Monday, February 2, 2015

My Month At the Movies - JANUARY 2015

Okay, so I announced that I was going to start doing monthly recaps again in a prior post, so here we are. I'm still kind of tinkering with the exact format, so these are subject to look different for the next few months while I iron out the kinks. Thing is, I actually started getting back into movies HEAVILY in January and it all started with Letterboxd. In January 2008, for some reason, I decided to start keeping a record if every movie I'd watch. I got a composition notebook and every time I watched a movie, I'd jot down the date that I finished said movie, the title and the director. I kept the composition book for a couple of years before I got smart and just started keeping everything on an Excel spreadsheet (pens and paper are for geezers!). To this day, I still keep that spreadsheet and have since transferred the data from the notebook to Excel, so that I have up to date records of everything I've seen for the past six years. In an effort to fill out my Letterboxd account more thoroughly, a few weeks ago I decided to slowly start feeding in the data from the spreadsheet into Letterboxd, specifying the date the film was finished, plugging in my rating (only thing is I have to adjust my rating since I rate on a scale of 10 and Letterboxd only goes up to a 5 scale), adding a few tags for a more organized experience and pasting in my reviews when applicable. Yada yada yada I realized that in 2008, I watched something like 350 movies. Back then, my wife and I were working evenings (2p - 11p), so we'd get home at night, have a late dinner and then I'd usually polish off two movies before going to bed at something like 4am and doing it all again the next night. Also, if you look at the records, you could tell which days we were off, because those days would have like four or five movies recorded. Basically all we did was eat, sleep, watch movies and know (we were newlyweds - don't judge me!). Anyway, I got a little depressed when I compared the 2008 sheet to the pathetic sheet that was 2014, with only just above 150 recorded for last year. So, I made a stand to change that and not only that, I made a goal to beat the 2008 record! My wife was totally on board, I think feeling a bit of nostalgia for the days of our first apartment and our marathon movie watching habits. So during our little four day vacation, we managed to polish off quite a few flicks and have actually been watching movies in the evenings, after work too. With nearly 200 movies on our Netflix streaming queue, a plethora of free OnDemand choices, DVDs we own and haven't seen in ages and raising our Netflix delivery from three at time to five at time, we're ready to rock 'n' roll and get some movies watched.

So here's what I'm thinking: The following will be a ranked list of everything I saw in January. If there's a review, I'll put a link and if I wrote a review on Letterboxd, I'll link to that as well. What I usually did, was if I had a strong opinion about a certain movie (negative or positive) I'd write a good piece for it on Letterboxd and if not, I'd simply put up a few sentences and title it "quick thoughts". Therefore, most films will have SOMETHING attached to them. Otherwise, if there's nothing, then thems the breaks. I can't tell you how nice it was to watch movies and not feel compelled to HAVE to write something. Also, it was pretty great just picking whatever I wanted to watch, instead of having to stick to a list. Okay, enough blabbering, let's get down to brass tacks. I'll follow the ranked list with some of my favorite still from some of the flicks I watched last month, just for my own personal amusement.

1. Rocco and His Brothers (1960 - Luchino Visconti) 9/10  review
2. Cache (2005 - Michael Haneke) 8.5/10  review
3. Alien (1971 - Ridley Scott) 8.5/10  review
4. Dressed to Kill (1980 - 8.5/10  quick thoughts
5. Troll Hunter (2010 - Andre Ovredal) 8.5/10
6. The Godfather (1972 - Francis Ford Coppola) 8/10  review
7. Ran (1985 - Akira Kurosawa) 8/10  review
8. Gone Girl (2014 - David Fincher) 7.5/10  review
9. Labor Day (2013 - Jason Reitman) 7.5/10
10. The Squid and the Whale (2005 - Noah Baumbach) 7.5/10
11. Lola (1961 - Jacques Demy) 7/10  review
12. Fish Tank (2009 - Andrea Arnold) 7/10  quick thoughts
13. Insomnia (2002 - Christopher Nolan) 7/10  quick thoughts
14. Don Jon (2013 - Joseph Gordon-Levitt) 7/10  quick thoughts
15. Chinese Roulette (1976 - Rainer Werner Fassbinder) 6.5/10  quick thoughts
16. Apocalypse Now (1979 - Francis Ford Coppola) 6.5/10  review
17. The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978 - Ermanno Olmi) 6.5/10  review
18. Basic Instinct (1992 - Paul Verhoeven) 6.5/10
19. A Time to Kill (1996 - Joel Schumacher) 6.5/10
20. The Godfather: Part II (1974 - Francis Ford Coppola) 6.5/10  review
21. Enter the Dragon (1973 - Robert Clouse) 6/10  review
22. Shaolin Master Killer (1978 - Chia-Liang Liu) 6/10  review
23. An American In Paris (1951 - Vincente Minnelli) 6/10  review
24. Twister (1996 - Jan De Bont) 6/10
25. Young and Beautiful (2013 - Francois Ozon) 6/10
26. Mr. Hulot's Holiday (1953 - Jacques Tati) 6/10  review
27. The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967 - Jacques Demy) 5.5/10  review
28. Despair (1978 - Rainer Werner Fassbinder) 5/10
29. The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976 - Nicholas Roeg) 5/10  review
30. Robocop (1987 - Paul Verhoeven) 5/10
31. The One I Love (2014 - Charlie McDowell) 4/10  review
32. The Fireman's Ball (1967 - Milos Forman) 4/10  review
33. The Outsiders (1983 - Francis Ford Coppola) 3.5/10  quick thoughts
34. Aliens (1986 - James Cameron) 3.5/10  review
35. Memories of Underdevelopment (1968 - Tomas Gutierrez Alea) 3.5/10  review
36. Shane (1953 - George Stevens) 3/10  review
37. Performance (1970 - Nicholas Roeg, Donald Cammell) 3/10  review
38. Evil Dead 2 (1987 - Sam Raimi) 2.5/10
39. W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism (1971 - Dusan Makavejev) 2/10  review
40. Black God, White Devil (1964 - Glauber Rocha) 1/10  review
41. The Music Room (1958 - Satyajit Ray) 1/10  review


