Instead, I spent the week sealing a few deals, trying to come up with some new ideas and securing a new guest contributor for the MY WEEK IN FILM column. I hope to beef this thing up into something worthwhile before too long...
In other news, I also almost came close to actually recording this edition of MY WEEK IN FILM, with me sitting in front of a camera and actually speaking my thoughts on the eight films I managed to watch this past week. I wasn't sure how well it would go over though or if anyone would even be interested in sitting and watching me talk about movies, so I nixed the idea. Still trying to think up SOMETHING though, as I do think the idea of a weekly, video message is kinda cool. Stay tuned...
On with the show...
MY WEEK IN FILM: NOVEMBER 7 - NOVEMBER 13
PICK OF THE WEEK
MEMORIES OF MURDER (2003 - Joon-ho Bong) 7.5/10
Even though this wasn't the highest rated film of the week, I'm still naming it my PICK OF THE WEEK, simply because it was the most thought provoking and the one I wrestled with the most, when trying to decide just what I thought of it.
Knowing it was on the IMDB TOP 250 list didn't help a whole lot, because I kept expecting something truly stellar. Well, at no point during the course of Memories of Murder was I blown away. I kept waiting for something awesome to happen, a big plot twist, a shocking character development, but none of that came and when it was all said and done this was simply a murder mystery - nothing really more, nothing less. It was a good thing for the film that I'm a big fan of murder mysteries though, as I liked it quite well. I mean, sure I wanted to know who the murderer was just as much as anyone and when we didn't get an answer I wasn't happy. I also felt like the film was setting us up for some big, surprise ending that also never came, so by the time the credits rolled, I did have that feeling of wanting something more.
However, it occurred to me that not all murders are solved. I mean, Zodiac (2007 - David Fincher) was a film about an unsolved murder and I liked that well enough (maybe, because I knew going in that it was about an unsolved murder?). Not all murder mysteries get to have endings - that's true at both the movies and in real life. What Memories of Murder produces is an atmosphere that is synonymous with murder. They take the essentials and just do it all REALLY well. They master the art of the rainy night, the intrigue of forcing the audience into as much madness as it forces it's characters into and in the end I think there's not going to be a lot of negativity surrounding this Korean gem. I'm not sure it's so good that it deserves inclusion on the IMDB TOP 250 list, but it's a really good time at the movies, none the less.
**Speaking of the IMDB TOP 250 list, as of today, I've seen 177 of the 250 films. And that's only including movies I watched for THE BOOK and movies I watched since 1/1/15.
Still trekking through the Danny Boyle filmography, but only managed to see one more of his films this week. Let's take an updated look at the complete list before I get into my thoughts on that one.
DANNY BOYLE FILMOGRAPHY
8. Slumdog Millionaire
THE BEACH (2000 - Danny Boyle) 5.5/10
So I actually ended up liking The Beach a lot more than I did the first time I saw it (something like 7 years ago). It's still nothing to write home about or anything, but it kept my attention for about the first ninety minutes, before it all started to crumble apart at the end, like a stale cupcake. While watching, I kept getting the feeling that I was missing out on something, so I looked it up and sure enough, The Beach was based on a book. What I'm saying is, is that I think a lot of the film is a nod & a wink to the people who read the novel and if you didn't, then you kinda' feel like you're being left out of the conversation. There's this whole big sequence at the end, where DiCaprio's character goes bonkers (ie. Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now) and I felt like it was incredibly out of place and the exact moment where I stopped giving a shit and just wanted the film to be over. Up until then, however, the film does speak semi-intelligently on the quest for paradise and how it may or may not be attainable and what the price of said paradise is. It doesn't particularly feel like a Danny Boyle film, save for the presence of Robert Carlyle and the Chemical Brothers tune near the opening. Dicaprio, as usual, is great. Take a look at the scene where Dicaprio's Richard thinks that Frencoise has been eaten by a shark - his horror is genuine. As the Seinfeld cast said about Meryl Streep, "There's no acting there".
