Monthly recap: What have I been watching in April?

Another busy month of movie watching! As always, my ratings below are what I think the films should be rated on IMDb.

The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)
Best to go in knowing as little as possible. Gripping drama, that stayed with me. I cared about what was going to happen, loved the haunting soundtrack, and as entertainment I think it worked fine. I was drawn to the characters, maybe they fascinated me, because they are so different to who I am.
Questions, can anyone be born clean?
Ryan Gosling’s character has comparisons to Drive (2011), but for me, Pines is actually more mature than Refn’s film. Pines is a more complete film than the directors last effort Blue Valentine (2010)-which to me had terrific individual scenes, but had a bit uneven pacing.
Director Derek Cianfrance: “It’s about family. My first film which nobody saw was called Brother Tied (1998) and is about brothers, Blue Valentine (2010) is about husbands and wives, and this one (The Place Beyond the Pines) is about fathers and sons. I started writing it in 2007 when my wife was pregnant, she was pregnant with our second son, and I was thinking all about legacy, thinking about everything I was born with, everything I was going to pass on to my son. As he was going to come into the world clean, I was the one who felt dirty, I felt like I didn’t want to soil him with my sins. I grew up catholic, so I felt like everything I did was a sin. (…) I believe in ancestry and legacy, and how things don’t go away, and I think especially in America, people are born into tribes. And I wanted to make a movie about two different tribes that ended up colliding. (…) I wanted to do something about how you can’t get away from history, that it’s always there. (…), I think about how we are now very civilized and domesticated, but I don’t think the brutality and ruthlessness which this country was founded on that ever goes away. But also deeply personal, about becoming a father, and passing things on”
Rating 8.3

Stories We Tell (2012) (documentary)
I was lucky to see an early screening. Personal and intense Canadian documentary. While I felt director Sarah Polley had more of an emotional interest in the story than I did, it was still a pretty interesting family chronicle. Didn’t make me think about my own family history, which apparently has happened with other reviewers.
At times I wondered if her late mother would have approved that all these private details are revealed to a worldwide audience. I know I wouldn't do this to my parents, after they died, no matter how interesting their life was. But that’s just me, Sarah Polley is of course free to do as she wishes. I liked it, but didn't love it.
Director Sarah Polley in interview for indiewire: ” It's not going to be completely objective -- no matter what -- and there's a lot of ethical responsibility in terms of how you're presenting people to the outside world. Because for a lot of people, that's the only context in which they'll know these people.” (…) I became really interested in these bizarre, human urges to make a narrative out of a very confusing mess of details, and how deep that goes -- like our need to create a narrative in order to make some sort of sense of life.
Rating 7.5

Room 237 (2012) (documentary)
I have to admit it was quite entertaining to watch in a trashy conspiracy theory kind of way. I think the American Indian thing is a legitimate interpretation, which has been brought up in other circumstances, but most of the other stuff is very far-fetched and implausible.
The problem is, with so much crazy stuff, it devalues any worthwhile elements. The only positive is it will get more people watching The Shining!
Rating 6.5

Sound City (2013) (documentary)
Musicians reminiscing about the good old days, when music was recorded analogue. It’s basically a history of the ups and downs of Sound City recording studio.
The documentary will probably be most interesting to those who record music, or just want to go behind the scenes of what it was like for these musicians to record their albums. We get to hear about 70s 80s and 90s, from the likes of Neil Young, REO Speedwagon, Rick Rubin, Nirvana, among others, who all recorded albums at Sound City over the years. The Rick Springfield dog story was hilarious.
The last 30 minutes of the doc are about the new album that was made specifically for the documentary. My favorite track from that I will reveal in my upcoming soundtrack post.
Favorite quote, Neil Young talking about the neve recording board: “it looks like the enterprise on steroids from a long time ago!”
Because so much ground is covered, it never really goes into any depth. I wouldn’t call it an essential doc to watch, unless you are a fan of the band’s that are mentioned.
Rating 7.0

Rust and Bone (2012)
Not sure what to rate this film. Didn’t hit me on a gut level as it has other reviewers. I didn’t like the characters, but it had very powerful moments. We somehow empathize with the at times insensitive Ali, despite his flaws, as you feel he is doing what he is capable of. Also has some of the best use of CGI ever. My favorite scenes are on the beach and on the ice. Maybe on rewatch the film will grow on me?
Rating 7.5

