Monthly recap: What have I been watching?

Prometheus (2012) (in 3D)
Don’t worry, no spoilers! The hype worked and I was ready on opening day. I waited to post my monthly reviews, so I could include my thoughts on the highly anticipated Alien prequel. So what is my verdict? How does it measure up to the four other official Alien movies?
I was lucky enough to catch an early screening. My eyes were glued to the screen the whole time, I was transported to another world, the suspenseful story managed to hold my undivided attention, and the twists are unexpected. It was kind of a mix of several Alien movies including a few fresh elements. There are a number of unanswered questions, the character's have different motivations. Gave me the urge to rewatch the earlier films, been a while since I saw them. I don't watch a lot of blockbusters, can't say if Prometheus is as good as The Avengers (2012) or Men in Black III. Was definitely better than The Hunger Games. I enjoyed it equally as much as Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011).
Prometheus was very entertaining and occasionally had some food for thought. The lack of back story of the characters kind of works in the movies favour I think, we gradually get to know them. If there had been no previous Alien films, my rating would have been slightly higher, the film is hurt a little by the fact it's familiar teritory for the majority of movie lovers. In various scenes, there is a feeling of been there before. That said, I think Ridley Scott succeeds in re-energizing the Alien franchise. You should see it in the cinema, it looks great on the big screen, I wouldn't expect anything else from Ridley. But I don't think visually its as jaw-droppingly stunning as say Blade Runner, or Gladiator, although there are some cool gadgets! Interesting blend of CGI effects AND set pieces, I still don't know if I like that combination.
Future classic? The true test is rewatchability, and I don't think Prometheus has got enough powerful or emotional scenes that really stand out, except maybe one or two I can recall. I think it was to my advantage I had not watched Alien movies for maybe 5-6 years. For the moment, I would rank it as my 3rd favorite Alien film, behind Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986). Is Prometheus recommended as a good night out? Yes! Is it the best new blockbuster I have seen in 2012? Yes!
Rating 7.6

Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)
Recommended by director Alexander Payne on Rotten Tomatoes during promotion for The Descendants. Sadly the 1937 film about an elderly couple didn't win me over, it was ok, but nothing special in my opinion. Even with a 100% rating on RT, not recommended. I preferred Ruggles of Red Gap (1935) I saw earlier this year, also directed by Leo McCarey.
Rating 6.8

Career Girls (1997)
Only 83 minutes, a drama directed and written by Mike Leigh. About two university friends who reunite and how their relationship has changed, or maybe not changed. At first we wonder why they are even friends, they show it in very different ways. I think Leigh is trying to say something about friendship, can we turn a blind eye to insults and put up with a flat mate's faults, how friendship is accepting the good and the bad. We get to think about our own lives, what friends have meant to us, and do we still have contact with them. Selective memory is another theme, who do you remember from your past, and why?
Riveting performances by the two leads, who play both younger and older versions of themselves very convincingly. Also, the dialogue is very well-written, albeit fast-paced, so I'm looking at a second viewing in future, good thing I bought the dvd.
A problem I had were the coincidences, which I found a little contrived, and made the ending slightly unrealistic. Realism is what Mike Leigh is good at, and when you get unrealistic situations, then it does hurt the film. This was only a minor problem with the ending, overall I was satisfied and enjoyed watching.
Rating 7.8

Code Unknown (Code inconnu) (2000)
French drama directed by Michael Haneke. The poster implies it’s an action movie, which it is not. Somewhat confusing, cryptic, and uneven, yet momentarily engaging story of a group of people, who's lives intertwine. A couple of scenes were especially tense and gripping, a verbal exchange on a train, plus a young man being disrespectful of a homeless person on the street, but maybe those scenes could have been short films instead.
Whether Juliette Binoche's character is an actress, or not, is interesting (and reminded me a bit of Certified Copy from 2010). The time issue in Code Unknown of what is past or present is unclear. Culture clashes, and lack of dialogue between father-son are themes. Lots of ideas, but too many dull moments without dramatic tension. The slow pace, tonal shifts, and narrative structure will divide audiences. If you want to dissect a film for film studies this is a treat, for entertainment purposes I think it fails to hold my attention.
Rating 7.1

Karate Kid (1984)
Entertaining and memorable for sure. I was expecting the wisdom and lessons of the teacher to be more profound, then again it's only a kid's movie. The love interest Elisabeth Shue looked too old to be Daniel's boyfriend?
Rating 7.5

A Very Long Engagement (2004)
Visually gorgeous, but I found it to be an overlong and tedious watch, with an unfocused story. Relationship between Tatou's character, and her lover is not explored very well at first, so I didn't care enough about them. All the side plots and name dropping we do see on screen are quite confusing and hard to follow. Also, too similar to Jean-Pierre Jeunet's previous film Amelie (2001), again about Audrey Tautou searching. You can tell Jeunet is a talented and ambitious director, and his vision keeps the film sporadically interesting, but I'm thinking the editing was too fast for a complex story with so many names to remember. I would as the filmmaker not have been sidetracked by all the minor details of the book, and focused more on the relationship. I would have preferred A (not so) Very Long Engagement. That title is also a very bad choice. Aside from the cinematography, not recommended.
Rating 6.3

Suspiria (1977)
Probably the creepiest of the three Argento films I saw in May. I was mainly in awe of the set design and how the music played such a big part in creating the horror. Are the dubbed versions inferior? Anyhow, even though I didn’t watch the original Italian speaking film, I would still recommended it. I thought the middle section of the film lost it's way a little, and my concentration was broken, which didn't happen with the two other Argento films I watched. The ending was definitely the best part. Supports my theory that set designs are more beautiful than CGI. Filmmakers take note...
Rating 7.6

The Bird With the Crystal Plumage (1969)
Debut film by director Dario Argento, he has a unique cinematic voice, I have waited too long to discover his universe. My favorite of the Argento films I saw. You’ll never guess the twist. Suspenseful right to the end. I didn’t fully understand the main characters attitude towards the painter, I thought it was kind of rude how he brushed him off, maybe it was supposed to be funny and a way of moving on from that particular scene, his insult perhaps to show us he’s not Mr. perfect.
Rating 7.9

Tenebre (1982)
Love the catchy soundtrack main theme by Goblin, and amazing sound effects as usual. About a maniac who is inspired by a bestselling book to commit murders, life imitating art. Definitely raises questions if artists have a moral responsibility when they represent violence, and probably Argento is self-aware, and likely pointing a finger at himself for violence on film.
The scenes with a crazy dog were truly horrifying and tap into a universal fear of being chased by a vicious animal, particularly because it was depicted so realistically.
The disorientating tracking shot outside of a building was stunning, and echoed of movies past. This quote sums up the style of horror we witness: "I didn't see him, except the axe"
Rating 7.8

Vanishing Point (1971)
Suspenseful road movie of a loner driver on a quest across America. Really cool, and may have been an influence for Drive (2011)
Rating 7.6

Manhunter (1986)
In my opinion, actor Brian Cox simply is too normal, and isn't as scary as Anthony Hopkins' Lector, and the investigator (William Petersen) I didn't think had enough screen presence, and his scenes were dull. If you know the trilogy with A Hopkins, Manhunter does present a different approach, an approach I didn't find very creepy aside from a couple of moments, for example a man on fire. On a positive note, the use of 80s music was a nice touch, the score and soundtrack. I'm sure there will be fans of both versions. For me, the 1986 film works as a detective thriller, but not as a horror film. That said, maybe my expectations were off, as at end of documentary, they say: "not trying to play (the horror) up, because that's life". The main problem I have with Manhunter is that the casting I think was better for the remake Red Dragon (2002)
Rating 7.2

Validation (2007) (Short)
Memorable and cute 15 minute black/white short about compliments and spreading joy. Put a smile on my face!
Rating 7.7

