Film Journal 2007

* after title indicates film was seen on dvd/video
^ after title indicates film was unfinished.

Title in italic indicates that I had previously seen the film

001. (Jan 01) NOTES ON A SCANDAL (2006, Richard Eyre) 33

002. (Jan 01) PERFUME: THE STORY OF A MURDERER (2006, Tom Tykwer) 79

003. (Jan 02) JACKASS NUMBER TWO (2006, Jeff Tremaine)* 65

Unrated DVD edition with horse semen drinking and ball leeching fully intact.

003. (Jan 04) THE RULES OF THE GAME (1939, Jean Renoir) 91

Second viewing, first in theater.

004. (Jan 05) KILL BILL, VOL. 1 (2003, Quentin Tarantino)* 97

Fourth viewing, first on dvd.

005. (Jan 06) REGULAR LOVERS (2005, Philippe Garrel) 59

006. (Jan 07) CHILDREN OF MEN (2006, Alfonso Cuaron) 68
Second viewing, down from 72.

007. (Jan 08) PAN'S LABYRINTH (2006, Guillermo Del Toro) 62

008. (Jan 08) THE QUEEN (2006, Stephen Frears) 58

009. (Jan 08) VOLVER (2006, Pedro Almodavar) 54

That's right, three new releases in one day (and three different theaters).

010. (Jan 09) OLD SCHOOL (2003, Todd Phillips)* 58

011. (Jan 12) CRANK (2006, Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor)* 50
Run Lola Run remade by American frat boys.

012. (Jan 16) FREEDOM WRITERS (2007, Richard LaGravenese) 66

013. (Jan 17) LA MOUSTACHE (2005, Emmanuel Carrère) 63

014. (Jan 18) I CONFESS (1953, Alfred Hitchcock)*

015. (Jan 23) FIGURES IN A LANDSCAPE (1970 Joseph Losey)* 62

016. (Jan 27) IDIOCRACY (2006, Mike Judge)* 57

017. (Jan 28) SMOKIN' ACES (2006, Joe Carnahan) 16

018. (Feb 17) FROM BEYOND (1986, Stuart Gordon)* 70

019. (Feb 18) HOLLYWOODLAND (2006, Allen Coulter)* 40

s001. (Feb 19) DESTRICTED: IMPALED (2006, Larry Clark)* R

s002. (Feb 20) EL CICLO (2003, Victor Garcia)* NR

020. (Feb 25) THE RIGHT OF THE WEAKEST (2006, Lucas Belvaux)* 79

021. (Mar 03) MODERN ROMANCE (1981, Albert Brooks) 65

022. (Mar 03) ZODIAC (2007, David Fincher) 63

023. (Mar 04) BLACK SNAKE MOAN (2006, Craig Brewer) 60

024. (Mar 07) MACHINE GUN MCCAIN (1968, Giuliano Montaldo) 53

025. (Mar 07) WIPEOUT [aka IL BOSS] (1973, Fernando Di Leo) 61

026. (Mar 11) THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (1977, Charles B. Pierce) 47
Very square for a “Grindhouse” film; this film would have seemed right in step with the B-movies of the 1950s much more than the exploitation schlock of the late 70s (perhaps this explains why one of the victims is named Samuel Fuller) but all the stuff with the Phantom killer is either unremarkable or unintentionally humorous (a chase with the killer has him decked out in his full gear and mask when it doesn't make a lick of sense for him to be).  It’s always nice to see Ben Johnson, even if his post-Oscar winning work in The Last Picture Show only meant he could secure steady work in AIP films.

027. (Mar 11) ROLLING THUNDER (1977, John Flynn) 64

Second viewing, first in theater.
This worked better for me on this second viewing, perhaps partially due to the enthusiastic crowd receiving the film at the New Beverly but mostly because of how much I enjoyed the quiet scenes between Devane and Haynes which obviously aren’t going to lead anywhere rewarding for her and you can see her realize it progressively.  Tommy Lee Jones is very solid in support even though he isn’t given much to do but his reaction upon hearing of about the forthcoming violence is priceless.

028. (Mar 11) INGLORIOUS BASTARDS (1977, Enzo G. Castellari)* 76

It’s easy to see why Tarantino wants to pay homage to this in an upcoming film because it is already so clearly an homage to the countless war action films that came out of America in the 50s and 60s (Dirty Dozen, Where Eagles Dare and a touch of Bridge on the River Kwai for good measure).  This is easily as entertaining as those films and is quite loving in its adherence to familiar clichés while constantly trying to surprise you with a left-field battle sequence or some odd-ball, non sequitur bit of character development. 

029. (Mar 14) LARS AND THE REAL GIRL (2007, Craig Gillespie)^ 51
This was a work print with a temp score and lacked final color timing. Grade obviously doesn't reflect the final product but it would take a lot of work to get me out of mixed territory because of tonal inconsistency and the general feeling that the film was making fun of a character that is more tragic than comic. Some terrific performances and especially fine work by Emily Mortimer and Paul Schneider (who I wish would get more work).

030. (Mar 17) SECRETS (1933, Frank Borzage) 36

031. (Mar 17) MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW (1937, Leo McCarey) 84

032. (Mar 18) TOUGH [aka JOHNNY TOUGH] (1974, Horace Jackson) 40

033. (Mar 18) BROTHERHOOD OF DEATH (1976, Bill Berry) 64

034. (Mar 19) EL TOPO (1970, Alejandro Jodorowsky)

Second viewing, first in theater.

035. (Mar 25) 300 (2007, Zack Snyder) 18

036 (Mar 25) SHORTBUS (2006, John Cameron Mitchell)* 42

I admire the spirit of this movie and its unwillingness to be filtered. Mitchell has created a worldview that is completely unrefrained and slightly too open for me. Since the film offers little except the excitment of its spectacle, I have to withdraw myself because I am partially put-off by some of the ins and outs of this film's sexuality.

037. (Mar 29) THE BIG RACKET (1976, Enzo G. Castellari)* 63

038. (Apr 08) GRINDHOUSE (2007, Robert Rodriguez/Rob Zombie/Edgar Wright/Eli Roth/Quentin Tarantino) 74
038a. (Apr 08) MACHETE (2007, Robert Rogriguez) R
038b. (Apr 08) PLANET TERROR (2007, Robert Rodruguez) 63
038c. (Apr 08) WEREWOLF WOMEN OF THE S.S. (2007, Rob Zombie) R
038d. (Apr 08) DON'T (2007, Edgar Wright) R
038e. (Apr 08) THANKSGIVING (2007, Eli Roth) R
038f. (Apr 08) DEATH PROOF (2007, Quentin Tarantino) 84

039. (Apr 13) I SHOT JESSE JAMES (1949, Samuel Fuller)* 81

040. (Apr 18) NIGHT TRAIN MURDERS (1975, Aldo Lado)* 61
Sure this is basically Last House on the Left on a train, but it is far more interesting for the ways it differs from Craven's film than for the ways it is similar. The film takes its time before unleashing the horror elements of the plot (roughly 45 minutes before the girls are actually attacked) and the violence is more emotional than physical; the sexual humiliation of the girls is given much more screentime than the eventual brutality which is actually a much more effective technique in my estimation and made me pretty uncomfortable with what I was watching. The eventual violence is not undermined or sugarcoated in any way by Lado and it has quite an impact. On the DVD special features Lado speaks about a class commentary that he hoped to smuggle into the film but didn't really come off as he had intended, mostly because it is so easily interpreted as just being part of the films pessimistic view of human nature. Lado is a director that warrants further attention.

041. (Apr 21) VACANCY (2007, Nimród Antal) 60

Refreshingly simple and swift; with interestingly miscast actors and solid technical work from everyone involved.