The Third Man (1949)
Another film where you should go in knowing as little as possible.
Film noir set in post WW2 era. I liked the way it was filmed and the use of shadows. The last 30 minutes were memorable, the chase, and the final scene. The Third Man theme stayed with me, as did the cuckoo clock speech. It’s not a film where I have much emotional attachment, though. Orson Welles gives a complex performance switching smoothly between charm and menace, so we never quite know what to think of him. Very film noirish, in that the main characters (and the audience) are never quite sure of the motivations of the characters.
Rating 7.6

It Happened One Night (1934)
Directed by Frank Capra. An influential, early romantic comedy, maybe one of the best of the genre. Starring Clark Gable as a wisecracking, aggressive reporter, and Claudette Colbert as a spoiled, runaway heiress. I don’t quite know why they had to speak in such a loud voice. It had its cute moments too.
The film won Academy awards for best picture, best director, best screenplay, best actor, and best actress, the first time one film had won all the major awards.
Rating 7.7

Sherlock Jr. (1924)
Buster Keaton silent comedy. Several memorable moments: the ring and the magnifying glass, when Keaton closely follows a man, the characters that transform into other characters at the cinema, and how Keaton jumps in and out of the big screen(Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo shows its debt to that scene). The exploding pool ball, the rooftop escape into a car, the dangerous high speed motorcycle ride, etc. A film to rewatch again and again.
Rating 8.3

Daisies (1966)
Cult film from the Czech New Wave. Words to describe it would be atmospheric and colorful. Very distinct and inventive editing. The story is a simple one of two mischievous, free-spirited, directionless, rebelling teenagers having a good time, messing about, and looking for experience and attention. The girls make use of men before men can make use of them. The dinner table scene at the end was definitely the highlight for me, and put a smile on my face, despite the aberrant behavior. The stylish visuals by the filmmaker’s seem to be as playful as the girls’ attitude. A film about rule breaking and freedom of speech. Both by the filmmakers and by the characters.
As another reviewer writes: “Its rebellious protagonists and freewheeling spirit were essentially an allegorical but brazen denunciation by the director of the then regressive regimen behind the Iron Curtain”. It was released in its home country in 1966 but subsequently banned.
The director herself described it as being about ‘destruction, or the desire to destroy’. Her cinematographer, Jaroslav Kucera, wanted the film image to escape from a strictly objective vocation. Kucera believed that the film should acquire the same power of 'subjective meaning' as other modern arts such as poetry, music and painting. The audience's role in creating the film's meaning is crucial. The symbols throughout the film are open to multiple interpretations.
Rating 8.0

Hiroshima mon amour (1959)
I didn’t even recognize a young Emmanuelle Riva, who at 86 just got nominated for an Oscar for Amour.
50s French New Wave drama notable for its use of non-linear flashback storytelling, yet also pretty unmemorable.
Man and woman are having an affair. He tells her that she did not see horrors of Hiroshima. He says she made it up, she says it happened. We learn she is slightly nuts. The story is a mix of memories.
The way the male lead actor laughed kind of annoyed me. The protest with the crowd carrying Stop thermal nuclear testing banners, was memorable, and is still somewhat relevant today.
Perhaps because the screenwriter is an author, Hiroshima mon amour felt more suitable for a wordy book than a movie. Not as visually engaging as Alain Res masterpiece Last Year at Marienbad (1961)
As Lisa Thatcher wrote in her review: “The message the viewer is to get from this film is that these events (Hiroshima) are so enormous and so impossible to fathom, that the small incremental pain of the human individual is sometimes the best access to the reality”
Favorite quotes: “You’re destroying me. You’re good for me”
“What do you call having dubious morals? Being dubious about other people’s morals.”
Rating 6.5

Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Entertaining and gripping mystery, that maintains suspense up to the end. Enjoyable, but surprisingly conventional and simple, so the film didn’t blow me away.
Must have the all-time record for the number of times the name “Charlie” is used.
Apparently, it was Hitchcock’s favorite among his own films.
Rating 7.5

