‘Good’ Movies You Watched Last Week?
Once again this week the good have triumphed over the bad, the evil. Don’t worry we’re still talking about films here of course. I watched and re-watched a lot of good ones. Including once again the short films of Spike Jonze, like I’m Here (2010) and others that you can find on YouTube. Here’s every good film and a couple thoughts on them, if I’ve already reviewed them in the course of the week, just click the title and it will open up the link to the full-length review. Enjoy and don’t forget to let me know about your favorite films of the week. I’m always curious to hear what other people liked.
‘PICK OF THE WEEK’
La Grande Bellezza (2013) – 8 (IMDb 7.5) – Drama, Comedy (Italy)
Cries & Whisphers (1972) – 8 (IMDb 7.9) – Drama, Criterion (Sweden)
Ingmar Bergman is easily starting to become one of my favorite filmmakers. His films are quite simple in terms of plot, but there is so much underneath the surface: symbolism, emotion, drama, passion, depth. It’s quite incredible. Cries & Whispers is considered one of his best and it’s about a wealthy woman on her deathbed and her sisters. You can definitely see how this film influenced someone like Woody Allen (especially when doing Interiors). I loved the performances, Bergman’s use of color (Sven Nykvist went on to shoot Fanny and Alexander and even work with Woody) and the drama, which was so intense. The film is thoroughly entertaining, even if that may not be the most accurate adjective to describe it, it’s very engaging and I could easily identify with the characters even if they’re from a much higher social strata than mine. I guess that when it comes to death we really are all equal.
The Bling Ring (2013) – 9 (IMDb 6) – Crime, Drama, Comedy (USA)
A Short Film About Killing (1988) – 8 (IMDb 8) – Crime, Drama (Poland)
In the same vein of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s A Short Film About Love this is a short film that explores killing. Killing an innocent man and then death sentencing a guilty man. Both films are very short, yet so powerful, because they get straight to the point. As always with Kieslowski his films are gorgeous to look at, this is one of his most beautiful in my opinion. Sławomir Idziak went on to shoot The Double Life of Veronique and Three Colors: Blue for Kieslowski, but in this one it’s a more subdued beauty, less showy, but fascinating nonetheless. I almost felt like Werner Herzog’s look of his On Death Row series was inspired by the look of this film, but I could be wrong. In any case: This is the story about a man who kills a cab driver for no reason and is then sentenced to death. Without any judgment this films just presents the story as it is and is able to inject a lot of humanity and emotion to the characters who feel completely believable and three-dimensional. It’s certainly the best film I’ve seen all week!
Once Upon A Time In America (1984) – 7.5 (IMDb 8.4) – Crime, Drama (USA)
This film has been on my “list of shame” for quite a while now and I just needed to watch it. I finally did and it was quite enjoyable. It’s an epic tale of this gangster’s life, I’m not even going to begin to explain it because it’s so grand and trying to encompass every single and possible aspect of human existence it’s just enormous. Sergio Leone’s direction does feel a bit heavy-handed in some points however, it’s very dramatic, but sometimes too much. The cast is absolutely incredible, but not all performances are subtle, although I was a big fan of Robert De Niro in this film, and he’s usually not my favorite actor, but perfectly cast here. My favorite part was the incredibly romantic score by Ennio Morricone, without the music this film wouldn’t be nearly as great as it is. I was surprised to see Jennifer Connelly as a kid, didn’t even recognize her, she wasn’t a good actress yet, but definitely better than her adult counterpart. If you’re a Giuseppe Tornatore fan or know his films you can definitely see how he was influenced by Leone; Nuovo Cinema Paradiso feels a lot like Once Upon A Time In America.
Viridiana (1961) – 7.5 (IMDb 8.1) – Drama, Criterion (Spain)
Great film by Luis Buñuel, great social commentary too. I was pleased to see Fernando Rey in this film, because I liked him a lot in That Obscure Object of Desire. Viridiana however follows a young woman who wants to become a nun, but then realizes that maybe that sort of lifestyle isn’t right for her. So she decides to open up a charity and help people who way, but if you know anything about human nature it’s that we’re all just a bunch of ungrateful bitches. The film’s climax is pretty great and incredibly poignant. The black & white cinematography is absolutely gorgeous and dreamy. Buñuel surprisingly holds back with the surreal elements in this film (or maybe I just didn’t catch them?). Although the ending could is maybe not to be taken “literally”, but again I could be wrong. Great performances all around, nice score and just a crisp, to the point film. Also, very ahead of its time with some of the thematic elements, in terms of censorship and what you’re allowed to show/imply. I always like it when filmmakers are able to defy the system and do whatever they what, not playing by the rules.
Whoa how do you find the time 🙂 I re-watched Down By Law recently and was pleased again to see how good and funny it is… I watched the German ‘Oh Boy’ (Jan Ole Gerster, 2013) and I liked it only because of the main actor but found the plot disastrous…
I also saw Palermo Shooting by Wim Wenders…. really good one 🙂
Nice! Down by Law is great. Benigni is so funny and the black and white is to die for 🙂
Thanks recommending Palermo Shooting, I usually like Wim Wenders (especially Wings of Desire).
I actually watched three of these on the train, because I travel by train a lot, but yeah I tend to watch a lot of movies 🙂
you had a heavy week of flim intake I see. I am down to the greats as well since nothing in 2013 is worth watching. It’s definitely a year for retrospective film makers. i am loving Bergman as well because it’s a challenge, wings of desire is free on hulu this week as well as the week.
Hey! Yes, I’ve been quite “busy” this week.. Did you watch anything good?
How have you been by the way? Are you doing a bit better?
I was longing too much for something modern, I was set to watch the red shoes but my daughter ruined it so we will have to get another copy of that. Then I just got nostalgic for new stuff, so I watched:Nobody Walks (lena dumpster), I actually loved that one because I was in the mood for it. I just irrationally hate lena dunham. hahaha. Kings Speech, – and researched logue. That one was pretty good but only because it held a particular fascination for me being a perthian. Probably some others that i have forgotten, Oh um Kaboom, I was going to watch all of the araki films in order but your review tipped me over the edge.Mighty aphrodite- woody allen,Help! My Snowman’s Burning Down- Carson Davidson.Probably a few others.Oh and I watched the Doctor Who Proms because I love music and doctor who.
Wow! You watched quite a bit of stuff yourself 🙂 I love The Red Shoes! Did you like Kaboom?
I also had an argument with a ladyin the op shop who doubled the price of a 3 peice suit to $10. her and this other snarly bitch were banging on about how it’s made in paris etc etc. I said SO! tampons are probably made in paris do you think that increases their value?
haha! Nice 😀
Well, I did like Kaboom. The lead actor was smoking hot and the story is interesting. I have always been fascinated about Cults, but after they are researched the subjects always turn so grim. The film just had something, even though it was cheap and very lame in parts greg just has some kind of fairy dust that makes is film brilliant even when it seems that they might not be. I loved kaboom. For instance that logue from kings speech was actually a christian scientist. (which wasn’t mentioned in the film), although after that knowledge is uncovered it is a lot easier to see what his motivations were for his lifestyle and particular treatment techniques.
Glad to hear you liked it!
Interesting trivia there on The King’s Speech, thanks for that. It really does make a lot of sense come to think of it..