Basically, the goal going into January, once I made the decision to try and top my 2008 movie watching, was just to blitz through as many movies as possible. When we started (even still) I wasn't picky AT ALL - I told my wife I was up for ANYTHING and many times, I'd just let her pick something and we'd go for it. Eventually, we decided to try and tackle R.W. Fassbinder's filmography, since we both enjoyed Fox and His Friends and Ali: Fear Eats the Soul so much, which is why Despair and Chinese Roulette were watched this month. Many more Fassbinder things were added and we hooked an HDMI cable up from our laptop to our television, so that we can try to catch some of his harder to find ones (about half of his filmography) online. Notice that the bottom half of the list is very BOOK heavy, which is why I won't be shedding any tears when I've polished off the 94 films that remain.


And now, I leave you with some of my favorite stills from my month at the movies. Enjoy!




















  1. Some interesting ones hidden away in the 'also seen' non book) lists..
    Fish Tank.. a rather hard to watch, but very good bit of Brit gloom and despair.. glad to see it has made it across the Atlantic.
    Robocop.. Perhaps a living definition of what I should dislike... but I still find it interesting and entertaining.. and much more to it than first meets the eye. (Love the 'asides'.. the ads, the news..)
    Troll Hunter! .. far from a classic, but great fun to watch...
    Insomnia .. isn't that a book film? Well, perhaps it was and has gone. Really liked it...
    Cache.. nearly missed noticing that as i know it better as 'Hidden'.. but I've seen it and mostly rated it.

    1. I think the original, Swedish (i think) Insomnia was in the book at one time, but exited. Same goes for Cache. Surprised you liked Robocop, I actually didn't care for it that much. Fish Tank was another former BOOK movie too

    2. 2.5 for Evil Dead II? That's the greatest horror comedy I have ever seen. They keep trying and still can't make one as good.

    3. Oh I couldn't stand Evil Dead II at all. Definitely not my cup of tea and I'll promptly cross horror/comedy off of my favorite genre's list.

    4. Sorry larry, I'm backing Andrew on this one.. These 'Gore splattered boobs' teen slasher stuff are .. in my opinion.. what gives horror genre a bad name...

    5. I'm honestly don't mind slasher movies, but this was in a class of it's own, mixing comedy and horror seamlessly. I admire the effort here, but it simply wasn't for me.

  2. Ah! Thanks for clearing that up...I think I've seen both versions of Insomnia...

    Andrew, please can you tell me what letterboxed is.. I've see it referenced in other places, and I think as having links to see some old films. I am always wary of signing up to these 'view films for free' sites.. that they are legit.. and that they may flood me with nasties...

    1. Sure!

      Letterboxd isn't a place to watch old movies. It's really sort of like iCheck, it's just better, in my opinion. It doesn't have all the lists that iCheck has, true, but it's just a place to keep a track of all the movies you're watching. You can add movies you've seen, specify the date you watched said movie, add a review if you like, rate the movie, like it. And then it keeps a track of everything you watched - both all time and by year. For example, it's keeping a running tally of everything I've watched this year so far. You can also friend other users and create your own lists. I like it a lot.

    2. Ah! Thank you... I did have a look and couldn't see where to watch stuff.

      The prospect of trying to transfer a list of just about (15 short) 5,000 films to another list.. I'm sticking with iCM.

    3. I've honestly never added up my list, but I don't think it's that high. It's a shame I didn't keep records from when I was working at a video store between June 2003 and July 2005, because I'm sure I'd be near or over 5000 if I had.


SINS OF OMISSION - Entry #66: La piscine/The Swimming Pool (1969)

Running Time: 120 minutes Directed By: Jacques Deray Written By: Jean-Claude Carriere, Jacques Deray, Alain Page Main Cast: Alain Del...