Z (1969)
Won Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Film Editing.
About senator assignation attempt. Didn’t like this movie. Maybe I’m too stupid to follow the politics. I had no idea what all these French officials were talking about. Very vague, the filmmakers did a poor job of making the political situation understandable to me, especially the first part of the film. Are no characters I get to know or relate to. I didn’t care who is guilty or innocent, or who is a communist or not. The wife crying was the only emotional scene. Not "Z" but "zzzz", as another reviewer put it. At least the music was good, and there were a couple of okay chase scenes. A bit overrated. Anyone care to defend why this film is oscar worthy?
And hey, I got to see another Amour actor when he was younger, Jean-Louis Trintignant.
Rating 6.2

Anatomy Of A Murder (1959)
Often cited as the best court room film ever made, though not as powerful as I had expected. The acting is good, and the screenplay has some great one-liners. More attention should have been paid to the rushed ending. When you’ve been watching for 2½ hours, to wrap it up in couple of minutes makes you feel cheated.
Apparently the film was controversial at the time for using words such as panties and rape.
The most radial thing is we never see the crime that was committed, and are left to piece it together with the jury, and make up our own mind who is guilty.
Rating 7.5

Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974)
French New Wave drama. The title seems misleading, as there’s only 3 minutes of boating. But at closer examination, the French wording "aller en bateau" has other meanings from that of taking a boat ride:"to get caught up in a story that someone is telling you"
My favorite section of the film is the intro, which raised many questions, did the brunette deliberately forget the objects for the redhead to find? Did they already know each other? Why is Julie(redhead) going to such effort in stalking Celine?
It seems they are daydreamers with a lively imagination, so everything they say could be real, or imagined. Many scenes feel like eavesdropping on private conversations between Celine and Julie. There appears to be a sense of deep communication between the two women, that perhaps takes place on a nonverbal level.
3 hours is a long time to watch. I confess I lost patience with the film, the alternate reality house scenes during the second half of the film were just not very memorable to me. I did complete it. I could certainly admire the ambition and cinematic experiment. Maybe it was an influence on Mulholland Dr?
A film of this length is bound to be a bit uneven, my favorite scenes were: the opening chase, the date with the cousin, Julie’s audition, the memory drink, the meeting with the old woman.
Interestingly, director Jacques Rivette entrusted his actors with shaping their characters, the principal cast members share writing credit. Ms. Berto and Ms. Labourier were cast because they were good friends off screen.
The 3 hour running time means it’s not particularly audience friendly, and will mostly appeal to cinephiles, yet if you have patience, it is a highly original and mysterious experience.
I'm curious about Rivette's other films, which other titles should I look up?
Favorite quote: “And you anyway, what can you do? Yes show me what you can do. You’re here ogling me. Ogling every inch of me. Behind refrigerated glasses. You’re not worth a bean. Bunch of pimps! Cosmic…Cosmic twilight pimps!”
As Jake at Not Just Movies wrote in his review: “The friends process more of the elliptical story with every visit and use of the candy, in the same way that re-reading a book or re-watching a movie can yield all new details and interpretations. Céline and Julie debate over the mystery and what this story has to say like critics looking for a film’s meaning”
A couple of other interpretations I read, Celine and Julie at the end have “ultimately rescued what amounts to their common inner child. In a sense, it might even be said that they have given birth to her (needless to say without the benefit of a male).” ”A haunted house, are they just bombed out of their brains and making it all up as they go along?”
Rating 7.8

Rashomon (1950)
Akira Kurosawa’s film won an honorary Oscar. The story device is original, we don’t know who to trust, and can’t trust what the film is telling. What stayed with me the most was the diabolical ha-ha-ha-ha!!
Favorite quote: “Just remember. A woman loves a man who loves passionately”
Rating 7.8

Walkabout (1971)
The scenery and cinematography of this film is extraordinary, and I’m talking in the same league as Terrence Malick!!! The technical tricky is in stark contrast to the primitive, uncivilized surroundings. I was confused if was a film for children or grown-ups? The opening of the film definitely is unexpected and ambiguous, and so too is the ending.
Loved the beautiful score by John Barry, which gives it a dream-like quality. I felt like I was a member of the group on their adventure into the Australian wild.
However, there are controversial elements, for example the actual killing of several animals in the film. Also, the naked scenes didn’t need to go on for so long, especially considering the age of the female lead. Some have called it “innocent nudity,” in which the characters swim in a deep rocky pool to cool off. The concept of nudity is almost entirely meaningless to the mostly naked aboriginal tribe, so maybe the director is trying to make a point that nudity should not be so shocking to us, because that is who we are.
Nicolas Roeg had his A-game in the 70s, including films like Don't Look Now (1973) and The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), which are also unique in the way they portray the world. Performance (1970) is next on my list.
Rating 8.0

