It's a big one this time because I didn't do an update last Sunday.
The Mission is threefold: Watching all the movies on the Twofifty list, then the IMDb top 250 list, then every other movie in the universe. All reviews so far.
I wasn't done with the Twofifty list when Week 13 started (and I'm still not, as of this writing), but the dozen or so remaining films were proving hard to find so I started checking which movies had been added to the actual IMDb list recently (the Twofifty list is based on IMDb's list, but it's rarely updated). And I started watching movies from another list as well, which I'll call the AB list. I'll note which of the lists each film was on.
Let's get on with it.
El ángel exterminador (1962)
IMDb list. A satire of the upper class by Luis Buñuel. Unfortunately I watched it in an incompetently subtitled version. Anyway, I didn't like it, because the characters seems underdeveloped to me. Guest-starring the Thing from the Addams Family.
In Cold Blood (1967)
IMDb list. Truman Capote story of killers who kill.
Sci-fi by Tarkovsky. I found the first 40 minutes dull and plodding (I remember thinking, "Fuck, Solaris was twelve times better") but since I'm a masochist I started over and watched it again and then I liked it. It's the Soviet 2001! Synchronicity: There's a scene where a guy can't bring himself to go through a door, just like in El ángel exterminador. There's also some similarities to the TV series Lost. But really, the best thing about the entire film is the set design.
Fanny och Alexander / Fanny and Alexander (1982)
AB list. Bergman angst. Genuinely three-dimensional characters.
The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash (1978)
AB list. Eric Idle's amusing Beetles parody, made for TV. Cameos by some musicians, and a bunch of SNL people.
Das Leben der Anderen / The Lives of Others (2006)
IMDb list. Poet under Stasi surveillance in the 1980s.
IMDb list. Pretty interesting French political thriller. Slight fictionalization of the assassination of Greek politician Gregoris Lambrakis.
Umberto D (1952)
IMDb list. Oh God, how I hate neo-realistic film. Particularly when it's from Italy. This is about an old man who has a dog who can't pay the rent. It's the man who can't pay the rent, not the dog. Though, come to think about it, the dog probably can't pay the rent either.
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)
George Clooney's directing debut. Perhaps a bit too stylized, but clever. Sam Rockwell is great as game show producer slash hitman Chuck Barris.
AB list. Fresh-faced MALCOLM McDowell in boarding-school. I watched it as a grainy VHS rip, which seemed to fit the material. Classic ending.
The African Queen (1951)
Twofifty list. WW1 Alert! Canadian Captain Humphrey Bogart and spinster Katherine Hepburn go boat-riding through Africa and fall in love and try to sink a ship and are almost hanged but it all works out in the end.
Twofifty list. Laurence Olivier versus Michael Caine in a battle of wits - to the death!
Remake scheduled for 2008 by Kenneth Branagh with Caine in Olivier's role and Jude Law in Caine's role.
Idi i smotri / Come and See (1985)
Twofifty list. WW2 Alert! A Soviet and Belarus co-production. Probably demanded more attention than I was willing to give it. Cool sequence with archive footage at the end.
Mou gaan dou / Infernal Affairs (2002)
Twofifty list. Generally I'm not a fan of remakes but I prefer The Departed (reviewed in a Part X) to this one. Most of the plot and many of the key scenes are present, but the character relationships are more developed in Scorsese's version, especially the paternal mob boss (Jack Nicholson in the remake). And while Leo often seemed to be cracking up, Tony Leung is apparently pretty cool with having spent ten years on lies and deception. Other differences: the psychologist's role is much smaller, and Mark Wahlberg isn't here at all (but I think his character was taken from the sequels anyway).
The Cooler (2003)
William H Macy, employed to spread his bad luck (sort of like in Intacto) at Alec Baldwin's casino, meets waitress Maria Bello and romance ensues. Surprisingly explicit (though tasteful) sex scenes for a mainstream Hollywood drama. Guest starring the guy from Office Space and, a couple of minutes from the end, Tom from Lost. I watched this partly because it was mentioned in This Film is Not Yet Rated (reviewed in Part IV). Just like I did with But I'm A Cheerleader (reviewed in Part VIII). See? I'm well on my way to watch every film in existence.
Frank Miller seems to have been obsessed with the Battle of Thermopylae for many years. It's mentioned in Sin City: The Big Fat Kill (one of the few details that didn't make it to the movie) and there's a character named "Hot Gates" in Dark Knight Returns. Anyway. It's worth watching, even though it's overly sentimental at times. The action is exhausting (in a good way), and it's very faithful to the graphic novel (main differences: much stronger female lead, plenty of details added, some penises covered up), if not historically accurate. Most obvious stupidities: References to "Hercules" (should be "Heracles", idiots! Hercules is the Roman name) and the month of "August" (which didn't exist until more than four centuries later).
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)
Pretty good Billy Wilder yarn consisting of stories Dr Watson censored. Originally supposed to be quite a bit longer than the 2 hours of the eventual theatrical, a third or so of it was cut by the studio. Some of this appears to be available as extras on the R1 DVD so why the fuck did I buy the R2 one?
Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi / Spirited Away (2001) (repeat)
Twofifty list. Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece, along with the comics version of Nausicaä.
Brief Encounter (1945)
Twofifty list. David Lean's adaptation of a Noel Coward play about adultery. If it actually is adultery, I'm not sure. Increasingly affecting and easy to identify with for those of us who ride a train often.
It's strange and interesting to see Dave McKean's art transferred to the screen, but I was still kinda disappointed. Nice to look at but the story is weak. Of course, you shouldn't expect Signal to Noise or Mr Punch when it's basically a children's movie. Scriptwriter Neil Gaiman reuses a riddle from his comics short "When is a Door" (which he claims he had forgotten about on the audio commentary). The music sucks.
Twofifty update: 243!