Friday, February 3, 2012

January 2012 Recap

Despite the hiatus, I figured I'd better get in here and give you guys a recap of my month of movies in January. Also a few notes:

1) In case you missed it in my last post (or when I just wrote it above) I AM ON HIATUS. I WILL BE BACK! I'm not sure exactly when I'll be back (could be a month, could be several), but I will be back.

2) This note is for everyone, but specifically for Ray, a regular commentor here at this blog. He mentioned to me a few weeks ago that he'd been having some trouble reading my replies to his comments. If you're reading this Ray, know that I am getting your comments and am responding to them, but I'm not sure if you're able to see them or not. As far as I know this isn't an issue on my end. Anyone else who is experiencing this problem, please let me know. I don't respond to EVERY SINGLE comment, but I try to to get 99% of them.

3) I probably won't be doing my annual Oscar post this year, as I'm just trying to recharge my cinematic battery. However, in regards to the nominations, I can say I'm very happy to see Woody Allen and his new film getting a little acclaim. I doubt they'll actually give him the Best Director nod, mostly because they know he'll snub them, but as the losers always say, "It's an honor to even be nominated". Also, hoping that Alexander Payne and his film, "The Descendents", does well. I haven't seen it yet, but I'm anxiously awaiting it's arrival to DVD.
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Now then....

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die - As seen in January 2012
1) Breathless (1959 - Jean-Luc Godard) 7/10 - I think my initial rating of '8/10' was me just trying really hard to like this one. '7/10' sounds much better.
2) My Life to Live (1963 - Jean-Luc Godard) 8/10 - Good enough to get a "Ten Worth Mentioning" nod in the last TOP 20.
3) Sleuth (1972 - Josepeh L. Mankiewicz) 10/10 - See my most recent TOP 20 for updated thoughts.
4) In the Heat of the Night (1967 - Norman Jewison) 7/10
5) Contempt (1963 - Jean-Luc Godard) 10/10 - See my most recent TOP 20 for updated thoughts.
6) Alphaville (1965 - Jean-Luc Godard) 4/10
7) Pierrot le Fou (1965 - Jean-Luc Godard) 2.5/10 - The definitive worst of the "Godard Week" festivities.
8) Get Carter (1971 - Mike Hodges) 7.5/10 - Good enough to get a "Ten Worth Mentioning" nod in the last TOP 20.
9) Masculine-Feminine (1966 - Jean-Luc Godard) 6/10
10) 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967 - Jean-Luc Godard) 4/10 - I like the basic bluepring and some of the ideas discussed are interesting, but overall it's just not that great. Marina Vlady is gorgeous!
11) What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962 - Robert Aldrich) 8/10 - See my most recent TOP 20 for updated thoughts.
12) The Nutty Professor (1963 - Jerry Lewis) 5.5/10
13) The Ladies Man (1961 - Jerry Lewis) 6.5/10
14) Odd Man Out (1947 - Carol Reed) 7/10 - I'd really like to give this one another look someday. It's actually quite good!
15) The Battle of Algiers (1965 - Gillo Pontecorvo) 5/10 - Comparing some of my revised ratings to my initial ratings, it looks like I was being very generous last month.
16) Cabaret (1972 - Bob Fosse) 9/10 - See my most recent TOP 20 for updated thoughts.
17) The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964 - Pier Paolo Pasolini) 6.5/10
18) The Manchurian Candidate (1962 - John Frankenheimer) 8/10 - Good enough to nab a "Ten Worth Mentioning" spot on my most recent TOP 20.
19) Landscape in the Mist (1988 - Theo Angelopoulos) 7/10 - The movie (plot-wise) isn't that good, but the cinematography is so extraordinary that it's hard to deny it.
20) In the Year of the Pig (1969 - Emile de Antonio) 3.5/10
21) Smiles of a Summer Night (1955 - Ingmar Bergman) 6/10 - The remainder of these should hold fairly true to their original rating.
22) Slacker (1991 - Richard Linklater) 7.5/10 - It's very early, but I could see this one nabbing a "Ten Worth Mentioning" spot next time. Nothing more though.
23) The Seventh Seal (1957 - Ingmar Bergman) 4/10
24) Kill Bill: Volume One (2003 - Quentin Tarantino) 10/10
25) Wild Strawberries (1957 - Ingmar Bergman) 5.5/10
26) Wavelength (1967 - Michael Snow) 7/10 - I'm not gonna' play favorites or anything, but I'd really like to see this one land on the TOP 20 list, in the "Ten Worth Mentioning" section.
27) Through a Glass Darkly (1961 - Ingmar Bergman) 7.5/10 - Again, I could see this one getting a really low spot on the actual TOP 20 next time, or a "Ten Worth Mentioning" spot. We'll see how time treats it.
28) Winter Light (1963 - Ingmar Bergman) 8/10 - The above comment applies here too.

