The first Library Loot of 2011. It feels a bit strange. I feel like I should be writing ‘Best of the Year’ posts, but I still haven’t gotten to see all the major films of the year yet. Give me a week or two (or maybe a little longer for Blue Valentine to wander in to my conservative corner of the country). So for now, I’m settling for some excellent DVDs.
High Noon was a little difficult for me to get into. McCarthyism was such a ridiculous and ignorant era of my country, that I have little patience for its themes in film. I do understand the irony, since that’s what Zinnemann was trying to say. After about a third of the movie had passed, I really got into it. I liked how it was filmed in real time, and that theme song was bitchin’. It ended up being one of my favorite western ever.
I’m still trying to make up my mind about the French horror film Martyrs. That was some seriously messed up shit. It disturbed me for several hours after I watched it. And while there was more gore than most films, it didn’t so much disgust me like Hostel did. And it was kind of actually poignant. So while I only recommend it with plenty of reservations, I’m going to give this film thumbs up.
Pickup on South Street was a fun little con film, but I felt it was kind of a lightweight. I feel that way about most of these types of movies from the forties and fifties. The fear-of-communists motif was, again, a bit overt, and the sexism and violence against women made me keep it at arms length, but it was an enjoyable watch all together. Not quite sure why it made the list of 100 Movies I haven’t Seen, though.
A Streetcar Named Desire was much more enjoyable than I thought it would be. I’m not usually a fan of Tennessee Williams, but throw in Marlon Brando, and I can look past it. Seriously though, the script was great. It brought up some interesting questions for me regarding SPOILER ALERT the rape. It actually kind of felt like dismissive to so vaguely allude to it, and that perhaps a bit more honest and gritty portrayal would serve the film well.
Sunset Boulevard was fun in large part because of its glimpse into how Hollywood worked back in the day. There were great performances, and a great script. Glad I watched it, but I probably won’t ever be watching it again.
The Element of Crime was a film so stylized that I couldn’t move past the intense visuals. It’s dystopian setting served, at once, to slow everything down to allow for plenty of thinking, but also it was so overwhelming, I found myself bored because I wasn’t sure what Lars von Trier was trying for. This is the first film of his that I really feel ambivalent about.
I’m definitely not much of a fan of comedy. And I absolutely hated the schmatlzy, over-the-top comedy of the first half. But I got over it and actually found there were some very charming parts of the film to be had. Still got a creepy pedophile feel from Gene Wilder, though.
The best of all eight films in last week’s loot was certainly The Five Obstructions. It’s a bit difficult to explain the premise of this documentary, but basically, Lars von Trier challenges the director (fellow Danish director Jorgen Leth) of his favorite short film (it’s called The Perfect Human, and you can watch it here) , to remake it within the boundaries of outrageous parameters of Trier’s choosing, five times. The result is mesmerizing. I can’t recommend this one enough.
Here’s this week’s loot: