Hello! How’s everyone been doing? Has it been a week already? Damn. Last week was quite eventful for me in terms of movies, but not in the sense that I watched a lot, but because I found out about two great Sight & Sight lists: The Critics’ Top 250 Films and the Directors’ Top 100 (yes, there’s a lot of overlap). I was quite shamed to realize that I hadn’t seen as many of these classics as I hoped or thought I would have. So that’s a project I’ll start: Watching all of the movies on that list I can get my hands on! Meanwhile I’ve been also preparing for the October Challenge. “What’s that?” You may ask. Well, I sure am glad you did, because I was going to tell you anyway.
The October Challenge is a monthly challenge on the IMDb Horror Board and it involves watching (at least) 31 horror films during the month of October. Why 31? Because that’s an average of one film per day, you’re welcome to watch more if you want to. Why does it take place in October? Because it’s Halloween month. It’s all explained on IMDb. The point is, I’ve been starting to gather ideas on what movies to watch and so I’ve been preparing and getting pumped for that. Expect a lot of horror talk during October!
As for the films I watched this week, unfortunately it’s only four, fortunately they’re all good. I’ve been playing a lot of that silly video game Injustice: The Gods Among Us so I wasted a lot of time I could have been watching movies on that. How sad indeed. I didn’t even write a full-lenght review last week, but I promise I’ll do that this week. What else..? Oh! The Bling Ring is now available on iTunes so that was great news for me, I totally plan on re-watching it in the next couple days, so I’m very excited about that. Now on to the “mini-reviews”.
The Passenger (1975) – 7.5 (IMDb 7.6) – Drama, Mystery (Italy)
Another great drama, mystery written & directed by Italian master Michelangelo Antonioni. This film follows a reporter, Jack Nicholson, who has taken on the identity of a dead colleague and is now in some kind of danger or something. I’m not sure I completely understood this film on a purely narrative level, maybe I’m just not that smart, but I did connect to it emotionally. As always Antonioni is great with his cinematography, going for a more documentarian approach with this one, which makes sense obviously. What he excels at is creating and conveying a sense of space and I just love the way he frames the picture. Nicholson does as solid job, as you would expect and the rest of the cast is good as well. Typical deliberate pacing and familiar atmosphere make this a must see for Antonioni and film lovers in general.
La Migliore Offerta (2013) – 7.5 (IMDb 7.7) – Mystery, Drama, Romance (Italy)
Maybe the “twist” is easy to recognize, I know I didn’t, but then again, I’m not really someone who picks up on these sort of things. The Best Offer is Giuseppe Tornatore’s newest film and it’s a great romantic mystery/drama. Great performances by Geoffrey Rush and Dutch actress Sylvia Hoeks, who’s also very easy on the eye. The plot centers around a wealthy auctioneer who is invited to evaluate a young woman’s villa and art collection. The thing is she can’t leave her room or see people, because she’s afraid of open spaces (something-phobia, I’m sure). If you’ve seen other films by Tornatore you know he’s a romantic at heart and his films are always commenting on the art of filmmaking as well, so that’s probably why cinephiles all over the world love him, and rightfully so I think. This film is no exception, but again knowing his other films I was surprised by the ending and the uneasy tone he manages to create.
Jack Reacher (2012) – 7.5 (IMDb 7) – Action, Crime, Thriller (USA)
I must admit I only watched this because I was curious to see Werner Herzog as the villain, but this movie has so much more to offer than just that. Great action, suspense and drama. I actually thought Rosemund Pike was the best part of the film, but Tom Cruise certainly does a fine job as well. It’s about a lawyer trying to keep their client out of death row and then of course stuff gets really complicated and you find out it’s an international intrigue and stuff. My only criticism is that it feels kind of like one of those TV procedurals, I wish it had a more cinematic aesthetic. Some of the plot gets really complicated, but I was able to follow most of it, which I’m glad, because most of these movies turn me off because of their weird and convoluted stories and multiple non-sensical story-lines. Not the case with this one.
‘PICK OF THE WEEK’
Do The Right Thing (1989) – 8 (IMDb 7.8) – Drama (USA)
This is considered to be the best of Spike Lee’s joints and I certainly thought it was great. It’s more of a “day in the life of”/”slice of life” type of film. The plot loosely follows the people of a black neighborhood in New York. It’s about racial tensions and deep-rooted hatred for those that have a different ethnical background. The good thing is that it shows how every person, regardless of their cultural background, can hate another race or ethnicity. Unfortunately we all have preconceived notions about other people. The film uses a very hot and humid summer day to work as a catalyst, that brings those negative feelings to the surface culminating in a rather shocking and violent ending, that reminded me a lot of Lars von Trier’s Dogville. Before its dramatic finale, the film is also very funny. The many characters (the city being one of them) are portrayed in a very realistic and thoughtful fashion. This film gave me a lot to think about.