Thursday, November 24, 2011


This is literally going to be the worst post ever because I didn't learn, apparently, that I need to post about a movie right after I watch it. I seriously finished watching this movie last Monday night and I've put off writing about it, because I don't really know what to say and I really have no reason to rush. That's pretty awesome to say, though - I could take like, over an entire week to write a post because whatever. 

So, forever ago I watched Nashville, directed by Robert Altman in 1975. I sort of hated and sort of loved the movie. I hated it because I hate country music, especially the kind that I had to listen to for three hours over the course of the film. I liked the ending of it, though, where all the different characters came together and interacted. It's one of those things where I wouldn't have the satisfying ending if I didn't sit through the rest of it, but I still just didn't really care too much about it overall. I feel really lazy saying I just didn't really care for the music so I didn't care about the movie, but eh, it's pretty much how I feel.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What's Next?

So, if you've been reading my posts lately, you might have noticed something I snuck into yesterday's movie post - Yojimbo is technically the last movie out of Ebert's books. (!!)
"What does that mean?" you might be asking yourself. "Is this stupid project over or not?"
Well, yes and no. Mostly no.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Hey, did you know that this is the last movie out of Ebert's books? Probably not, but I do, since I eat, sleep, and breathe these movies. :) I felt like I had to share. So, today's movie is Yojimbo, directed by Akira Kurosawa in 1961. I guess it's his most famous film, but I wouldn't really know that. It's quite good, though. It's based, I read, on a few different Dashell Hammett novels such as The Glass Key and Red Harvest. I'm pretty sure I read Red Harvest, but for some reason or another I can't really remember. I was a great student, you know?

Regardless of how much I actually learned in college, Yojimbo is pretty great. Samurai movies and Western films have always had a lot in common, but here, Kurosawa went out of his way to add in Western elements. Later, Sergio Leone would make Fistful of Dollars, which is, I've heard, extremely similar. I only point this out. I guess, to underline how much this movie is like a Western, since I think that's a neat aspect of the movie.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism

You'll have to forgive me for any strangeness in my writing - I'm still pretty fuzzy from this cold. I tried to rest as much as possible today, but it's hard, there's a lot to do! I really can't miss work, since I have no sick time and I'm way too busy - probably why I got sick to begin with, what with how stress ruins your immune system and all that. I'm not sure that today's actual movie is going to get watched - I had planned on watching on Netflix instant, but all the subtitles are cut off and I can't read them. Might have to just move it to the end and get a disc.

Today I watched W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism, directed by Dušan Makavejev in 1971. I don't really know if I understood anything in the movie, possibly exacerbated by the fact that colds make me feel pretty out of it, but I sort of liked it. Most people I know would be probably put off by the film, but I'm not really the type of person who is shocked by nudity or sexuality, I guess. I probably was more confused by the movie because I'm not familiar with Wilhelm Reich, who has like, a mini-documentary going on in the film.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Came down with a horrible cold - just one of those days where you wake up feeling totally sick even though you felt fine the night before. Since I'm a little out of it from working and too much Sudafed, I'm going to watch WR: Mysteries of the Organism tomorrow when I am hopefully feeling better. I'm hitting the Gatorade and Emergen-c and Throat Coat tea pretty hard so I have high hopes.


Not really looking forward to being at work all day tomorrow, but it will be nice and probably stress-relieving to be able to get stuff done without interruption. Hopefully it goes quick! I'm glad to be home, now, though, and thought I'd be lazy and write this post at almost 3am in my warm bed.

So, earlier I watched the director's cut of Woodstock, directed in 1970 by Michael Wadleigh. I only mention that I watched that version because I think it bumps up the running time to almost 4 hours. Sounds a little awful, yes? It wasn't so bad. Once it started, I was really into it, and I really liked the editing and all of the musical performances. It was really cool to watch something where it had so much music, maybe 60%, so it was pretty relaxing and easy to watch. I must admit I don't know anything about Woostock other than what exists in cultural consciousness, so it was really neat to actually be able to see the crowds, see the people, and watch the performances. It felt like I was there, except with less bad acid. Yay!

A Woman's Tale

Sorry I didn't get to post this last night. I was honestly so tired that I was falling asleep while I was trying to read Ebert's essay. I figured I could either do it late, or post a garbled mess instead. I hate being so tired all the time, but man, things are stressful - in life and work. Then I have the project on top of that, and it's been pretty hard. I don't want to reduce the number of movies per week because I'm so close to being done!

Anyway, yesterday I watched A Woman's Tale, directed by Paul Cox in 1991. It's a very good movie, and a very sad movie. It's one of the few movies that deals with death in such a direct and honest way. This is coming from someone who has, for better or for worse, watched people die in documentaries on physician-assisted suicide, and enjoyed SICK. This was not nearly as blunt as either of those things, but a far cry from what we normally see in Hollywood.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Withnail & I

Ok, keeping this short so I can go to bed. Man, sometimes when it gets late like this, I wish I could just do like, a 3-sentence post to sum up my feelings. Alas.