042. (Apr 22) THE LOOKOUT (2007, Scott Frank) 46

Not really seeing the big deal here; the crime plot is very standard stuff and the characters are clearly a writer's creation that there is little fun in seeing how they will pay off as the plot unfolds. When the plot does eventually unfold, things seem to either fall into the territory of the utterly predictable (the fate of the friendly, wife-is-expecting-a-baby Cop) or the oddly sloppy (Ilsa Fisher's Luvlee is dropped from the film once she isn't needed anymore).

043. (Apr 23) THE COLD-BLOODED BEAST (1971, Fernando Di Leo)* 54

Especially sleazy horror film from Di Leo has enough violence and sex (often at the same time) to please undemanding genre fans but everyone else will probably view this as a series of missed opportunities; the most egregious is casting Kinski as a psychiatrist and having him turn in an uncharacteristically subtle performance in a movie that is otherwise without subtlety. The film is also undeniably silly, with midevil torture devices proudly displayed throughout the mental institution (!) and inmates allowed to basically run free and have sexual encounters with all of the hospital staff (the hospital seems to only treat women that are raving sex maniacs). Very watchable but also instantly forgettable.

044. (Apr 27) LIVE LIKE A COP, DIE LIKE A MAN (1976, Ruggero Deodato)* 45

I am approaching Deodato's filmography with the same caution of someone checking the bathtub with their toe before fully emerging; even though he is best known as a horror director, I decided to start with his Poliziotteschi Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man which also fits right in with my exploration of Fernando Di Leo (who gets a writing credit here). However, this is a fairly routine variation on Dirty Harry with the line between the criminals and cops almost totally eroded by the torture antics the hero cops employ in order to take down the criminal enterprise. Deodato handles the action set pieces with a lot of energy but sacrifices the logic and geography for visceral impact and his sadistic side that makes his horror films so notorious is on full display here, with all the violence pushed further than the already incredibly violent genre standard (complete with a eye-gouging scene that was apparently greatly shortened for theatrical release). The biggest disappointment here is with Di Leo's script which is severely lacking in many ways; especially in painting a sufficiently powerful crime organization for the Elite Cops to go against (something of a genre standard, so far as I can tell), instead the cops tactics seem especially brutal and uncompromising.

045. (Apr 29) DEJA VU (2006, Tony Scott)* 67

046. (May 01) THE HITCHER (2007, Dave Meyers)* 47

Shockingly faithful to the original film, with the mounting implausibility and wrong man scenario firmly in place (which makes less sense 20 years later with technology as it is) and the shocks are totally predictable if you have even the faintest memory of the original. Sean Bean is well cast as the title character and makes for quite an intimidating presence and Meyers has turned in a slick product with a sly visual sense of humor but we have already been down this road before and nothing here feels sufficiently fresh to warrant a recommendation. A missed oppertunity in my estimation but never unwatchable.

047. (May 06) SEX & FURY (1973, Norifuma Suzuki)* 71

048. (May 13) 28 WEEKS LATER... (2007, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo) 55

049. (May 13) TERRIFYING GIRLS' HIGH SCHOOL: LYNCH LAW CLASSROOM (1973, Norifumi Suzuki)* 78

050. (May 26) CHILDREN OF MEN (2006, Alfonso Cuaron)* 65
Similar to Gus Van Sant's Elephant in that I am incredibly impressed by it on a technical level and I keep returning to it just to marvel at individual scenes or the fluid cinematography. It doesn't add up to much beyond that though.

051. (Jun 02) KNOCKED UP (2007, Judd Apatow) 56

052. (Jun 09) BRAND UPON THE BRAIN (2006, Guy Maddin)

053. (Jun 10) HOT FUZZ (2007, Edgar Wright)

054. (Jun 10) HOSTEL: PART 2 (2007, Eli Roth)

055. (Jun 10) THE GUARDIAN (1990, William Friedkin)*

056. (Jun 16) OCEAN'S 13 (2007, Steven Soderbergh) 51

057. (Jun 23) 1408 (2007, Mikael Håfström) 61

058. (Jun 30) SICKO (2007, Michael Moore) 50

W/O. (Jun 30) KABLUEY (2007, Scott Prendergast)

059. (Jun 30) LADY CHATTERLEY (2006, Pascale Ferran) 73

060. (Jul 02) SHOOTER (2007, Antoine Fuqua)* 40

061. (Jul 04) LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD (2007, Len Wiseman) 36

062. (Jul 06) THE BOSS OF IT ALL (2006, Lars Von Trier)* 61

063. (Jul 07) MURPHY'S LAW (1986, J. Lee Thompson)* 54
This film starts very well; with a great character defining credit sequence showing Bronson getting ready for work while his body is still sleeping off the previous night of hard-drinking.  Thompson approaches the film with a classicism that is reminiscent of 40s and 50s film noir and he is really let down by the conventionality of the screenplay once it settles into its familiar buddy formula.  I will be curious to see some of the other Thompson/Bronson films though since this one is sometimes of interest even though it is finally fairly mediocre.

064. (Jul 08) JOSHUA (2007, George Ratcliff) 51

065. (Jul 10) 'DOC' (1971, Frank Perry)* 44
Revisionist Western by the recently re-appraised Frank Perry turns out to be very standard material for the time period; with 'Doc' as the tragic anti-hero and Wyatt Earp imagined here as a greedy, opportunistic politician. Pretty limp stuff beyond the surface-level alterations to the myth.

066. (Jul 11) 10 TO MIDNIGHT (1983, J. Lee Thompson)* 53

067. (Jul 14) ALLIGATOR (1980, Lewis Teague)* 64

068. (Jul 14) GRINDHOUSE (2007, Robert Rodriguez/Rob Zombie/Edgar Wright/Eli Roth/Quentin Tarantino) 80
Second viewing, up from 74.
068a. (Jul 14) MACHETE (2007, Robert Rogriguez) R
068b. (Jul 14) PLANET TERROR (2007, Robert Rodruguez) 69
Second viewing, up from 63.
068c. (Jul 14) WEREWOLF WOMEN OF THE S.S. (2007, Rob Zombie) R
068d. (Jul 14) DON'T (2007, Edgar Wright) R
068e. (Jul 14) THANKSGIVING (2007, Eli Roth) R
068f. (Jul 14) DEATH PROOF (2007, Quentin Tarantino) 91
Second viewing, up from 84.

069. (Jul 19) 1990: THE BRONX WARRIORS (1982, Enzo G. Castellari)* 58
A mash-up of Walter Hill's The Warriors and John Carpenter's Escape From New York with some great surreal touches in the way Castellari incorporates musical elements into the action sequences; a drummer jams in the middle of a corridor where the two rival gangs meet, a droog-looking group of hooligans that tap dance before and during a fight. Unfortunately, Castellari's wild directorial quirks only provide so much diversion from the awfulness of the screenplay and lead warrior Mark Gregory's charisma deficient screen prescience.

070. (Jul 20) THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM (2007, Paul Greengrass) No Grade
Umpteenth Viewing, I worked on this film as Post-PA from January 2007 to August 2007.

071. (Jul 21) GREAT WHITE (1981, Enzo G. Castellari)* 51
Castellari wisely steals some of Spielberg's best ideas from Jaws; the buoy popping to the surface during a key set-piece and the night swimming. He also stretches out time very effectively with artfully used slow-motion and has more action happen underwater than in Jaws. As with 1990: The Bronx Warrior, Castellari isn't unable to overcome script limitations and bad performances but this is very watchable and certainly better than most of the Jaws ripoffs and sequels (which were Universal Studios approved ripoffs by hacks far less talented than Castellari).

072. (Jul 21) ZODIAC (2007, David Fincher)* 78
Second viewing, up from 63.