NON-1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die - As seen in January 2012
1) Midnight in Paris (2011 - Woody Allen) 6/10 - As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve always disliked the Woody Allen movies where Woody lets his imagination run wild. Take “The Purple Rose of Cairo” for instance, a film that I didn’t take to (to say the least), where a movie star literally steps out of a movie when he becomes enamored with a female member of the audience. And how about “Alice”, where a bored housewife goes to see a Chinese medicine man and obtains an invisibility potion, allowing her to roam the streets of New York unseen – yet another one of my least favorite Allen offerings. “Midnight in Paris” is no different. In it, Owen Wilson is Gil Pender, an American screenwriter vacationing in Paris, who wishes he had lived in the 1920s (the rainy 1920s, to be more accurate). One evening, around midnight, when he’s trying to find his way back to his hotel, a car pulls along the side of the road and to pick him up. In his slightly drunken state, despite not knowing the vehicle, he gets in. He’s then swept into the world of Paris circa 1920s, where he meets the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso and F. Scott Fitzgerald. I’m not saying this was a bad movie. Hell, the Parisian atmosphere and the music are enough to get it to the average marker alone. All I’m saying that with all the praise I’ve been hearing about this one (I’m writing this two days after Woody has won the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay), I was ultimately disappointed. Oh, and lets talk about Owen Wilson, shall we. I thought he was awful! His failed attempt to be a Woody Allen character was teeth clenching for me and has really soured me on him altogether. Before, I thought Wilson could hold his own when given the right material (see “The Royal Tenenbaums” or “Meet the Parents”), but here he fell flat on his face, as far as I’m concerned. Anyway, it’s not an awful movie. In “Midnight in Paris” Woody does for the city of Paris what he did for New York in “Manhattan”- turning it into a character and utilizing it’s sheer beauty. The music is perfect and you can’t deny that this is a Woody Allen picture. If someone were to hand me this movie, clipping Woody’s name from the credits, I’d still know that it was his film. Also, I did like the message that was conveyed at the end, where Allen tells us we always fail to live in the moment, in our time, wishing we lived in a past period, not realizing that soon, people will wish they had lived in ours. I think Allen found that he himself was guilty of falling for the allure of nostalgia and wanted to make a picture about it. I’m happy that Woody got himself another award for this film and I hope to see it pop up when the Oscars are announced. However, I was disappointed. I much prefer Woody’s previous offering of “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger”. Oh well, that’s the beauty of being a Woody Allen fan – there’s always next year.

2) The Ward (2010 - John Carpenter) 1/10 - **SPOILER ALERT**

I'm not going to get too in-depth here. I thought this was an INCREDIBLY DISAPPOINTING effort from John Carpenter, director of great films like "Halloween", "Assault on Precinct 13" and "They Live". This wasn't original in the least, as it totally thieved the ending of "Identity" (2003) and even THAT movie wasn't that great. The acting was dreadful, the thrills were cheap and the movie just wasn't good...period. I'll leave it at that, as I'm in a rush.

Well guys, there ya' go. Sorry I had to rush through it, but it happens sometimes. I hope you guys will continue to follow me and read my past reviews and I'll be back in no time to continue my journey through the pages of the "1001 Movies I (Apparently) Must See Before I Die".

February 3, 2012 7:31pm