Greetings, Welcome back! Another edition of ‘What did you watch last week?’
Last week as you may have noticed I mentioned Sofia Coppola and her new film The Bling Ring almost everyday: That’s because I was really excited for its (limited) US release. This week I promise not to turn into a Sofia Coppola fan club and to talk more about other directors and films too.
I didn’t watch a lot of movies last week, so instead of three posts I’ll just do this one. Also, I only watched ‘good’ films and a ‘bad’ one, so there’s no need for the ‘meh’ section.
So in chronological order, here’s what I watched this past week and a couple of thoughts.
Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013) – 4 (IMDb 4.8) – Horror (USA)
This was supposed to be a direct sequel of the original horror classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974). The opening titles refresh younger audiences’ memory about what exactly happened (as if we needed that). While this newest addition to the franchise certainly has some interesting ideas it’s overall very clichéd and run-of-the-mill. There’s nothing to distinguish it from the general horror remake and sequel craze happening in today’s American film industry. The characters are flat, the story is predictable, the aesthetic is boring and there’s not really much gore or excitement either. It certainly isn’t worthy being associated with the original film, especially considering how scary and innovative that one was when it first came out. My two cents: Happily skip this one, unless you’re a die-hard fanatic of the franchise. I watched it in 2D, so I can’t say much about the 3D aspect, except that some stuff you thought was cool in 3D looks beyond silly in 2D.
That Obscure Object Of Desire (1977) – 8 (IMDb 7.9) – Comedy, Drama, Romance (France, Spain)
Written & directed by genius Luis Buñuel, Cet obscur objet du désir is a charming art house film about a middle-aged man recounting his romantic entanglements with a with a young, attractive schizo/gold-digger/both? to strangers on a train. Played more “straightforward” than his other films, I found myself really enjoying this film for its playfulness and lighthearted romantic comedy with dramatic elements. As part of the Criterion Collection one can however also see how it’s an important film. It’s shot very well, there’s a political subtext, there’s a confusing double-casting of Conchita (the object of desire): Carole Bouquet plays a frigid, puritanical woman, while Ángela Molina is the voluptuous, sexy, seductive side of the same character. All in all highly recommended, especially for Woody Allen fans.
Lick the Star (1998) – 8.5 (IMDb 5.9) – Drama, Short (USA)
‘PICK OF THE WEEK’
Lilya 4-Ever (2002) – 8 (IMDb 7.8) – Crime, Drama (Sweden, Denmark)
Prova d’orchestra (1978) – 7 (IMDb 7.1) – Drama, Music (Italy)
Orchestra Rehersal is part of Federico Fellini’s color/art house-era and it shows. This film doesn’t present the traditional narrative, but is rather played as a faux-documentary. Fellini himself is interviewing musicians on their instruments, how it relates to them personally and the instrument as part of the bigger picture: The orchestra. Of course being a Fellini film it is imbued with his typically irreverent humor and populated by the characteristic collection of people cast solely because of their interesting face. Prova d’orchestra is a charming little film, with political undercurrents and social commentary on the goings-on of the period it was made in: There’s big talk about unionized labor and the orchestra could be read as a metaphor for society as a whole. Good film, but a bit slow in certain parts.
Somewhere (2010) – 9 (IMDb 6.3) – Drama (USA)