073. (Jul 21) COOGAN'S BLUFF (1968, Don Siegel)* 74

074. (Jul 23) CHACUN SON CINEMA (2007, A Bunch of People)* 41
The one I was really stoked for was inexplicably missing from this collection (The Coens Bros). Here is the breakdown for the rest...
074d. (Jul 23) DIARY OF A MOVIEGOER (Nanni Moretti)
074e. (Jul 23) THE ELECTRIC PRINCESS PICTURE HOUSE (Hsaio-hsien Hou)
074l. (Jul 23) ARTAUD DOUBEL BILL (Atom Egoyan)
074q. (Jul 23) OCCUPATIONS (Lars Von Trier)
074u. (Jul 23) CINEMA EROTIQUE (Roman Polanski)
074aa. (Jul 23) AWKWARD (Elia Suleiman)
074af. (Jul 23) HAPPY ENDING (Ken Loach)

074a. (Jul 23) ONE FINE DAY (Takashi Kitano)
074c. (Jul 23) DANS LE NOIR (Andrei Konchalovsky)
074f. (Jul 23) DARKNESS (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne)
074n. (Jul 23) UPSURGE (Olivier Assayas)
074s. (Jul 23) THE CINEMA AROUND THE CORNER (Claude Lelouch)
074x. (Jul 23) I TRAVELLED 9000 KM TO GIVE IT TO YOU (Wong Kar Wai)

Not Recommended:
074a. (Jul 23) OPEN AIR CINEMA (Raymond Depardon)
074b. (Jul 23) TROIS MINUTES (Theodoros Angelopoulos)
074h. (Jul 23) ANNA (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu)
074i. (Jul 23) MOVIE NIGHT (Zhang Yimou)
074j. (Jul 23) LE DIBBOUK DE HAIFA (Amos Gitai)
074k. (Jul 23) THE LADY BUG (Jane Campion)
074m. (Jul 23) THE FOUNDRY (Aki Kaurismaki)
074o. (Jul 23) 47 YEARS LATER (Youssef Chahine)
074p. (Jul 23) IT'S A DREAM (Tsai Ming-liang)
074r. (Jul 23) THE GIFT (Raoul Ruiz)
074t. (Jul 23) FIRST KISS (Gus Van Sant)
074v. (Jul 23) NO TRANSLATION NEEDED (Michael Cimino)
074y. (Jul 23) WHERE IS MY ROMEO (Abbas Kiarostami)
074z. (Jul 23) THE LAST DATING SHOW (Billie August)
074ab. (Jul 23) SOLE MEETING (Manoel de Oliveira)
074ac. (Jul 23) A 8 944 KM DE CANNES (Walter Salles)
074ad. (Jul 23) WAR IN PEACE (Wim Wenders)
074ae. (Jul 23) ZHANXIOU VILLAGE (Chen Kaige)

075. (Jul 24) THE HILLS HAVE EYES II (2007, Martin Weisz)* 56

076. (Jul 25) THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM (2007, Paul Greengrass) N
o Grade

Umpteenth Viewing, I worked on this film as Post-PA from January 2007 to August 2007.

077. (Jul 27) MR. MAJESTYK (1974, Richard Fleischer)* 68

078. (Jul 27) I KNOW WHO KILLED ME (2007, Chris Silvertson) 44

079. (Jul 30) AUTUMN SONATA (1978, Ingmar Bergman)* 79

080. (Jul 30) HOT FUZZ (2007, Edgar Wright)* 73
Second viewing, down from 74.

081. (Aug 01) FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH (1972, Jeong Chang-hwa)* 76

082. (Aug 02) COACHELLA (2006, Drew Thomas)* 41

083. (Aug 03) DEATH WISH II (1982, Michael Winner)* 34

084. (Aug 03) DEATH WISH 3 (1985, Michael Winner)* 48

085. (Aug 04) THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM (2007, Paul Greengrass) No Grade
Umpteenth Viewing, I worked on this film as Post-PA from January 2007 to August 2007. Hopefully I will not look at this picture again for a couple years.

086. (Aug 04) THIS IS ENGLAND (2006, Shane Meadows)* 55

087. (Aug 05) CRIME WAVE (1954, Andre De Toth)*

088. (Aug 05) LOLA MONTES (1955, Max Ophüls) 82
Second viewing, first in theater.

089. (Aug 06) MESSENGER OF DEATH (1988, J. Lee Thompson)* 46
Old school, non-exploitation material for the Bronson/Thompson/Cannon team has some nice supporting work and an exciting set piece featuring a few semi-trucks but is otherwise surprisingly dull.

090. (Aug 06) ST. IVES (1976, J. Lee Thompson)* 58
This is actually far more credible and sophisticated than the other Thompson/Bronson films I've seen, mostly thanks to the script by Barry Beckerman and nice suporting work by Bisset (sexy as hell) and Houseman. Unfortunately, the plot eventually starts to crowd everything else out and it becomes more routine as it goes along. Still a nice effort.

091. (Aug 07) AMERICAN GANGSTER (2007, Ridley Scott) 66

092. (Aug 08) KINJITE: FORBIDDEN SUBJECTS (1989, J. Lee Thompson)* 35
Pretty demented really; Bronson makes one badguy eat his diamond-studded wirstwatch and sadomises another with a huge dildo (the former shown, the later thankfully just implied) and the film involves itself with sleazy interludes with a Japanese bussiness man that don't really pay off except to contribute to the "what comes around goes around" morality of the piece. Bronson's character is racist and bizarrely overprotective of his daughter but the film never allows criticism of his actions, it eventually comes around to his actions as being neccessary and praiseworthy traits in the morally bankrupt times of Los Angeles, 1989. Somehow, I still never hated this film.

093. (Aug 09) THE EVIL THAT MEN DO (1984, J. Lee Thompson)* 54

094. (Aug 10) HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX (2007, David Yates) 47

095. (Aug 11) THE SPY IN BLACK (1939, Michael Powell) 86
Second viewing, first in theater.

096. (Aug 12) WE JAM ECONO: THE STORY OF THE MINUTEMEN (2005, Tim Irwin)* 61

097. (Aug 12) FEAR CITY (1984, Abel Ferrara)* 50
Director's Cut/Unrated version from France with title NEW YORK 2H DU MATIN.

098. (Aug 12) THE DRILLER KILLER (1979, Abel Ferrara)* 43

099. (Aug 13) THE NUMBER 23 (2007, Joel Schumacher)* 38

100. (Aug 14) FRACTURE (2007, Gregory Hoblit)* 64
Watching Gosling work right now is like watching Nicholson, De Niro or Pacino in the 70s.

101. (Aug 16) SUNSHINE (2007, Danny Boyle) 68

102. (Aug 16) DISTURBIA (2007, D.J. Caruso)* 57

103. (Aug 16) MS. 45 (1981, Abel Ferrara)* 83
Second viewing, last seen in 2002.

104. (Aug 19) THE INVASION (2007, Oliver Hirschbiegel & James Mc Teigue) 43

105. (Aug 19) CODE OF SILENCE (1985, Andrew Davis)* 66
Andrew Davis is pretty awesome at this kind of thing (see also Above the Law, Under Siege and The Fugitive) but the screenplay by Butler & Shryack (who did the fairly awesome Eastwood film The Gauntlet) is also sharp. Chuck Norris is pretty boring but Henry Silva and Dennis Farina are great and Davis fills the other supporting roles with great Chicago charcter actors who look like they should be hanging out in cop bars, hating Norris' boyscout goody-goody cop. This kinda makes me want to see Davis' The Guardian just to see what he is up to these days...

