Somewhere after the end of each month I plan to do a roundup post of every film I watched during that previous month for the first time (if I tried to keep track of ALL the films I watched it would get out of hand). I’m still trying to figure out exactly how I want to go about doing them, so the first two or so will be trial runs before I hit the right formula, as it were. I’ve liked the way Kate started setting out her posts so I’ve taken a few tips from her in that regard.
Legion directed by Scott Charles Stewart, 2009
Being Julia directed by István Szabó, 2004
The Black Cat directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, 1934
Electric Dragon 80.000V directed by Gakuryu Ishii, 2001
Parting Glances directed by Bill Sherwood, 1984
The Black Cauldron directed by Ted Berman and Richard Rich, 1985
Teesri Manzil directed by Vijay Anand, 1966
The Magic Christian directed by Joseph McGrath, 1969
The War of the Worlds directed by Byron Haskin, 1953
Obviously I was very taken with The War of the Worlds but I think my favourite from April was Teesri Manzil…it’s only the second Bollywood film I’ve seen but I can easily see myself falling in love with them (though obviously they are as varied as films made anywhere). I love the vibrant colours of this film, the fun songs and I enjoy how important facial expressions (often exaggerated) seem to be, as well. Plus, I have to mention that it is a thriller/murder mystery, one of my favourite kinds of film (or TV show).
Well, it’s a tie between The Magic Christian and Legion. Now, The Magic Christian should have been something I loved: satirical, black humour, Peter Sellers, Ringo Starr, a nearly unrecognisable Laurence Harvey as Hamlet performing a striptease during the famous ‘To be or not to be’ soliloquy (imagine if Kenneth Branagh had taken some inspiration from this brief performance for his film! I know I’m imagining it), Yul Brynner in drag, Raquel Welch as ‘Priestess of the Whip’, Christopher Lee as a vampire…but somehow I ended up bored. According to Wiki Vito Russo referred to the film as ‘viciously homophobic’ in The Celluloid Closet but I must have missed those undertones whilst trying to force myself to somehow stay engaged with a film that didn’t grab me.
Then there was Legion. I like trashy films, I like ridiculous films, I like films that are terrible (either on purpose or accidentally) and I love Paul Bettany (swoon!) but I just couldn’t get into this film. At all. It felt like it perhaps took itself a little too seriously? Some of the criticism on IMDB comes from the small amount of action scenes in the film (and the slow pacing of the scenes between) and, whilst I usually like films that involve a lot of talking, for once I agree. The characters are flat, despite making time for a bit of a back story for each, the pacing is off and it’s all a bit messy. I think it would have been easier to write about if I’d hated it but, as with The Magic Christian, I mainly just felt ‘eh’ about it.
I don’t know if I will do this each month but I feel like Parting Glances deserves an honourable mention if only for the complete and utter babeliness of Steve Buscemi. This picture keeps circling around my Tumblr dashboard, largely uncredited of course, and I feel like everyone should know which film it’s from. Not only because Steve Buscemi is beautiful but because the film is lovely and poignant and important (it was apparently “one of the first American films to address the AIDS-HIV pandemic”). Buscemi certainly steals the show – I love watching big name actors in their early work, especially when they are just as impressive as ever.
You can see my ratings for each of these films here but I will say that I find rating things on a scale or what-not quite arbitrary. I find it difficult to quantify my reactions to/feelings about something with a number out of 5 or so on but you’ll get a bit of an idea I suppose.