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Monday Movies: An Experiment Too Far

Movies watched in the past week:

  • M. — continuing in my recent Weimar Germany kick, this movie is apparently the first instance of a serial killer in cinema. Though much more enjoyable than Fritz Lang’s more famous work, Metropolis, this movie basically didn’t seem to know yet what to do with its material. The idea of the criminals going after the child-killer was great, the use of the beggars to track him was great, etc., but somehow it didn’t come together, most likely because of the lack of focus on the most fascinating element in any serial killer film: i.e., the serial killer. This could be great if remade well — The Girlfriend and I suggest Audiard as the director.
  • The Holy Mountain — when I said I planned to use Jesus movies in my New Testament course, a colleague mentioned this so many times I finally had to see it. It is essentially the Platonic form of avant garde film. It has more nudity than Eyes Wide Shut, and it features the Jesus character shitting into a glass jar, with the feces subsequently being cooked on camera. The first two thirds were really remarkable, but kind of like what happens with SNL-type comedies, the felt need to have some kind of plot resolution by the end ruined the last third. The pan out at the end to show that the whole thing was just a movie was extremely heavy-handed, but of course the movie was designed to be watched while on acid.

March 15, 2010 - Posted by | boredom


  1. There is an American remake of M, which I unfortunately missed when it was on in Berkeley recently. It does sound from the synopsis that it focuses more on the psychology of the serial killer than the original.

    Comment by voyou | March 15, 2010

  2. But the interesting thing about M isn’t the serial killer – it’s society’s reaction to the serial killer, particularly the community of criminals that serves as a grotesque but more transparent parallel of proper society. Lorre’s performance made everyone remember it as a serial killer movie, but it’s not about a serial killer, and who would care about it if it was? What could be more boring, at this point, than another movie about a serial killer?

    Comment by stras | March 15, 2010

  3. “Observe and Report” is probably the best “cop movie” since “Training Day”–if not the original “Die Hard.” Highly recommended. Note: after this movie and seeing the “Friends” season with Ana Faris on TV, I’m pretty sure that I do not care for her in the least.

    Comment by Craig | March 15, 2010

  4. Observe and Report was the worst! My god!

    I watched The Wind that Shakes the Barley, yet another in Ken Loach’s “depressing tales of revolution and the subsequent Thermidorian reaction”. It was good in that way that these sorts of movies are, but wasn’t as good as Land and Freedom, or “The same movie but set in Spain”. I did enjoy watching them shoot English soldiers though…

    I also watched Bresson’s Pickpocket. Great photography, but the main actor sort of sucked and I didn’t feel like he cared much if the plot made sense.

    Lovefilm (UK version of Netflix) better start sending me some of the fucking comedies on my list.

    Comment by Anthony Paul Smith | March 15, 2010

  5. At this point I think Craig’s recommendations are all part of an elaborate put-on.

    Comment by stras | March 15, 2010

  6. The most chilling aspect of M is the similarity of the courtroom scene to Freisler’s Volksgerichtshof in the years to come, e.g.

    It’s almost like Freisler took the chief thug as a role model.

    Comment by Olaf Bickern | March 15, 2010

  7. Observe and Report was the worst! My god!

    This is categorically false.

    Comment by Craig | March 15, 2010

  8. Check out Winstanley if you haven’t, Kotsko. It’s great!

    J. Rose had some nice things to say about it if you’re not convinced:

    Comment by Marc W. | March 16, 2010

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