106. (Aug 20) SUPERBAD (2007, Greg Mottola) 67
Slipshod and uneven but explosively funny for most of its running time; even when it veers widely in comedic tone and style. I especially liked the work by Martha MacIsaac and Emma Stone in support and Michael Cera in lead.

107. (Aug 20) 'R XMAS (2001, Abel Ferrara)* 71

108. (Aug 21) THE HOT ROCK (1972, Peter Yates)* 74

109. (Aug 22) I THINK I LOVE MY WIFE (2007, Chris Rock)* 35
I think Chris Rock's stand-up comedy is sometimes brilliant and usually very funny and observant but he really just doesn't translate well to feature films. He is not a good actor or a pleasant screen presence; he is either doing way too much (mugging for comedic effect) or way too little. Even among comedians making the transition to acting, he ranks pretty low. This is a remake of Eric Rohmer's Love in the Afternoon (one of my favorite films) and Rock is pretty faithful to the source material in terms of plotting but he softens his character to make him more likable and adds some comedic interludes which feel like transplanted set-pieces from another movie. The film has less to say about marriage than Rock's stand-up material and far less to say about being a man and facing temptation than Rohmer's sublime film.

110. (Aug 23) RETRIBUTION (2006, Kiyoshi Kurosawa)* 54
Enigmatic and fascinating initially, until gradually the full nature of the mystery is revealed and I simply stopped caring about what was going on.

111. (Aug 23) PINEAPPLE EXPRESS (2008, David Gordon Green)^ 48
This was a work print with a temp score and lacked final color timing. Grade obviously doesn't reflect the final product and it is very possible that this will look better by the time it comes out in August 2008. The cut as is here slips uneasily between broad comedy and brutal violence (think of the nail in the foot in Undertow) without much tonal consistency and much of what made Green's early films so interesting is lacking here (Malickian poetry and bittersweet humanism) but so is the cool retro effect he brought to Undertow (I have yet to see Snow Angels); it feels every bit like a Judd Apatow joint though.

112. (Aug 24) FLASH POINT (2007, Wilson Yip)* 52
Hot Fuzz was just making fun of this kind of movie earlier this year, except clearly here when shit gets real it does so in beautifully brutal martial arts. Over-stylized and hyper-kinetic to disguise how little happens for the first hour and then the film finds its purpose with a climactic eight-minute fight scene that is pretty spectacular.

113. (Aug 24) BREACH (2007, Billy Ray)* 56

114. (Aug 26) SUPERBAD (2007, Greg Mottola) 67

115. (Aug 27) BATTLE IN HEAVEN (2005, Carlos Reygadas)* 39

116. (Aug 28) LE PETIT LIEUTENANT (2005, Xavier Beauvois)* 70

117. (Aug 30) TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA (1970, Don Siegel)* 72

118. (Aug 31) HALLOWEEN (2007, Rob Zombie) 49

119. (Aug 31) THE TALL T (1957, Budd Boetticher)* 90
Fourth viewing, last seen March 2003.

120. (Sep 01) EL DORADO (1967, Howard Hawks)* 81

121. (Sep 01) PERFECT STRANGER (2007, James Foley)* 48

Pulls the rug from underneath you so often that it gets progressively more silly as it goes along (not to say it isn't pretty goofy right from the start). The sex chat that turns into virtual rape is probably the highpoint; the final twist that contradicts everything before it, not so much. Bruce Willis might actually be able to make a post-action star career out of playing the sleazy roles that Michael Douglas owned 15 years ago.

122. (Sep 02) DEATH PROOF (2007, Quentin Tarantino)* 91
First viewing of the extended/uncut/international version of Death Proof, with no change in grade from last viewing.

123. (Sep 02) DEATH PROOF (2007, Quentin Tarantino)* 91
Second viewing of the extended/uncut/international version.

124. (Sep 03) VANISHING POINT (1971, Richard C. Sarafian)* 44

125. (Sep 03) HUSTLE (1975, Robert Aldrich)* 63

126. (Sep 04) THE BODYGUARD (1976, Simon Nuchtern)* 32

127. (Sep 04) SISTER STREET FIGHTER (1974, Kazuhiko Yamaguchi)* 65

128. (Sep 04)
VACANCY (2007, Nimród Antal)* 64
Second viewing, upgraded from 60.

129. (Sep 04) RUSSIAN ARK (2002, Alexander Sokurov)* 68

"Everyone can see the future, but no one remembers the past." Somehow I missed this one and continued to avoid it for several years while it was out on DVD. I'm glad I finally caught it as it was not remotely the torture that I was expecting and was in fact quite mesmerizing after I settled into it. The final section is even breathtaking.

130. (Sep 06) STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING (2007, Andrew Wagner) 39

131. (Sep 06) MOTHER OF TEARS: THE THIRD MOTHER (2007, Dario Argento) 50

132. (Sep 07) THE ROMANCE OF ASTREA AND CELADON (2007, Eric Rohmer) 72

133. (Sep 07) THE MOURNING FOREST (2007, Naomi Kawase) 48

134. (Sep 07) FLIGHT OF THE RED BALLOON (2007, Hou Hsiao-Hsien) 57

135. (Sep 07) THE MAN FROM LONDON (2007, Bela Tarr) 43

136. (Sep 07) THE VISITOR (2007, Thomas McCarthy) 22

W/O. (Sep 07) FRONTIERE(S) (2007, Xavier Gens)

137. (Sep 08) THE BANISHMENT (2007, Andrei Zvyaginstev) 54

138. (Sep 07) MY KID COULD PAINT THAT (2007, Amir Bar-Lev) 65

139. (Sep 08) 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS (2007, Cristian Mungiu) 68

140. (Sep 08) PLOY (2007, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang) 26

141. (Sep 08) HAPPINESS (2007, Hur Jin-ho) 70

142. (Sep 08) DIARY OF THE DEAD (2007, George A. Romero) 74

143. (Sep 09) SECRET SUNSHINE (2007, Lee Chang-dong) 63

144. (Sep 09) LOVE SONGS (2007, Christophe Honore) 46

145. (Sep 09) THE GIRL IN THE PARK (2007, David Auburn) 57

146. (Sep 09) SHADOWS (2007, Milcho Manchevski) 34

147. (Sep 10) NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (2007, Joel and Ethan Coen) 88

W/O. (Sep 10) SAD VACATION (2007, Shinji Aoyama)

148. (Sep 10) THE LAST MISTRESS (2007, Catherine Breillat) 71

149. (Sep 10) STUCK (2007, Stuart Gordon) 82

150. (Sep 11) SILENT LIGHT (2007, Carlos Reygadas) 67

151. (Sep 11) PARANOID PARK (2007, Gus Van Sant) 47

152. (Sep 11) SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO (2007, Takashi Miike) 54

153. (Sep 12) CASSANDRA'S DREAM (2007, Woody Allen) 52

154. (Sep 12) REDACTED (2007, Brian De Palma) 40

155. (Sep 12) IMPORT/EXPORT (2007, Ulrich Seidl) 42

156. (Sep 13) WATER LILIES (2007, Celine Sciamma) 67

157. (Sep 13) MARGOT AT THE WEDDING (2007, Noah Baumbach) 64

158. (Sep 13) YOU, THE LIVING (2007, Roy Andersson) 80

159. (Sep 14) GLORY TO THE FILMMAKER! (2007, Takeshi Kitano) 53

160. (Sep 14) IN THE CITY OF SYLVIA (2007, José Luis Guerín) 87

161. (Sep 14) A GIRL CUT IN TWO (2007, Claude Chabrol) 66

162. (Sep 14) SON OF RAMBOW (2007, Garth Jennings) 37

163. (Sep 14) GOOD RIDDANCE (1980, Francis Mankiewicz) 62

164. (Sep 15) SMILEY FACE (2007, Gregg Araki) 65

165. (Sep 15) BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD (2007, Sidney Lumet) 44

166. (Sep 15) THE EDGE OF HEAVEN (2007, Fatih Akin) 42

167. (Sep 15) IT'S A FREE WORLD... (2007, Ken Loach) 56

168. (Sep 15) INSIDE (2007, Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury) 61

169. (Sep 16) 3:10 TO YUMA (2007, James Mangold) 38

170. (Sep 17) EASTERN PROMISES (2007, David Cronenberg) 58

171. (Sep 18) SEVERANCE (2006, Christopher Smith)* 50

172. (Sep 20) CRUISING (1980, William Friedkin)* 76
Second viewing, last seen 11-09-03 on VHS. Grade was 66.

