I tend to do this every few months to catch up on the stated purpose of the blog: to write about everything I see. Over the last year I’ve seen that my trend in blogging has been towards blocking. That’s fine. It’s one of the things I like best in cinema. Because of that, however, my posts have gotten a little more involved, so I’ve just skipped a whole mess of movies. Here are some of them:
Reds (Beatty, 1981) – An overlong film with some fantastic montages and interesting, abrupt editing, Reds is one of those you love or hate…and that I just kind of like.
The Omen (Donner, 1976) – A classic “bad seed” film, The Omen is worth it for the nanny’s creepy suicide and a different turn by Gregory Peck.
Ravenous (Bird, 1999) – It’s weird that I love this film, and that Antonia Bird didn’t get many more gigs after it, considering it’s atmospheric, offbeat (maybe that’s what did it/her in), and totally against many horror/cannibal tropes. Worth a second sentence: Antonia Bird passed away this year; RIP.
The Snowtown Murders (Kurzel, 2013) – One of my favorites of 2013, The Snowtown Murders is really chilling, methodical and full of technique, like close-ups that cleverly hide information, great performances from the two leads (one a comic playing against type and the other a non-professional actor!) and an awesome score.
They Might be Giants (Harvey, 1971) – A really weak Sherlock Holmes film that features wooden direction and a mailed-in performance from the usually great George C. Scott, They Might be Giants also has a laughably choppy fight sequence as one of its major set pieces.
A Bay of Blood (Bava, 1971) – Classic Bava with a great score and heavy mood, this film features the best use of boiling water this side of The Big Heat.
Black Moon (Malle, 1975) – Louis Malle’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’-esque film, light on dialogue, heavy on absurdity, is probably a favorite of Terry Gilliam, and showcases the underrated director’s range.
This is Not a Film (Panahi, 2011) – The title says it all, and if you aren’t familiar with Panahi’s work, this isn’t the introduction for it: a diary movie about Panahi’s ban from filmmaking by the Iranian government after making such controversial classics (and a favorite of mine) as Crimson Gold
Avanti! (Wilder, 1972) – One of Billy Wilder’s weakest films, Avanti! loses some of the timing of the master’s classics as many jokes drag, though Jack Lemmon is always reliable.
Witness (Weir, 1985) – I’m not much of a Harrison Ford fan, but I am a Peter Weir fan, and together they come up with this oddball, slightly deadpan (thanks to Ford) take on the Amish-thriller, which will hopefully soon be a selectable genre on Netflix.
The Dead (Huston, 1987) – Even when John Huston isn’t at his best he’s still great, and this risky adaptation of the Joyce work proves that with its beautiful costuming and elaborate blocking.
The Human Factor (Preminger, 1979) – Graham Greene is one of my favorite authors and I love Otto Preminger, so it’s a shame that this is a disappointment, though it does feature an (I’m not joking) excellent example of how to act while sitting completely still, and Preminger’s classic blocking.
Sidewalls (Taretto, 2011) – Way too silly, whimsical, and unrealistically romantic for me, the only good thing about Sidewalls is the image of a building made to look like a face, Tati-style.
The Stepford Wives (Forbest, 1975) – If Bryan Forbes had never made a movie aside from Seance on a Wet Afternoon I’d have still considered him great, though he did, and this one is fantastically fun, featuring a script by William Goldman (who apparently wanted Playboy models in the lead roles) and a Rosemary’s Baby-like atmosphere.
Pontypool (McDonald, 2008) – A nice, The Signal-like horror film with a strong use of audio and an eccentric sense of humor, Pontypool plays more like parody than true scare-film and works that way.
Nil by Mouth (Oldman, 1997) – Gary Oldman’s directorial debut is gritty, foul-mouthed and tough as nails.
Cure (Kurosawa, 1997) – One of my alltime favorite thrillers, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Cure is creepy for days, beautifully paced, and truly unique.