: Shock and Terror (1980)

Best Movie Watched in August: The Magic Flute (1974)

Worst Movie Watched in August: Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2008)

Upcoming Films

There’s not really a lot to report. Here’s how my ten-film Letterboxd watchlist is looking at the moment. You can visit it here to check out what changes are made as I gradually get through the films on it and replace them.

So, what did you watch in August? What were the main highlights? What do you think of the films I watched? Leave a comment below.

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Posted on September 1, 2012, in Movies, What I'm Watching and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. WOW. You averaged two films a day. I only managed 55. I also watched those Louis CK specials and Talking Funny, but I’m not counting them on my official tally.

    Sunrise, The Gold Rush, The Searchers, Jesse James, Jean de Florette, and Manon des Sources are great films. There’s an embarrassing amount of these I haven’t seen though. 😉

    • 55 is pretty damn good too! Since the specials and Talking Funny are listed on IMDb and Letterboxd they count for me.

      There’s an embarrassing amount I haven’t seen too. Working through whatever I can.

  2. Here goes my list. I am pretty sure this includes everything i watched this month, but i could be forgetting some. At the very least, all the ones i remember

    Cabin in the Woods-I think i liked this one more than you.
    Rosemarys Baby-Finally got around to watching this one. Loved it
    Moth Diaries- Enjoyed this one,although i don’t think you would really like this one. Definitely Harron’s mot mainstream flick yet
    The Notorious Betty Page-An interesting character study, which doubles as a examination of the modeling industry and censorship.
    I Shot Andy Warhol-A interesting look at paranoid, damaged woman who shot Andy. While it doesn’t try to excuse her actions, she did come off oddly sympathetic at times.
    Love Crime-A interesting look at how the corporate world can corrupt even the most innocent seeming person. Kind of curious what De Palam does with it in Passion(from the trailer for that, it seems he is upping the lesbian undertones between the 2 main female characters, which was only hinted at in the original)
    Dressed to Kill- A stylish homage to Psycho
    Obsessed-A tribute to Vertigo, this one i didn’t like as much as Dressed to Kill. Felt a bit too close to a ripoff
    The Misfits- Darker than i expected, deserving of its classic status
    Fuck up-A decent foreign crime thriller. One aspect i really liked in this one was how 2 of its female characters seemed tougher and smarter than most females are allowed to be in that genre.
    High Noon-Had a slightly contemplative that reminded me of a Lars Von trier movie

  3. The three first-timers you have in the list in Martha Marcy May Marlene, Jean de Florette, and Manon des Sources are slated as the films I plan to see next month as well as a Godard film in My Life to Live and some Truffaut.

  4. I love Louis CK. my favourite quote from him is “can I have raisins”. Haha, classic

  5. Great list of movies

  6. You know movies, that is for sure!
    great list also, I must add!

  7. How do you do this? 65 films in a month?
    And I should have time, being in high school.

    Anyhow, Sunrise is the only silent film I’ve ever truly liked.
    A Day in the Country was quite forgettable to me, except the ending.

  8. Wow,I did not expect The Magic Flute and The Gold Rush to be THAT good,need to get these two Criterion titles.

    Watch out for The Terrorizers,it will blow you away.

  9. I don’t think I got to even a dozen films this past month.

    I wasn’t so impressed by The Raid as most people seem to be, but I agree with you on Sunrise, Atalante, and the two Berri films.

  10. And I thought I had done well with 44 new films (but only 2 re-watches).

    I’ve seen about half the films you listed here. As you know from my comments on those posts, I completely agree on Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring.

    I had to laugh at your comment on While You Were Sleeping, even though I disagree with it. And speaking of reactions like this, I’m having trouble understanding why anyone would watch Sans Soleil a second time. About 15 minutes into it I was already checking the time to see how much of it was left.

  11. Wow, sooo many movies!! I quite like Gosford Park, too, but I never thought you’d praise While You Are Sleeping, ahah. I’ll make sure I avoid Sweet Movie, but despite it not being my cup of tea at all, I’m still curious to see The Raid.

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