173. (Sep 20) TIGHT SPOT (1955, Phil Karlson) 51

174. (Sep 20) BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAWN (1950, Gordon Douglas) 63

175. (Sep 21) ZOO (2007, Robinson Devor)* 58

176. (Sep 21) INTO THE WILD (2007, Sean Penn) 77

177. (Sep 22) BUG (2006, William Friedkin)* 75

178. (Sep 23) BLACK BOOK (2006, Paul Verhoeven)* 69

179. (Sep 23) YOU KILL ME (2007, John Dahl)* 52

180. (Sep 24) JOHANNA (2005, Kornél Mundruczó)* 62

181. (Sep 24) IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH (2007, Paul Haggis) 54

182. (Sep 24) THE BRAVE ONE (2007, Neil Jordan) 20

183. (Sep 25) THE EXTERMINATING ANGELS (2006, Jean-Claude Brisseau)* 70
I gave Secret Things a 66 a couple years back and I am now fairly sure that I underrated it because I think it is superior to this film, which is a playful riff and fantasy elaboration on Brisseau's persona and legal problems that came with his unorthodoxed casting (couch) methods while making Secret Things; also, its a less critical but more fun Sex is Comedy.

s003. (Sep 26) HOTEL CHEVALIER (2007, Wes Anderson)* R


185. (Sep 28) TALES FROM THE CRYPT (1972, Freddie Francis)* 42
Only the last story and Peter Cushing are worthwhile here.

186. (Sep 29) DEADLY FRIEND (1986, Wes Craven)* 38

187. (Sep 30) L.A. CONFIDENTIAL (1997, Curtis Hanson)* 85
Umpteenth viewing, first viewing in probably seven years. I loved it a lot more when I was 16 and saw it in the theater three times. It was one of the first two dvd's I owned (the other was Boogie Nights) and I played it on almost a daily basis in 1998.

188. (Sep 30) COP (1988, James B. Harris)* 70

Probably my fourth viewing, first in about ten years.

189. (Oct 01) LA PETIT LILI (2003, Claude Miller)* 52

190. (Oct 02) THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM (1991, Stuart Gordon)* 63

I want to catch up with the neglected 90s Stuart Gordon films and this one is a twisted and violent spin on the Poe story previously adapted for the screen by Roger Corman. Gordon mixes a healthy amount of black comedy and a good helping of sleazy sex and violence (usually at the same time) with religious imagery and blasphemy.

191. (Oct 03) EYEBALL (1975, Umberto Lenzi)* 48
Amusing but superfluous giallo that never lives up to its basic premise in terms of gore or invention. I think this is my first Lenzi and his direction here is surprisingly by-the-numbers considering his somewhat elevated status as a prime Italian genre auteur.

192. (Oct 03) IT'S ALIVE (1974, Larry Cohen)* 55

193. (Oct 03) IT LIVES AGAIN (1978, Larry Cohen)* 67

s004. (Oct 04) OUTER SPACE (1999, Peter Tscherkassky)* R

194. (Oct 04) IT'S ALIVE III: ISLAND OF THE ALIVE (1987, Larry Cohen)* 42

195. (Oct 05) THE VAULT OF HORROR (1973, Roy Ward Baker)* 51

196. (Oct 05) THE DARJEELING LIMITED (2007, Wes Anderson) 54

197. (Oct 05) FRIGHT (1971, Peter Collinson)* 40
Standard horror set-up with a babysitter (this time Susan George of Straw Dogs) alone with the kid while the psycho killer watches from outside and eventually gains access to the house, to the horror of everyone. While this plot allows for much variation, its success lies mostly in the hands of the director's skill at creating tension from atmosphere and building dread; it is here that Collinson fails early and never gets his footing right, with a lot of fake scares that don't make any sense logistically (George walking into something or someone that frightens her by suddenly appearing in the frame with her, even though they would have had to be right in front of her all along and in clear view). There are also far too many close-ups employed throughout when we should be getting a better look at George in relation to her surroundings, betray the TV work in Collinson's early filmography.

198. (Oct 06) THE PERFUME OF THE LADY IN BLACK (1974, Francesco Barilli)* 73

199. (Oct 06) AUTOPSY (1975, Armando Crispino)* 57

200. (Oct 07) SOMEONE'S WATCHING ME! (1978, John Carpenter)* 68

201. (Oct 08) ROGER DODGER (2002, Dylan Kidd)* 67
Apparently my first complete viewing since the theater on 12-15-02, but I have definitely seen bits and pieces of it in the years since.

202. (Oct 09) SHEITAN (2006, Kim Chapiron)* 37

203. (Oct 09) ROMAN (2006, Angela Bettis)* 42

204. (Oct 09) THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957, Terence Fisher)*

205. (Oct 09) HE KNOW'S YOU'RE ALONE (1980, Armand Mastroianni)* 33

206. (Oct 10) SHORT NIGHT OF THE GLASS DOLLS (1971, Aldo Lado)* 80

207. (Oct 11) BROKEN (2006, Simon Boyes & Adam Mason)* 11

208. (Oct 13) SOMBRE (1998, Philippe Grandrieux)* 68

209. (Oct 14) MANHATTAN BABY (1982, Lucio Fulci)* 47

210. (Oct 14) DON'T TORTURE A DUCKLING (1972, Lucio Fulci)* 61

211. (Oct 14) LAKE OF FIRE (2006, Tony Kaye)* 45
"I may not like abortion but at least I'm not a-bore-son."

212. (Oct 15) ZOMBIE LAKE (1981, Jean Rollin [as J.A. Laser])*

213. (Oct 15) WE OWN THE NIGHT (2007, James Gray) 74

214. (Oct 15) MICHAEL CLAYTON (2007, Tony Gilroy) 62

215. (Oct 16) RISE: BLOOD HUNTER (2007 Sebastian Gutierrez)* 49

216. (Oct 17) THE NIGHT STALKER (1972, John Llewellyn Moxey)* 54

217. (Oct 18) THE NIGHT STRANGLER (1973, Dan Curtis)* 63

218. (Oct 19) THE BURNING (1981, Tony Maylam)* 65

219. (Oct 19) A BRIGHTER SUMMER DAY - THE DIRECTOR'S CUT (1991, Edward Yang) 71

220. (Oct 20) THE SLEEPING CAR MURDER (1965, Costa-Gavras) 38

221. (Oct 20) THE CHAMPAGNE MURDERS (1967, Claude Chabrol)

222. (Oct 21) TORSO (1973, Sergio Martino)* 83

A Giallo film but also a very obvious precursor to the Slasher genre that would take shape several years later. This is an outstanding example of both genres, with some visceral violence backed by a studied understanding of building and releasing tension and the princles of suspense; when a masked killer comes upon a couple making out in a car and the guy runs him off, we do not follow the guy but instead stay with the girl in the car as she begins to understand that something has gone terribly wrong. The final half hour is a tour de force of sustained suspense and stretching time.

223. (Oct 21) THE PUBLIC EYE (1992, Howard Franklin)* 64
Umpteenth viewing, first in about a decade.

