Friday, February 28, 2014

445. Subarnarekha

Golden River
Directed by Ritwik Ghatak

I had one of those "did I see this?  Wait, that doesn't look familiar. Maybe I did?"  moments when I started this film.  I really hate it when that happens because I would like to think that I am very good at remembering movies.  However, I soon realized that I had seen this movie probably ten times since I started The Book journey-just with different titles and actors.

This is the story of an Indian family trying to keep it all together, but after tragedy upon tragedy is heaped upon them...they don't end up doing so hot.  The number of terrible things that happen to these people made me think, somewhat inappropriately, of the Debbie Downer sketch on SNL.  I still don't know how so many tragedies could happen in one movie and have it still be boring.

I will confess, though, that my version of this film was so bad that it fueled my hate fire.  The subtitles were cut right in the middle like a bad Xerox and at some point the actors all turned into silhouettes. So far, this seems to be the only version available.

Hated this film, which is a shame because the opening scenes were actually quite promising.

RATING: *----

Interesting Facts:

No facts on this one.  Hmmm...did you know Hitler was named man of the year of Times Magazine in 1938?  Pretty messed up.

Monday, February 24, 2014

444. Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
Directed by Russ Meyer

Oh dear lord.

People seem to be on two sides of the spectrum here.  On the one hand, some condemn this film as extremely misogynistic; just a sweaty male preteen fantasy.  On the other hand, some say that this film is a work of feminism.  The women in this film use their bodies as weapons and are certainly not victims.  So where do I fall on this debate?

Definitely, definitely on the "this is a sexist piece of garbage" side.  One reason is just a feeling so I can't back it up too well.  I just did not get that sense that the director was supporting women with this film. I definitely felt that there was a lot of hate driving this movie and it certainly wasn't aimed at sexism.

Even I couldn't stop staring at the breasts of Tura Santana.  I feel like if feminists try to justify the outrageously revealing outfits, they are really grasping at straws.

I should also mention that the plot is absolutely ridiculous and the acting was atrocious.  Did I feel empowered by this film?  Not in the slightest.  The most positive message I can take away from this film is that women can be psychopaths too!  Well, I already knew that, thanks.  Give me Buffy any day.

After all, John Waters loved this movie.  Enough said.

RATING: *----

Interesting Facts:

Meyer chose this particular delightful title because he claimed that speed, violence, and sex are all that's necessary for a good film.


443. Pierrot le fou

Pierrot le fou
Pierrot The Madman
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard

I am sorry I haven't posted in awhile.  It has been a combination of an insane amount of work and not being able to find a version of this film with English subtitles.  However, I finally tracked down a copy and was able to watch it while cleaning my chinchilla's cage.  Was my experience colored by the fact that I was scrubbing urine off the walls while I was watching it?  Read on!

Ferdinand is in an unhappy marriage so decides to run off with his ex-girlfriend Marianne.  Of course, bitches be crazy so he soon finds himself on the run from a group of gangsters.

I actually started out loving this movie.  The film starts with Ferdinand attending a party full of extremely shallow people with his wife.  I love stories that deal with death by monotony.   However, this story quickly went off the rails after that fantastic scene.

This is still a spoiler free site, but I have to talk about the ending a bit.  It seemed almost cartoonish, but when you think of the reality of the situation, it is really quite horrifying.  So were we supposed to take it seriously (in which case, that's highly disturbing) or was it supposed to viewed in the same way kids view Wile the Coyote cartoons?

In the end, I thought the plot would be a more entertaining and it was a bit too surreal for my taste.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

What are everyone's thoughts on the coming Oscars?  I only saw American Hustle and was not a fan.

Godard claimed this was not a film, but an attempt at cinema.  Did anyone get through that sentence without rolling their eyes?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

442. Giulietta degli spiriti

Giulietta Degli Spiriti
Juliet of the Spirits
Directed by Federico Fellini

Federico, we meet again.  I have never enjoyed anything this man has done and yet I am forced to watch seven of his movies from The Book and come up with individual reasons why I don't like each movie, since I think my readers might face my main reason ("Because Fellini is a giant butthead!) a bit childish.

Juliet believes that her husband is cheating on her so, of course, she does the only rational thing: explores her sexuality with her sexy neighbor, Suzy (did I even have to write that?  I think it was implied).  Anyway, the film mixes fantasy with realism and feels like one of those crazy acid trips that I have always despised.

A lot of people have praised this film for its beauty but for me, it was a bit too much, kind of like Masque of Red Death without the fun.

Sorry for the short review, but I have lots of insignificant busy work to get to!

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Fellini took LSD in preparation for making this movie.  Did I call it or did I call it?


441. Repulsion

Directed by Roman Polanski

This is the first Roman Polanski movie on The List.  He has actually been in the headlines lately because of the renewed discussions of the Woody Allen sex scandal.  Comparisons are drawn between the two of them because it brings up an interesting question: can we separate the artist and his work? First of all, I think it is ridiculous to compare the two: Polanski pled guilty to rape charges while it has never been proven that Allen molested Dylan Farrow.  But in my opinion you can absolutely separate the artist's work from the artist's life, especially when the scandal occurs after the the artist is well established.  Maybe I won't get tickets to the next Mel Gibson movie, but I am not going to pretend that I hated Braveheart.

Anyway, I saw this movie awhile ago when I was eagerly viewing every horror film on The List.  There are hundreds of types of horror movies (I don't just mean slasher, monster, or supernatural; I am thinking way more specifically like creepy child, dead teenager getting revenge on her tormentors, haunted insane asylum, etc.).  I have seen so many horror flicks that I pretty much know my stand on every single kind.  This film is the "person slowly going crazy, possibly all in their head, possibly not" type and let me tell you, I have never been too much a fan.  It is a frustrating watch for the viewer and in my experience, is rarely scary.

Carol's sexual fears are pretty interesting and lends itself to some discussion: was she just a closed off lesbian?  Was she abused when she was younger?  Was she ever going to find treatment?

I realize I was kind of all over the place with this review, but it is just one of those days.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

First female orgasm passed by the British sensors.


440. Campanadas a Medianoche

Campanadas a Medianoche
Chimes at Midnight
Directed by Orson Welles

I was really confused when I started this movie?  A Spanish Orson Welles movie?  The title Chimes at Midnight sounds like a Chinese romance.  However, once I realized that it was an adaptation of Henry IV, I rejoiced with nerdy excitement.

I should start by explaining that I love Shakespeare and have never found a play I haven't liked.  Nearly all my friends are crazy about him and the worst argument I ever have gotten into with my friend Dan was when I said that the St. Crispin's Day was not the best speech in history of the world.  However, I completely understand if Shakespeare isn't your jam, which is a shame, because there a quite a few of them in The Book.

Orson Welle plays an extremely large Falstaff, who is Prince Hal's friend.  Prince Hal fucks around a lot, but claims that he is simply playing the part of a screw up until he becomes King.  I think Prince Hal is a fascinating character, simply because you never know if he is bullshitting or not.  Anyway, Hotspur, who is an equally interesting man, wants to overthrow the current ruler.

I have actually analyzed this play to death since we read it in a Shakespeare class I took in college.  However, this is a film blog, so I should probably stick to talking about the cinematic aspects of this story.

Orson Welles is entering his slightly odd, slightly blimp-ish phase here and we see quite a bit that here.    The directing is still excellent but the acting bordered on hammish sometimes.  Otherwise, it was a pretty faithful adaptation and one that I enjoyed.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Orson Welles' favorite of his films.

Available on YouTube:

Thursday, February 6, 2014

439. Alphaville

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard

I am actually a huge science fiction fan; there is something about such blatant cheesiness that is appealing to me.  I totally understand if this genre isn't for everyone which is a shame if you are attempting the 1001 journey since you have to sit through so many of those movies anyway.  Science fiction haters actually might find some redeeming qualities in it since so many elements from different genres are present here.

Alphaville is a futuristic society that has outlawed emotion, love, and any other form of free thought.  A Sam Spade-esque character named Caution vows to destroy Alpha 60, which is a computer that controls all of Alphaville.  There are actually so many similarities between this and 1984 that I almost thought I should protest.

Well, this is a great film.  I love films that combine genres and this one pulled that off perfectly.  Okay, so the concept is a bit cliche and the technology obviously has dated.  Still, a great movie and, of course because it is Godard, beautifully done.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Germans and Americans were shown as those most ready to assimilate.  Thanks, man.


438. Rękopis znaleziony w Saragossie

Rekopis Znaleziony w Saragossie
Saragossa Manuscript
Directed by Wojciech Jerzy Has

First of all, I wanted to ask my frequent commentator Ray, if he would be willing to shoot me an email. I am doing a profile on Andrew from 1001movieman and would love to have a couple comments about him from one of his most devoted followers.  My email address is  I am asking this publicly because I love the thrill of rejection in front of an audience.

Now, onto to one of those movies that I promise I won't remember in two weeks.  I didn't even understand what was going on with the plot when I was watching it and now I must recount it.  I feel like I just got called on in class and didn't hear the question.