Mad Max (1979)
Before Mel Gibson lost his mind, he made a name for himself in this Australian low-budget actioner, which was a huge hit. Basically a b-movie, with a budget under a million $. The opening 10 minute car chase was the stand out, as well as the last 30 min. Everything in-between didn't quite reach that level. I was surprised how dark certain parts of the movie are.
Troublemakers without any motive for following you are scary. Was this Knight Rider before Knight Rider?
Rating 7.4

Mad Max 2 : The Road Warrior (1981)
Bigger budget ($2 million), and better pacing overall. Good action flick. There’s quite a lot of disagreement in online communities as to how Mad Max trilogy should be ranked. This is probably my favorite of the series. Particularly the final chase sequence is brilliant.
Rating 7.7

Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
An entertaining sequel, that hardly feels like a Mad Max film. The series finally got the budget it needed to show what this world looks like, and features Tina Turner in a decent performance, I love her song in the end credits, We Don't Need Another Hero.
On IMDB message boards, the film is criticized for changing direction mid movie, and I can definitely see that unevenness. The ending was similar to Mad Max 2, which was disappointing.
Rating 7.0

The Long Good Friday (1980)
British gangster drama starring Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren. Not bad. Starts out a bit confusing, then I realized it really was quite straightforward. Powerful theme tune.
Maybe this type of film has become a bit of a cliché, with many imitators since, hence the reason it wasn't that powerful to me. If you've seen other gangster films, there is nothing new here, and I guessed how it would end. Although it must be said the final scene is memorable. The small budget means it has comparisons to a tv-movie.
I prefer the director’s 1987 film The Fourth Protocol, which I found more suspenseful.
Rating 7.4

Mona Lisa (1986)
British gangster drama directed by Neil Jordan, again with Bob Hoskins. It definitely portrays the atmosphere of the seedy disreputable underworld very well, so you believe it. The elevator scene will stay with me forever, as will the songs “Mona Lisa” by performed by Nat King Cole,
and “In Too Deep” by Phil Collins.
I thought the characters were more interesting than The Long Good Friday (1980).
Favorite quote: “You’re a good man Mr George.” “How can you tell?”
Rating 7.6

The Big Sleep (1946)
Though the film noir plot is difficult to follow, it does have terrific dialogue, and the story has many twists and turns.
However, I was surprised that it didn’t have any truly stand-out scenes, which I expected, considering it has status as a classic in the IMDb top 250.
Notable also for the chemistry between Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, who were married in real life 6 months after the shoot.
Favorite quotes: You don’t put on much of a front? “There isn’t much money in this business if you’re honest”
Quote: “You’re cute. I like you” “What you see is nothing, I’ve got a Balinese dancing girl tattooed across my chest”
Quote: What’s wrong with you?” “Nothing you can’t fix”
Rating 7.7

Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
The life of an ambitious press agent (Tony Curtis). Well-written dialogue, just not any cinematic moments I remember. The ending was too predictable. I guess the acting was good. Overrated classic.
Rating 6.2

Lethal Weapon (1987)
To be honest, the character of Martin Riggs has the same back story as Mad Max, though Riggs is more talkative, suicidal, and funny. Difficult for me to take the villain seriously, as he (Mitch Ryan) played the eccentric father in tv-series Dharma & Greg. Enjoyable for the chemistry between Danny Glover and Mel Gibson.
Rating 7.5

Agree? Disagree? Have you seen any of the above? Watch anything good in April?

My Top 5

1.) Sherlock Jr. (1924) (8.3)
2.) The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) (8.3)
3.) Walkabout (1971) (8.0)
4.) Daisies (1966) (8.0)
5.) Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974) (7.8)

6.) Rashomon (1950) (7.8)
7.) Mad Max 2 : The Road Warrior (1981) (7.7)
8.) The Big Sleep (1946) (7.7)
9.) It Happened One Night (1934) (7.7)
10.) Mona Lisa (1986) (7.6)
11.) The Third Man (1949) (7.6)
12.) Shadow of a Doubt (1943) (7.5)
13.) Lethal Weapon (1987) (7.5)
14.) Stories We Tell (2012) (7.5)
15.) Anatomy Of A Murder (1959) (7.5)
16.) Rust and Bone (2012)(7.5)
17.) Mad Max (1979) (7.4)


  1. Hey you saw The Third Man too this month. The theme surely was 'different', when I watched it with friends we kept laughing because it's not the type of music you hear in thriller and crime movies. But I agree it's a great film.

    Rust & Bone's strongest thing to me was Cotillard's character. Other's quite okay.

    Good to see you watch some early releases. I've been wondering about Sound City, perhaps not the priority now.

    The Place Beyond the Pines looks great from your review.

    1. @Andina: I agree the Third Man music is different. It took a bit of getting used to, as I had heard the theme used in tv-commercials.

      I think I actually prefer The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) over Drive (2011). Love the Drive soundtrack, but didn't really care for 'the Driver' after what happened in the elevator.
      Whereas I did care about characters in Pines right up to the end.

  2. Very interesting mix as always Chris! I really want to see Place Beyond the Pines, Walkabout and Room 237. I just watched Sound City the other day and had a documentary double bill with Side by Side which was very interesting! I haven't seen Mad Max 2 since I was a kid and I didn't get it back then. Now I've seen the fist film, I need to revisit it.

    1. @Pete Turner: Room 237 is a bit shoddy in terms of content, hence my low rating, yet even so I couldn’t look away :) Because it’s done in an entertaining way.
      Sound City was quite interesting to see the technological shift in the music business, I guess now we have both worlds, both analogue and digital capabilities. It saddens me, that a lot of new music sounds so computerized, though.
      Mad Max 2 is a fun sequel, recommended.

  3. Impressive list of movies. I skipped Sound City cause I wasn't interested in most of the artists, seems I have not missed much. Like you I didn't really connect with Rust and Bone as much as other seemed and you are right about CGI, if you didn't know you would swear she didn't have legs.
    Heard good things about Stories We Tell, really interested in watching that.

    1. @Nostra: hmm, if you’re not keen on those musicians, I doubt Sound City is for you. Yep, that CGI is remarkable in Rust &Bone-should have won an award. I liked Stories We Tell, and it has gotten great reviews, I’ll look out for your thoughts on it!

  4. Glad to see you enjoyed Pines so much, definitely more than me although I did quite like it.

    I've been meaning to catch up on Rust and Bone, worth watching I guess?

    I'll also have to check out all the Mad Max's, especially being Australian! I think I've seen one but I was much younger and barely remember it! :)

    1. @Alex Thomas: I loved Pines, it’s in my top 5 of 2012 films. Rust and Bone has gotten a lot of praise, I say give it a chance, it’s not a heavy drama-quite an easy watch.
      I’m actually surprised I missed Mad Max all these years, so I put it on my blind spot list. The trilogy is not as great as Star Wars or Indiana Jones, but well worth a look!

  5. Well, I think I only saw 2 movies this past month so this is very impressive, I'm definitely looking forward to Place Beyond the Pines, I heard great things about Cooper's performance.

    1. @Sati: Yes, I noticed you haven’t been reviewing too many movies lately, with all that Game of Thrones stuff going on! Performances in Place Beyond the Pines are good, recommended watch.

  6. Hi Chris, I like that you've got a mix of classics and contemporary stuff. Boy I can't believe I still haven't seen It Happened One Night yet! Well, my Movie of the Month is a Danish thriller which I believe you've already seen.

    1. @Ruth: Thank you! It Happened One Night deserves the classic tag, I think you’d enjoy it.
      Yes, I’ve seen The Hunt, out on dvd over here, and indeed very good, I’ll take a look at your review.

    2. I'm glad I got to see The Hunt on the big screen, the cinematography is quite beautiful. Yeah, I can't wait to see It Happened One Night pretty soon!

    3. @Ruth: Yes, the cinematography is beautiful in The Hunt. Hope you like It Happened One Night.