Today I watched Withnail & I, directed by Bruce Robinson in 1987. It's a different sort of film, but I really enjoyed it. I really, really liked the characters and I had a blast watching them. Withnail and his friend ("I") were really funny and I liked their little escapades. I mean, it wasn't like it was constantly funny - there was that weird nagging feeling that if these were real people, their behavior would be incredibly concerning. However, since they weren't, I found myself enjoying in on a surface level on more than one occasion.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

Much to the shock of pretty much everyone I know, I've never seen today's movie - Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? directed by Robert Aldrich in 1962.
I was expecting something sort of boring or dull, mostly because it had such a long running time, and I wanted to be driving around in my new car instead of stuck in front of the TV again. However, I was really surprised by how awesome this movie is! It's legitimately scary and weird, and I loved the performances from both Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. I wasn't expecting it to be...I don't know, actually good. There was just something about the story and the performances that really stuck with me. I loved that both main characters were women, as well. Not because I'm having a "the wimmins!" kind of thing, but because it's more rare, I think, to see actresses take roles like this. It's just a really good movie all-around, and I really enjoyed watching it.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Werckmeister Harmonies

I was really glad to have a day off today - I got a lot done, and was able to get everything set so I can go pick up my car tonight. It was nice to actually get a movie finished before 10 p.m, too. I have to go in earlier on Saturday than I thought, but really, it was worth it.

Today's movie is strange and long, but I sort of liked it. I watched Werkmeister Harmonies, directed by Bela Tarr in 2000. I remember wanting to go to some film class on this movie when I first was at DePaul, but I was lazy. I then had the movie on my Netflix queue for the next five years. Glad I finally got to see it. It was really a weird movie, not like anything I've ever seen before. It's slow, moody, and felt like a nightmare. I could see that this could be really irritating to watch if you didn't get into it. It was odd - I felt like I didn't want to be watching it, but I really wanted to finish it and see what happened.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Waking Life

Today I went out and bought some dry shampoo to try - the color I dyed my hair wears quickly, so the less I can wash it, the better. However, I'm an everyday-wash sort of person, and I've always hated having to skip a day or two (I used to dye my hair all sorts of unnatural colors but I would always hate trying to preserve the color. I'd either re-dye it a lot or make my own shampoo with dye in it to try to extend the color). I tried the one I got today and it was amazing. Life-changing amazing, because now I feel like I can keep my hair weird colors and not have it be gross 50% of the time. Sorry, boring, but I'm really excited!

Earlier I watched Waking Life, which was directed by Richard Linklater in 2001. I remember watching this in high school with my friend Jon. I remember slouching on his couch afterward and talking endlessly about things the movie made us think of. I also think we dozed off a few times during it, but it still made a big impression on me. I love dreams, and I was really into trying to lucid dream in high school. I also just thought some of the conversations in the film were really profound, and I like that it actually created some good conversations for me and my friend.

Vengeance Is Mine

Today was all sorts of good. Got my hair done and I'm loving the new color that I did. I hate it when I have the same hair color for too long, so I really was excited for a change. I also ran out and got a new wine rack, since the one I had was bowing out and like, collapsing from the weight of my many wines. Feels good to have everything cleaned up and awesome.

Later, I watched Vengeance is Mine, directed by Shohei Imamura in 1979. It's really good, and not at all what I was expecting. It's about a serial killer, and I assumed it would be like most of the serial killer movies I'm used to watching - quick paced, and a clearly defined set of feelings about the killer. This movie didn't really have either of these things, but I found myself really enjoying it even thought it was so completely different. Ha, that's probably why I liked it so much.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Triumph of the Will

My day was pretty much a wreck, except in the evening when I finally went to check out the car that I'm getting! The dealer brought it in for me from Indiana and everything. It was a really good experience and I cannot wait to drive my car home! Hopefully I'll be getting it Monday after work - maybe this will be the first Monday that I have ever looked forward to, hahaha!

So, today I watched Triumph of the Will, directed by Leni Riefenstahl in 1935. It's sort of a film class staple - anyone I know who has seen it has watched it in a film class, and everyone else has never heard of it or looked at it. It's a tough  sell - it's hard to get people to want to watch Nazi propaganda, no matter how much you talk up the greatness of the movie. This is the classic example of a generally boring and crappy film that is made incredibly well. It is zero fun to watch this movie. It's dull, it's full of Nazis and Hitler giving long speeches and it's generally hard to watch. But it's made so well! The editing and cinematography are great, and I always thought it was probably a pretty effective movie in it's day.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Top Hat

I am so ready for the weekend. I have a lot of stuff to take care of, but mostly fun stuff and hopefully it will be full of awesome. I'm excited to sleep in a tiny bit!

I always feel sort of bad when I don't really enjoy a movie, especially one that's funny and sweet. Do I hate fun? It is a real possibility. Today I watched Top Hat, directed by Mark Sandrich in 1935. His name is almost sandwich! Pretty sweet. It's not a bad movie by any means, which is how every post about Fred Astaire movies that I write goes. It's actually really good in every respect, except that I personally don't really like it. I don't know why dance movies don't really work for me. Too happy? Too flimsy of a plot? I don't really like musicals either, so there's just something about this sort of...idea...that doesn't really work for me. Don't get me wrong - I see all the things that make this movie good. The dancing is great and looks impossible, and it does wow me, but it just doesn't really do anything for me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Thief of Bagdad

Ok, I really need to do this post quickly. I lost track of time and I have so much work to do tomorrow. I really can't wait until things get less busy there - this was a really hard time to start working there, I think. I keep being told that things are going to wind down after this year is over.

