Viewing recap September






Boyhood (2014)
I was captivated from beginning to end, despite a running time of three hours. Even though I wasn't a kid in the same era that the characters are, it's still my favorite film of 2014 so far. The story could easily have felt uneven because the filmmakers and actors filmed this over so many years, but it somehow all fits together into a cohesive whole, and that to me is a sign of good directing and editing.
Before Sunrise is still my favorite by the director. I'd rank Boyhood somewhere among Linklater's top 10 films, maybe even top 5. Time will tell if his latest holds up to rewatching.
Rating 8.5/10

Come and See (1985)
Blindspot for September. Full review
Rating 9/10

Night Moves (2013)
The performances are spot on, feels realistic for the most part, and raises important questions about responsibility of actions. The weakness for me is a running time of 112 minutes. The filmmakers could easily have told the same story in 90 min (or less). Still, I'd probably rank Night Moves second behind only Wendy and Lucy, with Meek's Cutoff and Old Joy 3rd and 4th.
Rating 7/10

Blue Ruin (2013)
Like Blue is the Warmest Color, there is blue in almost every scene. The narrative is a simple one of revenge. What makes the story stand out is the main character is not a trained killer. He's a bum, actually, without the physical or technical skills to go on a revenge mission. A fairly realistic, ok thriller, done on a smallish budget, with mostly unknown actors.
Rating 7/10

Tom at the Farm (2013)
Held my interest despite the implausible situation that he would stick around so long at the farm. Most would just have got the hell out of there!
Rating 7/10

Troubled Water (2008)
Underrated Norwegian/Danish drama, which deserves a bigger audience. Directed by Erik Poppe, About secrets and forgiveness. Very good performances by the lead actors. A powerful film that still lingers in my mind a week later.
Rating 8/10

Bottle Rocket (1996)
A fun and entertaining debut feature by Wes Anderson. Maybe I'm wrong, of all his films, this one feels the most realistic. As with the directors other films, he is a wizard at putting music together with scenes, in this case Anthony running back to the motel with the song Alone Again Or by Love.
Favorite quote:
Grace: “When are you coming home?” Anthony: “Grace, I can’t come home, I’m an adult”
Rating 8/10

The Navigator (1924) 
Not quite reaching the heights of Buster Keaton’s best comedies. Still a pretty funny and sweet movie aboard a ship lost at sea. He has a female passenger with him, and it’s about their survival. The ghost was a highlight, and the underwater scenes are technically impressive for 1924. The ending is too far-fetched.
Rating 6.5/10

Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
Great performances by Charles Laughton and Clark Gable, and their tussle at sea creates a lot of tension.
Rating 8/10

Sylvia (2003)
I was under the impression Sylvia Plath was a bigger author than her husband Ted Hughes, that is not the case in the film.
Plath’s famous work The Bell Jar isn’t mentioned until 80 minutes into the movie. Wasn’t aware her poem collection Ariel is one of the most celebrated and widely read books of poetry of the 20th century.
The film feels a bit simplistic and one-note, I’m sure there was more to the Ted Hughes-Sylvia Plath marriage than simply Sylvia’s jealously.
Rating 6/10

Arthur (1980)
A quotable, heart-warming romantic comedy. I’ll probably have nightmares about Dudley Moore’s drunken laugh.
Favorite quote: "Tonight is New Year’s Eve, the third time this week"
Rating 7/10

Clue (1985)
Based on the board game Cludeo(Clue in north America). you could describe the movie as a dialogue-driven whodunit with comedy elements. A clever mystery that kept me guessing, yet I didn’t really care about who lived or died, and was only mildly interested in who the guilty party was. For me, the multiple ending approach was just too confusing. A few familiar faces make up the ensemble cast such as Christopher Lloyd, Tim Curry and Lesley Ann Warren.  
Rating 6/10

