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Monday Movies: The Purge

This week the only movie I watched all the way through was Woody Allen’s Zelig, on Brad’s recommendation. It was a nice way to spend an evening: charming and short. This weekend we started Pierrot le fou, which I thought would be one of Godard’s “normal” movies but quickly became one of his “crazy” ones (I really wanted a nice plot-driven French New Wave film, and this was not it), and Kyoshi Kurosawa’s Seance, which we were really enjoying but didn’t have time to finish before meeting up with a friend.

The big movie-related event for me was a major purge of my Netflix queue. For probably about a year now, my queue has been less a nice resource to remember the movies that I want to watch than an intimidating and seemingly endless list of movies that I can’t remember why I added and, in many cases, can’t discern why I would want to watch. In the last month or so, I’ve even considered declaring “Netflix bankruptcy” — just deleting everything and starting from scratch. This weekend I went from about 150 down to 75, and I’m tentatively planning a moratorium on adding things until the end of the school year. It seems to me that ultimately, holding steady around 50 or 60 might be the maximum level you can have and still have some kind of recollection for why things are on there.

All this is a way of preparing for this summer, when I’ll be making heavier use of my Netflix and so will want to be at least moderately enthusiastic about what I’m getting and not waste time leaving movies sitting around for weeks. We’ll see how that works. As it stands, though, in the next couple weeks, I’m likely to finally get around to things that I added literally the first day that I got Netflix, almost three years ago.


April 12, 2010 - Posted by | Monday Movies


  1. Boarding Gate by Olivier Assayas. A crime thriller that involves international trade, drug smuggling, assassination, Asia Argento in her underpants, with very little makeup, and criminal motives heightened by seeming trauma? Subtract all exposition to make this an intriguingly hard-to-follow sexy thriller. Add Kim Gordon just for fun.

    Comment by K-sky | April 12, 2010

  2. The Clash of the Titans remake was pretty horrible. And my expectations were not high to begin with — although I loved the Ray Harryhausen original and watched it a thousand times when I was a kid, I haven’t seen it since I was like ten and acknowledge that my tastes were not that developed at the time. But at least it was fun! This was awful. The story made like no sense at all — if the gods are real, and supernaturally powerful, and show up on earth from time to time to obliterate people on sight, how fucking stupid do humans have to be to decide they’re going to “take a stand”? Wouldn’t the only reasonable response be paralysis or fearful submission? How can you possibly expect to defeat Hades, who can turn himself into dust storms and killer bats and back again, and can kill you dead by just looking at you, with a bunch of knives and an axe?

    Somehow they do though. I don’t know how, because the editing was so choppy and the film so visually incoherent that I couldn’t figure out what was going on.

    Also, it made me mad when Perseus finds the mechanical owl and is like, we won’t be needing this. No dumbass, that’s exactly what you need, to save your movie from unbearable self-importance, because you people seem entirely to have forgotten that this movie is a silly fantasy for kids, and have therefore entirely neglected to make it any fun.

    The CGI was pretty great though.

    Also, I’m watching the recent (as in a couple years ago) multi-part film remake of Neon Genesis Evangelion. It is spectacularly beautiful, and so far very faithful to the original. It’s supposed to be a condensation of the series, but (at least so far) doesn’t feel very condensed. I forgot how crazy it is.

    Comment by jms | April 12, 2010

  3. I saw THREE movies this week! Enter the Dragon, Hell in the Pacific, and Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. I can say pretty confidently that the firstmost was the worstmost, and that I found Sunrise merely charming (at least once the Man and his Wife are reconciled in the City). One has to get used to the style of acting in a silent movie, something I’d forgotten about, and the plot/characterization was a little roughly sketched. (Five minutes in and already the Woman from the City is suggesting to the Man, you know, you could drown your wife.) But, it had the slinkiest manicurist captured on film and as I said the scenes in the city were great, so.

    Hell in the Pacific, despite a heavy-handed and abrupt ending, was super.

    Comment by ben | April 12, 2010

  4. Purging is probably the better idea, but I went with a more time-consuming option in order to tame my 250+ queue: alphabetizing.

    I watched Whatever Works and found it somewhat boring. I guess I was hoping for more of an Impotent Cynicism Epic, given its dream team of LD and WA. I’ve seen little of Allen, so I’m not qualified to say he was phoning anything in, though he may have been. Fortunately it was short, and I could watch LD rip on people all day, so it’s all good.

    Re TV: I finally completed the whole of Arrested Development. All of my friends said it was great fun, I had thought it was fun, based on the few eps I had seen, and we were all right. Primo fun time. Three seasons was enough, though. Watching Michael Cera (at least in AD and Superbad) is the visual equivalent of hearing my own voice. “What is that? It’s me!” The awkward, it burns.

    I think I’ll give Dexter a shot, though I’m wary that I burned myself out on serial killers a long time ago. Maybe not!

    Comment by Yrruk | April 13, 2010

  5. Enter the Dragon, Hell in the Pacific, and Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. I can say pretty confidently that the firstmost was the worstmost


    Comment by jms | April 13, 2010

  6. I didn’t say it was bad. I enjoyed it. Bruce Lee is a badass (even though the main bad guy could clearly have killed him easily at one point and decided instead to do something much more difficult, namely, give him a superficial scratch). But it was no Hell in the Pacific.

    Comment by ben | April 13, 2010

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