Songs from the second floor (2000)
Swedish black comedy. The director's films have their own comedy which is not for everyone. Very funny, if it appeals to your sense of humour. He takes melancholy characters and makes their circumstances absurd. You can tell Roy Andersson has experience directing commercials, many of the scenes are mini-movies. The financial crisis makes the film even more relevant today, even though it was put together well before the stock markets tumbled. Has a Kafka-esque, doomed atmosphere, which you can laugh or cry at. Favorite quote: "Beloved be the one who sits down"(out of context the quotation doesn't make sense)
Rating 7.8

Café de Flore (2011)
Definitely among the most underrated and overlooked new films. The title is a tune from the beautiful soundtrack, also featuring contemporary classics by Pink Floyd and Sigur Ros. I was very impressed by the film, recommended by Bonjour Tristesse, and could easily see myself rewatching several times in future. So what was to like? I found script to be original, with (no spoilers) a fascinating and un-guessable twist ending. Two separate stories, a mother's love of her son, and also a parallel tale of falling in love again as a married 40-year-old DJ. Interestingly, the film kind of sparked the "being scared of zero comments" article I wrote recently. In that the Cafe De Flore story describes an interesting juxtaposition of selfless/selfish behaviour, which is not as straightforward as it sounds, as we as human beings are never just one emotion. Lisa wrote an insightful review on the film here, best to read, after you watch.
Bonjour Tristesse suggests it is a pity there is a twist ending: "Imagine if Kieslowski gave us all the answers to The Double Life of Veronique, it might still be a great film, but it would not be a masterpiece. The magic is in the mystery and Café de Flore gives it up a little too freely."
Rating 7.7

Point Blank (1967)
Pretty confusing and dull, characters didn't interest me, and there really wasn't a whole lot of plot. A cross between French new wave cinema and classic film noir. If I read more about why I should admire this, I'm sure that would reveal hidden layers. They talked like movie stars, not real people. I liked the camera work, but lost patience. Not for me.
Did not finish

All About My Mother (1999)
I know I'm supposed to like this oscar-winning film, not bad, just didn't find it particularly memorable. I loved The Skin I Live In (2011), but that was an atypical Almodóvar story. I usually struggle to warm to his style of filmmaking. Perhaps it's a case of the Spanish mentality I have a tough time relating to. I don't know if there is much going on beneath the surface in All About My Mother besides the homages to old movies? Didn't do much for me besides entertainment, didn't get me thinking. Had no clue what the director was trying to say. Probably among the better Almodóvar efforts in terms of story, in my case I wouldn't rewatch. Not a bad movie, just not really my taste. I agree with Eric's opinion: "everyone was portrayed in the same light — men, women, transgender, none of that mattered. We are all human, and I don’t know if I have seen a better movie to demonstrate this."
Rating 7.3

The Dictator (2012)
Extremely vulgar comedy, often so off-putting that I hardly laughed at all. What made me smile a couple times were the names The Dictator called his friend Zoey (Anna Faris), for example "Hairy Potter" or a girl with a “chemo” hair piece...My favorite bit was on the helicopter, which was funny, and the wall of photos. Completely implausible, that Zoey could not see through his lies, but I guess it’s just for laughs. I enjoyed Borat. Bruno and The Dictator I didn't care much for. Actor/writer Sasha Baron Cohen does have one redeeming moment when he mocks the US for being a dictatorship where the rich get richer, he kind of has a point.
Rating 6.2

The Story Of The Cure - Much More Music (2000) (documentary)
Lots of sound bites, interesting to hear Robert Smith's opinions. The doc is a little repetitive. I don't know who's fault that is, the interviewers, the editing of the documentary, or simply Smith himself.
Rating 7.4

24 Hour Party People (2002)
To coincide with reading and writing about Joy Division, I had this on my to-watch-schedule. Some great one-liners. A step inside the Manchester post-punk music scene in the late 1970s and 80s. Messy behind the scenes look at Joy Division, Happy Mondays, and other bands under the wing of manager Tony Wilson (Steve Coogan). In fact, a reason to watch is if you liked The Trip (2010), since it’s the same team, director Michael Winterbottom, and even Rob Brydon makes a cameo appearance as a journalist. I wouldn't bother with this film, if you have no interest in the music. The musicians obnoxious antics may change your mind about the bands, leave the movie on the shelf if you want to remember the bands as Gods. Favorite funny quote about the drummer: "Try something a lot simpler, faster but slower.."
Rating 7.0

Joy Division (2007) (documentary)
For fans of the band, there is nothing particularly new on offer here, it tells the basic story again of Joy Division. The most interesting revelations were about Ian Curtis' influences. Unless you are a diehard fan, or you have already seen biopic Control (2007), I wouldn't bother.
Rating 7.2

Joy Division: Under Review (2006) (documentary)
Interesting interpretations of specific songs of Joy Division. Going to borrow info for my Joy Division posts.
Rating 7.5

The Trip (2010) (6 part TV-series)
I had already viewed the shorter cinema version, so I thought, what surprises would the TV-series have to offer? Unfortunately, the best bits are mostly in the movie already, and since I had mostly seen the deleted impressions on youtube, the series was basically a rerun of what I had seen previously. If you have a choice, go with the movie version. I can see on IMDB a season 2 is in the works for 2012…Does that mean there will be another movie too? Hope so ( :
Rating 7.4

Take This Waltz (2011)
Overlong, and uneven drama of a woman (Michelle Williams) split between two men (Seth Rogan and Luke Kirby)
There was potential here, moments of cuteness, particularly on the airplane, indoor amusement ride , or even the morning stroll. (won't spoil the movie watching those clips). Presumably going for something in the same ballpark as Blue Valentine, though not quite as, well, cute. It's difficult to pinpoint what was wrong with Take this Waltz, because the cinematography is beautiful, Williams' performance is very good, and there are memorable scenes. The weakness for me is the script, which lacks something for a running time of two hours. Seth Rogan seemed miscast and I think his performance was poor, when an actor, unintentionally looks at the camera(several times in the same scene!!!), it's the kiss of death in my book. Is a bad sign this film is going to video-on-demand. I was expecting more from the story than what I got. The director Sarah Polley, who previously made Away From Her (2006), focuses mostly on the happiness of Michelle Williams, and obviously the theme of early marriage is what Take this Waltz is about. The soundtrack is like an ad for Canadian music, including Leonard Cohen(the title is a reference to a song of his).I especially liked the obscure cover of Closing Time by Feist, which is nowhere to be found online.
Besides the dragged out scenes, my other complaint with Take This Waltz is we are given most of the answers, so there is not enough “space” for the viewers to make up our own minds. Easy to warm up to M Williams’ cute antics, even when she’s misbehaving, I guess women can look more objectively at her attitude, I certainly can’t ( ;
The film divided critics at the Toronto film festival in 2011. If you enjoy the filmmaking style of Blue Valentine which occasionally has a cute moment sprinkled in, check out Take this Waltz. If you don't, not recommended.
Rating 7.0

Last Year in Marienbad (1961)
Could be the best film I've seen all year. I was concerned might be too slow and arty, I was wrong. Amazing film. For me, it's about a married temptress enjoying the attention of another man, she doesn't reject him entirely and plays along. A cryptic film from the French new wave, the line between fantasy and reality is blurred. Does the woman not remember meeting the man a year ago, or is she pretending not to know him now? Was his memory a dream, or is he mad? Why do the guests behave in such an odd manner? I don't think anyone has definitive answers, which is why Alain Resnais' masterpiece continues to fascinate. Also, the setting is expertly portrayed by cinematographer Sacha Vierny, each frame is like a beautiful photograph. The director is quoted in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, that the film is an attempt to capture the complexities of thought. The dvd from is well worth getting your hands on, the extras are absorbing stuff, containing 6 or 7 interesting interpretations, and comparisons to other films.
Rating 8.5

My top 5 of May:

1.) Last Year in Marienbad (1961)
2.) The Bird With the Crystal Plumage (1969)
3.) Tenebre (1982)
4.) Songs from the second floor (2000)
5.) Career Girls (1997)

6.) Café de Flore (2011)
7.) Prometheus (2012) (in 3D)
8.) Suspiria (1977)
9.) Vanishing Point (1971)
10.) Karate Kid (1984)

Readers, any thoughts? Agree? Disagree? Have you seen any of the above? What are the best films you saw during the month of May?


