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Monday Movies: Intensity

Movies watched since last post:

  • Benny’s Video — realizing there were only three Haneke movies I hadn’t seen, I decided to try for completism. So soon after watching 71 Fragments, I didn’t want to like this one as I assumed it was going to be a pretty straightforward moralistic thing, but I found it all increasingly compelling as the parents got involved. Now only The Castle and Funny Games remain (I’m going to count the original of Funny Games as sufficient, even though Haneke did his own English-language remake).
  • The Color Purple — I watched this with my Feminist Theologies class, and it was kind of hard to take after I’d seen it so relatively recently (last year at about this time). I saw more artistry in it this time around, but I still find it disappointingly sentimental when it’s not overwhelmingly intense. Also: why on earth wouldn’t Celie’s children address her in English?!?!?
  • Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels — overall, I think we watched this one a decade or so too late, as all of the stuff that was so compelling about it has been copied many times over at this point. It was still a fun movie in itself, though the setup and exposition necessary to prepare for the huge clusterfuck of the ending dragged in spots.
  • The Trial — Brad recommended Orson Welles’ adaptation of Kafka to me, saying that it captured the weirdness and atmosphere of the novel, and I have to agree. The use of “Before the Law” as an opening was a particularly brilliant move. The Girlfriend especially loved it, saying it was her new favorite movie and even suggesting we rewatch it immediately.

What about you, my dear, loyal readers?


February 21, 2011 - Posted by | Monday Movies


  1. i watched Tristan+Isolde and 35 shots of rum, nice movies
    i liked better the movie version of the legend, i thought the opera and legend itself are a bit different, though the endings are all death, surely, and i like generally all movies with Rufus Sewell
    the second was a bit like Late Spring , but ordinary people’s ordinary life, always interesting

    Comment by read | February 21, 2011

  2. “Day of the Triffids.” Was the most recent BBC production. Four lost hours, basically. Obviously, the idea of your food getting revenge is one that appeals to me. (Although, in this case, the solution to the energy crisis and global warming. Big diff.) As is often the case, it took me about an hour to “learn” the accents so as to be able to figure out what was being said. The main character remained rather impenetrable throughout all four hours. I recommend that he not be cast in a role that requires narration in the future. Admittedly, for much of the show, I was working on a bibliography and tracking down articles to read, so I wasn’t paying full attention to the movie. Mind you, this might be the best way to watch it.

    We watched “Office Space” in class this week. We watched it in conjunction with reading “Bartleby.” They had trouble with both the movie and the story, but it was generally agreed that they liked Milton the most. They also agreed that it was funny, but they could not specify what about the movie was funny. They said they liked it, but they could not specify what they liked about it. Infuriating for an instructor, but, perhaps, appropriate to the subject matter.

    Comment by Craig | February 21, 2011

  3. I watched Don’t Look Back which was fantastic but confirmed all my suspicions about what a little shit Dylan was. The scene with Terry Ellis– so classic– and Dylan upstaging Donovon was hilarious.

    Comment by ebolden | February 21, 2011

  4. *DonovAn Whose influence I hear in Belle and Sebastian.

    Comment by ebolden | February 21, 2011

  5. 2/14/11 – Street Without End – Naruse
    2/16/11 – Story Written With Water – Yoshida
    2/17/11 – Portrait of Madame Yuki – Mizoguchi
    2/18/11 – Cafe Lumiere – Hsiao-hsien Hou
    2/19/11 – Higanbana – Ozu

    Comment by bob mcmanus | February 21, 2011

  6. For some reason, I was on a Daniel Craig kick this week and watched both Layer Cake and Defiance. Perhaps it has something to do with a striking resemblance to one of my favorite Tiger pitchers (Max Scherzer) and the start of spring training.

    There were large parts of Layer Cake where I was either tinkering with my phone, blogging, or yelling at my dog for chewing his bone too loudly. Combine that with dialog that was either too quiet to hear (couldn’t turn it up for the wife was sleeping) or too thickly accented to understand and I concede there may have been nuances missed. However, I enjoyed what I saw and comprehended.

    Defiance was fine for a movie I happened to queue up on a weekend afternoon while we watched hellish precipitation accumulate outside our windows. It didn’t evoke quite as much emotion as you might expect for a movie about brothers leading a band of Jews hiding in the forest from – and occasionally killing – Nazis to avoid the death camps. It also made unfortunate choices in trying to handle multiple languages and accents and all that.

    I went to the theater to watch Unknown, starring Liam Neeson. It had the misfortune of being similar enough to the Bourne movies to remind me I wasn’t watching a Bourne movie. Not surprisingly, when a movie reminds you of a Bourne movie, but isn’t, it’s going to be disappointing in comparison. I would say more, but it seems unfair to throw out spoilers on a movie that hasn’t been out for long.

    Comment by Matt in Toledo | February 22, 2011

  7. I’ve never liked Welles’s version of The Trial. Anthony Perkins’s Josef K is too defiant and strong-willed to be a Kafka protagonist; I never feel the horror of what’s happening to him the way I do in the novel because he never seems to feel it. He gets indignant, he gets angry, but he’s never lost or afraid or miserable or resigned – all of the things I associate with K as he gets slowly ground down over the course of the novel.

    And Welles chickens out on the ending. There’s a primal terror to getting gutted on a slab – “Like a dog!” – that speaks to the animal horror lying underneath The Trial’s bureaucratic facade. Welles’s ending, though, is bloodless and weirdly cartoonish. I don’t know whether Welles was just too disturbed by the source material as it was, or what, but the final product has never felt like The Trial to me.

    Comment by stras | February 22, 2011

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