  7. Lot of movies, you saw this month. :)

    It Happened one Night: It's very typical Rom-Com, one that we take for granted these days. But still, I think it was done right and I like it.
    Sherlock Jr.: Everyone seems to love it, except me. I am still hanging on to The General as Keaton's best.
    Shadow of a Doubt: You are right, there is nothing extraordinary in it. But that's what surprised me that this sort of plain story was able to keep me interested till the very end.
    Rashomon: Glad you liked it. My favourite Kurosawa and one of my all time favourites.
    The Big Sleep: Funny thing about it is I have seen it some time ago but for some reason, I have it mixed up with The Maltese Falcon so much that I never remember which one's which now. Silly Me! :)

    I would love to see Stories We Tell and Room 237. I have heard a lot of things about them. Some of the conspiracy theories in Room 237 I heard are seriously wacky. Would also love to get my hands on Z and Anatomy of Murder. I have been waiting for quite some time.

    1. @SDG: Yes I saw quite a few :) It Happened One Night is certainly still good, despite being a genre film. I love The General equally as much as Sherlock Jr, and I can’t wait to delve into more of Buster Keaton’s classics.
      Yes, that sort of plain story in Shadow of a Doubt did keep me interested, I noticed Flixchatter just reviewed it.
      They are a bit similar Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep, both are wordy film noir with H Bogart, so that makes sense you mix them up.
      Hope you like those documentaries and films you haven’t seen yet.

  8. Awesome month of films, Chris. Surprised you liked The Place Beyond the Pines so much. I can't wait to give it a second look.

    Glad you watched (and enjoyed) so many classics. Since I saw Mona Lisa, I still listen to "In Too Deep" a few times a week. It's very memorable in the film, for sure.

    1. @Josh: I was surprised too how much I enjoyed Pines-maybe because I am a similar age (early 30s) as the characters, it struck a chord. Also curious about how it holds up on rewatch, I think Pines may have potential to become a future classic. Mona Lisa is really good, glad you liked it as well.

  9. I also was not blown away by "Rust and Bone" though I will admit that Cotillard performance was really good.

    I was kinda interested in seeing "Stories We Tell" though I really don't watch docs; as you mentioned, it eludes to the fact that she was revealing all kinds of family secrets... what kind of stuff did she mention?

    1. @Shala: I agree about Marion Cotillard’s performance, and I think Matthias Schoenaerts has a bright future too.
      Stories We Tell, difficult to really talk about the family secrets, without spoiling. What I can say is we get to know especially her parent’s on a deeper psychological level, all about their strengths and weaknesses. It’s an excellent doc, but it does feel like eavesdropping on something private.

  10. TPBtP: Loved the sprawling unpredictable narrative, but for me the second and third acts weren't as engrossing as the first. All around, the cast was excellent. So much that I probably enjoyed the supporting performers more even than the leads.

    Stories We Tell: It didn't remind me of my family either. For me, it wasn't necessarily the story, but the way in which she setup and revealed it, to be the most interesting and emotional thing. Also, her father is a superb narrator.

    Room 237: A little wacky but entertaining, however, overall it felt like something that belongs on cable tv.

    Sound City: Agree, not an essential watch. But it was fun hearing all the anecdotes, and realizing just how many of those immortal songs were made there.

    Rust and Bone: I think we agree on this one. It's very impressive filmmaking, but maybe too calculated, since it didn't bowl me over either.

    The Third Man: Love that theme, and how the opening credits are shot. Also love the backdrop of post war Vienna. And all those shadows! A magnificent looking film, and a really great script as well. Deserves its place in all the best of lists.

    Daisies: I love films that display this level of inventiveness, and I'm not quite sure why, but I seem to be especially drawn to films with two female leads. The spirit and playfulness of it is mesmerising. Within the first few minutes, I knew it would be an all time favorite.

    Hiroshima mon amour: You're right, not as visually stunning as Marienbad, but it still has some beautiful scenes. Starts of fascinating but does drag towards the end. It's one I feel I need to watch again at some point.

    Celine et Julie: Another of my all time favorites. Did you watch this before or after Daisies? Rivette was clearly influenced by Chytilova, as this film displays a lot of that same spirit. I agree that intro is masterful, especially the chase up the steps of Montmartre. Drew me in right away, and even after 3 hours, I didn't want it to end. One thing to note, as is the case in many of his films, there is a great deal of clever wordplay in the dialogue that isn't always accurately translated. If you ran out of patience with this, then I'm not sure if Rivette is a director for you, but if you're willing to try, look up LA BANDE DES QUATRE, or LA BELLE NOISEUSE.

    Walkabout: Really glad you enjoyed this one too. Agree about the cinematography. It's hypnotic and makes the outback look otherworldly. Also have to say, the bookends of the film are what really ground the story to Agutter's character.

