Boy oh boy did I watch a lot of what an old pal called fillums this month! Most date from my spell watching films for the Miami Film Festival 2018. I’m going to start writing blurbs for films that strike my interest; for the rest you can click the links.
* Denotes repeat viewing
The Workshop (Cantet, 2018) 6/10
Claire’s Camera (Hoo, 2018) 8/10
On the Beach at Night Alone (Hoo, 2017) 7/10
The Death of Stalin (Iannucci, 2018) 6/10
Love, Simon (Berlanti, 2018) 6/10
Unsane (Soderbergh, 2018) 5/10
Sollers Point (Porterfield, 2018) 7/10
Killing Jesus (Mora, 2018) 6/10
La Familia (Cordova, 2018) 6/10
Ashes/Cenizas (Jacome, 2018) 7/10
Love in Youth (Perkins, 2018) 4/10
Cocote (De los Santos, 2018) 7/10
Winter Brothers (Pálmason, 2018) 7/10
Heaven Without People (Bourjeily, 2018) 5/10
The Hunting Season (Garagiola, 2018) 6/10
Comedy of Power (Chabrol, 2007) 7/10
Lights in the Dusk (Kaurismäki, 2005) 7/10
A Short Film About Love (Kieslowski, 1988) 9/10
* The Tin Drum (Schlöndorff, 1980) 4/10
I had trouble finishing Günter Grass’ cinder block of a novel in my undergraduate Continental lit course; the admixture of allegory and conventional realism felt dense. Volder Schlöndorff’s adaptation preserves what made the novel insufferable.
* Straw Dogs (Peckinpah, 1971) 6/10
* Seven Days in May (Frankenheimer, 1964) 7/10
Sometimes I confuse boudoir scenes between Ava Gardner and Kirk Douglas in Seven Days in May and Walter Pidgeon and Gene Tierney in Advise and Consent. Both are plush films starring a bunch of Hollywood troopers taking advantage of Kennedy-era licentiousness to let their cynic flag flap.
* The African Queen (Huston, 1951) 7/10
A Woman’s Face (Cukor, 1941) 6/10
After a splendid twenty-minute opening sequence in which Robert Planck’s camera nods toward two drunk women dancing in its enthusiasm to take in other characters in the room, George Cukor and — surprisingly! — Joan Crawford fight the plushness of the design and Donald Ogden Stewart’s stilted script. Still, this story of a disfigured Swedish woman looking for love and finding only Conrad Veidt and, worse, Melvyn Douglas is more compelling than its reputation suggests. Unfortunately, Cukor’s touch falters directing a horror of a child named Lars-Erik; when Crawford considers shoving him off a funicular, I bet the 1941 audience applauded.
Flamingo Road (Curtiz, 1949) 6/10
Sidney Greenstreet as a Southern sheriff wants to run carnival dancer Joan Crawford out of town. Zachary Scott plays smart patsies better than anyone in the era, and he can’t help regarding Crawford as if she were a kitten that crawled to him over glass. Michael Curtiz’s trademark expressive lighting doesn’t get much play in these “rural” (i.e. studio) settings.