Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Films: February 2012

Even more slap-dash than last month, because I've been even more crazy-hectic-busy. As with last month, the films are in order of preference, starting with my film of the month at the top. New cinematic releases are in red, and there's only something written on it if I wrote it pretty much immediately after watching. There's none of that synopsis palava, nor is there very much information like who made it, pithy introductions, etc. If I do manage to do this every month though, it should give a clear picture of my cinematic preferences over the long term.

Punctuation and spelling is likely to be far from polished - so you're warned.

p.s. Yes it was a Herzog heavy month, as I will be writing a pretty hefty essay on realism in the films of Werner Herzog for my Screen Realism MA module.

The Enigma of Kasper Hauser - Werner Herzog

The Enigma of Kasper Hauser #3TweetReview - Herzog on top form, second only to Aguirre (one of my favourite ever films). Clearly embodying.....Herzog's preoccupation with the pre-modern Vs modern. A witty and convincing attack on modernity and 'civil' society, with its rules...that vary from curious to rediculous. Hauser sees through the absurdity of these strictures and social controls. Captivating filmmaking

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning - Karel Reisz
Got me wondering, how much of this movement's success wasn't down to working people feeling that they were being represented, but adversely, due to the exoticisation of an Other that had previously been hidden to the 'better off' beorgoisie. Either way is testament to the verisimilitude

Assassination of Richard Nixon - Niels Mueller
More of the system grinding you down. Not following Finney's advice from Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, he did 'let the bastards grind him down'.

Cathy Come Home - Ken Loach
Decades on and most of the issues are still issues. The film has a clear and understandable Marxist, dialectic stance, as people are not to blame, the system is what grinds them down. The people are portrayed as united, fighting a seemingly unstoppable, unsympathetic and relentless system

Kanal - Andrzej Wajda
Uses allegory of the sewers to depict the claustrophoblc atmosphere of the Polish resistance under Nazi occupation, while simultanously using this as allegory for soviety control of artists.

The White Diamond - Werner Herzog
How does Herzog find such a fascinating film in the testing of an air balloon? Once again this was much more about the individuals than the subject matter. Illustrates the act of achieving something to beat personal demon.

Encounters at the End of the World - Werner Herzog
More interesting than simply showing antarctica, it really investigates the people willing and wanting to live there. Herzog celebrates their eccentricities while showcasing the natural beauty of the region that has brought those people there.

North by Northwest - Alfred Hitchcock
During an era of cold war, the regular Joe can be completely sucked into a life that he has done nothing to seek out. - Don't really know what happened due to horrendous viewing conditions and couldn't hear the majority of the dialogue.

Hohokam - Frank V. Ross
Lot-fi filmmaking, utilising very raw characters. Oozing with sincerity and a naturalism that makes these characters thoroughly engaging. Successfully shows a convincing and sweet relationship that - like people - isn't simple and easy to define, but full of beautiful complexities.

Journey 2: the Mysterious Island - Brad Peyton
See Culture Vulture for a joint review between my five year old and myself.

Fata Morgana - Werner Herzog
Mesmarising imagery. Perfectly paced rhythm, plus Herzog still manages to draw character from the slightest, and least likely places

Woman in Black - James Watkins
Enjoyable exercise in suspense.

Dangerous Method - David Cronenberg
Covered some fascinating ideas regarding the suppressions of civil society, including the place of sex in this. Yes it is the most clear suppressions, but isn't the sole suppressor in 'civil' society. Shame the film had to to deal with these issues of suppression/freedom from the stilted, formed way of thinking, but is set within a very straight forward affair nareative.

Good Hair - Jeff Stilson
Good Hair made a really piognant point that transcends the hair of African American women. Working people, pandering to the credit fuelled.....consumerism narrative, spend heaps of money on lidicrous, true-self-suppressing materialistic shite, thus contributing to current turmoil

Even Dwarfs Started Small - Werner Herzog
It's more than just the big 'fuck you' that it seems to be. Packed with visceral mischief and mayhem. A fitting film to define Herzog from a very early age in his filmmaking life

Blitz - Elliot Lester
Didn't get to the end. Bit tired, could never be bothered finishing it. Had no major problem with it, was just far from inspired to watch the rest.

Panic - Henry Bromwell

Star Wars Episode 1

Cinematic releases this month

Journey 2: the Mysterious Island
Woman in Black
Dangerous Method
Star Wars Episode 1

Cinematic releases so far this year (note Shame and Surviving Life have swapped positions now, after a month's reflection)

Surviving Life (Theory and Practice)
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
The Descendents
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Journey 2: the Mysterious Island
Woman in Black
Dangerous Method
Star Wars Episode 1