224. (Oct 21) THE NEW YORK RIPPER (1982, Lucio Fulci)* 26

225. (Oct 22) EYES OF A STRANGER (1981, Ken Wiederhorn)*

226. (Oct 23) 48 HRS. (1982, Walter Hill)* 90

Probably my sixth viewing. Last seen Dec 13 of last year.

227. (Oct 23) ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK (1972, Sergio Martino)* 68

228. (Oct 24) THE PROWLER (1981, Joseph Zito)* 41

229. (Oct 24) YOUR VICE IS A LOCKED ROOM AND ONLY I HAVE THE KEY (1972, Sergio Martino)* 70

230. (Oct 25) THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARDH (1971, Sergio Martino)* 72

231. (Oct 26) POSSESSION - DIRECTOR'S CUT (1981, Andrzej Zulawski)* 65

232. (Oct 26) POSSESSION - ORIGINAL US CUT (1981, Andrzej Zulawski) 37

233. (Oct 28) THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO HARRY (1994, Lech Majewski) 27

234. (Oct 28) WOJACZEK (1999, Lech Majewski) 40

235. (Oct 28) WOLF (1994, Mike Nichols)* 64
Umpteenth viewing, first in ten years or so (not that I ever liked it much more than I do now). Nichols handles the horror like a horror hating fogey but his corporate satire is funny and the screenplay by Harrison and Strick is inventive and intelligent. Also, this has an unreasonably skilled cast, even in the smaller roles.

236. (Oct 29) WEREWOLF WOMAN (1976, Rino Di Silvestro)* 51

237. (Oct 29) PUMPKINHEAD (1989, Stan Winston)

238. (Oct 29) RAWHEAD REX (1986, George Pavlou)*

239. (Oct 30) A BAY OF BLOOD (1971, Mario Bava)* 78
Also known by the title TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE, which I have always loved. This grade is for the English Language version of the film and not the completely different Italian Language version available from Raro Video.

240. (Oct 31) THE ROE'S ROOM (1997, Lech Majewski)* 36

241. (Oct 31) THE GARDEN OF EARTHLY DELIGHTS (2004, Lech Majewski) 62

242. (Nov 01) SECOND BREATH (1966, Jean-Pierre Melville) 65

243. (Nov 02) A MIGHTY HEART (2007, Michael Winterbottom)*

s005. (Nov 02) HOW SHE SLEPT AT NIGH (2007, Lilli Carre) R

244. (Nov 02) THE 400 BLOWS (1959, François Truffaut) 100

Ninth viewing, first theatrically! Last seen 3-10-03, when I gave it an A+. Probably would still rank #2 on a list of my favorite films all time. Biggest difference from dvd-to-theater viewing: the ability to see Doinel clearly in the long shots with groups of kids, the girl in between Antoine and Rene was something that completely registered for me, the faces during the puppet crowd scene (amazing sequence). This is one of the very few films where I really look forward to seeing shots and bits of performance again and jump ahead to them in my mind in anticipation while I'm watching the film.

245. (Nov 02) THE LITTLE GIRL WHO LIVES DOWN THE LANE (1976, Nicolas Gessner) 41
16mm print, struck for TV. With a brief intermission because of technical difficulties.

246. (Nov 02) BAD RONALD (1974, Buzz Kulik) 44

16mm print, this was made for TV and never released theatrically. Vintage TV commercials intercut at two points of the film to add more camp.

247. (Nov 03) SOUTHLAND TALES (2006, Richard Kelly) 14
Much worse than I expected it to be. I don't even see the moments of genius that the defenders are clinging on to for dear life. Richard Kelly has delivered an ugly movie that has nothing to say and it goes off madly trying to find something that works. It's like he wrote a 500 page first draft and then stubbornly refused to abort a stillborn baby. It shows that Domino was probably a better indication of Kelly's talents than (the now over-rated) Donnie Darko. Also, it couldn't have had a worst cast if Kelly was deliberately trying to make a terrible film, of this cast only Mandy Moore and John Larroquette casually brush off this mess without looking totally foolish.

248. (Nov 03) THE CASTLE (1997, Michael Haneke) 56

249. (Nov 04) THE MUGGER (2007, Pablo Fendrik) 47

Pablo Fendrik has seen some Dardenne films and has been inspired by them and now he has made a film about it. He shows promise at immitating their style and getting interesting performances from his actors but this story is not worth telling and I can't say that of a single Dardenne film (even the ones I don't like). Now that he has a promising feature debut under his arm, I hope he opens up more next time and allows his minimalism to be supporting a more interesting character behaving in a way that is less conventionally exciting (robbery).

W/O. (Nov 04) POP SKULL (2007, Adam Wingard)

Not terrible. I was merely trying to get full value out of my Day Pass and kill time between screening. This film would have had to really impress me to get me to skip Searchers 2.0 and despite a distinctive look and impressive sound design, I bailed about 20 minutes in.

250. (Nov 04) SEARCHERS 2.0 (2007, Alex Cox) 44
The first post-80s Cox movie I've seen and I'm beginning to feel like Alex Cox might be to movies what Elvis Costello is to music; an artist that emerged with brilliance and energy and has grown into someone still perhaps capable of making brilliant art but blocked by self-aware cleverness. When this flies off the rails in the last third its not really a refreshing event, it's more like desperation on Cox's part; he wants to go crazy and let shit fly but he can't let himself committ totally to something. It's nice to see characters discussing current events during the road trip; gas is a major theme, we are bluntly told the themes several times ("Justice, Gas, Revenge").

251. (Nov 04) DEFICIT (2007, Gael Garcia Bernal) 55

I was tempted to rate this higher because I was so impressed by the way Garcia Bernal miscast himself as the lead character. Unfortunately, its clumsy over-emphasizing of the message really gets in the way of the observations made in the film about the state of Mexico, classicism and racism. It's basically Garcia Bernal's variation of The Anniversary Party with big themes replacing Hollywood, but it's telling that he never lets them have as much fun as the characters in The Anniversary Party.

252. (Nov 04) MR. BROOKS (2007, Bruce A. Evans)* 49

There is some fun to be had with this absurd thriller and its crazy, stacked plot. However, it's no Malice, and Demi Moore plus Dane Cook equal nails on chalkboard. I thought we got rid of Demi Moore, Is the dream over?

253. (Nov 05) THE BAND'S VISIT (2007, Eran Kolirin) 57

254. (Nov 05) EXPIRED (2007, Cecillia Miniucchi) 50

255. (Nov 05) LOST HIGHWAY (1997, David Lynch) 74
First viewing theatrically, third complete viewing.

256. (Nov 05) DUNE (1984, David Lynch) 20

I saw a few minutes of this when I was four or five years old, I was quickly bored and left the room (Winner: Young Me; Loser: Old Completist Me). 2 hour 20 minute theatrical cut and it felt like it was twice that length.

257. (Nov 06) CHOP SHOP (2007, Ramin Bahrani) 69

258. (Nov 06) BIG RIG (2007, Doug Pray) 41

259. (Nov 06) THE YEAR OF THE NAIL (2007, Jonás Cuarón) 63

260. (Nov 06) NOISE (2007, Henry Bean) 37

s006. (Nov 07) THE SHOCK DOCTRINE (2007, Jonás Cuarón)* R

A well-designed 6 minute commercial for the book by Naomi Klein of the same title, this basically just delivers the basic hypothesis of the book with rapidfire unsubstantiated discourse.

261. (Nov 07) GONE BABY GONE (2007, Ben Affleck) 72

262. (Nov 08) MADIGAN (1968, Don Siegel)* 60

263. (Nov 08) ALEXANDRA (2007, Alexander Sokurov)

264. (Nov 08) SHAME (1968, Ingmar Bergman)

Second viewing, first in theater. I would have been in the 90s on previous VHS viewing.

