Sunday, August 2, 2015

July Movie Status

I’m a day late with this.  I’ve had an eventful last couple of days.

I watched 22 new movies in July, plus re-watched five others.  I didn’t work on any movie lists this last month, except only peripherally.  The one film I did from a list I watched just because I was curious to see it and it was only afterwards that I realized it was on the 101 Sci-Fi Movies You Must See Before You Die list.

Technically, I did complete the just published BBC list of the 100 best American films of all time.  It was posted on Letterboxd by someone I follow and I noticed that I had seen 99 of the 100 films.  The one I had not was The Shanghai Gesture (1941).  I was able to watch it right away so I figured “why not?” and did.

No, in July I mostly caught up on some 2014 and 2015 films I hadn’t had a chance to see yet, as well as re-watching a few more films than usual.

Here are the 22 new movies I saw in July.  Highlighted films are ones to which I would give at least three stars out of five.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Movie – Circle of Friends (1995)

At the time I first saw Circle of Friends back when it came to video in the mid 1990s I didn’t realize that I was seeing a cast that would go on to do many more things.  All I knew was that Chris O’Donnell from Scent of a Woman (1992) was playing an Irishman in a movie where a bunch of people in their mid to late 20s were cast as college freshmen.  This was the first film in which I saw Minnie Driver, Saffron Burrows, Alan Cumming, and Aiden Gillen (aka Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish on Game of Thrones).  The movie also has early appearances from Colin Firth and Ciaran Hinds (aka “King Beyond the Wall” Mance Rayder on Game of Thrones).  He plays a professor.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Movie – Tonight You’re Mine (aka You Instead) (2011)

This film is known as “Tonight You’re Mine” in the U.S., but its original title in the U.K. was “You Instead”.  I’m not sure why the title was changed; both of them are pretty generic.  It was shot over only five days at the 2010 T in the Park music festival in Scotland.  It’s not a documentary, though, but a film with actors and actresses in it. Because of the guerilla style of filmmaking and the constant need to react to their surroundings, the music being performed onstage, etc., the movie has a real “you are there” feel to it.  I liked it quite a bit.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Steve’s Selections #7 – My Favorite Year (1982)

This is the seventh of twelve films that Steve at 1001plus has picked for me to watch and review.  He ran across it doing his reviews of Oscar nominated films.  In this case, Peter O’Toole received his seventh (of eight) Best Actor nominations, although he would lose once again (this time to Ben Kingsley in Gandhi).  O’Toole’s performance is mostly comedic – something that is usually bypassed by the Academy – so the fact that he even got a nomination at all might say something.  As a whole, the film is a pleasant experience.  The less comedic/more dramatic moments are understated and fit well within the story.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Movie – Casanova (2005)

The film Casanova is not a biography of the real man; it is a fictional story that uses him as the main character, much like Shakespeare in Love did with William Shakespeare.  In fact, the plot of Casanova the film could have come from something Shakespeare wrote himself, what with the mistaken identities, people masquerading as others, a woman pretending to be a man, naughty humor for the groundlings, and higher concepts for those who appreciate it.  It also has a very good performance from Heath Ledger as Casanova.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June Movie Status

I watched 23 new movies in June, plus re-watched three others.  This was about half the number of new movies as last month.  That was probably due to completing three different lists last month, then finishing a fourth this month.  After that I took it a little easy.

The list I referred to as completing this month is Roger Ebert’s Great Films.  He has a total of about 375, depending on whether you split collective entries out into their components or not.  As it turns out, one of those entries – Looney Toons Golden Collection Volume 1 – was partially misleading.  Ebert actually wrote about three Warner Brothers shorts – One Froggy Evening, Duck Amuck, and What’s Opera Doc as being designated as “great”.  As it turns out, that particular collection only has Duck Amuck on it.  I had already seen all three prior to this anyway, so I finished off the four disks of that collection to complete Ebert’s entire list, no matter which way you want to interpret it.

I will probably work on Empire’s 2008 list of the Top 500 Films next.  I have 22 of those left to see.  Completing this list may present a challenge – the film The Company of Men (1997) is no longer available from Netflix.  I could stream it from Amazon for a few bucks, but I’m not so militant about completing this list that I can’t wait until an opportunity to see the movie for free presents itself.  If months go by with no other way to see it, though, I may change my mind.  If you have a non-torrent alternative to suggest, please do so.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Movie – Head-On (2004)

Head-On is a German film, but it’s about the second generation of Turkish immigrants to that country and how they are caught between the older traditions and the new lives available to them as German citizens.  The focus is on two such people – Cahit (Birol Unel) and Sibel (Sibel Kekilli) – who are husband and wife…sort of.  This film probably contains the best illustration I have ever seen of the phrase “Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em.”