  1. Awesome post. I just discovered your monthly recaps bc I'm working on a similar post right now, but it's basically just a list and no reviews. So I certainly applaud all the work you put into this. I also got a few recommendations out of it.

    1. @Gregory Roy: Going to keep an eye out for those similar posts, then ( : Thanks for reading, and most importantly hope you enjoy the film recommendations

  2. Wow, do we disagree on some things. I HATED Last Year at Marienbad. It made me want to punch things. On the other hand, I think Point Blank is a high point for 1967.

    1. @SJ Honeywell: Ha! not the end of the world, buddy, only opinions about movies! The law of averages I suppose in the long run, there are some classics we like, and some classics we dislike. Both are classic films, no doubt ( ; Curious about your reviews of Point Blank and Marienbad, because your reactions are so different, going to seek those out.

  3. The movies all sound interesting, Chris! Poor thing Seth Rogen looked into the camera several times, Williams must've pulled a great acting job as usual? Also heard bad reviews about The Dictator. Career Girls look nice.

    Thanks for the you tube link!

    1. @Andina: It's weird, because several reviewers praise Seth Rogan for that performance, acting is subjective as always...Don't bother with The Dictator unless you love Sacha Baron Bohen. Even for him, I think he went too far into the vulgar category, most of the time not even funny, just unpleasant and offensive (in my opinion)...The Ali G show he did was funny. Enjoy the youtube links ( :

  4. Another great month. Glad you started watching some Argento :)

    Prometheus - I'm not too excited about this one. I'll still watch it but I won't be rushing out for it.

    Code Unknown - Haneke has a unique way of involving the audience with his films and I thought this one did it well. Maybe I see it less critically because I'm blinded by my love of Juliette.

    Karate Kid - Can't really say much except I last saw this one when I was a kid and I always had good memories of it.

    A Very Long Engagement - I agree this one was tedious and lacked the wonderful magic of Amelie.

    Suspiria - It's the atmosphere and soundtrack that make this one of my all time favorites. Note: The original version is actually English. All Italian films from this era are dubbed, even the ones in Italian.

    Bird - Probably his most logical story, and a fantastic introduction to Argento's style. And who wouldn't be rude to a cat eater?

    Tenebre - I think you nailed everything that I love about this one in your summary, and that main theme is also my single favorite Goblin track.

    Vanishing Point - It's been awhile since I saw it but yes this most definitely was one of the influences for DRIVE.

    Manhunter - I love this movie but you are right, Hopkins' Lector just overshadows Cox. As a standalone thriller film though I think it is one of the best from the 80's

    Café de Flore - Certainly one of the most discussion causing films of the year, at least by those who have seen it. I still stand by my initial reaction to it, but Lisa did make some very compelling arguments in her review. Will be interesting to see if I still feel the same way when I watch it again, but I'll give it some time first.

    All About My Mother - Once again we agree. I was entertained but I wasn't entirely engaged with it either.

    Take This Waltz - This is the last Canadian film of 2011 on my watch list. I know the reviews are mixed but I am a fan of Polley, Williams, and of course Cohen so I still have to see it.

    Marienbad - Another of my all time favorites. Strange but beautiful in so many ways. One day I'll get around to rewatching and reviewing it on my site.

    1. @Bonjour Tristesse: Again, like last month’s post, a terrific comment! Thanks also for pointing me in the direction of Argento’s work with your batch of reviews, a few more of his films I’m saving for later...Tasteofcinema and Andy Buckle gave me a coupe of suggestions too ( :

      Prometheus I really enjoyed, but I’ve had an awful headache today(the day after), hence the delayed response, so I’m looking at 2D next time. The 3D is not essential for Prometheus I'm thinking.

      Code Unknown: Was definitely interesting in parts, but very uneven pacing in my opinion.

      Karate Kid: Seems like everyone grew up watching that movie except me! Finally I know what people are on about.

      A Very Long Engagement: Amelie is certainly the better of the two, I agree.

      Suspiria: Indeed, all about the atmosphere. The Argento films have really stayed with me. Thanks for the info on the dubbing, did not know that.

      Crystal Plumage: a cat eater he was, but I still don’t think he was justified in being so rude to him, because he was invited into a stranger’s house and offered a meal, and a discount on a painting. I don’t even know if the painter was aware of it being wrong to eat them, being so isolated and all. Cut him some slack I say ( :

      Manhunter: I had a tough time deciding on a rating. If I hadn’t seen Hopkin's Lecter, perhaps I would see it in a different light, for what it is, a solid thriller.

      Café de Flore: Thanks for the rec, Lisa’s review was inspired, and so was yours BT, hence the quote ( :

      Take This Waltz: Another film I had trouble reaching a verdict on, I was between 6.5 - 7.5, so in the end the obvious decision was somewhere in the middle! S Polley is an interesting director, I think I prefer her as an actress(“My life without me”(2003) is among my all-time-favorite films) M Williams always seems to put in quality performances, she's adorable. I won't comment on her role furthur, don't wish to spoil the movie.

      Marienbad: I don’t use the word masterpiece very often, in this case, I would.

  5. Wow, that's an impressive list of movies you've seen. I don't know if Vanishing Point was inspiration for Drive, but Tarantino has stated it was inspiration for Death Proof. You've seen a lot of movies I have not checked out yet. Hoping I'll be able to see Prometheus next week!

    1. @Nostra: I read on another blog that The Driver(1978) (which I haven't seen)was a bigger inspiration for Drive(2011) than Vanishing Point. Ok, an influence for Death Proof, didn't know that, Tarantino certainly knows his film history!
      Hopefully you have as much fun with Prometheus as I did ( :

  6. Great month! Nice mixture of old and new! Looking forward to Prometheus and The Dictator! I find Argento movies horrible and not in a good way. I've tried a few and just don't get why they are so well loved.

    1. @Pete: Prometheus is certainly superior over The Dictator(which I think is only mildly amusing). I'll look out for your pending thoughts on those!
      Didn't like Argento...too bad, I guess his work is not for everyone. Argento's best films are widely acknowledged to be from 1969-mid 80s.

  7. Karate Kid! Love that film. It reminds me of my childhood. Glad to see that it still holds up to new viewers now too.

    I think I enjoyed A Very Long Engagement more than you. Definitely agree that it was a bit winding and slow to eventually get there, but I got wrapped up in the romance of it all. Very beautiful little film.

    1. Jaina: Karate Kid, there's a lot to like! I think I would have enjoyed it even more when I was younger ( :

      I have read positive reviews on A Very Long Engagement,for me it a bit of a mess really. Like I said above, I don't think the director did a very good job (besides cinematography).

    2. Finally saw Prometheus and definitely agree with what you said about it. I don't think it's an instant classic. Like you said, it's going to be the re-watchability of it. Definitely doesn't beat Avengers in terms of blockbuster enjoyability for me. That's going to be a tough film to beat this year.

    3. @Jaina: Glad you enjoyed Prometheus and appears we see eye to eye on that movie, I'll have to stop by and read your review!
      I'm going to have to seek out The Avengers sooner or later considering all the praise it's getting ( :

  8. So glad you liked Prometheus! I can't wait to see this one, though the fact Lindelof co-wrote the script has me worried. I suspect as with LOSt there are many questions and not too many answers, though we will get them in the sequel and just as with LOST fanfiction will prove to be far more imaginative.

    1. @Sati: Ha I got there first ( : Can't wait to read your review of Prometheus. I wasn't aware of the writer having scripted Lost, interesting. I thought it was the most intelligent Alien script to date, so not just for youngsters, adults too.

  9. Wow- WHAT an amazing month of film you've had! You've done so well!
    I'm thrilled thrilled thrilled that you loved Last Year At Marienbad - as you well know one of my absolute fave's and a film that defies any sort of placement in the tangible! Wonderful film experience.
    But you saw so many other great great films.
    I like Career Girls quite a lot as well. You've got such a fantastic mix there.
    I will rush to see Prometheus - I have a soft spot for the Alien Franchise like you. I really enjoyed this post. Great reviews Chris!

    1. Thanks Lisa for reading, pleased that you enjoyed my post! I'll head over to your site soon for your Marienbad article, I agree what you say about defies any sort of placement in the tangible

  10. Whaaat? You gave Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) a rating of 6.8? This is one of the great Hollywood tearjerkers and the inspiration of Ozu's Tokyo Story,don't tell me it did not move you!!

    I'm glad you saw some Argento films I recommend,I would also choose Tenebre over Suspiria, Tenebre has a better story,now you really should see his DEEP RED,the goblin score will wow you for sure.

    1. @David: We can't love all the classics! ( : There are a couple of scenes near the end that were endearing(in the taxi for example), overall I didn't think Make Way for Tomorrow was a tearjearer (for me).

      Really had a good time watching Argento, they feel like Agatha Christie crime stories mixed with atmospheric horror. Deep Red I can see is one of his most revered, so certainly going to track it down for the future, thanks. Going to check that goblin score today ( :

  11. Nice variety of films this month, Chris! So glad you were able to see (and enjoy) Vanishing Point. Definitely a cool road movie.

    Thanks for the shoutout with All About My Mother. It sounds like I liked it a bit more than you, but I can understand your reservations. It was unlike any other film I have really seen, and it did make me interested in seeing more from Almodóvar.

    24 Hour Party People: Loved the stuff on Joy Division & early New Order, but once it moved onto the Happy Mondays I started to lose interest. Still fun overall, though.

    Take This Waltz struck a chord with me. I hate to admit it, but I know exactly what the lead characters were going through, and Sarah Polley nailed it. I was hesitatant about the ending at first and was going to grade this a 7, but the more I think about it, the more I liked it. Right now it's a tentative 8 in my book. I plan on sharing a post on it this week.

    1. Thanks for sharing your views on those films, Eric. Probably there are hidden depths to All About My Mother, I just didn't feel I loved it enough to spend time seeking them out. I wasn't blown away by Talk To Her which everyone seems to love, and disliked Bad Education, so maybe Almodovar's directing style is simply not for me.

      Movies are always more meaningful if there is a personal resonance, I'm iinterested in checking your just posted Take This Waltz review. I can understand your trouble rating it! I think the film may grow on me over time the more I think about it(as Blue Valentine did)

  12. Great Month Chris AND you have already seen Prometheus !!

    Some really good ones here. I will most probably see Take this Waltz this month. I loved Sarah Polley in everything I have seen and Michelle Williams is nice as well. I might watch Last Year in Marienbad as well. June might turn out to be '60s Foreign movies from 1001 movie list' month for me.

    All About My Mother: I am usually troubled with the morality in Almodovar's movie. But somehow this one sailed better with me, maybe as you said because it treats everyone equal.

    Code Unknown: It kinda ended on me. There were so many questions I wanted answered, but Haneke wasn't interested in answering I guess.

    Very Long Engagement didn't do much to me neither except Tautou, did feel long and tedious too.

    1. Thanks for stopping by again, SDG! I'm a lucky dog catching Prometheus early, the disadvantage is there are not too many to discuss the movie with yet :-)

      Look forward to your thoughts on Take this Waltz, it was a mixed bag of good and dull scenes for me like Blue Valentine.
      I'm still not sure how I feel about the Take this Waltz, everyone talks about the ending being overlong, but I found the early scenes dragged as well. Worth it for the cute scenes! ( :

      Code Unknown was tough for me to get to grips with. Perhaps it should have been a series of short films instead. It was a challenging puzzle alright, but I found the characters too cold and their journey too confusing to really care about figuring it out. The structure of the film was what bothered me the most.

