Thursday, April 23, 2009

What's In Store #4!

I've come to love this part of my blog. The point where I realize I've powered through another set of Criterion films and a whole slew of new works stand to be viewed by me and whomever I can trick in to sitting through 'em with me.

My last batch of films was one of the more enjoyable, if not romantically inclined set of films, I'vew watched so far and as I stare down at this upcoming precipice of films I can't help but wonder if this is going to be nearly as enjoyable. I'm also curious as to what theme will pop up in the films. I've found that there are runs of themes that cut through different sections of the Criterion catalog (death, love, religion, flank steaks) and I'm always curious as to what will pop up next.

Alright, I'm just dorkily rambling now, so let me get on to what hurdles I'll have to leap in these next few weeks ...

#80. The Element of Crime dir. Lars Von Trier

Couldn't be more excited for this film. Lars Von Trier is one of the more exciting, daring filmmakers working today and though I can't say I love every film he's put out (Breaking The Waves still makes me cringe), each and all are worth a viewing for the man's creative audacity. This is a post-apocalyptic crime story involving serial killers and cops gone terribly wrong. I'm a little short of breath just waiting for it.

#81. Variety Lights dir. Federico Fellini & Alberto Lattuada

It takes a few films to start to really love Fellini, and that's why I'm so happy to be investing in this Quest 'o' mine. Fellini is a mainstay of the Criterion Collection, and over the course of the last 80 films I've found myself eagerly anticipating each and every film of his that pops up (and there is many). This is Fellini's collaboration with a neo-realist, a collaboration that features his wife Giulietta Masina (the stunning star of Nights of Cabiria (49)) in a main role. Say what you will about the artsy fartsy folk and their love for Fellini, but dumbly excited about adding another notch in my Fellini bed post.

#82 Hamlet dir. Laurence Olivier

The presence of yet another Olivier Shakespeare adaptation on the list makes my stomach curdle. Olivier's Henry V (41) nearly killed me, and I can only imagine the melodramatic qualities of his Hamlet (82) will inflict me with a similar type of pain. Olivier's takes on Shakespeare are so theatrically based that I've little clue as to why they're actually put on screen. I am already clawing at my eyeballs in dread.

#83 The Harder They Come dir. Perry Henzell

Luckily for me, as soon as Hamlet (82) falls to the wayside, I'm throwing in this reggae-scented film about a musician-turned-outlaw. If you've ever heard Jimmy Cliff's music, and you're a fan of the weed-soaked tunes of reggae, this movie will do it for you. It's lo-fi and low-budget and supposedly an absolute blast. Hopefully it'll clear the taste of Olivier from my sensitive tastebuds.

Good Morning dir. Yasujiro Ozu

There's directors on this list who are spoken in hushed tones by film geeks of the world and Yasujiro Ozu is one of those. A real powerhouse of Japan filmmaking that, in some circles is as renowned as Kurosawa. I've never even dipped a pinky ring in to his works though and, as I am with all new directors, I'm cautiously excited.

This is a mixed-bag for me, but when you're ascending the peaks of the Criterion Quest, it's often times going to be. Keep reading friends! And if you get a chance, spread the good word.

Friday: W.C. Fields - Six Short Films (79)

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