Today I watched The Thief of Bagdad, a fantasy movie directed in 1940 by Michael Powell, Ludwig Berger, and Tim Whelan, with contributions by Korda's brothers Vincent and Zoltán, and William Cameron Menzies. I thought I would hate it. The special effects are constant and old, so I figured that they would be laughable and dumb. I don't often like adventure-y, fantasy movies either, and I assumed I wouldn't like the plot. Once it started, there was singing and all sorts of nonsense, and I was immediately surly. But for some reason, one that I can't even put my finger on, I started to really enjoy the movie. I really liked it! I just had a lot of fun watching it - the effects were campy at many points, but it was just so endearing. I don't know what drew me in - the characters, the story, or just something about the bad blue-screen effects, but it was a really good time.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Terrorist

This is the worst image quality, this poster. Ah well. I'm too sleepy to find another one. Today I watched The Terrorist, directed by Santosh Sivan in 1998. I wasn't really sure what to expect from the movie, having never heard of it before. I was really surprised by how quiet and contemplative the movie was, and by how much I enjoyed it. I thought maybe it would be preachy or something, but I felt like everything was really left up to the viewer. I guess it was cast with mostly non-actors, which is why it felt so realistic and unscripted. I thought it had a really nice combination of good visuals and good story.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Shining

I was so happy to watch The Shining, directed by Stanley Kubrick in 1980 today. I've been in the mood for horror movies, and there really is nothing more satisfying than a good creepy movie on a cool fall night. I got the Kubrick Blu-ray box set for my birthday, and I was so excited to finally get to watch one of them and check out the quality! It looked really great, and I had a lot of fun watching it. It's such a classic movie, and I think it aged really well - it doesn't feel super outdated to me, and it still seems scary.
I remember the first time that I saw this movie. I think I was in middle school. I was on vacation in Galena with my extended family, and we were, for some reason, all really excited about this made-for-TV-remake that was airing while we were out there. We made sure to be in and gathered around the TV every night to watch it. It was so terrible. The acting was awful and you could barely understand what anyone was saying. There was some point where the kid was mumbling about something and my cousins and I were convinced he was telling his parents that the voices told him "about dumber croquet." In any case, the TV version was so bad that it was decided to needed to rent the Kubrick version, so us stupid kids didn't grow up thinking The Shining is was a 3-part TV special. I don't think everyone remembered the amount of swearing, occasional nudity, and creepiness that was in the movie, and much complaining ensued since it was not appropriate for children (you know, like it's realistic to expect drunken abusive husbands to be all "shoot!" and "darn!" the whole movie)...but I loved it. I'm always happy to watch it, for the funny memories of the horrible TV version and because it was one of those movies that really made a big impression on me.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Secrets & Lies

When today's movie started, I was expecting to be really bored by it. I've been in the mood for extremely scary and gross horror movies, and this movie - Secrets & Lies, directed by Mike Leigh in 1996 - is sort of slow and domestic. I figured it would be hard to get into, and I would be distracted by all sorts of other things I'd rather be doing. I found myself really engrossed in the movie, though, and really enjoying the story and characters.

It was too bad that the copy I had of this was an old VHS tape. I bought it new and still in the shrink wrap, but the quality was still really bad. I wish it was better - I hated the muted, washed out colors and other stuff that made it less fun to watch. It was tough to get into the movie, but once I did, the pay off was worth it and I really could relate to the story on a lot of levels. I thought it was a really real and meaningful family-drama sort of film, although I can't say that I've ever watched another family-drama sort of film.

The Scarlet Empress

I had a great day today - it was really productive and somehow really stress-relieving. I was pretty preoccupied with cars lately, but I think I finally found the one for me. It's exciting and soothing to have made a decision and have less to worry about all the time! I really lucked out because I was able to drive the two cars I was most curious about back to back, even though one of them has been really hard to find. Really helped me make a decision, you know?

I was that my ability to make decisions carried over into how I feel about today's movie - The Scarlet Empress, directed by Josef von Sternberg in 1934. There were some things I sort of liked, but overall, I kept feeling like I didn't really "get" the appeal of the movie. This was further confused when I read Ebert's essay, which seems to frame the film as great because he finds Marlene Dietrich erotic (as does the director). The plot is maybe irrelevant, and while the movie looks cool, the charms of a lot of it were lost on me, I guess, because I wasn't really attracted to the actress.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Santa Sangre

Hey, it's finally the weekend! Sleeping in, test driving cars, getting my hair cut - I'm stoked. I'm so happy to have some time to get stuff done, finally.

I was really excited about today's movie - Santa Sangre, directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky in 1989. I actually bought the Blu-ray shortly after it was released because I just sort of figured that I would like it. I was totally right - this was an awesome movie. It's incredibly strange, and I imagine that most people would either get the horror movie aspect or laugh at the film. I guess you could do both, but I feel like you either accept the absurd world of the film, or it's just too bizarre to take seriously. For whatever reason, I completely accept and embrace all the weirdness, and I loved all the psychological horror that this film was full of. Whatever goes on is Jodorowsky's head is wonderful and macabre and strange, and I always feel almost privileged to get a glimpse of it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sansho the Bailiff

This might be my shortest post ever if I get my way - I was cutting the tags off of a stuffed narwhal I got in the mail and I sliced my finger really badly. Seriously badly. I sort of paused and looked it at and had that feeling of dread you get when you realize you filleted your finger with an extremely sharp pocket knife. I saw there was a huge, thick, flap of skin, and a big circular notch cut out of my finger, gross! It was a bloody, painful mess, and I just tried to sort of mush it back together and hope for the best. But it's really, really painful. It's hard to bend my finger and the entire thing hurts, not just the part that I cut. So typing sucks. A lot. I keep stopping to complain and whine. Because of this, I want this post to be really short so I can rest my hand. How dumb is my life, seriously?