    1. @Bonjour Tristesse:

      The Place Beyond the Pines: Yes, the performances are terrific. Didn’t know you had seen it, where’s your review, BT? LOL :)

      Stories We Tell: Thanks for the recommendation. Had colorful characters, and agree was interesting how it was told from a personal angle, that truth and memory are so subjective. It did keep me on the edge of my seat to the end, so maybe I should have given it a little bit higher score. That scene when the sister cracks up talking about her mother being loved was moving to me, and felt genuine.

      Room 237: It was fun to watch, The Shining is in my top 100, but couldn’t take the observations in this doc that seriously.

      Sound City: Agree. I think I prefer when a documentary looks at one band, rather than so many.

      Rust and Bone: I kind of liked it. I agree the ending is manipulative, a powerful, but not very realistic test he is faced with on the ice. That's the kind of situation you see in movies-and hardly ever in real life. After what happened to Cotillard, what are the odds that happens on the ice.

      The Third Man: It looks great, I agree. I would watch it again just for the look of the film.

      Daisies: Definitely underrated and inventive. Two female leads, yep, I can see that, Daisies, Mulholland Dr, Double life of Veronique, C an J Go Boating. I could imagine you probably like Thelma and Louise :)

      Hiroshima mon amour: Despite the non-linear flashback storytelling, I was underwhelmed, a classic which I feel is not as good as its reputation. I have 3-4 unread articles about the film I got from the library, so maybe that will alter my perception of it.

      Celine et Julie: I saw Daisies first, I heard about that it was an influence on Rivette’s film, I didn’t think about it too much as an influence when I watched C and J, yet you are right the mischievous spirit is in there somewhere.
      That intro in Rivette’s film is among my favorite scenes I’ve watched this year :) I’ll have to keep an eye out for that clever wordplay, if I ever rewatch, it’s a pity the dialogue doesn't translate that well(as with the title). I might give LA BELLE NOISEUSE a chance, and see if it’s for me. Especially as I noticed it on your favorites list.

      Walkabout: That’s the best cinematography I’ve seen in a long time. I know how you love those open-ended mysteries, so I can see why you are a fan.

      Ps Look forward to your coverage of Cannes Film Festival!

    2. I might review The Place Beyond the Pines sometime in the future, just don't have a lot of time lately, so I'm putting off reviewing films I have a lukewarm reaction to.

      Thelma and Louise isn't a favorite like those others, but I remember enjoying it :)

      Re: C&J, the subtitler actually did a decent job to try and capture the lighthearted humor, instead of a literal word for word transcript. But even so, there's inevitably going to be something lost in the translation. Actually I think that contributes to one of the reasons why Rivette never got as much attention as his peers.

    3. @Bonjour Tristesse: Thanks for the extra info about Celine and Julie Go Boating.

  11. I like that Mad Max marathon ... might want to re-watch those myself. Pines was pretty amazing.

    Looks like you had a great month of viewing.

    1. @3guys1movie: Thanks for stopping by! A good time to watch the trilogy. I heard Mad Max 4: Fury Road (2014) is happening with Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, with the same director as the first three films. Not entirely sure if it's a remake/reboot/re-imagining.

  12. Great selection again.
    RASHOMON: is one of my all-time favorites. It grows on you with multiple viewings.
    CÉLINE ET JULIE VONT EN BATEAU: well, you've read my review, but I must say that I agree on the fact that it is a bit long and gets on our nerves. It's like a challenge that is worth it. The film stayed with me very long after I finished it.
    DAISIES: it was one of my favorite viewings of last year. I love the freedom and the acting of both girls.

    1. @Michaël Parent:

      RASHOMON: I was just reading an interview on the Canadian documentary Stories we Tell (2012), and they even compared it to Rashomon, in terms of storytelling.

      Celine and Julie Go Boating: it is a long film, and you're right, it does stay with you, trying to figure out what it all means. One viewing is not enough.

      Daisies (1966): Yes, it probably appeals to free spirits, or those who yearn to be young and free of responsibility

  13. I really need to see The Place Beyond the Pines but I'll need some down-time for that film. I recently saw Room 237 (a double feature with The Shining!) and I was definitely let down. Most of the stuff was - as you mentioned - implausible.

