Key of Life (鍵泥棒のメソッド, 2012) – This year, I have developed a new love for Japanese film, and I’m pleased to see they do comedy just as well as the heavy dramas we import from them.
Storm Surfers 3D (2012) – Boy, they sure look like they’re having fun up there, don’t they.
Secret Film #1 (????) – Sorry, I had to sign a thing that said I wouldn’t discuss the secret film in any way.
Populaire (2012) – There may be something wrong with me. I’m starting to enjoy some romantic comedies. Though in loving Populaire, I feel I can make some excuses. It knows how ridiculous the genre is, and it runs with it. The movie starts with a ridiculous premise (a girl from a small village in Normandy competes in the worldwide speed-typing championships), and it goes all-out (the whole world watches the speed-typing championships with glee, and the winners become international celebrities). From time to time, I even get the sense it’s making fun of the tropes of romcoms while still committing fully to them. There may also be something about sport movies here, but I don’t know anything about sports.
As a side note to the people who design subtitles: why in God’s name would you position the subtitles so they run below the bottom edge of the screen? Don’t do that, stupid.
Lent is over for now. Has been for a month now, now that I think about it. During this time, the time I call the Lenterim, I will still be watching movies. This time of year happens to be the start of the 39th Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), so here we go.
Putzel (2012) – I believe it was Gertrude Stein who said “A romcom is a romcom is a romcom is a romcom” or something like that. While I’ve accustomed myself to movies that feature plot or characters or, in some cases, just pretty pictures, a romcom presents an experience without interest in any of these fields. For a romcom, rather than the stock characters of commedia dell’arte, romcoms give stock stories on which to build a setting. In this case, it’s a piece about a bagel shop on the Upper West Side. There are no surprises (if there were, it wouldn’t be a romcom), but at least it’s cute.
The Ten Commandments (1956) – Almost four hours. Four. Hours. Four, as in the number. Hours: the measure of time. Yul Brenner, you’re better than this, or at least you were.
Baraka (1992) – Absolutely breathtaking imagery, but not quiiite as good as Samsara from only a couple of years ago, which I guess is good, since it means the people and technology involved are improving with time.
Suspiria (1977) – I want that house, I don’t care how many people I have to gruesomely murder to acquire it.
The French Connection (1971) – It’s easy to note, with such hindsight, that The French Connection employs all the most worn-out cliches of cop dramas (except that no one calls Doyle a “loose cannon”), but you have to give this some credit for being in 1971, when the cliches were much fresher, at least in a non-noir context.
The Birth of a Nation (1915) – Well, three hours was certainly ambitious, to say the least. I keep hearing that I should judge this movie according to the standards of its own time and not those of today. So, I guess it’s safe to say the early 20th century was incredibly racist? Like, so racist, you can barely believe it isn’t some kind of joke.
Somewhere in there is the premise that war is bad, but it gets lost in the many other layers.