Today I watched Sansho the Bailiff, an incredibly sad, powerful, and beautiful film. It was directed by Kenji Mizoguchi in 1954. It's great, but it's hard to watch. There is a lot of suffering and pain, and it's not really a movie that is probably easy to watch again. Ebert writes about a film critic who said how he loved it, but came away from it broken and doubting he'd ever watch it again. I certainly feel the same way.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Samurai Rebellion

I want to keep this a little shorter since I am sort of at my limit for stress right now and I want to try to get to bed as early as possible (so as soon as I finish this). I haven't had nearly enough sleep lately and work has just been ugh - too much to do and not enough time to do it. I feel like I haven't really had any time to myself to re-group and do what I love, and I am just itching for the weekend to come so I can kick back.

As much as things have been hard, I really liked today's movie, so much so that I think it might be tough to wrap this post up quickly.  Today I watched Samurai Rebellion, directed by Masaki Kobayashi in 1967. It's title seems a little misleading, since it's more about Rebellion than Samurais, but Ebert says that it was deliberately misleading to try to draw in American audiences (in Japan it was translated to include something about wives, to draw in women viewers). It's really good, though -  a really cool plot coupled with great visuals and a good message. I liked it!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tonight's Movie...

I unfortunately have to bump tonight's movie, Safety Last,  to the end of the project. I thought I had a copy of it, but it turns out that I actually don't. It's not easy to find, not available streaming anywhere either, so I have to buy a used copy (probably a VHS since the DVDs are $40 on Amazon). If you were really eager to read about this film, don't despair - the project will be hopefully concluding at the end of December, so not too much longer.
Sorry, guys!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Rocco and his Brothers

This will probably be a short review, since its so late and I was so frustrated by this movie.

Today I watched Rocco and his Brothers, directed by
Luchino Visconti in 1960. I bet you can tell how much I liked this just based on the poster. It's barely even worth me trying to write a few nice sounding introductory paragraphs where I try to explain what might be good about the film. I guess I'm just really tired of movies like this. Part of it is having no choice about watching it (it's frustrating to be stressed out and then have to watch a 3 hour long movie that deals with your personal triggers), and part of it is just that I'm tired of movies where women just sort of suffer to forward the story that revolves around male characters.  It's really not that awful of a movie, but my mood really is not working with it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The River

 So happy to sleep in today and be lazy. I didn't accomplish anything important, but it was good to just have a nice, slow, easy day. I'm trying to forget that I have an obscene amount of work to do when I get back on Monday, which is all the more stressful since I've only had one work-free day to detox. Oh man I really need to stop thinking about work and relax.

I can't decide if I like today's movie or not - The River, directed by Jean Renoir in 1951. It's good - there were parts of it I really liked. But it's also really meh as well. There were a lot of things that didn't work so well for me either. I can't make up my mind. I sort of hated it the whole time I was watching it but after it was over and I thought about it a little, I liked it slightly more. Only slightly, though.

Ripley's Game

Sorry I was too tired to write this last night - it was almost 3am and I was running on about 3 or 4 hours of sleep. I love this movie project, but man, life just gets in the way sometimes.

Even though I was feeling really tired and crummy when I got home from work yesterday, I was excited to watch the movie (instead of my other options like sleep or eat or booze) - Ripley's Game, directed by Liliana Cavani in 2002. I watched this in a great film noir class I took - the one where in which I watched a ton of films from the Great Movies. That professor had really great taste in movie, I miss his classes! I loved Ripley's Game so much when I first saw it in class that I rented it right away so I could show Anthony. We both have an obsession with John Malkovich, and we both loved his suave psychosis in this movie.  I haven't seen the other Ripley movies, so it's unfair to say that this is the best, but I really love it regardless.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Red Shoes

Guys, I am so beat and tired right now, I need to keep this short because I have to get up in a few hours to go back to work. I'm not used to being on my feet all day, running out and helping out with events! I'm so so tired, and I really need to not be too out of it tomorrow.

I feel really bad because I"ve wanted to see this movie forever. It's been on my queue for like, over a year at this point, but I never watched it. Today I watched The Red Shoes, which was directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger in 1948. It's always talked about as being incredibly good, and now I understand why. It's got everything going on for it - great acting, great cinematography, cool visuals, unique and interesting story. I really loved it, and I wish I had the energy to write more about it, but I really need to get some sleep so I'm not going to be able to babble on for too much longer. I'm surprised I even had time to watch it today - I didn't get home from work until after 10pm.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Rebel Without a Cause

This is going to be a busy weekend, but I'm still looking forward to it. We're having a big fundraising event at work that I'm going to be working at until 10pm tomorrow night and all day on Saturday. It's going to be exhausting but good, I think. I don't have to be at work until a little later than normal, so I'm excited to sleep in a tiny bit and get some movie watching done in the morning tomorrow.

Today I watched Rebel Without a Cause directed by Nicholas Ray in 1955. I actually haven't ever seen the whole movie - I've watched parts of it in film classes, but never the entire thing. It's pretty good, although, as Ebert even points out, it didn't age well. What's cool, though, is as it got older, some of the weird, creepy issues in it are more obvious, which gives the movie some new dimension and meaning. The movie is most known for James Dean's great acting, who had died in a car crash before the movie had even premiered. Definitely a tragedy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Prairie Home Companion

So, before this project, I don't think I ever saw Robert Altman movie before. This is shameful because after seeing a number of his films now, he's for sure on my list of top directors. I love his style. He's got a great sense of character, and seems to be able to bring out these insanely good performances out of his actors. I love that he often goes against typical genres, and makes something really unique as well. His style really works for me, and I was excited to see today's movie because I've grown to like him so much.

Today I watched A Prairie Home Companion, which he directed in 2006. I remember hearing of it, but I guess the title always put me off because it sounded boring. I was sort of anxious about watching it because it's about a real radio show, as well, and I worried that I wouldn't understand any references it might make to actual facts. I was relieved that you could be totally ignorant and still enjoy this movie. I found it really funny and charming, and I had a great time watching it tonight.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


It was nice to have today off for some relaxing. I didn't get as much done as I hoped that I would, but I really needed a break from life for a day, and I was glad to get it. I feel like between my normal life, the movie project, and work, I don't have much time for myself anymore to just read or write, or do something nice for myself. I pretty much just get up early, go to work, come home, try to shove down dinner while I watch my film, write about the movie, and then go to bed. So to put it lightly, today was really nice. :)

I watched Playtime today, directed by Jacque Tati in 1967. Like his other movies, it has Mr. Hulot in it (that angular looking guy who always has a raincoat, too short pants, and a pipe), although much less so than his other films that I've seen. I really liked the movie - funny, but not laugh-out-loud sort of funny. It's subtle, all strange and fascinating things that happen in the background that always seems so, well, playful and funny. I really enjoy that, though. It's not a conventional comedy but I find it rather delightful.


Just a short post about yesterday's movie, since I have a lot of stuff I need to take care of today. I'm going to be really busy the rest of this weekend and I have to work all weekend, so I want to take care of whatever I can on my day off.  Sort of wish I was just sleeping or relaxing, instead, but I guess that can come...some other time.

Yesterday and today I watched Pixote, directed by Hector Babenco in 1981. It's a tough movie to watch, focusing on the lives of homeless kids in Sao Paulo. As much as I enjoyed it, it might not be a movie I watch again (or often) because it's so sad and difficult to see. I think that's why it's great, though, and important. I always find it harder to write about movies like this, ones that are difficult to watch but incredibly good, since it seems so contradictory.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Phantom of the Opera

I think I have car fever. It's becoming difficult to focus on anything other than reading car reviews and looking up cars in my price range. I'm in love with one car, but I want to take some time to test drive some other ones that are around the same cost. I don't know too much about subcompact cars, but I really like them, and I think that they'd be a perfect fit for me - good commuter cars that are low on gas. Blah blah blah cars cars cars. I've learned more about cars this last week than I've probably known my whole life. That's how bad I've got it. I want to test drive more cars tomorrow, and if it goes late, I might not be able to post about tomorrow's movie. We'll all survive, right? Right.

Enough about me. Today I watched The Phantom of the Opera, directed by Rupert Julian in 1925. I'm not a huge fan of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. I mean, I hate it - the movie version and the actual musical itself. The music is really basic and boring and the more recent movie version is all kinds of  awful. Maybe I loved the silent version because it wasn't...that one. I also really love silent movies, and this one was really cool looking. The sets and makeup were really cool, and the music in it wasn't stupid and dumbed down. I liked it much more than some of the other Phantom movies that I've seen, personally, but I'm pretty unpleasant.

Paths of Glory

I keep not writing this post because I'm pretty distracted by a bunch of things right now. Had some fun going out and looking at cars today, and now it's really hard to stay on this tab instead of flipping around and reading about the car I really liked. I thought I'd make it to bed before like, 4am, today but that's not looking like a reality. I shake my fist at myself for making myself so tired.

After being out all day, I came home and started today's movie - Paths of Glory, directed by Stanley Kubrick in 1957. I never really heard of this movie, which seems sort of surprising. I guess I just assumed that all Kubrick movies are well known. Maybe this is well known and I'm just real dumb...always a possibility. Either way, I was excited to watch it for the first time. It was pretty great. It was fantastic at capturing how awful and nightmarish war can be, and I loved how hard and cold it felt. It was a really well-directed movie, and I'm so happy that I was able to see it - I don't think I ever would have thought about it if it wasn't for this project.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


So, I installed Disqus on my blog for a new and hopefully better way to comment!

First and most awesomely, you can now directly reply to comments, so we can actually have discussions if we want to! I think you can also get notified if you get a response to your comment, and see cool stuff like reactions that other people have had. You can also share your comments on Twitter and all sorts of stuff.

You also can comment using a whole myriad of different accounts - Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, etc. It's much more intuitive to use than how Blogger normally is. I also think you can comment without an account, but then you get James Spader as your picture. Although I think everyone has that as their picture right now because of how importing the comments works. Yay!

I know that a lot of people who comment online might already be familiar with Disqus, since it's used on a lot of popular websites like Wired and stuff. Other actual news website use it too, but uh, I don't read those at work so I don't really know anything about that.

It's not so scary anymore and it seems pretty nice so far, so I hope you guys play around with it and stuff - feel free to post dumb comments on this post and mess around here so you can see how it works and let me know what you think!

Pan's Labyrinth

I think I am going to switch to that new commenting system, I'll try to get it up and running tomorrow and post about all the fun new features that you'll get to use. I hope that it will be much nicer and easier to use. Other than that, I am so happy that it's finally the weekend and I can relax and get some much needed sleep! Although I'm not doing that right now, at all. Hard to break habits like this, yes?

Ok, since it's so late I'll try to keep this post a little shorter. I love today's movie - Pan's Labyrinth, directed by Guillermo del Toro in 2006. It's got a great blend of fantasy and reality, and is one of those really special movies that is about a child but not at all for children. I always find films like that to be really powerful, especially if they are the least bit good at capturing what it felt like to be a child. I don't think I've watched this movie since I first saw it, and it was so awesome to watch it again. I think I was able to focus more on the individual stories and less on the way that they were told, if that makes any sense. I just appreciated the film so much more.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Out of the Past

I'm thinking of trying a new commenting system on my blog, called Disqus, that allows you to actually reply to other people and get notified if your comment is responded to. I hate how the comments on Blogger work, and I feel like it probably keeps some people from speaking up sometimes. I want to read more about it this weekend, but I'll let you know if I actually switch over.

So, today I watched Out of the Past, directed by Jacques Tourneur in 1947. When I started, it felt like I had seen it before, but I couldn't place the plot or anything. I finally, slowly, started to remember that I had watched this a while ago in a film noir class. How did I forget it? Once I recalled it, I remembered loving it. Watching it again, I felt the same way. I love Robert Mitchum. He's so weirdly attractive and so perfect for this role, for film noir. I think the story is fantastic, and is one of my favorite plots from any noir. Just an all-around great movie.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


There are a lot of things that are clearly good about this movie, but unfortunately I wasn't up for understanding them or really noticing many of them. I hate it when my mood or tiredness affects how I perceive a film, but it's really unavoidable. This project takes up so much of my time (at least 3 hours a night, if the film is an average length) and it's really tough to do that non-stop. It affects a lot of different parts of my life, because so much of it revolves around the project. One of those things is that I'm often tired, because some nights I'm not home until 8 or 9 and I find myself facing a 2 hour movie and a blog post. It's like a part-time job, or grad school (probably way easier though)! I don't get nearly as much sleep as I would like, and it really does wear down on me. I'm obviously not making an excuse, because I still have been watching and writing. I guess I'm just trying to explain how involved and difficult this really can be at times. This week I have really been running on empty, and it was almost impossible for me to settle down for today's movie - Ordet, directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer in 1955.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Nanook of the North

Today's movie was really interesting, but maybe only to me. I watched Nanook of the North, directed by Robert J. Flaherty in 1922. It's got to be one of the first documentaries. It's silent, about an hour long, and it's so fascinating. It reminded me of an old book. I've got one at my desk with really cool binding, actually, that I keep meaning to pay for so I can just take it. See, I love old books. Often I don't read them, because I'm lazy and currently I have zero time to read. I have a bunch, though, and I have like, a fetish for them - I love going through them and looking at any annotation, bookplates, pictures, etc. I like them because I feel extremely connected to history when I look at them or read out of them.

This film was sort of like that. It wasn't really like, "an honest and excellent" documentary or something, but it was interesting. When I watched it, I could almost see the director filming it, and see the wonder that he felt for his subjects. It wasn't shot particularly well, but I was so interested in it. Interested in how this director navigated this territory with really, no rules or other films to guide him. I just liked thinking about it, and I felt that sort of connection to it that I do when I flip though an old book.

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Man Godfrey

I have the worst sweet tooth today. I demonstrated amazing self control at work by not going to our bakery to have some fresh cookies or hand-made chocolates (mmm, the peanut butter cups are so good!). Not so much now - I had to have Anthony run out and get me a hot chocolate, which is probably really unhealthy but sounds healthy than a like, a piece of chocolate.

Now that I've got my fix, I can actually write. Today I watched My Man Godfrey, directed by Gregory La Cava in 1936. I thought it sounded pretty boring - the title is pretty unexciting and bland. But it was a great little comedy! It was short and sweet, full of great little moments and witty dialogue. This seems like what people think of when they say they just like any old movies - you know, the type who stay up late watching something they never heard of on TCM? I like those people. :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My Fair Lady

I think I'm having a delayed allergic reaction or something, and I've been feeling pretty out of it all day. Tried to chase away my throat pain with some tea, and it seemed to help. As a celebration, I'm going to have some tea and whiskey, which always seems to help stave off a cold (er...or at least I don't mind so much that I have cold or allergy symptoms).

Today I watched My Fair Lady, directed by George Cukor in 1964. I wasn't really feeling up to watching such a long movie today. I thought it was like, two hours max, but this is a pretty epically long musical. I sort of like this movie and I sort of don't. It's hard because I get it - I like the story sort of a little, I like the acting a little, and I can leave the musical numbers. I sort of get the humor, but I sort of bristle at it still. I don't really know how I feel about it. It's good, but it's not really for me, maybe? I have a really hard time pinning down my feelings about movies like this, because on one hand, I sort of enjoy them, but on the other, I find them frustrating and boring to watch.


Since I didn't watch last night's movie because I was hanging out with my co-workers, I thought I would watch it today. Of course, I ended up sleeping in, then going out and running errands for way too long, and I didn't get home until about 8. If I can't squeeze it in tomorrow, I'll bump it to the end.

So, today I watched Moolaade, directed by Ousmane Sembène in 2004, I movie that I had never heard of before until today. I didn't really know what to expect. I looked up a short blurb on IMDB and I worried it might be sort of a tear-jerker. I was really pleased that it wasn't. For dealing with a subject as serious as female genital mutilation, this is a bright, moving film. It was just so well made. It didn't focus on the horrors of the subject matter, but more on the characters and how they responded to it. It was quite good, and honestly I guess I feel a little surprised I've never heard this movie talked about before. But I also hear a ton about German and French (and so on) cinema, but not so much (er, not anything) about African cinema. So that could be the problem right there.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

I am so happy this week is basically over. I've just been feeling so tired, like I'm fighting a cold, and overly worried about things. I am really excited to sleep in a little and be lazy! Tomorrow night after work my boss is having everyone over for drinks and snackies, and she lives quite a bit a way from me. I'm not sure when I'll be home (it's over an hour drive), so if I don't get to my movie tomorrow, I'll watch it Saturday morning. I promise.