    1. @Robert: The Place Beyond The Pines is worth going to see on the big screen, if you find the time. I agree about Room 237.

  14. Wow, lots of classics last month! A few of my thoughts:

    The Place Beyond the Pines -- Just saw this one a couple days ago. Really liked it. And I agree, it's best to go into it knowing as little as possible. I knew the film had three acts, but I wasn't expecting them to be so different.

    The Third Man -- I have been wanting to rewatch this one since I saw it for the first time a few years ago. I loved it, and the closing shot is one of my favorites of all time.

    It Happened One Night -- I have a Capra box set but still haven't got around to watching this one. Thanks for the reminder!

    Sherlock Jr. -- Nice one! Curious to hear what you will think of Steamboat Bill, Jr. if you watch it.

    Walkabout -- I added this to my Hulu+ queue just based on its synopsis alone. Haven't heard much about it since, so it's awesome to read such high praise from you! I'll have to check it out soon.

    Sweet Smell of Success -- I have this coming next from Netflix. Disappointing to hear you didn't like it so much.

    1. @Eric: Yes, I’ve made a conscious choice this year to watch fewer new films, and go back in time to the classics.

      The Place Beyond The Pines -- Agree the three acts are very different, quite unexpected.
      The Third Man -- Yes, that ending stayed with me too.
      It Happened One Night -- one of the better romantic comedies/screwball comedies, maybe it would appeal to your girlfriend too.
      Steam Boat Jr -- I see it’s only an hour long, so hopefully I’ll get to it soon.
      Walkabout -- If you like road movies, which celebrate nature, that one could be for you.
      Sweet Smell of Success -- it’s in the 1001 movies book, but it didn’t feel like an essential watch, soon forgotten.

  15. You sure watched a number of classics of world cinema. Sherlock Jr, Daisies, Celine & Julie Go Boating, The Third Man, Rashomon, Anatomy of a Murder, etc. rate very highly in my opinion as well. However I'd disagree with your moderate scores for 3 films which too rate very highly in my reckoning - Hiroshima Mon Amour, Z and Sweet Smell of Success. In fact I'd go so far as to state that Sweet Smell, with its superlative performances, vitriolic tone, grimy theme, sleazy characters, terrific cinematography, the superb jazz score, etc., in my opinion, remains one of the finest film noirs ever made. Interestingly, though I liked The Big Sleep, I'm not as big an admirer of the film as most are - maybe because I'd read the masterful book earlier & consequently the film failed to live up to my expectations.

    1. @Shubhajit: I think that’s normal, and due to personal preference, that we like some classics, and other classics no so much.
      Sometimes, my low ratings are whether a film stayed with me, in the case of Hiroshima Mon Amour, Z, and Sweet Smell of Success, I know they are acclaimed, and others like them, but those three films simply didn’t stay in mind for long, and I didn’t connect emotionally. Those two criteria are important, when I rate a film. Not that every film has to be "emotional", although there has to be something I can relate to: characters, story, whatever.
      Haven't read The Big Sleep, it sounds like I should, though.
      Glad we agree on a few of the selections, anyway. Thanks for stopping by again, been a while since I last heard from you!

  16. Wonderful collection of films. As usual, I'm jealous you found time to watch all of these, some of which are classics I really need to get to. I'm probably going to be watching The Place Beyond the Pines either later today or tomorrow. I'll let you know what I thought of it then.
    I had never heard of Walkabout, and when you say the cinematography is in the same league as Malick, it certainly puts the film in my radar.
    I just watched Rust and Bone a couple of days ago. I have about the same regard for the film as you do. I found the characters appealing, but not enough. I found their romance and connection true and meaningful, but it was hard for me to relate as Ali was specially hard to empathize with. You're right to point out the scenes on the beach and the ice, especially the latter. It made me cringe to think of the situation Ali was put under. I was glad it didn't end in tragedy.

    Great work Chris!

    1. @Niels85: Thank you! The Place Beyond the Pines is a film I recommend, I'll keep an eye out for your review then.

      Yes, Walkabout is remarkable for cinematography. Hope you like it.
      Rust and Bone, I know of a few bloggers who loved the hell out of it, and then there are others who didn't get what the big deal was. That scene on the ice was definitely a stand-out. I wouldn't call it a bad film, just not a film I call a favorite of the year. Who knows, maybe I'll like it more if I ever rewatch.


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