Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Month of Foreign [Second Third Recap]

The Lives of Others
Even if every other movie we watched this month was terrible, the Month of Foreign would have been worth it for The Lives of Others.  By far the best movie yet.  The year is 1984 and the Berlin Wall is still up.  Secret government spies and informants use hidden bugs and cameras to keep tabs on anyone who might be a threat against Socialism.  The film follows one of these spies as he becomes involved in the lives of those he's spying on.  Excellent movie.

My Neighbor Totoro
This has been at the top of my Netflix queue for months.  A "Very Long Wait" message made me think that I'd never see Totoro again.  But the Movie Gods were good to us as it showed up in the mail halfway through our marathon.  It's as great as I remembered.  I'm steadily becoming a full-fledged fan of Miyazaki.

Last Year at Marienbad
Pretentious.  LONG.  Boring.

M. Hulot's Holiday
Apparently, my childhood obsession, Mr. Bean, was a blatant rip-off of Tati's lead character Monsieur Hulot.  He doesn't speak.  He's a bumbling fool.  And wreaks havoc wherever he goes.  All he's missing is a teddy bear.   Holiday was really fun but it was a little slow in parts.

Knife in the Water
Roman Polanski's directorial debut.  A happy couple invite a young hitchhiker onto their boat and sail around for a while before tensions rise.  But like The Class, they don't rise to American levels.  French tension, apparently, stays dormant for a long time and then rises a little at the end, sort of.  The end.  American audiences are confused, a little letdown, and worried their peers will think their dumb if they say they didn't like it.  By the way, I liked it.  Really.

Smiles of a Summer Night
Like Belle De Jour was Bunuel's most accessible film, the same can be said for Bergman and Smiles of a Summer Night.  Everything makes sense, the characters all have clear wants/needs, and they takes steps into meeting those wants/needs.  It was nice.  Whitney pointed out that this is probably the only Bergman movie to feature smiling.

Cria Cuervos
This movie's a trip.  In a good way.  I usually don't like movies that "mix fantasy and reality" but this one worked for me.  It takes a lot of patience (or a quick trip to Wikipedia) to figure out who's who and what's going on but if you stick around and put in the work, Cria Cuervos pays off immensely. 

Wings of Desire
Two inaccessible movies in a row.  Wim Wenders directs this film about an angel who falls in love with a circus performer and wishes to become human.  There's very little dialogue.  Most of the movie's made up of inner-thought monologues that only the angel can hear.  It's going to take a few rewatchings for me to really get everything the director's trying to say.  But the movie's shot beautifully, acted well, and the second best Peter Falk movie I've ever seen (Murder By Death is #1!)


Heather said...

The Lives of Others has been on my to-watch list since I missed it in the theaters. Glad to hear it was so good. I'll move it up in my queue.

My Neighbor Totoro is one of my three favorite movies. It's one of those movies that I look forward to watching with my kids.

Lunatone said...

What about The Princess Bride!

Come on.

elgringo said...

What about the Princess Bride?

whitney said...

Man, our reviews of movies are so different sometimes. Trouble in paradise??

Simon said...

Ulrich Muhe...he is missed, certainly.

I have not seen anything else on this list. So, goddamn you, me!

Aiden R. said...

Lives of Others is good stuff indeed. Need to see Totoro and Knife in the Water. Love Miyazaki, haven't seen nearly enough Polanksi. Good stuff, man, and these capsule reviews are great.