Today I watched Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, directed by Paul Schrader in 1985. Schrader is extremely well known for his screenwriting, having written some amazing films like Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. I actually don't think that I've seen anything that he directed before - lots of stuff that he wrote, though. It was interesting to watch this movie for me in that respect. The movie was great. Totally unconventional, but beautiful, unique, and crazy awesome. The strange style works so well here, and I always love it when I can see something that I haven't seen before, like a genre approached in a new way.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Marriage of Maria Braun

Quick post before I head off to bed. I have no idea why I'm so drained this week. It's been really frustrating, painful, and stressful, and I think my body is just overwhelmed. It's hard to focus on movies and writing when you feel like you just need to go straight to bed after to work, but alas, I struggle on, for you.

Today I watched The Marriage of Maria Braun, directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder in 1979. I was interested in seeing this because I really enjoyed the other movies by this director that I saw for the first time through my project. It was pretty good, although I just personally was having a difficult time with it because I'm so exhausted. I feel really bad when I can't pay attention to something completely because of my mood or physical state, but I guess that's one of the tough things about this project! I really liked the focus on the characters, and the gritty look at life during World War II. It wasn't a heartwarming tale about the human spirit, but a story about how far people will go to get what they want or think that they need.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Man, today was something else. I worked through my lunch break so I could leave work for a doctor's appointment, and I didn't get home until really late - like 9 p.m., after not eating or drinking all day. I have the beginning stages of some weird, painful bone-spur-like condition in one foot, so I ran out to try to buy some shoes to alleviate the pain and pressure on it, hopefully preventing it from getting worse and saving me from having to have icky bone surgery down the road. They're not the cutest shoes, but they're really comfy and I think will make a big difference for me at work. Figures that I never wear skyscraper heels (er, well, a few times here and there, but mostly platform ones and mostly many years ago!) or shoes that fit wrong and yet I end up with issues. Argh! Luckily I got to come home to watch a movie that I love - Magnolia, directed by P.T. Anderson in 1999.

I haven't watched this movie for such a long time. I think the first time I watched it, I was 15. I remember it so well, though - I was totally blown away. I really didn't watch many movies that weren't just new releases, as terrible as that is to admit. I had no idea that movies could tell stories in such unique ways, that they could do anything as cool as this. It wasn't that movie that finally got me to take film seriously or start learning about directors and all that sort of thing, but it will really always have a place in my heart, because I can't watch it now and not remember that sense of wonder and excited smugness, like I had discovered some secret or something.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Long Goodbye

Every time I go out to stores in the fall, I compulsively must by any pumpkin products that I find. This weekend I did some stockpiling of fall seasonal beers, and started excitedly buying pumpkin treats and Halloween decorations. I feel really stoked about fall this year - summer felt really short, but I can't explain how happy I am to start wearing hoodies, warm fuzzy shoes, and eating pumpkin everything. Who knows - I'm just really pleased that the weather has been so nice and fall-y.

Today I watched The Long Goodbye, directed by Robert Altman in 1973. It's an updated version of Raymond Chandler's novel, taking place in the '70s instead of the 1950s like most film noirs, I read that Altman wanted to give off the impression that Phillip Marlowe, the main character, had gone to sleep in 1950 and woke up in 1970. I was pretty skeptical at first, but I really loved this movie. The characters were great, and the story got a really unique and interesting update that worked really well for me.

An Update.

Hey, just wanted to let you guys know that I've updated my Google calender to better reflect what I'm going to be watching. I don't think I'll have time this weekend to watch The Last Temptation of Christ in addition to my other movie and all the stuff I need to do so I moved it to the end of the project. I also moved Mephisto to the end, because I'm not sure I'm going to be able to obtain a copy by Wednesday. There are some import DVDs or VHS tapes on Amazon, but I really can't afford to get it rush shipped to me, so I might just watch it at the end of the project so I can save like, $30. Otherwise, everything should keep going as planned!


Good thing I put off writing this post until 2 a.m. Ah well, I don't have to really wake up early tomorrow or anything. I went out with Anthony to see Contagion today -  I loved it! I almost applied to work on it as an internship, but never did for some reason. That was a really bad choice. I sort of wish I was writing about that movie, but I'm here to write about what else I watched today. After I came home from some an exciting search for a canning rack (none were found), I watched Leolo, directed Jean-Claude Lauzon in 1992.

It's a strange film, sort of darkly comedic, which I love. In his essay, Ebert mentioned that this director only made two films before he tragically died in plane crash. I felt pretty sad after reading that, because I really enjoyed his style and storytelling ability. This movie looks amazing, has a really interesting and weird plot, and off-beat, strange comedy. I wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did. I was pretty weirded out by it at first, but it really grew on me.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Late Spring

I am so happy that this week is over. It was a little stressful at the end of the day today - I was rushing around constantly, ugh! I'm glad to be home where I can sit under a blanket, wear cozy slippers, and finally start to unwind. I came home and zoned out for a while, and then started to watch today's movie.

I watched Late Spring, directed in 1949 by Yasujirô Ozu. It's a really great film. Sad, but still quiet and tender. Everything about it is wonderful, from the way it is filmed to the story. I thought I'd be too tired from work to focus on something as delicate as n Ozu film, but honestly, I felt really alert and interested the whole time it was on, like I got a second wind or something. I feel tired now, but Anthony bought me Bridesmaids today, and even though I've seen it already, I'm really determined to stay up and watch it. Time for an energy drink, I guess.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I thought I'd skip (i.e. watch over the weekend or at the end of the project) tonight's long-ish movie, The Last Temptation of Christ, because Ebert was signing his memoir someplace vaguely in my area. I got there early and lazed around, but I was expecting it to be like the last one I went to - in the upstairs part of the B&N, which it wasn't, so I didn't get into line until a bit later than I wanted to. It was really cool to see all the people who came out, it was a really diverse group.