      A Very Long Engagement, didn't strike a chord with me either, that was a tough on to finish as well.

  13. I'm relieved to see you give a positive review to Prometheus even though you don't strike me as big of a fan as I am of the franchise so maybe there's room for me to like it more. In any case, for you to say it's the third best of the series is good enough for me. After all, Alien 3 wasn't alright.
    I'm surprised to see Karate Kid cutting your top 10 for the month considering the wealth of films you saw, some of which have a lot of clout in the critical world.
    I couldn't agree more when it comes to "All About My Mother". I think "The Skin I Live In" might be my favorite Almodovar film, though I'd like to dwell a bit on some of his earlier stuff.
    I've also noticed there's a Dario Argento revival going on around the blogs. I'm not familiar with his work but all of the praise from you and others have now placed all of his work in my queue of films. Can't wait to watch Deep Red and Suspiria.
    Glad to see you've kept yourself busy. Good to be back!

    1. @niels85: Well I am a fan of the Alien franchise, particularly when I was a teenager, since I haven't watched them as many times as you seem to have lately, then I guess you are bigger fan than I am! Prometheus was very good for suspense, and I like a thinking man's blockbuster, I guess Ridley is getting philosophical in his older years, I hope the Blade Runner sequel he's planning follows the same path!
      As a kid of the 80s, Karate Kid I had wanted to see for a while, and when I noticed Dan at top10films mention it, I had to give it a look, finally.
      I don't know what it is about Almodovar, I don't have a personal reaction to his work, luckily there are lots of other great directors.
      Would be fun to read you reviews of any of Dario Argento films, let the revival continue ( :

  14. Just a few comments:

    Karete Kid - for what it's worth, Shue is actually two years younger than Macchio. He just had one of those young looking faces.

    Vanishing Point - A movie I saw as a kid and sought out as an adult. The director decided to make the car the star of the movie and he succeeded.

    Manhunter - I agree with what you wrote. It's impossible not to compare Cox's performance with Hopkins'.

    All About My Mother - I believe this is the most accessible and "normal" of Almodovar's movies. It got the most recognition from the Academy probably because he toned down the weirdness.

    24 Hour Party People - I was pleasantly surprised by this. I originally only watched it because I needed a "24" movie for my Movies by the Numbers category. I ended up liking it quite a bit.

    1. @Chip: Cool, thanks for info on Karate Kid

      I could be rewatching Vanishing Point in the future, well-made retro!

      I know, a pity for Cox to be compared, because he's a decent actor usually.

      All About My Mother was 'just okay' for me.

      24 Hour Party People was a fun time, maybe a bit weird at times(the pigeon scenes). I don't know how accurate/realistic it was supposed to be.

  15. Chris thanks for the spoiler free Prometheus :-) The only other film on your list I have seen is the Karate Kid and I have not seen that in 20 years lol

    wax on wax off

    I look forward to checking out Prometheus this weekend hopefully right after moonrise kingdom. :-)

    1. @3guys1movie: Your welcome! I shall be visiting your site to see what you guys have to say about Prometheus...The reviews for Moonrise Kingdom are mostly glowing, and even though I usually loath Wes Anderson, I may have to take a chance on his latest.

      wax on wax off, comment on, comment off ( :

  16. Wow, a great mix of movies here, Chris!

    Ahah, funny you mentioned that the Code Unknown poster isn't really an action movie as I immediately thought it's something like a shark thriller or something :)

    I have no interest in seeing The Dictator, just don't find Sacha's brand of humor all that funny, even the trailer doesn't interest me. I am game for Prometheus so glad it lives up to the hype for you. It's always nice when a movie can transport you to another world like that, awesome!

    1. @Ruth: I wouldn't recommend The Dictator, not as funny as I had expected, only a couple of moments made me smile/laugh.

      Prometheus I had a really good time with! I don't know if it's my favorite film of 2012(time will tell), but I would heartily recommended it to anyone ( :


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