Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What's in store and what I think about it.

Exhausted, absolutely exhausted. That's what I have been over the course of the last five days and last night after a fairly marathon bout of sleeping I woke, groggy, but at least staring over the precipice of not being completely consumed by the need for sleep. Criterion films are not always the most exciting of movies. On occasion their subject matter is how may say, numbingly boring. Combine that with the fact that a lot of the films in this canon aren't bogged down with beautiful people, traditional cinematography, or the need for flashy explosions and special effects and, well, these films can be real snoozers.

Mix nap-inducing films with a very tired writer, and what you get is splashes of Ingrid Bergman's, a lot of frantic rewinding, and pretty much no film watched. It's okay though, in my scramble to try and come up with a lame excuse/idea I've actually managed to cobble together an interesting column. I'm going to preview the next four of five films I'll be writing about, give you guys a chance to maybe watch along with me, and let me get out some of my snarkier opinions on some of this high end films.

And away we go:

Film: Autumn Sonata (60)
Director: Ingmar Bergman

I know, I've supposedly "started" this film, but my collective memory so far is of a strange monologue, a beautifully cut story about death, and a mom and a daughter hugging. I've said it before, what I've seen of Bergman hasn't done much for me, but I'm curious to dig a little deeper, expose myself to one of the accepted masters of cinema. I just might need to ingest a little bit more caffeine before giving this one another go.

Film: Monty Python's The Life of Brian (61)
Director: Terry Jones

Hilarious to me that this is a Criterion film, but it is. I've seen this one a handful of times and it's my least favorite of the Monty Python features, but it's always an enjoyable, if not remarkably dorky bit of cinema. It leaves me a little accented, humming "...life's a piece of shit..." and remembering my ex-girlfriend and how she thought she was going to really enjoy this film and just hated the shit out of it.

Film: The Passion of Joan of Arc (62)
Director: Carl Th. Dreyer

This is a two-hour, silent film from the late 1920s about world famous loony martyr Joan of Arc. It's revered by cineastes but I'll be honest, I think I'll be pretty bored. TWO HOURS OF SILENCE! I mean sure their will be music, but I sat through the ultra-revered serial killer flick M (30) and I was a picture of snoozy boredom. I'm giving this film a chance, but I'm coming in with low expectations. Sorry film snobs, I'm just not a silent film type of guy.

Film: Carnival of Souls (63)
Director: Herk Harvey

A weird cult horror film about apparitions and, well, spookiness? Count me in. 1960s horror is some of my favorite and this should nicely wash the cloying taste of silence from my maw.

Film: The Third Man (64)
Director: Carol Reed

The Third Man (64) is one of the great old films of all time. It's a mystery about a disappeared friend and the secrets that bubble up to the surface when we start to dig in to the past. It's dark and weird in a proper British manner, the way only Carol Reed and his contemporaries could pull off. It also features Orson Welles, and this I promise, if Welle's name is on it, then it's worth taking a look. I've seen it, many times, and you folk should certainly share in its glory.

Final Thoughts: Not terribly excited for the next few weeks of Criterion watching. Starts out really slow but picks up by the end. I wonder if Criterion programs their line-up like that? Big names, big films and then small, more boring, ones sprinkled amongst. I'm guessing, yes.

No comments: