As I tend to do, I’ve fallen behind the mission of my blog to write about every film I see. So here are 1-2 sentences (plus run-ons) each for about 16 films that I’ve seen yet haven’t gotten around to blogging about. Still only about 40 behind!
Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (Jires, 1970)
Alice in Wonderland meets the Grimm Brothers meets a Polish New Wave sensibility, Valerie is a great companion piece with Chytilova’s Daisies in its bizarre, sexual meandering narrative.
The Master (Anderson, 2012)
Haven’t been able to get this one out of my head, and just head a good argument with a friend that went something like, “if the ending was more ‘Greek tragedy’ than singalong, would it have been anymore successful?”
Yella (Petzold, 2007)
Petzold is so underrated and this Jacob’s Ladder-esque narrative really takes the Hollywood edge off of things with his POV-dominated, slow build style; plus, there’s a hilarious John Grisham-parody sequence that is priceless.
Ghosts (Petzold, 2005)
Better than Yella, Ghosts is so enigmatically romantic, lingers in the mind, and all the way is so simple. I think that’s Petzold’s M.O.: take a simple, easily understood tale and twist it a little bit with his distanced camera and characters who have more going on than meets the eye.
Sound of my Voice (Batmanglij, 2011)
One of my favorites from 2012, when I saw it, this film comes so close to being downright silly (I mean, a lot hinges on a secret handshake), but it ends up being effective and creepy.
The Pajama Game (Donen, Abbott, 1957)
Weak-ish Doris Day musical adapted from the stageplay that features outdated gender roles – at least it takes its blue collar politics almost seriously and there’s an awesome trio musical number at the rally scene.
Amour (Haneke, 2012)
Not my favorite from the great Austrian director, but a beautiful piece of filmmaking regardless. Review HERE.
Therese Raquin (Carne, 1953)
Carne’s strong adaptation of Emile Zola’s smoldering thriller is nearly outdone with some too-stereotypical casting (Camille vs. Laurent in the persons of Jacques Duby and Raf Vallone is so ridiculous), but holds on to be a nice, very French, ironic thriller.
The Thing From Another World (Nyby – but really Hawks, 1951)
Whether you’re a fan of Carpenter’s loose remake or not (and I most definitely am), this one’s worth a look. Scientists and a journalist played by Ray Milland’s regular stand-in stranded in the arctic find an alien and use all of their wits, and anti-Communist propaganda (well, if you read it that way) to outsmart it.
Stoker (Park, 2013)
Fun as hell and a little goofy, Chan-wook Park’s stylish thriller has some of the best transitions in recent memory (the best = hair combing to grass blowing…gorgeous stuff), utilizes the crosscut to Hitchcock-ian effect, and relies almost entirely on one location. Review HERE.
The Boys From Brazil (Schaffner, 1978)
Gregory Peck as a sci-fi-mad Nazi – what more can you want? Well, maybe a bit less ridiculousness, but Olivier playing opposite him is almost as good as the Hoffman-Olivier Marathon Man pairing.
The House on Telegraph Hill (Wise, 1951)
How great is Robert Wise? The man hits all genres, and his 1951 The House on Telegraph Hill, while not even one of his best, is more than just a warm-up for his great run of later 50s and 60s thrillers (Odds Against Tomorrow is probably my favorite of those).
The Silence (bo Odar, 2010)
Not the Bergman film, Baran bo Odar’s thriller has a strong backbone, some great performances, but ultimately spreads itself too thin. Review HERE.
Blancanieves (Berger, 2012)
A silent updating of Snow White, Blancanieves is so good for about 45 minutes, and then kind of falls off the rails a little. It’s gorgeous to look at through and through, though it feels as if director Pablo Berger is more at home when he has boundaries to frame (ie places with definite limits – house, bullfighting ring, etc – all feel quite strongly composed).
Inspector Bellamy (Chabrol, 2009)
The final film by one of my favorite directors is what a lot of his films are – subtly funny, suspenseful, but more than anything else, a character study in morality.
Nobody Else But You (Hustache-Mathieu, 2011)
A cute crime film that is billed as more Coen brothers than it actually is, Nobody Else But You doesn’t break new ground in the ‘writer trying to write but gets drawn into a crime that might be part of his writing’ mold, but is consistent and fun.