Sunday, June 27, 2010

Screening Log: April to Late June 2010

So - blogging has been light here because I left my job in order to go back to school in May and, as it turns out, school has been more work (and more rewarding work) than the old 9 to 5. Most of these movies I saw in April: a few of them I saw more recently. I'm finding it difficult to put together the 2+ hours necessary to devote to a single movie: I've spent my leisure time (what there is of it) watching TV shows (I really love Justified) and reading comic books (I really love my Marvel Digital subscription). I'm going to try to keep the screening logs going, though there won't be as much commentary as before.

Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese, 2010) (v) ***

The Devil's Doorway (Anthony Mann, 1950) (v) *** - Very interesting pro-Indian Western that feels a bit more radical than the similarly-themed Broken Arrow. Not sure how I feel about Robert Taylor, though. John Alton's photography here is truly excellent, though.

Kick-Ass (Matthew Vaughn, 2010) ** - Enjoyable, but they really defanged Mark Millar's work. The movie is more conventional than the comic book, so the outrageous/provocative elements seem like they're there to push buttons rather than being there because they're part of a unified, low brow vision.

Comanche Station (Budd Boetticher, 1960) (v) ***** - This feels like a movie that could take place in between the big scenes of a John Ford movie.

Alexander Nevsky (Sergei Eisenstein, 1938) (v) **** - Great battle scene.

Blind Date (Blake Edwards, 1987) (v) *** - One of the best from Edwards' late period. As much as I like Bruce Willis in action blockbusters, it's kind of a shame that we "lost" one of the best comic actors of his generation.

Fear City (Abel Ferrara, 1984) (v) ***

Arsenal (Aleksandr Dovzhenko, 1929) (v) ****

Who's That Knocking at My Door (Martin Scorsese, 1967) (v) **

The Lovers of Eternity (George Kuchar, 1963) ****

Lust for Ecstasy (George Kuchar, 1964) ***

Pussy on a Hot Tin Roof (George Kuchar, 1961) **

Make Way for Tomorrow (Leo McCarey, 1937) (v) ***** - Beautiful and moving. Maybe the best of the Leo McCarey movies I've seen, which means one of the best Hollywood movies I've seen, which means one of the best movies I've seen, period. McCarey knows how to direct actors and shape performances so that the most important/beautiful/moving moments come when the performers are "just" reacting. It's a very different feel from the more direct style of his contemporaries.


(v) = Seen on home video (dvd, dvr, etc.).
(r) = Not my first viewing.
(s) = Short film.

Star system ("borrowed" from the Chicago Reader)

No stars = Not recommended
* = Redeeming feature(s)
** = Recommended
*** = Highly recommended
**** = "Masterpiece"
***** = A place in my personal pantheon