I don’t write posts about every film I see. I simply don’t have time. To fill in the blanks about my movie-watching habits, I am introducing the Movie Report Card. This is the first of a monthly series of posts that’s dedicated purely to sharing the movies that I watch each month and my thoughts on them.
Immediately below is a list of the movies I watched in January (in the order I watched them) as well as a subjective grade of each. Further down, I briefly explain the thoughts behind the grades in the “Comments” section. At the very bottom, I give out ‘awards’: “Best of Class” is my favorite movie experience of the month. The “Teacher’s Pet” award goes to films that pleasantly surprise me and stay with me long after the film is over. The “Failing Students” are the films that merited a grade lower than a C-.
-The Fly (Cronenberg) A-
-Pina (Wenders) B-
-Last Year at Marienbad (Resnais) B
-Fatso (Bancroft) D+
-Safety Not Guaranteed (Trevorrow) A-
-Prometheus (Scott) B
-Christine (Carpenter) B
-On Golden Pond (Rydell) C
-Looper (Johnson) B
-Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (Scafaria) C+
-The Fugitive (Davis) B
-Aguirre: The Wrath of God (Herzog) A-
-Wings of Desire (Wenders) B+
-Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Gondry) C+
-The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (Anderson) C+
Unintentionally, January was a month of firsts for me when it comes to movies:
Believe it or not, I watched my first Charlie Kaufman film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, just recently. Surprisingly, I was a little underwhelmed by it. I do admire its ambition though.
Also, I had my first experiences with two masters of horror, David Cronenberg and John Carpenter. Perhaps because I’m a fan of the Vincent Price original, I loved seeing a newer re-imagining of The Fly. Carpenter’s Christine was quite a pleasant surprise and the film has actually stayed with me the last few weeks. Both these flicks held my attention very well and were quality entertainment that I would recommend to horror fans.
In addition, I also saw my first pictures directed by the Wim Wenders, Pina and Wings of Desire. I found both to be impressive works of art, but neither was extremely captivating from an entertainment standpoint. Of the two, I prefer Wings of Desire.
A review of Last Year at Marienbad may be on its way in the next week. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to think of the movie. I’ll have to revisit it before I write anything on it, so my opinion on it could change.
Anne Bancroft’s only directorial effort, Fatso, was likable and has a good comical leading performance, but it is technically sloppy and occasionally uninteresting.
I also caught up on some 2012 movies. Oddly enough, they all have science-fiction themes:
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World had some nice performances, but the movie was never more than amusing to me.
Looper is not a movie that I would put on a best of the year list. It was entertaining, but I didn’t think it was much more.
Ridley Scott’s Prometheus is the kind of hardcore science fiction that I love. Did I love it? I loved the consistent tone that the editing, music, and direction gave the film. Yet it remains to be seen if it will make my best of 2012 list.
One of my favorite movies I watched this month, Safety Not Guaranteed surprised me with its wit and humor. By the end, I was ready to place it among the best movies of 2012. It’s tailor-made for fans of all things indie.
Another great one I finally got around to seeing this month was Aguirre: The Wrath of God, which was stunningly beautiful and the best use of Herzog’s philosophically ambitious storytelling that I’ve seen thus far (I’ve only seen Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Rescue Dawn, and Grizzly Man though).
Lastly, I saw On Golden Pond, The Fugitive, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. The first had two great actors in the final stages of their careers, but was crippled by its sappiness. I watched The Fugitive (which I’ve seen a few times) and found that I still liked it. Last, but not quite least, I experienced The Life Aquatic and wrote a review about it that will be posted very soon as the kickoff review for Wes Anderson Month.
Best of Class: Safety Not Guaranteed
Teacher’s Pet: Christine
Failing Students: Fatso