My computer is still working but my internet is sketchy. Ahhh such is the life of a university student. And the life of a film student means my total film watching for this week isn’t quite as high as I would have liked but the films I’ve seen were pretty awesome. Strangely no new Contenders again this week, but because of a viewing for class, Double Indemnity is getting away without a full review (I just don’t have time at the moment) but is being moved up from Contender to Canon status. Four films for classes and one for Kino Hearts, then another two for another project I’m working on with some friends and my total films watched for fun this week amounts to only 3. Le sigh.
FS252 – Film Noir
Scarlet Street (1945) dir. Fritz Lang
Edward G. Robinson is a truly incredible actor. Of the actors I have columbused recently he is easily my favourite and this film solidifies that fact. Between Little Caesar, Double Indemnity, and now Scarlet Street. Here rather than playing the cold hearted gangster or the witty Insurance fraud investigator, he’s a schmuck who gets pulled into immoral activity by a true Femme Fatale. Its a sad story, but well worth checking out.
The Killers (1946) dir. Robert Siodmak
I first saw this in first year film class and I still feel roughly the same towards it as I did then. The first twenty minutes or so, before the flashback investigation begins, are incredible. Totally thrilling and invigorating cinema. The rest of the film falls flat. And to be honest, I think that has to do with the fact that the first bit is almost moment for moment an adaptation of the Hemingway story. Its incredibly faithful in movement and tone and that makes a difference.
Double Indemnity (1944) dir. Billy Wilder
In my initial review I said that I wanted to watch the film again immediately after it ended. That was true of the second viewing as well. Just watch the clip below, it demonstrates the incredible talent of all involved and just how noir the film is. The blinds, the girl, the dialogue, the sexual tension. Its all there. Its all noir. And that’s just the opening scene.
“How could I have known that murder, can sometimes smell like honeysuckle.”
Double Indemnity is a classic, and one that I feel will end up in the Canon soon.
FS341 – Classical Film Theory
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) dir. F.W. Murnau
Its another silent film and thus it does not qualify for a rating from me. This one I think I enjoyed more but even then I still can’t say that I liked it or would ever watch it again.
Funny Girl (1968) dir. William Wyler
This is my anti-Sound of Music. SOM is a film that before the intermission I adore. Every song (that I know every word to) every moment; I love it. Then the Nazi’s come and ruin everything. After the marriage I absolutely can’t stand it and it drops the rating significantly. Funny Girl though its the opening hour I can’t stand. Even the song “People” doesn’t work for me. But then “You are woman, I am man” starts. And while the lyrics are slightly bothersome, the way the song is brought to screen is gorgeous (no pun intended). And from there till the final shots of “My Man” I’m in love. The characters are totally engaging and feel fully developed and real. It is a great film and I’m very glad that I got to see it.
The 39 Steps (1935) dir. Alfred Hitchcock
While it doesn’t compete with the later Hitchcock films for me, I love how this film is almost like if It Happened One Night was a british spy film. I liked it.
All That Heaven Allows (1955) dir. Douglas Sirk
Douglas Sirk is one interesting director. On the one hand his dialogue is absolutely atrocious. On the other hand he didn’t write it and the film looks absolutely incredible. The featured image for this post (which is also below) is just one of the myriad shots this film has to offer in terms of pure beauty. He has such an understanding of colour and space and atmosphere that while the dialogue makes me cringe, I can’t look away.
Written on the Wind (1956) dir. Douglas Sirk
This film’s dialogue isn’t quite as bad and I would actually put the narrative a step above ATHA. However, the cinematic qualities of the film aren’t quite as beautiful so it gets the same rating overall.
Persepolis (2007) dir. Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi
I don’t really have much to say about this film other than it is sad and it is a must see for fans of animated film. In terms of bringing the style of a graphic novel to screen, few films achieve at this level, and the story is well worth being told (so much so that you really should read the GN anyways).
Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) dir. Michael Bay
Yes, you are reading that right. The most recent Transformers film is not just enjoyable enough for a first viewing positive review (which you can find here). It is enjoyable enough that I am giving a full recommendation that this is in competition for the best Michael Bay film ever. I fully stand by my review from the summer and will quote the most important line here.
This film is entertaining in its own way, the Michael Bay way. Perhaps I’ve just been conditioned by too many years of Bay’s filmmaking. Perhaps I’m predisposed to like this film because I like Mark Whalberg, Stanley Tucci, and Kelsey Grammar. Or maybe there is something more to this film than we want to admit. Maybe Age of Extinction is the kind of big dumb action movie that we say we don’t enjoy even though secretly the unveiling of the Dinobots makes our inner child giddy with glee.
This is the Transformers movie that gets the transformers franchise the best. It understands what it is and goes for it 150%. Does that make it good? Even I can’t answer that honestly, but I think I’m okay with that. I may be okay with Michael Bay.
However that last part is no longer true. I can answer the question of Michael Bay and Transformers AOE honestly. It is a good film and I’m not ashamed.