Until the End of the August

I have watched several movies since I last updated, included an End-Of-Summer film fest while Ms. FilmRuminations was away for the day this past weekend. Also, clouds hadn’t seen fit to water Ohio very much over the past month so there wasn’t a need to mow, so, film festival, a solitary festival. I also made ice cream.

The following films are in order is worst to best, using the analytics I mentioned here. My initial focus was finishing up collectors sets. Specifically America Lost and Found: the BBS Story (4.2), 3 Films by Roberto Rossellini Starring Ingrid Bergman (6.5), and Carl Theodor Dreyer Box Set (7.3). I also watched the remaining Tarkovsky films I had not watched yet and caught up on a few other classics.

I chose to include the Rotten Tomatoes ratings mostly so I can see how different my system is from the general population.


A Safe Place – 2.4 – Directed by Henry Jaglom – I have no doubt that there is an audience for this sort of film, however I am not part of this audience. I was bored to tears (the tears erupting by consistent yawning). Tuesday Weld was the only reason to keep the disc spinning even though the words she was saying could have been untranslated Russian. Speaking of Russian, Orson Welles’ accent is painful. This is the low point of the boxed set. Rotten Tomatoes 22%

The King of Marvin Gardens – 4.1 – Directed by Bob Rafelson – The final entry in the BBS set left me on a down tick for the experience. The Laszo Kovacs cinematography is the high point with several very beautiful shots throughout. The acting was decent but there the design, story, script, and, well most everything else, has left a lot to be desired. I was very excited for this film to be over. Rotten Tomatoes 71%

Drive, He Said – 5.0 – Directed by Jack Nicholson – This movie had a few ups and downs but is generally a storytelling and editing wreck. There is not a whole lot going for it. While there are interesting moments, including some guerilla filmmaking as Jack Nicholson managed to find a campus riot to film and edit into the story. Rotten Tomatoes 64%

Cadence – 5.3 – Directed by Martin Sheen – Cadence is a movie that I revisit as often as I can. It is not a particularly well-made movie but it meant a lot to me when I first watched it. I had my first warehouse job and my first job at which I was in the minority and I had the pleasure to get to know and learn from my own personal soul patrol. I met a guy named Terrell who helped me to really understand and appreciate racial diversity beyond what I had known in the previous years of my life growing up in a primarily white school district and neighborhood.

In the film Charlie Sheen is imprisoned with five black prisoners including a great performance by Lawrence Fishburne, all under the control of a racist Master Sargent Otis McKinney played by his father Martin Sheen. The film highlighted the effects that racists of a previous generation really try to force their thoughts down onto the next generation. Your results may greatly vary from mine but it has a place in my heart. Rotten Tomatoes 42%

Stromboli – 5.5 – Directed by Roberto Rossellini – Stromboli is the weakest (in my opinion) if the Rossellini/Bergman films. This does not mean that it is not a decent film that has some important and interesting bits throughout. The editing and story are was pull this film down but the documentary styles of Rossellini’s neo-realism past captured some interesting scenes. Rotten Tomatoes 83%

The Last Picture Show – 5.9 – Directed by Peter Bogdanovich – I seem to disagree with most critics on The Last Picture Show. I would guess that the difference is my inexperience growing up in a small town in Texas or not living through the New Hollywood era. It was interesting. It broke many rules. It is almost a love letter between Bogdanovich and the French New Wave or Italian Neo-Realists. The score was the weakest category for me followed by the story, it is possible that a couple more viewings may turn me around but my expectations coming in did not do the film any favors. Rotten Tomatoes 100%

Five Easy Pieces – 5.9 – Directed by Bob Rafelson – Five Easy Pieces is the high point of the America’s Lost and Found: The BBS Story box set (Overall score 4.2). Between this, Easy Rider, and The Last Picture Show I am glad to have access to these films and it is an excellent snap shot of the independent ideals of the 70’s in Hollywood.

