01 June 2014

Movie diary for May 2014

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

I expected overwrought Cold War paranoia and instead I got a modest thriller. Everything is so suburban and normal that it becomes quite unnerving by the big reveal. That the movie doesn't take itself too seriously also helped. Along with Godzilla, this was a good picture about 1950s anxiety.

Adventure Time (Season Three)

Reading the list of episodes again, I'm reminded that this was a truly bonkers season. Someone is getting threatened or almost killed every other episode. Even without the (disturbingly hilarious) Fionna and Cake episode, Ice King seemed even more unhinged than usual. Somehow even that was topped by the zombie episode. I think that's the most disturbing thing I've seen on Cartoon Network. Again, such a bonkers season. I loved how the sense of group dynamics deepened in the stories this season. Jake, Finn, Marcelline, and PBG's band, for example. "Memory of a Memory" was another and among my favorites this season.


I think I liked it better than Blade Runner. Am I allowed to say that on Tumblr? I just wasn't expecting it to be this good! Now I need to watch Prometheus again.

La Rose de Fer

Jean Rollin isn't my thing but Sarah Horrocks wrote an excellent post on this film that made me watch it. Not big on the clown or fucking atop the bones but otherwise it lived up to what I expected. This is probably the mellowest film that I watched all month.

Transport z ráje

A documentary style Czech movie about the Theresienstadt ghetto? What an excellent deconstruction of propaganda and Nazi bureaucracy. I need to watch it again as there's a lot to take in.

Berberian Sound Studio

I watch it just because it's creepy and constantly ambiguous about what's up. I recommend it to everyone as it's also streaming on Netflix.

Breaking The Waves

I first saw it on VHS so let's say it's been awhile. I fucking loved it.

Les Enfants du paradis

Here's another that I hadn't seen in awhile. I remember loving it, but now it strikes me as too sentimental. Arletty is gorgeous as usual - especially in Part Two in particular wearing that veil at the theatre - and the editing is a major asset. I'm not moved by Barrault this time, however. Maybe it's what seems to me now a lack of dynamic characterization. Especially in contrast to everyone else who acts the pants off each other. Anyway, still a classic but not the masterpiece of all French cinema. Edward Turk's book on Carne is excellent, by the way.

Party Monster

And another one that I haven't seen in awhile. That it's the polar opposite of Requiem For A Dream isn't the biggest recommendation, right? It's much more entertaining that's for sure.

Blonde Venus

It's shot like a silent film which is probably the nicest thing I can say about it because the story surely didn't do it for me. The usual glamour is here, of course. Just watch!

Shanghai Express

Sorry, but Morocco is the best Josef von Sternberg picture. Dietrich has never been more assured as a persona than here, however.

Cat People

I still don't know about this one. When they went out to the dessert, I tried to make it turn into Dune which for a movie a lot of people hate it still manages to be better than this one. And I say it as a Paul Schrader fan. I just find it lifeless in ways that take out all the drama and tension. Which is too bad because at least it tries to be interesting.


Possession is the very definition of a beautiful mess. It's not a melodrama and not a horror film despite trying to be both. It's mostly an art film by default. Until the last two reels or so when it turns into a thriller. I find it easy to follow mainly what Zulawski is trying to do, but there's a lot of potential in the emotional truth he's trying to find in all this shouting. He just obscures it by the end which makes me wonder why he bothered. Tim Lucas, of course, makes sense of much of it in this post.


Men will take away your wings but women will give them back to you. Being a badass loner with magic powers also helps. I wish I could be that cool.


The imagination of the spectacle of its disaster was great to watch. Some great kaiju fights as well. It's a lot easier to like as a summer film, but it's no Pacific Rim.


The basic issue of survival here is the heart of the film. Unlike the remake, each character is situated by loss or potential loss. In the remake, aside from one notable exception, the son goes from one lucky break to the next.  The drama here is how one will survive the modern world. By relying on each other. A lesson picked up by Pacific Rim, of course.

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