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)
First part of the Park Chan-wook’s vengeance trilogy. (2003's Oldboy is the second part of trilogy)
The director has a real talent, beautiful angles, lighting and tracking shots. The kidnapping story is good, the scenes by the lake are especially vivid in my memory.
Rating 8/10

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005)
Part three of Park Chan-wook’s vengeance trilogy. My least favorite of the three films. Again, as with the director’s other work, every frame is handled so well visually. The opening credits especially stood out. However the chronology is messy and jumps around quite a lot so that it was tough to follow what’s going on at times.
Not as memorable as the first two installments in the trilogy. What stayed with me was the fat female rapist in prison, and the main character’s red eye shadow. There’s also a dream sequence set in a snowy environment where a man has the body of a dog which was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
Shares quite a few similarities in terms of structure with Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), and didn’t feel as groundbreaking as the previous two installments.
Rating 6/10

The American (2010)
Slow-building assassin thriller starring George Clooney. The cinematography is well-done, especially after dark with its yellowish nighttime light, and the mist drifting across the Italian village. You would expect this from director/photographer Anton Corbijn. Clooney’s character is very vague and we know little about his past, he plays the paranoid, evasive womanizer quite well. Unfortunately his character doesn’t come across as an interesting person, so all the concealment feels like a gimmick to keep the film moving.
While decent enough, I wouldn’t call the film a game changer, as it’s merely content to imitate other assassin thrillers such as Day of the Jackal. The only surprise was the ending. I love the poster, but it doesn’t sell the film well, since there are only a couple of action scenes.
Rating 6/10

Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)
Having noticed praise for the film in the blogosphere, and seeing was nominated for 6 Oscars, I was expecting an above average movie. The filmmakers do a fine job of recreating the time it was set, and I can appreciate the events it depicts are historically important. Yet I could summon little enthusiasm for the history lesson, which I found quite dry and emotionless. I find it overrated.
Rating 5/10

Michael Clayton (2007)
Same reaction as Good Night and Good Luck, I just didn’t like any of the characters, who to me are cold. The storytelling was quite confusing. Bothers me when Brits (in this case both Tom Wilkinson and Tilda Swinton) put on fake American accents. There’s suspense in the last third, but that and James Newton Howard’s score are the only things I enjoyed.
Rating 6/10



How was your month? Have you watched any of the above films? Agree or disagree? As always, comments are welcome

20 comments:

  1. I hated Sylvia. Such a terrible baity biopic that failed and in no way did they do her justice. I really need to see Boyhood at last!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Sati: Sylvia could have been handled better for sure. I loved Boyhood

      Delete
  2. Great recap Chris! Wish I could say I saw nearly as many films, hopefully October will be better tho.

    Oooh I so want to see Mutiny on the Bounty! I see that you're not fond of the other Clooney film The American, that sounds quite boring to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Ruth: Thanks! I didn’t actually see as many as I usually do, still managed about 20.
      I think you’d like Mutiny on the Bounty, I know you have a thing for Clark Gable :)
      The American was ok and I did like the cinematography but yeah ithe story did drag a bit. I’m not a huge fan of Clooney, I just happened to watch three of his movies which had been on my watchlist forever.

      Delete
  3. For what it's worth on Clue: they originally released it theatrically with only one ending per film, but depending on when and where you saw it you saw one of the three possible endings. When they issued it on DVD they simply put all three endings on the end of the film, since no two of them were actually "Deleted Scenes" or "Alternate Endings".

    Mutiny on the Bounty has some great performances, especially from Laughton whose character was hissably evil, yet still impressive when he navigates his men to safety.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Chip Lary: Thanks for the trivia about Clue, that was a pretty cool idea I must say that you could see different versions in the theatre. I think I would have preferred the versions without the 3 endings.

      Mutiny on the Bounty. For me it was Charles Laughton who stole nearly every scene, he’s fast becoming one of my favorite (deceased) actors.

      Delete
    2. In regards to Laughton, if you haven't seen them I recommend The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) and Les Miserables (1935). And Steve Honeywell recently had very good things to say about Ruggles of Red Gap (1935), which I haven't seen.

