Landsbykirken. Carl Theodor Dreyer. 1947. ⚂
Over on my main blog I’m watching a bunch of good movies, and there’s so many extras on the discs. So this is a test on blogging about these some of these extras… I mean, not docu shorts or anything, but when they’ve included shorts by the director in question (and stuff).
If it turns out to be even more pointless than usual, I’ll drop it.
So this is a short by Dreyer? From 1947? Included on the BFI disc of Gertrud, which is from 1964? I’m sure this makes sense.
I guess I can see the interest… some of these shots are striking, but… on the whole, it’s… a documentary about churches.
Star Trek. J.J. Abrams. 2009.
I’ve seen this before, but I only saw like 7% of it. I mean, it’s in 4K now, so all those new pixels!
That said, I remember exactly nothing of this movie, so I do not have high hopes. I do remember really liking Star Trek Into Darkness (a movie all people hated), so I’m somewhat hopeful.
Aargh. It’s an origin story. I really don’t understand the obsession filmmakers have with origin stories. We like these characters because of what they do once they’re those characters. We do not need to know what Captain Kirk’s stepfather was like to enjoy (or not) him firing off some turbo lasers at some Klingons. Why not just drop us into where the fun is: The action? It’s what Star Trek did originally, and it worked well.
I mean, we didn’t need to see Captain Picard’s childhood to enjoy TNG, did we?
And this is kinda annoying in other ways, too: Abrams is really fond of 1) horizontal lens flares and 2) shakycam. And I loathe 2).
But: When they finally get to the Trekkie action (after spending a boring 40 minutes on the origin stuff), this is really fun.
Oh! Nimoy! I had completely forgotten that he was in this. I’ve read two of his autobiographies. I Am Not Spock was good, and so was I Am Spock. (You see a certain theme in the titles. It’s subtle.) He seems like a smart cookie and a cool guy.
This is a proper Trek movie. It’s got everything a Trek movie should have. If it didn’t have the boring half hour I would have given it top grade.
La Carrière de Suzanne. Éric Rohmer. 1963.
I’m reading a collection of articles from Cahiers de Cinema, and Rohmer is one of the peeps involved with that magazine, which makes this even more interesting. I mean, to me. It’s a movie just made just a few years after the articles I’ve been reading…
And this is obviously a very… er… early movie. His second? It’s made with amateur actors and without sound (added later in the studio) and it’s short, so this is a very low budget movie.
But it’s so charming. Everybody’s smiling!
It’s also really uncomfortable to watch. It feels like too real. The story’s kinda nasty. I mean, it’s about a total asshole, a nerd, and an awkward girl, and it’s just painful. On purpose.
L’amour l’après-midi. Éric Rohmer. 1972.
I was going to watch yet another movie from the box set of public domain movies from the 40-ish, but I just couldn’t face it, so here I am watching a movie from mah (current) favourite, Éric Rohmer.
His movies are just so… I think I once called them “pedestrian, but in a good way”? That is, they’re all “Bonjour, ça va?” They feel like a version of boring actual life, but fun. I can’t watch his scenes without smiling.
But this isn’t one of his better movies. It’s basically a Magic Pixie Dream Girl movie, and it’s not very subtle about it. I do love the parade of turtlenecks (very funny), but the further along we get in this movie, the less it’s holding my interest.
But then the movie bounces back and sort of approaches Rohmer’s ineffableness (that’s a word).
Weirdly enough, this movie was called Chloe in the Afternoon in the US, which is oddly reminiscent of Varda’s Cleo from 5 to 7. OK, that’s not weird at all.
Crimes and Misdemeanors. Woody Allen. 1989.
I’ve just got a few more Allen movies to go in this box set. (I get too enthusiastic and buy box sets and then I get annoyed with them because they take forever to watch. It makes no sense, I know.)
This was one of the movies that made me stop watching Allen movies back in the late 80s. It’s yet another Upper West Side drama about people fucking around.