Proof of the lazing.

It was pretty good - I'm always stoked to see someone I admire so much, and having books signed by him is really meaningful to me. It was a little disappointing, though. It felt really rushed - you sort of had time to say half a sentence and by that point, the B&N employees were giving him another book to work on. I had hoped to get a picture with him, but by the time I had explained that I was some dope from the intarwebs, he got handed another book and I didn't want to rudely cut into someone else's time, like "No! I'm important, I'm from the internet!" I feel a little let down, just because the other book signing I went to felt a lot more intimate and we all seemed to get more time to be chatty and goofy with him, and I was hoping to have that experience again.

But it's ok. I didn't start this blog to get his attention. I did it because it means something to me. Because I wanted to take on a project and see it to the end (I can't count how many times I thought I'd do something different in my life and stopped after a few weeks or months). I wanted to keep learning about film, and keep myself writing and working while I was unemployed. And to connect, on some level, with someone I look up to. To be honest, doing this has changed my life. There are plenty of reasons why the signing could have gone how it did - maybe he wasn't feeling well, or hell, he's probably such a fan that he was a little embarrassed and star-struck about it. You never know, right?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Last Tango in Paris

So, today's movie is Last Tango in Paris, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci in 1972. I never really heard of this movie before, but it's got Marlon Brando and the scandal of being released with an X rating (which was then lowered to NC-17). I guess people found it to be really disgusting and pornographic, which I didn't, really, but films have probably gotten more open about that sort of thing since the 70s. Probably.

I can't decide how I feel about this film. On one hand, personally, parts of the film bothered me. Not because I'm all prudish and nasty, but because I just get really uncomfortable about issues involving violence (physical or sexual) against women, and some of these scenes fell into a gray area for me. It's just my issue, but it definitely affected the way I viewed the movie, for better or for worse. There were parts of it that I really liked, though, which made it sort of complicated for me to come to any sort of conclusion about.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Last Picture Show

I feel like every post is prefaced by me whining about how tired I am and how short my post is going to be. Today I really mean it, though - I'm actually almost falling asleep writing this. I don't really know why I feel so run down - I think I got way too little sleep last night so I really need to hurry up and head to bed. I really loved this movie, though, and I want to write about it!

Today I watched The Last Picture Show, directed by Peter Boganovich in 1971. It stars a young Jeff Bridges, which is pretty fun. It's a great movie, focused on kids growing up in a small town in Texas. I loved their relationships and interactions. It was hard to believe most of these actors were pretty much unknown when the film was cast, because they were so great in it! I actually got this movie as part of Criterion's BBS box set, and although I never heard of it until now, I'm so glad that I own a copy.

Monday, September 19, 2011

L.A. Confidential

I feel so tired, and like I'm fighting a cold. Maybe I'm just run down. There are a lot of things I have to do this week, so I'm feeling a tiny bit overwhelmed. I don't know, I just feel excited about going to bed, for whatever reason :)

Today I watched L.A. Confidential, directed by Curtis Hanson in 1997, which I recently picked up on Blu-ray. I really love this movie, and I was excited to get a chance to watch it again. I think I first saw it in a film noir film and pulp fiction class that I took in college. We were reading James Ellroy novels and watched this, and I remember just thinking it was amazing. I love how strangely smoothly the plot comes together before we can even realize it, and the focus on the psychology of the main characters is so great. I never read the James Ellroy novel this was adapted from, but his writing style is different and tough, and I really appreciated the challenge that the writers took on in adapting this film. Even though Danny DeVito is narrating in the opening scenes of the film, I always hear James Ellroy's voice instead. It's just something he would say, you know?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

La Belle Noiseuse

I was so tired after the gala last night! It was a lot of fun though, I was so glad that I volunteered. It seemed like it was a good time for everyone who attended as well. I got home really late, and wasn't ready to go to sleep, so I stayed up too late talking and lazing around. I had a lot of things I wanted to do today, but I really needed to get groceries, sleep in, and watch my overly long movie, so I wasn't able to do everything I wanted to.

Today I watched La Belle Noiseuse, directed by Jacques Rivette in 1991. I was not really enthused about this movie. It has a running time of four hours, and I pretty much assumed it would just be simply too long to be watchable. I looked up the plot summary on IMDB and it sounded...interesting. Could it be interesting for four hours, though? Somehow, it was. It felt long, but I didn't mind. I was really engrossed in the story, in the acting, in every part of the movie. It was my whole day, and it felt like it, but I thought it was worth it.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Killer of Sheep

Probably a shorter post today, since I need to get ready to stuff my face with Capt'n Nemo's and head downtown for the gala I'm volunteering at. I figured there wouldn't really be vegetarian food offered to the volunteers, so I thought I'd load up on something filling. Er, well. Mostly I've had a horrible craving for it. I have to wear a white shirt at the event, and white shirts and Nemo's do not go well together. I was thinking I'd wear a hoodie over it and zip it up all the way, as protection from the inevitable barrage of secret sauce.

Today I watched Killer of Sheep, directed by Charles Burnett in 1981. It's a really great film for a lot of reasons, but was sort of slow and sleepy to watch early on a Saturday. I really liked the cinematography, the quiet, sad message, the realism of it. It felt like a documentary, but also like an Italian Neo-Realist film. It focused on everyday life, on normal, average people, and had the slow pace that life really can have.