My Week in Film (8/25 - 8/31)

It was a good week. Lots of good SHIT. Know what I'm saying?

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)*
(Directed by Pedro Almodovar)

A very funny Almodovar farce about women from all kinds of walk going absolutely nuts. They try to find out how to work out their relationships, destroy them, walk away; all of it. Carmen Maura and the rest of the cast are absolutely great. They're believable characters even when they're acting insane. The greatest compliment I think I can give this movie is that not only is it hilarious, it also made me care about its characters. Sure, it's a farce but these characters have feelings, too!


2046 (2004)*
(Directed by Wong Kar-Wai)

It's hard to believe but this may in fact be Wong Kar-Wai's most luscious and textured film yet. In The Mood For Love may be the artistic pinnacle but this is where his obsessions, trademarks, etc are pushed to their logical extremes. On first viewing, frankly, the film left me bored. However, after watching more of his films, the film becomes much more interesting. You're already acquainted with the themes, now you just have to stand back and be overwhelmed by everything that's going on. There are moments here that are so amazing and beautiful and heartbreaking that it just makes me kinda sad that the film doesn't really manage to pull itself together. It offers so much on so many things... it's strange. I really should like this more.


Letters From an Unknown Woman (1948)
(Directed by
Max Ophüls)

Such a rich film. It delights in such smooth camera movements and fluidity. Fontaine's performance is both tragic and heartbreaking in all the usual ways. The story's great and the direction probably better. It's really hard not to get caught up in the sheer lushness of the film (I debated using this term for 2046 but it fits here more perhaps). It's pretty enjoyable and sometimes even great... and yet...


The Red Shoes (1948)
(Directed by Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger)

To start, I had no idea what I was getting myself into with this film. All I knew was that it had some dancing aspect to it. It grabbed me right from the start. There's something purely magical about this film. How it glides from character to character (all worth knowing), situation to situation (all interesting), shot after shot (all awesome). It's a film about art in a lot of ways and about the effort that artists put into their work. Whether that's composing or dancing. Fantastic acting, fantastic music, fantastic cinematography and with an ending to die for. This one's going to be a favorite around the Jhon household.


Vertigo (1958)*
(Directed by Alfred Hitchcock)

Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo was one of the films I had watched earlier in my youth (sometime in middle school when I was soaking up the classics) that never really stuck to me. I felt bored, restless; I wondered why I should care about this creepy old dude driving around San Francisco. Upon rewatching the film though, I feel like it makes more sense to this new jaded Jhon than it did back then. It's obviously a film about obsession and about how it can drive you to great tragedy. This also might've turned me on to Jimmy Stewart. I haven't really seen him in many films but he always struck me as being kinda of a douche. He's pretty amazing here though. The look on his face when Novak gets out of the restroom. The music swells, the camera spins around them and it is cinema heaven. Seriously one of the greatest things ever. With time and rewatches, this might replace Psycho as my fave.


Boarding Gate (2007)
(Directed by Olivier Assayas)

Now, here's something interesting. A film that totally gets the texture, sounds and just about everything else right but totally fails on a human element. It's choppy and messy but it all feels a like a big "so what?" The character Argento plays is an interesting one (what a poster...). She's involved in an extremely strange relationship with Michael Madsen. One that's all about turning each other on and doing whatever it takes to do that rather than, I think, actually liking each other. I guess the poster's accurate. Argento's character is meant to possess an almost awkward sex appeal. However, she also has a violent streak to her. What's interesting about the film is that by the end you don't really have a clear idea about it. There are only fleeting impressions. Perhaps that makes it a success to others but not me.


Dance Party, USA (2006)
(Directed by Aaron Katz)

It's basically a film about an asshole. That guy who won't shut up about how many girls he's fucked and all the crazy shit's that happened to him whilst trying to do so. It's one of the guys from Kids, basically. This is the first mumblecore whatever film I've seen and it was pretty good. The cinematography was much better than I thought it would be and the acting for what it's worth was good (that actor has the "I'm a fucking asshole" look down pat). The film does involve a party but it's mostly not even about that. It's just about a dude. And a girl. And the past. And what has happened. And what will happen next.


Hoop Dreams (1994)*
(Directed by Steve James)

I don't have too much to say about this one other than the fact that after all these years, it's still the best documentary I've ever seen and it's still one of the most touching of all films. Now, I need to work on my jump shot.


Jhon's Film of the Week is... Hoop Dreams



face said...

Don't take your readership for granted, you wrong wrong boy.

ZILLA said...

the fact that vertigo isn't movie of the week really upsets me.


sean said...

Hoop Dreams is the fifth best movie you watched this week.

Vertigo and 2046 both grow every time I see them.

roujin said...

You're right on [i]Vertigo[/i] and [i]2046[/i]. Not so much on Hoop Dreams.

Either way, it was a pretty great week.