Monday, April 2, 2012

Film Journal 2012 - March

Well some big changes are upon us as we enter the month of April. For starters Calvin got a job, and by Calvin I mean me, so regardless of the hours I work, that means far less movies viewed, oh well I'd certainly rather have money to live.

Also baseball is starting this week, and although I probably won't watch as many games as I've been known to, for at least a little while I'll be quite obsessed with it. So expect the numbers to be slightly less impressive going forward. In case you didn't hear, I wasn't one of those people that won the $640 million Mega Millions so the life of luxury will have to be put on hold for a bit longer.

So you may notice a few things about this month's films. For instance there are a whole mess of films with no ratings next to them, and there are also a whole mess of films listed. This is because I watched one disc of Flicker Alley's Saved From the Flames set, and both volumes of Kino's Gaumont Treasures set. The individual films I've listed as well as the year they were made, but with extremely few exceptions I have not bothered rating them, because well they aren't the easiest films to rate. I've enjoyed the sets tremendously and hope a volume three comes out before too long. Hell I didn't even know there was a second volume but alas. I have periodic obsessions with silent films where sets chock full of them are just the thing I need. Rarely do I go through two of them virtually back to back, but well I had one week to watch all of them and I didn't waste time.

A few things I can add to my list of great discoveries. More than one film I've been mulling over since watching it, and wondering if I was either too generous with my rating, or too harsh. A couple of films I revisited for the first time in a long time. Some were damn excellent the second (or 10th or 20th) time around, others failed to really blow me over. I realize that They Live By Night was no fluke, it really is damn near the best film of the 40s, or at least in the top 10.

Revisiting Touch of Evil I was instantly reminded that Orson Welles belongs on the short list of greatest directors of all time, and next to Kane this would be his masterpiece.

As mentioned in the previous blog I've been watching quite a few Japanese films of late, and you can see just which ones below. You'll also notice I ended the month with Enter the Dragon, and have since become obsessed (again) with Bruce Lee which is starting to pour into my lifestyle as well, who knows if this will lead to getting ripped and having the ability to knock people out with my one inch punch but I figure it should be good for something, but that's another blog.

Ah Jerry Lewis . . . Well I watched Cracking Up which is alternately known as Smorgasbord. Turns out I saw the film when I was a kid and remembered bits and pieces of it. Along with The Bellboy I think this is his best film. The plot is thin to say the least, but it instead plays out like one long live action Looney Tunes cartoon, which is a good thing from my perspective. However just as I was figuring maybe Lewis really is a comedic genius, I watched Hardly Working which was closer to terrible than tolerable. This repeats a common hit or miss pattern for Lewis' films, and sometimes I can't even explain why I like the ones I do and hate the others, but well I think the man is very polarizing, and that can even be amongst his fans.

I'd also like to remember Estella Parsons for Bonnie and Clyde and remind everyone that she might very well be the most irritating screen character of all time. The fact that she won an Oscar more than blows my mind. So along with Dennis Weaver, I'd say she might take the cake, at least in Bonnie and Clyde Bonnie hated her, whereas in Welles film no one seemed to notice what an irritating imbecile Weaver was.

I would also like to take a moment to mention Sans Lendemain/There’s No Tomorrow (1940). This was cited as one of Max Ophuls final films made in France before his American exile. Like many of his films from this period it's largely forgotten and rarely seen. However this is damn near his best film, possibly ever. Ophuls is one of my favorite directors, and I recently watched The Exile (1947) as well which was certainly not among his best. He was a master of style and any self respecting Kubrick fan will appreciate his love of tracking shots. This film begins with a bang, and has honest to goodness female nudity, I know this still blows my mind when I see it in a film from the 30s or 40s, hell even the 50s for that matter. Aside from that the plot seems like it would be unbelievable melodrama but Ophuls plays it for all its worth and slowly lets us in on the details to unfold what is really a remarkable picture, and well the ending was something you just have to see. This is easily his most neglected film and one I hope can join some others in the mystical land of DVD/Blu-Ray.

So here's the list, forgive me if I forget anything:

Ruby in Paradise (1993) 4/10
Sleepwalk (1986) 7/10
Mr. Hoover and I (1989) 9/10
Le cochon (1970) 4/10

Cuadecuc, Vampir (1970) 8/10
Ice (1970) 7/10
The Deadman (1989) 9/10

Exiting the Factory (1896)
Arrival of a Train (1897)
Card Party (1896)
Kobelkoff (1900)
Danse Serpentine (In a Lion’s Cage) (1900)
Cyranno de Bergerac (1900)
Le Marsillaise (1907)
Excelsior! - Prince of Magicians (1901)
The Talion Punishment (1906)
Kiriki, Japanese Acrobats (1907)
An Excursion to the Moon (1908)
The Automatic Moving Company (1911) 10/10
The Seine Flood (1910)
Over the Top (A Battle with the Elements) (1915)
Le Mobilier Fidele (1910)
A Visit to Lost Angeles (1916)
Montmartre’s Kids (1916)
The Dirigible Los Angeles (1924)
In the Land of Giants and Pygmies (1925)
Caddyshack (1980) 10/10

Bhowani Junction (1956) 8/10

Technicolor Fashion Parade (1927)
Charles A. Lindbergh, Hero of the Air (1927)
The Fireman of the Follies-Bergere (1928) 8/10
Meet Me Down at Coney Isle (1932)
The Gold Diggers (1983) 6/10
La Dolce Vita (1960) 10/10
Touch of Evil (1958) 10/10

Enemies. A Love Story (1989) 5/10
Cracking Up (1983) 10/10
The Adventures of Hajji Baba (1954) 3/10
The Argyle Secrets (1948) 6/10
Rope Cosmetology (1978) 6/10

Mr. Thank You (1936) 7/10
Les Diaboliques (1955) 10/10
D’Est (1993) 5/10

Marriage of the Blessed (1989) 10/10
The Last Bolshevik (1994) 9/10
The Masseurs and a Woman (1938) 6/10

Hardly Working (1981) 4/10
The Sound of Fury/Try and Get Me (1950) 9/10
Kisses (1957) 9/10
The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953) 7/10

In Darkness (2011) 5/10
Coming to America (1988) 10/10
Total Recall (1990) 9/10

The Grand Illusion (1937) 10/10

Fish Tank (2009) 4/10
Standard Operating Procedure (2008) 10/10
Stagecoach (1939) 9/10
Dark Passage (1947) 7/10

Let’s Make Love (1960) 6/10
Million Dollar Legs (1932) 6/10
To Have and Have Not (1944) 10/10

The Great Consoler (1933) 6/10
The Devil Doll (1936) 7/10
The Three Caballeros (1944) 5/10
Man’s Castle (1933) 10/10

The Fisherman at the Stream (1897)
Bathing in a Stream (1897)
Serpentine Dance by Mme. Bob Walter (1897)
The Turn-of-the-Century Blind Man (1898)
At the Hypnotist's (1898)
The Burglars (1898)
Disappearing Act (1898)
Surprise Attack on a House at Daybreak (1898)
At the Club (1899)
Wonderful Absinthe (1899)
Avenue de l’Opéra (1900)
Automated Hat-Maker and Sausage-Grinder (1900)
At the Photographer's (1900)
Dance of the Seasons: Winter, Snow Dance (1900)
The Landlady (1900)
Turn-of-the-Century Surgery (1900)
Pierrette’s Escapades* (1900)
At the Floral Ball* (1900)
The Cabbage-Patch Fairy (1900)
Serpentine Dance by Lina Esbrard (1902)
Midwife to the Upper Class (1902)
An Untimely Intrusion (1902)
Miss Dundee and Her Performing Dogs (1902)
How Monsieur Takes a Bath (1903)
Faust and Mephistopheles (1903)
The O’Mers in “The Bricklayers” (1905)
The Statue (1905)
The Magician’s Alms (1905)
Clown, Dog and Balloon (1905)
Spain (1905)
The Tango (1905)
The Malagueña and the Bullfighter (1905)
Cook & Rilly’s Trained Rooster (1905)
Cake Walk, Performed by Nouveau Cirque (1905)
Alice Guy Films a “Phonoscène” (1905)
Saharet Performs the Bolero (1905)
Polin Performs “The Anatomy of a Draftee” (1905)
Dranem Performs “The True Jiu-Jitsu” (1905)
Dranem Performs “Five O’Clock Tea” (1905)
Félix Mayol Performs “Indiscreet Questions” (1905)
Félix Mayol Performs “The Trottins’ Polka” (1905)
Félix Mayol Performs “White Lilacs” (1905)
The Birth, the Life and the Death of Christ (1906)
An Obstacle Course (1906)
Madame’s Cravings (1906)
A Sticky Woman (1906)
The Hierarchies of Love (1906)
The Cruel Mother (1906)
A Story Well Spun (1906)
The Drunken Mattress (1906)
The Parish Priest’s Christmas (1906)
The Truth Behind the Ape-Man (1906)
The Consequences of Feminism (1906)
Ocean Studies (1906)
The Game-Keeper’s Son (1906)
The Race for the Sausage (1907)
The Glue (1907)
The Fur Hat (1907)
The Cleaning Man (1907)
A Four-Year-Old Hero (1907)
The Rolling Bed (1907)
The Irresistible Piano (1907)
On the Barricade (1907)
The Dirigible “Homeland” (1907)
The Colonel’s Account (1907)
A Very Fine Lady (1908)
Spring (1909)
The Fairy of the Surf (1909)
Custody of the Child (1909)
The Defect (1911)
The Roman Orgy (1911)
The Trust: Or the Battles for Money (1911) 10/10
The Heart and the Money (1912)
The Obsession (1912)

Tragic Error (1913)
Bout de Zan Steals and Elephant (1913)
The Agony of Byzance (1913)
The Mystery of the Rocks of Kador (1912) 6/10
The Child of Paris (1913) 7/10

They Live By Night (1948) 10/10

Fantasmagoria (1908)
The Puppet's Nightmare (1908)
Drama at the Puppets' House (1908)
The Magic Hoop (1908)
The Little Soldier Who Became a God (1908)
The Boutdebois Brothers (1908)
Transfigurations (1909)
Let’s Be Sporty (1909)
Japanese Fantasy (1909)
The Happy Microbes (1909)
Modern Education (1909)
The Living Fan (1909)
Spanish Clair de Lune (1909)
The Next Door Neighbors (1909)
Crowns (1909)
Delicate Porcelains (1909)
Monsieur Clown Among the Lilliputians (1909)
Comic Mutations (1909)
Matrimonial Shoes (1909)
The Enchanted Spectacles (1909)
Affairs of the Heart (1909)
Floral Frameworks (1910)
The Smile-o-Scope (1910)
Childish Dreams (1910)
En Route (1910)
The Mind of the Café Waiter (1910)
Master of the Fashionable Game (1910)
Petit Chantecler (1910)
The Twelve Labors of Hercules (1910)
Petit Faust (1910)
The Neo-Impressionist Painter (1910)
The Four Little Tailors (1910)
Art's Infancy (1910)
The Mysterious Fine Arts (1910)
The Persistent Salesman (1910)
A History of Hats (1910)
Nothing is Impossible for Man (1910)
Mr. Crack (1910)
Bebe’s Masterpiece (1910)
Musicmania (1910)

Calino’s Baptism (1911)
Calino Wants to be a Cowboy (1911)
Zigoto and the Affair of the Necklace (1911)
Calino the Love Tamer (1912)
Zigoto’s Outing With Friends (1912)
Oxford vs. Martiques (1912)
Onésime Goes to Hell (1912)
Calino, Station Master (1912)
Onésime, Clockmaker (1912)
Onésime vs. Onésime (1912)
The Railway of Death (1912)
Zigoto Drives a Locomotive (1912)
Burning Heart: An Indian Tale (1912)
Under the Claw (1912)
Onésime Gets Maried... So Does Calino (1913)
Onésime: Calino's Inheritance (1913)
Onésime Loves Animals (1913)
Onésime, Tamer of Men and Horses (1913)
Onésime and the Heart of a Gypsy (1913)
Onésime, You'll Get Married...or Else! (1913)
Onésime's Theatrical Debut (1913)
Onésime's Family Drama (1914)

Heads and Women Who Use Them (1916)
Friendly Advice (1916)
Biscot on the Wrong Floor (1916)
The Long Arm of the Law (1909)
The Barges (1911)
La Marseilles (1912)
A Factory Drama (1912)
The Pavements of Paris (1912)
A Drama of the Air (1913)
Child’s Play (1913)
Feet and Hands (1915)
Sansho the Bailiff (1954) 10/10
Side Street (1950) 8/10

Japanese Girls at the Harbor (1933) 7/10
Sans Lendemain/There’s No Tomorrow (1940) 10/10
The Trio’s Engagements (1937) 6/10
Pumping Iron II (1985) 6/10
Stand Tall (1997) 7/10
Bonnie and Clyde (1967) 10/10

Flunky, Work Hard (1931) 8/10
Petites notes à propos du film 'Je vous salue, Marie' (1983) 5/10
Not Blood Relations (1932) 6/10
A Man Vanishes (1967) 8/10

The Scoundrel (1935) 6/10
Jiraiya the Hero (1921) 5/10
A Simple Story (1959) 5/10

Red Angel (1966) 10/10

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) 10/10
The Shining (1980) 10/10

The Exorcist (1973) 10/10

The Tower of the Seven Hunchbacks (1944) 9/10
Night of the Living Dead (1968) 10/10

Enter the Dragon (1973) 10/10

Best Film of the Month - 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Worst Film of the Month - The Adventures of Hajji Baba (1954)
Best New Discovery - Sans Lendemain/There’s No Tomorrow (1940)