The main distinguishing point of this one is that it’s got All The Actors. It’s like watching a Robert Altman movie, except with not as good direction.
I’m liking it a lot more this time around. The plot it a pretty squicky “well what if” wish fulfilment thing, but the guy with the er problems is such an obvious loathsome guy that it’s not that eye-rolley.
I loved the oldee-tymey dinner scene. Very Bergman.
Black Tights. Terence Young. 1961.
Well, that’s one way of doing letterboxing: By putting some purple stuff on top and below the movie.
This doesn’t even really pretend that much to be a movie: It’s a series of ballet scenes with a narrator in between. It looks like it may very well have been a lovely movie, but this has been sourced from a VHS taping of a broadcast, and that takes the enjoyment out of looking at these no doubt very good dancers.
Target of an Assassin. Peter Collinson. 1977.
Huh. I thought this was from that box set of public domain movies… but this is from 1977? Perhaps they got a few really cheap movies in there as well? I mean, this is from:
Which doesn’t sound very high toned.
Hm… It’s shot in South Africa and so there are drums all over the soundtrack.
My god, this is dreary. I’m bailing on this. Perhaps it’s fabulous really? But I’ll never know.
Murder With Music. George P. Quigley. 1941.
This movie is… it’s… it’s indescribably inept. I’m guessing that it’s made by somebody with no movie making experience, but with access to a large number of surprisingly enthusiastic singers and dancers?
It’s a no budget B movie. But the dance numbers are kinda enjoyable. It’s got more energy than talent, but it’s got a Plan 9 kinda vibe: It’s so awful that it’s fascinating.
There’s just a couple of sets, and probably filmed in the same room. It’s uper cramped, and they just seem to move fittings around to create the different set-ups.
I may be talking it up a bit here: It’s not a good movie, and you shouldn’t see it, but it does have charm.
Reaching for the Moon. Edmund Goulding. 1930.
Yes, I’m back to plowing through the box sets of public domain movies after a luxurious 4K break.
The version I have is 25 minutes shorter than the IMDB length, so I guess this is… the very un-restored version?
Irving Berlin… Douglas Fairbanks… Bebe Daniels? Is she famous? Oh, indeed she was: She did a buttload of stuff in the teens and the twenties, but only a dozen or so things in the 30s, and then she kinda disappeared, which probably explains who I can’t remember the name. I mean, other than my old timer’s disease.
Oh, I’ve seen her before in a horrible movie, made in the same year as this one.
This has Edward Everett Horton! My favourite!
It’s an odd movie. I was expecting some kind of cookie cutter screwball thing, but it’s not that: Instead it’s a movie in search of a plot. It’s got some great performances, but it’s just hard to not zone out. It’s just incomprehensible. Perhaps the missing 25 minutes had the plot bits?
The film was originally intended to be a musical with songs written by Irving Berlin but problems soon developed. From the start, Berlin found Edmund Goulding, the director, difficult to work with. Also by mid-1930 the studio realized that the public’s demand for musicals had disappeared. So Goulding jettisoned many of Berlin’s songs from the score
That doesn’t explain why the plot is impossible to follow, though.
I likes all the scenes with Horton.
Oh the irony!
Godzilla II: The King of the Monsters. Michael Dougherty. 2019.
I have to say that there’s bits of this that doesn’t make that much sense. Those bits are: The beginning, the middle, and the end.
But it’s Godzilla, so it’s not like I was expecting anything else, really. The attraction is seeing some CGI monsters tear down some CGI cities while some Japanese guy talks about the Earth being out of balance and stuff. And it delivers on those points, although disappointingly enough, so much of the CGI takes place at night, under water, during a snow storm (i.e., the ideal environment for cheaping out on the CGI).
I mean, the budget was only $170M.
This movie hits all the notes of a Godzilla movie: Sometimes it’s so on the nose that you wonder whether they’re doing this as a parody of a Godzilla movie, but it’s not.
If you’re not into Godzilla, you’ll find it a total bore. But I give it all thumbs up.