Jack Nicholson’s performance of a listless piano maestro who chose to distance himself from his musical family and Rafelson pulled some of the best single scene acting of Nicholson’s career, which says quite a lot. That performance, with Kovacs cinematography, hold up several average scores and, like many of the recent films I have watched is dragged down by parity. Rotten Tomatoes 86%

Salo: or The 120 Days of Sodom – 5.9 – Pier Paolo Pasolini – This movie is not for everyone. Actually it is not for many people. It is a very well made movie with highly dubious subject matter. It makes a good point of absolute power corrupting absolutely but is very difficult to watch. Rotten Tomatoes 70%

Day of Wrath – 6.5 – Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer – Compared to the two other films that were in this box set, Ordet and Gertrud, Day of Wrath contained some of the most emotive acting from a Dreyer film which is an interesting twist. I did enjoy this but it is not his strongest outing especially compared to his more popular films. The overall average for this box set came out to 7.3 which make it very highly rated for me. These are all inclusive, very important films in execution as well as content. Rotten Tomatoes 100%

The Imitation Game – 6.6 – Directed by Morten Tyldum – Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance saved this movie. This is one of the few times in my life that I searched the Internet after watching a movie to verify whether or not a country was populated with solely white people. No, Britain was not only white. I did enjoy the movie. It is really bothersome though when films lack diversity, it should no longer be an issue but continues to be and if we ignore it base on other fine aspects of the film will continue to do more harm than good. Yes, The Imitation Games does say a lot for struggles that gay men and women have gone through and I respect that. The movie was glorious. The story, the design, the editing are all excellent. It is a very good movie and adding additional diversity would not have added anything to it but it needs to be considered. I would have also ended the film differently. Rotten Tomatoes 90%

Europe ’51 – 6.7 – Directed by Roberto Rossellini – I love watching feminist films. There are now many people who will ignore this film (assuming they have read this far). If you need to see patriarchy and misogyny filmed watch this movie and if you can watch this movie and pretend like it is not an issue I am sorry. Watch this. Rotten Tomatoes 78%

Two Days, One Night – 6.7 – The Dardenne Brothers – As I was saying, I enjoy watching feminist films. I had no intention of saying this twice in a row. I missed my opportunity to catch this film in when it played at my local art-house theater. It is difficult to write on Two Days, One Night without spoiling the end so I cannot get to deep apart from saying that all of the performances are very strong and the Dardenne Brothers will twist your emotions back and forth several times throughout the film. Rotten Tomatoes 97%

F For Fake – 7.1 – Directed by Orson Welles – I watched this directly after watching A Safe Place because I had to cleanse my palate. The first time I watched this film was in a film theory class on a big screen and it was love at first sight. The film falls closer onto the art-house side rather than a standard narrative film so many people won’t enjoy it but to me F for Fake is a bundle of fun. Rotten Tomatoes 89%

The Grand Budapest Hotel – 7.1 – Directed by Wes Anderson – I am a proponent of any and all Wes Anderson films and The Grand Budapest Hotel is no different. That said, you either like him, or you don’t. The stories are different but the design, editing, and scriptwriting are all quite similar. It was interesting seeing the different aspect ratios being used as tools for expressing the different times, which was really unique and interesting. I have never been disappoint by and Anderson film. Rotten Tomatoes 92%

Nostalghia – 7.1 – Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky – Nostalghia is a glorious film that I cannot explain and did not fully understand. These are two of my favorite tools that Tarkovsky uses in his films. It feels like you are standing in the pond with the actors and walking back and forth, really part of the story. It is hard to believe that Nostalghia scored as my second to least favorite Tarkovsky film with should say more than any sentence I could write. Rotten Tomatoes 82%

The Sacrifice – 7.3 – Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky – See Nostalghia, but better. The Sacrifice is the most beautiful Tarkovsky film from the opening image to it close. Sven Nykvist, the cinematographer, should be very familiar to fans of Swedish cinema as he was one of Bergman’s go to directors of photography. You will not be disappointed if you are looking for a visually perfect film. You will be disappointed if you want a film that spoon feeds you its themes. I highly recommend this film if only for the visuals at the climax of the film. Rotten Tomatoes 82%

The Third Man – 7.5 – Directed by Carol Reed – The Third Man is not my favorite British film. It is a very, very fine British film. I am planning on writing a much longer review on this film for the Criterion Bloggathon so I won’t say more now. Rotten Tomatoes 100%

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – 8.5 – Directed by David Fincher – David Fincher, like Wes Anderson, never lets me down and I am sad that I waited as long as I did to watch this movie. This is the sort of movie that makes me wish I could selectively watch over and over again while each times feels like the first time. Rotten Tomatoes 72%