LA FEMME INFIDELE (1969 - Claude Chabrol) 6.5/10
Boy, I really feel like I should've liked this one a lot more than I did. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that I saw Unfaithful (2002), which was a remake of this film. Both films are about a wife who has an affair and the husband who finds out about it. While watching Chabrol's version, I pretty much knew everything that was going to happen - that he end up killing the guy and that, in the end, the police come a calling.
**Random thought: Did Diane Lane fall off the face of the Earth?
Another thing - and I hate to sound like a total pervert - but the film, despite the sheer presence of Stephane Audran - just wasn't sexy enough. I felt like a bit of nudity or maybe even one sex scene would have really encapsulated a lot and made the film feel more...gritty?...dirty?...sleazy?...something...Otherwise, I liked the mood, the atmosphere and I promptly added another Claude Chabrol film to my Netflix queue.
THE NARROW MARGIN (1952 - Richard Fleischer) 7/10
Remember the golden rule: Any movie taking place entirely or almost entirely on a train is, at least, good. The Narrow Margin is no exception. That is all...
THEY LIVE (1988 - John Carpenter) 8/10
Can't go all "pick of the week" on this one, because I rated it high mainly for nostalgia purposes, but DAMN, I love this movie.
This is the one I almost wrote the whole review on, because I really felt like I could've talked for days about why I love this movie. Add this to the list of "movies my brother showed me", but it probably didn't take a whole lot of convincing, considering it starred "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and I've been a huge wrestling fan my whole life?
Am I crazy or did The Matrix rip this film off, even if not intentionally? I mean, the idea of living in this dream world where everything is copacetic and then one day you put on the glasses/take the blue pill and BAM!, the world is nothing like you thought it was and in actuality, it's a nightmare. Sure, They Live is kind of a terrible movie, from an aesthetic point of view anyway. The acting is horrible. I mean, I LOVED Roddy Piper and was kind of devastated by his death earlier this year, but I sure didn't love him for his acting abilities. The effects are kind of cheesy and the action takes WAY too long to get underway (IIRC, it's nearly forty minutes until Piper puts on the glasses and we really get cooking). However, I just had so much fun with this and it's something I'd really like to try hard to fit on to my personal list, if I can. Also, did anyone else think Meg Foster looked like an alien, even without the glasses? UGH! And dig that fight scene!
REVENGE OF THE NERDS (1984 - Jeff Kanew) 2.5/10
Dear sweet lord, what dreck this was! The only bright spot for me was Curtis Armstrong who played Booger and turned every one of his lines into something worth laughing at. Otherwise, this was too cliche, too 80s and too bad to write anything worthwhile about. A very unfunny comedy, at least from my POV.
FRIED GREEN TOMATOES (1991 - Jon Avnet) 5/10
After years of hearing about this movie, I came across it OnDemand and decided to give it a whirl. It was the very definition of *MEH*. I felt like I'd seen this movie a thousand times before and yet, I'd never seen it once, not even in bits & pieces. I mean, I guess that's a bad thing right. It suggests that this movie is so cliche and unoriginal, that it's been done to death. Or maybe, I'm just late to the party and a lot of movies have just copied the style & rhythm of this one - I don't know. Whether I'm judging it fairly or unfairly, I don't really care - but I'm calling it average.
By the way, were Idgie and Ninny the same person? Readers of the novel say "NO", she's not, but then why do we even care about Ninny? Who is she, but some old nursing home patient who is remembering a story that she had nothing to do with? If Idgie isn't Ninny, then Ninny had no place in this story and thus, having the film end with her and Kathy Bates pointless.
PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES (1987 - John Hughes) 7.5/10
Another one that I would REALLY REALLY like to, somehow, fit on my personal list. I had a blast with this and it was nice to forget about watching serious movies and just let John Candy bust my gut for ninety minutes. And yeah, it's a guilty pleasure, but what's life without a few guilty pleasures. This was like a Klondike bar after a big meal and it was finger lickin good.
AT HOME FROM NETFLIX
Stolen Kisses (1968 - Francois Truffaut)
Dead Ringers (1988 - David Cronenberg)
Pauline at the Beach (1983 - Eric Rohmer)
Madigan (1968 - Don Siegel)
POLL OF THE WEEK
ORRRRR We could also call this new feature, "How many people are actually reading this?". Played around with polldaddy.com this week and think that a weekly poll could be fun. This week, I'm asking you what your favorite Danny Boyle film is. The poll is auto restricted to one vote, per person and comments are enabled if you have something to say. Have fun...
Hello followers of Andrew!
My name is Amanda and I hail from my own blog, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. The savvy reader might be able to glean what the blog’s about from its imaginative title. It’s actually quite similar to Andrew’s blog, except his posts tend to be a bit more extensive and rich. I also go in chronological order, so right now my cinematic knowledge expires at 1977. I have blogs tracking my progress through the 1001 Albums and 1001 Books lists as well. All right, self-promotion time over.
Andrew has asked me to contribute to his blog every week with a few paragraphs about whatever catches my fancy. That shouldn’t be too hard, as my fancy is easily caught by anything cultural, from 90s television to 18th century literature. For this post, Andrew requested that I familiarize his readers with my taste and articulate what I will bring to the table. Both questions are stumping me at the moment. As far as taste goes, I loathe Ingmar Bergman (sorry Ray) and adore Alfred Hitchcock. I will watch anything horror but will probably complain about most things, as I love to complain. I am very passionate, but also don’t get offended very easily, which I am hoping will make for some fun discussions.
I look forward to being a part of Andrew’s blog! If you are still not certain if you should avoid this weekly segment, head over to my blog and get a better sense of my style (I lied before; self-promotion time is never over for the practiced narcissist).
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to Amanda for agreeing to come aboard. I'm REALLY looking forward to seeing what she comes up with on a weekly basis and now, more than ever, you have a reason to be here every Saturday to read MY WEEK IN FILM. Catch Amanda at her online homes, where she does a fantastic job after fantastic job, summing up the "must see" in books, films and music: Here are the links:
1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die by Amanda
1001 Albums You Must Listen to Before You Die by Amanda
1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die by...you guessed it, Amanda
GUY 'N' GAL OF THE WEEK
|Stephane Audran starred alongside Michel Bouquet in this week's film, The Unfaithful Wife, directed by Claude Chabrol. Audran was married to both Chabrol and Jean-Louis Trintignant ("My Night at Maud's", "Three Colors: Red"), but has divorced both.|
|John Candy (1950 - 1994) I was a huge John Candy fan as a kid. He was a comedian who I could actually watch, because his films weren't that bad. - language and sex wise.|
BLOG POSTS OF THE WEEK
"Where I tell you to GET THE HELL OUT and spread some love to some other, worthy blogs!"
RAMBLING TV is really something you should be checking out weekly. A well written, well thought out piece by Brittani Burnham - an authority on television, in my opinion. This past week she spewed thoughts The Walking Dead, Agents of SHIELD, Fargo and Law & Order. Check it out, please.
CUEMARKS is a new blog from a friend of this blog, that I really think you'll all enjoy. It's written by Donald Cameron, a guy who's writing style I really think you'll all take to, if you give him a chance. There's not a lot of content over there right now, but swing over, give him a follow, some love and add him to your bookmarks, because I see great things coming down the pike from him.
LOOKING FOR ONE OR TWO MORE CONTRIBUTORS TO WRITE ONCE OR TWICE PER MONTH!
You got me, you got Amanda and really, if I could add one or two more people, to rotate out every other week, I think we'd have a real variety show here. Please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're at all interested. I'm really flexible on the content - so if you want to write about music or television, that would work.
Also, while we're on the subject of reaching out to me: Please let me know if you're a film, music or television blogger who wants to be added to the BlogRoll. I need more content there and your blog COULD be added to the BLOG POST OF THE WEEK feature. Last week, I was told that my plug DID send some extra traffic to one of the blog posts, so if that's something you're looking for, let me know.
Two weeks in. What do you guys think of the formula here? I really can't tell. Is it too muddled? Is it just the right amount of variety? You tell me.
November 14, 2015 11:52am