265. (Nov 08) YI YI: A ONE AND A TWO (2000, Edward Yang)

266. (Nov 09) SAY ANYTHING... (1989, Cameron Crowe)* 86

Umpteenth viewing; last seen 1-7-03.
"Are you shaking?"
"You're shaking."
"I don't think so."
"You're cold."
"I don't think I am."
"Then why are you shaking?"
"I don't know. I think I'm happy."

267. (Nov 09) NIGHT TRAIN (2007, Yinan Diao) 48

268. (Nov 09) DON'T TOUCH THE AXE (2007, Jacques Rivette)

s007. (Nov 10) SELF CONTROL (1984, William Friedkin)*

s008. (Nov 10) SELF CONTROL (1984, William Friedkin)*

s009. (Nov 10) SELF CONTROL (1984, William Friedkin)*

I loved this video as a kid (when it scared the hell out of me) and my appreciation of it has only grown with time, it might be a decent summation of Friedkin's strengths at that time. Friedkin uses the bondage themed lyrics as a jumping off point for creating a dream world of night city streets (so dirty the asphalt is covered with plastic and potential sexual partners wearing feature-less white masks to hide their identity (possibly a post-Cruising comment on HIV). This is the same terrain Friedkin uses for Cruising and To Live and Die in L.A.; everyone is corrupt and they occupy the night like vampires.

269. (Nov 10) THREE PATHS TO THE LAKE (1976, Michael Haneke) 45

270. (Nov 10) THE REBELLION (1993, Michael Haneke) 40

271. (Nov 11) MR DEATH: THE RISE AND FALL OF FRED A. LUCHTER, JR. (1999, Errol Morris)* 76

272. (Nov 11) THE SAVAGES (2007, Tamara Jenkins) 64

273. (Nov 11) THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY (2007, Julian Schnabel) 71

274. (Nov 12) VERNON, FLORIDA (1982, Errol Morris)* 46

275. (Nov 13) FOLLOW ME QUIETLY (1949, Richard Fleischer)* 43

The husband of a victim is called "Mr. Overbeck" which will forever make this film worth remembering for me, even though it is not really noteworthy in any other way.

276. (Nov 14) STREETS OF FIRE (1984, Walter Hill)* 67

277. (Nov 15) THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007, Paul Thomas Anderson) 87

278. (Nov 16) MR DEATH THE RISE AND FALL OF FRED A. LUCHTER, JR. (1999, Errol Morris)* 74

279. (Nov 17) CARS (2006, John Lasseter)*

280. (Nov 17) STRIKING DISTANCE (1993, Rowdy Herrington)*

Umpteenth viewing, first in ten years or so. Has a trashy-fun vibe that recalls Herrington's classic Road House but never really rises to that level of insanity. Still kind of lovable, despite the low rating.

281. (Nov 17) SPIDER-MAN 3 (2007, Sam Raimi)* 45

This is the first Sam Raimi film that I haven't liked.

282. (Nov 18) TRANSFORMERS (2007, Michael Bay)* 53

283. (Nov 18) NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (2007, Joel and Ethan Coen)

284. (Nov 19) P2 (2007, Franck Khalfoun) 46

285. (Nov 19) RATATOUILLE (2007, Brad Bird)* 51

286. (Nov 20) WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? (1976, Narciso Ibáñez Serrador)*

287. (Nov 20) THE COTTON CLUB (1984, Francis Ford Coppola)*
Umpteenth viewing, first in approx. five years.

288. (Nov 20) MOONLIGHTING (1982, Jerzy Skolimowski)* 81

289. (Nov 25) TWO EVIL EYES (1990, George A. Romero & Dario Argento)*
289a. (Nov 25) THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF MR. VALDEMAR (1990, George A Romero)*
289b. (Nov 25) THE BLACK CAT (1990, Dario Argento)* 64

290. (Nov 25) I'M NOT THERE (2007, Todd Haynes) 84

291. (Nov 26) NO DIRECTION HOME: BOB DYLAN (2005, Martin Scorsese)* 76

292. (Nov 26) THE MIST (2007, Frank Darabont)

293. (Nov 27) BECAUSE I SAID SO (2007, Michael Lehmann)* 32

The comedy is the issue here, veering wildly in tone and hitting tasteless targets with scattershot explosions of bad taste. All the romantic subplots are weak immitations of things that worked with much more dignity in The Truth About Cats and Dogs. That any scenes come off at all are mostly due to the slumming cast members who are well advanced past this material and deserve to find some better work. "Like nearly all of Lehmann's post- "Heathers" work, it's lazy and disinterested--a hack-for-hire job any number of film-school grads could have put through its uninspired paces." says Foundas, but I am not yet totally convinced that he has nothing to offer.

294. (Nov 28) HUSBANDS AND WIVES (1992, Woody Allen)* 71

295. (Nov 29) EN CONSTRUCCION (2001, Jose Luis Guerin)* 66

296. (Nov 30) NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (2007, Joel and Ethan Coen) 88

Third viewing, no change in grade on repeated viewings and so I think I am done with this one for now.

297. (Dec 01) BABE: PIG IN THE CITY (1998, George Miller) 68

298. (Dec 02) MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR (1981, George Miller)*

Second viewing, first in years.

299. (Dec 02) WOMAN IS THE FUTURE OF MAN (2004, Hong Sang-soo) 62

300. (Dec 02) MATANGO (1963, Ishiro Honda) 34

301. (Dec 03) SMOKE (1995, Wayne Wang)* 63

Third viewing, previous viewings were on VHS about ten years ago.

302. (Dec 04) LITTLE BIG LEAGUE (1994, Andrew Scheinman)*
Third viewing, previous viewings were on VHS about ten to fifteen years ago.

303. (Dec 04) DON'T GO IN THE HOUSE (1980, Joseph Ellison)* 52

304. (Dec 05) THE SILENT PARTNER (1978, Daryl Duke)* 71

Second viewing, first was about ten years ago on VHS.

305. (Dec 07) THE PAPER (1994, Ron Howard)* 66
Umpteenth viewing, first in at least five years. This is probably my favorite Ron Howard film.

306. (Dec 07) SUPERBAD - EXTENDED DVD CUT (2007, Greg Mottola)* 65

Third viewing of film, first viewing of extended cut which has some extended punchlines and scenes which add little mirth and detract from the (already sluggish) pace of the original. Hopefully I will be able to replace this dvd with a theatrical cut without losing all the hilarious dvd extras.

307. (Dec 08) THE LAST BOY SCOUT (1991, Tony Scott) 72
Umpteenth viewing, first in theater.

308. (Dec 08) SLEEP, MY LOVE (1948, Douglas Sirk) 47

309. (Dec 08) EXPERIMENT PERILOUS (1944, Jacques Tourneur) 78

310. (Dec 09) 5 AGAINST THE HOUSE (1955, Phil Karlson)* 55

311. (Dec 09) EXTREME MEASURES (1996, Michael Apted)* 69

Umpteenth viewing, first in more than five years.

312. (Dec 10) CRIMSON TIDE (1995, Tony Scott)* 64

Third viewing, first in ten or more years.

313. (Dec 10) THE LAST MAN ON EARTH (1964, Ubaldo Ragona & Sidney Salkow)* 58

314. (Dec 11) ATONEMENT (2007, Joe Wright) 49

I was really impressed by Wright's work on Pride and Prejudice, with his roving camera and overlapping dialogue suggesting a technician similar to Paul Thomas Anderson, but his work here is not quite as impressive because he doesn't marry his technique to the material in a meaningful way. The opening section of the film leading to the big lie that will hang over all the characters for the rest of the film have a fluid, nervous energy, highlighting the rhythms of movement (especially with the annoying score by Dario Marianelli), when it should perhaps be romantic and nostalgic. Later he mounts some impressive long-take choreography to show a beach littered with soldiers but the filmmaking really only exists to show its own excellence and wallow in its technique. Perhaps a less talented director would have had more sympathy for the characters and their emotions and actually could have paid off Hampton's closing conceit (which I actually quite like, in theory).

315. (Dec 11) PANIC IN YEAR ZERO! (1962, Ray Milland)* 56

Sloppy but conceptionally bold b-movie that is an obvious precursor to films like Time of the Wolf and Trigger Effect.

316. (Dec 12) NO END IN SIGHT (2007, Charles Ferguson)* 48

Well intentioned documentary that systematically shows the faults of the Iraq war as an emotionless plea to rational thinking of the viewer, pitched at the aggravating level of calmness you hear from someone talking on NPR. The only thing that felt new here was the section on looting, because that is a sad side-effect that tends to get glossed over in favor of the more sensational elements. I could watch a two hour film about the looting and destruction of the libraries and museums and what effect that had on the citizens and people who worked in those buildings because it hit home on the cluelessness of the administration while wrapping me up in the human story of a people that have a culture being trampled upon by occupiers; instead its a five minute aside in a movie that is rushing to the next bullet-point. On top of all that, I am really becoming disenchanted with the documentaries we are getting now days; political but flaccid.

317. (Dec 13) CRUMB (1994, Terry Zwigoff)* 82

Second viewing, first was about 12 years back.

318. (Dec 15) BLADE (1998, Stephen Norrington)* 49

Second viewing, first in 9 years. I liked it marginally then.

319. (Dec 15) NOBODY'S FOOL (1994, Robert Benton)* 85

Umpteenth viewing, last seen 9-18-03 when I gave it a 91 (which apparently is worth about 85 now).

320. (Dec 16) THE BEDROOM WINDOW (1987, Curtis Hanson)* 67

321. (Dec 16) RAISING ARIZONA (1987, Joel Coen) 80

Umpteenth viewing, first in theater.
"Do these blow up into funny shapes?" "No, not unless round is funny."

322. (Dec 16) EVIL DEAD II: DEAD BY DAWN (1987, Sam Raimi) 78
Umpteenth viewing, first in theater.

323. (Dec 16) RIKI-OH: THE STORY OF RICKY (1991, Nam Nai-choi) 65

English dubbed, red-tint employed for the most extreme violence. Sadly sober during viewing.

324. (Dec 17) I AM LEGEND (2007, Francis Lawrence) 58

325. (Dec 17) THE WITCHES (1990, Nicholas Roeg)* 69

Second viewing, first since I was a child.

326. (Dec 18) NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (2007, Joel and Ethan Coen) 88

Fourth viewing, last seen Nov 30th. No change in grade.

327. (Dec 18) BAD TIMING (1980, Nicholas Roeg)* 74

328. (Dec 19) THE SIMPSONS MOVIE (2007, David Silverman)* 46

s010. (Dec 19) THE GOAT (1921, Buster Keaton and Malcolm St. Clair) R

s011. (Dec 19) FAST FREIGHT (1929, Robert A. McGowan and Anthony Mack) NR

329. (Dec 19) FIG LEAVES (1926, Howard Hawks) 40

330. (Dec 19) YOUTH WITHOUT YOUTH (2007 Francis Ford Coppola) 61

331. (Dec 20) EXTREME PREJUDICE (1987, Walter Hill)* 81

332. (Dec 20) SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET (2007, Tim Burton) 54

333. (Dec 23) RENDITION (2007, Gavin Hood)*

334. (Dec 24) THE GREAT DEBATERS (2007, Denzel Washington)* 43

335. (Dec 24) THE KITE RUNNER (2007, Marc Forster)* 24

I thought Forster deserved another chance after his stylish handling of Stay, but a case for his complete hacktitude must be made after seeing The Kite Runner. This is a film with nary a good decision made on the directing level, with especially strong demerits deserved for the CGI kite set-pieces, but I doubt the source material was worthy either because of the unbelivably dumb coincidence of the third act.

336. (Dec 24) ACROSS THE UNIVERSE (2007, Julie Taymor)*
Pretty awesome until you start to think about what Jacques Demy or Stanley Donen would have done if they were handed the entire Beatles catalogue and told to have fun. However, critics acclaiming the musical sequence in Southland Tales should be way more excited about the endless set-pieces here because they are way more intricate and energetic, that is unless those critics are just more interested in things that are in the key of fratboy mediocrity.
Proof that Bob Dylan will outlive The Beatles #1: Dylan gets Martin Scorsese and Todd Haynes while The Beatles get Julie Taymor and Cirque Du Soleil.
Proof that Bob Dylan will outlive The Beatles #2: U2's Bono versus a superband with Stephen Malkmus fronting Tom Verlaine and Wilco's Nels Cline on guitar.

337. (Dec 25) JUNO (2007, Jason Reitman)* 70

Some of the dialogue is too precious and written for its own good, but it's also very funny

338. (Dec 26) CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR (2007, Mike Nichols) 67

339. (Dec 27) THE MECHANIC (1972, Michael Winner)*

Starts with a very promising, dialogue-free sequence of Bronson preparing and carrying out an assassination. Unfortunately, Winner's choices after the opening are increasingly conventional and sloppy. Some good action beats and a terrific performance from Bronson (in terms of Bronson performances) make this better than typical for Bronson or Winner.

340. (Dec 27) LUST, CAUTION (2007, Ang Lee)* 33
This story is too old and tired for the classical approach that Lee brings to it and he belabors the set-up without creating effectively convincing motivations for his characters as they enter into espionage. Paul Verhoeven's Black Book is the perfect criticism of this film because it finds a compelling and exciting way to approach this material (even when the most unreasonable things are happening to the characters). When Lee approaches vulgarity here, you feel like his heart isn't really with it and his NC-17 sex scenes are just as boring and dishonest as the scenes surrounding them. Another point of reference for this story could be Hitchcock's Notorious which, it is important to note, is only 100 minutes long.

341. (Dec 27) THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007, Paul Thomas Anderson)* 89

Second viewing, up from 87.
Bilge and others are right about 2001 and Kubrick's influence on this film: 2001 has the primate learning to use tools in the wordless, virtuouso opening; There WIll Be Blood has a man doing it. And both end with our hero growing old and irrelevant, 2001 does it illusions and There Will Be Blood supplies brutality. Those that mention Citizen Kane are also on the right track, it looks like Anderson might now be on a dangerous Welles track (dangerous because Welles found resistance and Anderson hasn't yet). Scorsese and Altman are still there, but they have been totally absorbed and are coming out in subdued ways (genre twisting and casting decisions). It looks like Demme has been released but I barely ever saw him before anyways.
I think this film has three great aspects that would be reason enough for it to be considered great: the tragic character Daniel Plainview, the father-son relationship and the commerce/religion theme. Depending on which aspect you favor shoud predict your favorite scene in the film: the burning oil scene, the penultimate scene with the son or the final scene with Eli and the bowling lane. All three are great scenes and show the talent and intelligence of every member of the film crew.

342. (Dec 28) ONCE (2006, John Carney)* 41

I didn't buy the relationship and thought the music was mediocre.

343. (Dec 29) JOHNNY HANDSOME (1989, Walter Hill)* 68

344. (Dec 29) FROWNLAND (2007, Ronald Bronstein) 76

345. (Dec 30) ENCHANTED (2007, Kevin Lima) 60

346. (Dec 30) THE OMEGA MAN (1971, Boris Sagal)* 45