      Delete
    3. @Chip Lary: Honeywell is right, Ruggles of Red Gap is excellent, I loved it. Haven’t seen the two others you mentioned, will make a note of them. Laughton was also great in Witness to The Prosecution, and I’ve been recommended by Josh at cinematic spectacle to check out Hobson’s Choice (1954), which is a criterion release.

      Delete
  4. Love Clue! Tim Curry is awesome. Had ludicrously high expectations for Boyhood and it lived up to them pretty well. Surprised you didn't enjoy Blue Ruin more. That's definitely in my top 10 of the year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Pete Turner: Tim Curry was memorable in Clue although I didn’t love the film as much as you seemed to. Think I prefer playing the board game :) Blue Run, I consider 7/10 a pretty good score, I just didn’t think it was original enough to give it an even higher rating. Boyhood lived up to my expectations as well.

      Delete
  5. I should definitely watch Boyhood soon (:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Andina: I hope you get to see Boyhood soon, curious what you think :)

      Delete
  6. Desperate to see Boyhood! Absolutely desperate. May yet be a while :(

    I have Blue Ruin on my to-watch pile. I know practically nothing about it, but it's been getting favourable nods from bloggers and critics. It's got me intrigued.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Jaina: Hopefully you get to see Boyhood sooner or later! I discovered there’s a new French film called Girlhood (2014), which hasn’t had the same exposure. About black teenagers, wonder if that’s any good.
      Blue Ruin is worth a look, it didn’t blow me away or anything, but quite entertaining.

      Delete
  7. Lots of good stuff last month!

    Great to hear you enjoyed Boyhood so much. I'm impatiently waiting for it to hit VOD or DVD.

    I really liked Blue Ruin, especially as the revenge story wasn't conventional at all. It's not often you see a revenge killer as inept as its protagonist.

    Bummer you didn't like Good Night and Good Luck or Michael Clayton that much. It took me a little while to warm up to Good Night's dryness, but I fell in love with Michael Clayton right away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eric @ The Warning Sign: Blue Ruin i s pretty good, and yes, did take an unconventional approach to the revenge story, although I wouldn’t regard it as a great film, it just wasn’t memorable enough for that in my view.
      Good Night, and Good Luck was a disappointment considering all the praise and Oscars. Michael Clayton I found watchable but I wouldn’t see it again. Look forward to your assessment of Boyhood!

      Delete
  8. SO glad you liked Boyhood. I agree that the moment in the restaurant was a bit cringeworthy. Shame you didn't like Good Night and Good Luck. I really enjoyed and thought it was fresh. But I respect your opinion.
    You made me give Michael Clayton a try. Actually this is the only film I own but I never got to watching it. I really liked it. I enjoyed the acting and the unconventional narrative. But again, each with his own opinion.
    Have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Cristi B: Boyhood is the film of the year so far for me, happy you enjoyed it too! Strange you managed to read the sentence about the restaurant, I actually deleted that few days ago because I felt it was a spoiler
      Good Night and Good Luck just wasn't for me. Thanks for respecting my opinion :)
      Michael Clayton certainly isn't awful, it's just not the type of movie that I could appreciate. There was very little in the movie I could relate to, same with Good Night and Good Luck

      Delete
  9. Thrilled you liked Boyhood that much! Right now, I'd put it at #3 just behind Birdman and Calvary. I can't wait to see Tom at the Farm, and it's great that you liked Troubled Water, which is, indeed, underrated. Sorry you didn't like The American more, but that film is very divisive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Josh: Boyhood is currently my # 1 of the year, that could change though. Tom at The Farm was good, just not particularly plausible in my opinion. The American had nice photography, and some nice scenes, I just felt as a complete package it wasn’t as great as it could have been.

      Delete

What do you think about the post? I look forward to hearing from you. Rest assured I will reply soon.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails