Apparently I, as a big film nerd, am supposed to dislike this movie and think it was infantile and fluffy. People who love Goddard have apparently backlashed against it because it became popular. So it's popular to dislike it now. In this movie Paris is a character. The hand-held camera and the more naturalistic style of the characters really impressed me because so many of the movies of the time period were still locked in the movie/theater cross over and believed in high theatrics.
Another one I'm supposed to hate, but didn't. Valerie Kaprisky isn't exactly an "actress" so much as a "hot chick to obsess over". Which I think made perfect sense in the context of the film. Did I buy her as an architect? No. This movie again makes the city a character in the action. It screams LA and makes you feel like it couldn't have been set anywhere else (even though it obviously has been). I think the changes they made for an American audience were interesting while also staying well within the bounds of the original story. And I was shocked at how good Richard Gere was. I'm not used to him being an "actor" either.
The Testament of Dr. Mabuse
Fritz Lang's film techniques in this were absolutely incredible and looked far far too modern. I haven't seen any of the other Mabuse movies (the gambler and the thousand eyes) but I definitely want to now just to see how Dr. Mabuse is fleshed out in the other stories. I cannot say enough good things about the movie - I'm just unable to get my shit together enough to do it right now. It's a little difficult to pin down without getting into platitude land.
Part of the Horrorfest movies line up. This was panned by most of the people who saw it but out of those we saw this was definitely the strongest. It was honestly creepy. Some of it was honestly horribly gross. The male lead wasn't a dickface I hated and the female lead wasn't some helpless little girl. No one fell down while running away from a monster. And the production values were pretty impressive too. Well lit, shot well, edited pretty well too. It could be tightened up and would end up being a *great* horror movie.
This was the *worst* of the Horrorfest movies we saw. And this one is the one everyone loves. They were going for a faux-documentarian feel in bits... which means there is a lot of camera effect BS. They were also going for this "normal family that slowly slides away into not being normal" thing. It failed. The acting was terrible, the characters made me actively dislike them and root against them, the lighting.. HOOH BOY THE LIGHTING. We had to stop and have a convulsive laughing fit over the "moodily lit hallway" that was obviously just a lamp stuck on the floor in a corner. The brother/sister team in this were pathetic and they managed to perpetrate a billion cliches (including a lesbian kiss, incestuous relationships, and the tortured "oh god I want to fight being the monster I am"). Oh - and it was supposedly "really gorey". It wasn't gorey at all. AT ALL. It could have been rated PG 13. What little they had in make up effects was really poorly done. The reviewers are right. It's unique for a horror film in that most of them try to be actually scary on some level.
Wicked Little Things
Sort of a zombie movie. Sort of. This again fell into movie conceit land. Wouldn't watch it again, wouldn't recommend it, but I didn't want to throw things at it like I did with the Hamiltons.
Put out on video by people who thought it would be cool to shoot a zombie flick on Super 8. And in theory - it could have been. But in the case of these idiots, it wasn't. Take 5 minutes from every zombie movie you've ever seen and splice them together. That's the plot. Then get your non-acting friends to act for you. And hey, the director has a "death metal" band. We'll have them do all the music for the movie. Then we'll get a bunch of random people from podunk Ohio to wander around in fields only partially covered with gloppy make up (hairlines, ears, hands, backs of necks forgotten). And we'll show the "eating her boob off" death scene for far too long. Because we like the idea of a zombie eating off a boob.
It started off funny (and that's why we stole it) but it got insulting really quickly. I like B Movies a lot. A LOT. I mean.. Nathan Schiff is my hero, man. But this was just horrendous and I hate these jackasses for being so impressed with their own "cleverness".
Theatre of Blood
Vincent Price in a horror movie. You expect nothing but high camp. And while it's campy in bits, it's also pretty fucked up and gruesome. Think Hammer Horror with teeth. I loved this. It's a sleeper kind of thing that you watch, enjoy, and then find yourself thinking about 3 days later.
The King of Comedy
We all know this one. I was impressed with Scorsese here. He, like Goddard, made a point of making New York a character in this movie. And that makes sense because you can tell from his movies that Scorsese loves his city. Adores it to bits. It's infused in every single one of his New York films. Sandra Bernhard is wonderful in this and Robert De Niro has such surprisingly good comic timing.
Steve McQueen is just so impressive in this. I can't get over how natural, deep, and full blooded this character is. It's not some flimsy action movie to highlight a big name. He's a real actor who actually was acting. The car chase scene is neat and all - but that's not what's great about this movie.
On the surface of things this comes off as a self indulgent 1970s "look at the current culture" movie. But by the end it's become this pretty impressively deep treatise on life, living, being your own person, freedom, and what it means to be alive. I think this is one of those movies you either hate or you love.
I've seen a lot of criticism of this movie saying that women like it because Almodovar aggrandizes women. That we're so far up our own asses that seeing a director praise the strengths of women means we automatically love it. Personally I liked the emotional truth in this movie. No one was hysterical or frigid. No convenient "this is what you would feel here" sort of broad strokes. It's obviously a very emotional film and it definitely seems to resonate more with some than others. Is it just for women? I don't think so. Do I think you have to at least have some idea of the female condition to really feel the movie? It wouldn't hurt.
This was just a well made movie. I don't know to say about it really. It's well shot, well costumed, and edited and paced really well. It was a true ensemble without any one person taking all of the attention. And if any of them had been missing or lacking the story as a whole would have crumbled.