Okay, let's give this a try.  A soldier finds a book and the author is someone's grandfather?  The story then follows the soldier's adventures as he goes through haunted woods.  He meets two sisters who claim that they are his cousins and he must marry him.  Then things get gross.  Then the gypsies start telling a story which officially makes it a story within a story within a story.  Yikes.

It is really hard to pay attention to a complicated story that doesn't interest you in any way.  This movie has been described as sexy.  While if incest is sexy to you...ugh, let's not go down that road.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Fans of this movie include Luis Bunuel and Martin Scorsese.

Available on YouTube:

Monday, February 3, 2014

437. The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music
Directed by Robert Wise

Moving right along from the highly disturbing Battle of Algiers, we now have to deal with a sickeningly sweet musical.  Gotta love the chronological system!

I think everyone has either voluntarily seen this movie, been forced to watch it against their will, or been haunted by sleepless nights when they can't get "My Favorite Things" out of their heads.  I belong to the first category and well I can't say I hated it, I can certainly see why this movie could get on people's nerves.

Julie Andrews plays the impossible optimist Maria, who is sent to be the governess of the Von Trapp family.  She teaches them to sing and be a general annoyance to dinner party guests.  Eventually, she falls in love with the strict father Georg Von Trapp.  Nazi hilarity ensues.

I generally love musicals and have to admit that I have several of these songs memorized.  However, the story is barely plausible, the Maria character is a bit hard to swallow without gagging, and the children's actions are unusual at best.  Still, a must see movie; it has been parodied a thousand times.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Anyone seen the recent Carrie Underwood version?  Is it as bad as everybody says?

Just looked this film up on Wikipedia.  Hint: any time a character is described as "free spirited" it probably means they are annoying as hell.

Christopher Plummer refers to this movie as "S&M" or "Sound of Mucus".

Charmian Carr and Christopher Plummer would often flirt with each other on set.

In reality, if the Von Trapps had traveled through the mountains to escape, they would have ended up near Hitler's mountain retreat.

Make sure there isn't any glass around for this number:

436. La Battaglia Di Algeri

La Battaglia Di Algeri
The Battle of Algiers
Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo

I sat in front of the computer for a ridiculously long time before I wrote this review.  On the one hand, this isn't a really enjoyable film (nor should it be, considering the subject matter) and I am assuming that most people (including myself) watch a film to be entertained.  On the other hand, I would definitely agree that is a must see movie.

In short, this film covers the events that happened during the war for Algerian independence from 1954 to 1957.  The story centers on the character Ali la Pointe, but honestly, I kept forgetting about him with everything else that was going on.  Terrorist attacks and torture are shown and there were quite a few times that I wanted to turn off the computer and never turn it on again.  Of course, it is nothing next to some of the shit The Book has put me through but it is still really disturbing.

I don't think we ever covered Algerian independence specifically in high school, but we learned enough about African colonization to know that it was a giant shit show, as demonstrated with this film.

Now, if the goal of the filmmakers was to educate us about the atrocities that were committed by both sides of this conflict, they did a fantastic job.  If their goal was to make a thrilling and entertaining movie...well, not so much.  Still, a must watch.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:


Banned in France until 1974 and only released in a cut form.

French numbers report that there may have been up to one million loyalists in Algeria at that time.  They are not portrayed in the film.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

435. Tokyo Orimpikku

Tokyo Orimpikku
Tokyo Olympiad
Directed by Kon Ichikawa

I am starting to regret the picture I chose because it looks like an ad for tampons.  Oh well, we will go with it; I am tired.  This is actually a relevant movie to watch (which rarely happens on this blog since I go chronologically) because the Olympics are starting in week.  I have absolutely no interest in sports but I am terrified that something horrible is going to happen there.  This is when most people say send your prayers, but I am atheist so...I don't know; send something else.  Again, I am tired.

Previously on The List, we had to watch the 1936 Olympics.  I was pleasantly surprised with that film, since I expected to be really bored and was actually mildly entertained.  Of course, with that movie, every once awhile Hitler would be shown cheering in the audience so you kind of had to stay on your toes.  This time, however, was the opposite.  While I expected excitement, I was terribly bored.

It is pretty much a straight record of the Olympics.  There is nothing really extra here so if you like sports, you will enjoy the film; if you don't, you will not.  Honestly, though even if you love sports, some of the events are beyond ridiculous.  The speed walking?  You all realize people can see you guys right?

Anyway, at least all this Olympic watching will help my Trivial Pursuit game.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Reedited after the Japanese government was displeased with Ichikawa's artistic takes on events.