Sunday, July 31, 2011

Monthly Round-Up: The Best Films I Saw in July

Well July is over, and I am now only days away from my short excursion to Melbourne for the last three days of the Melbourne International Film Festival, which has been running since July 21. Several bloggers have been covering the Festival extensively since day one, and it sounds like everyone is surviving the fatigue and catching some great films. Be sure to check out Movie Reviews by Tom Clift, Cinema Autopsy, The Reel Bits, Quickflix DVD and Movie Blog and Stale Popcorn for great coverage.

I watched a heap of films this month that I had never seen before. Highlights certainly included All About Eve, The Wages of Fear, The Double Life of Veronique, The Player and Talk to Her. Some of these films are by Henri-Georges Clouzot and Krzysztof Kieslowski, the two directors I decided to focus on this month. While it has been slow going, I have caught up with Kieslowski in the last week or so, watching Veronique, and the Troi Couleurs Trilogy: Bleu/Blanc/Rouge. As for Clouzot, in addition to The Wages of Fear, I watched the only film I could find readily available, Les Diaboliques.

On the 'new releases' front, it was a quiet couple of weeks in between the viewings of Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. I managed only to catch the unspectacular Oranges and Sunshine during that time. But, more recently I caught six films, starting with the mediocre Beautiful Lies and 5 Days of War and ending stronger with Meek's Cutoff and Hanna. I hope to see L'illusionniste and Tucker and Dale vs. Evil this week before going to MIFF.

My next Director of the Month, I have decided, will be Robert Altman. After watching The Player the other day, and having only seen Gosford Park prior, I feel I need to see more of his films. Throughout August I intend to watch M*A*S*H, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Nashville and Short Cuts.

Last week I also surpassed 100,000 page views, which I thought was quite a feat. I would like to thank a bunch of fellow bloggers who frequently visit my blog and comment on my posts:

Sam Fragoso from Duke and the Movies
Castor from Anomalous Material
James Blake Ewing from Cinema Sights 
Steven Flores from Surrender to the Void 
Toby from Blah Blah Blah Gay - A Movie Review Blog 
Ruth from Lets Be Splendid About This 
Nikhat from Being Norma Jean 
Stevee Taylor from Cinematic Paradox
Custard from Front Room Cinema
Bonjour Tristesse from Bonjour Tristesse
Jack from Jack L Film Reviews
Movie Guy Steve from 1001Plus
Tom Clift from Movie Reviews by Tom Clift
Nicholas Prigge from Cinematic Romantico
Anna from Split Reel
Mad Hatter from Dark of the Matinee
Simon Columb from Screen Insight
Courtney Small from Big Thoughts from a Small Mind
Cherokee from Feminising Film
D.R from The Lennox Files

I watched a total of 33 Films in July. Find out my 'Essential Viewing' selections after the jump...

First Viewing (Cinema): Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Michael Bay, 2011), The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011), Oranges and Sunshine (Jim Loach, 2010), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (David Yates, 2011), Beautiful Lies (Pierre Salvadori, 2009), 5 Days of War (Renny Harlin, 2011), Meek's Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt, 2011), The Conspirator (Robert Redford, 2010), Captain America: The First Avenger (Joe Johnston, 2011) and Hanna (Joe Wright, 2011)

First Viewing (DVD): All About Eve (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1950), The Wages of Fear (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1953), Les Diaboliques (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1955), Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, 1960), Network (Sidney Lumet, 1976), Animal House (John Landis, 1978), The Double Life of Veronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991), The Player (Robert Altman, 1992), Talk to Her (Pedro Almodovar, 2002), Valhalla Rising (Nicholas Winding Refn, 2009), Balibo (Robert Connelly, 2009), The Expendables (Sylvester Stallone, 2010) and Battle: Los Angeles (Jonathan Liebesman, 2011)

Re-watched (DVD): Persona (Ingmar Bergman, 1966), The Sting (George Roy Hill, 1973), Trois Couleurs Trilogy: Bleu (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1993), Troi Couleurs: Blanc (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1994), Trois Couleurs: Rouge (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1994)Being John Malkovich (Spike Jonze, 1999), Y Tu Mama Tambien (Alfonso Cuaron, 2001), Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (Werner Herzog, 2009), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I (David Yates, 2010) and Rango (Gore Verbinski, 2011)

Essential Viewing

All About Eve

The Wages of Fear

Les Diaboliques

Peeping Tom

The Sting


The Double Life of Veronique

The Player

Trois Couleurs Trilogy: Bleu/Blanc/Rouge

Being John Malkovich

Y Tu Mama Tambien

Talk to Her


The Tree of Life

Tally for the year to date - July (33), June (35), May (30), April (22), March (26), February (19), January (35) = 200


  1. What's this place. Never heard of an Andy Buckle Film Emporium. :D

  2. Busy little bee aren't you Mr B? 33 films? that is bonkers even more bonkers when you say 200 for the year!! You know that there is a real world out there too?? HAHAHA I am just pulling your leg.

    Congrats for the 100,000 landmark. A major one that!! no mean feat at all.

    Here is to the next 900,000 to the big million!!


  3. Ahh, I love Altman's MASH, I haven't seen it in years though, should give it another watch. I keep meaning to watch more of my films as well.
    Congrats on getting to 100,000!

  4. Lotta good picks. Only three I haven't seen are The Player, Y Tu Mama Tambien and Talk to Her (just started working into Almadovar)

  5. Well done on surpassing 100,000 views, Andy! And thank you for including me in your list of people who visit your blog (which is awesome and you should be very proud of!)

    You have watched some really great films this month, too. Still need to see Rango!

  6. Congrats on the 100K! I see you've surpassed it by a few already, nicely done! It's no wonder though, even though your quite prolific you always deliver with class!

    BTW the word prolific only reminds me of serial killers. Not that you're one ... hopefully. Filmfans are often a bit strange.

  7. Some superb viewing for the month there Andrew, having just caught Peeping Tom recently myself I can certainly share in it's creepy brilliance.

    Good to hear you're focusing on Altman next month, McCabe and Mrs Miller remains a total favourite of mine (well, to be honest, Nashville and Short Cuts aren't far behind) and I look forward to hear your take on it.

    I'm very glad to have stumbled by this blog, you can guarantee I'll be dropping by in the future.

  8. epic first time viewing andy. i can't imagine absorbing that many new films in such a short space of time. goo dluck with the altman marathon, i love him as a director, for a while he was my absolute favourite. watch out for quite a few stinkers though - gingerbread man especially. he has a unique style that just doesn't work for john grisham thrillers. and MASH and McCabe & Mrs Miller - wow

  9. @ Sam - Who are you? I haven't seen you here before! :-p

    @ Custard - It was quite a busy month, yes! 33 films takes up a lot of time, but they were 'mostly' all quality films. A few (The Expendables, Battle: Los Angeles) were self-inflicted terrorism, and some (Transformers: DOTM) were just bad!

    Hard to go wrong with Clouzot and Kieslowski and revisiting such great films as The Sting, Being John Malkovich and Y Tu Mama Tambien.

    Thanks for the congrats. I have earned that milestone, I think! I can't even imagine one million! Whoa!

    @ Ruth - Thanks for being a regular visitor Ruth. Really appreciate it!

    My only exposure to M*A*S*H is the TV show. I love the early seasons (1-4 I think are the best) but I have never seen Altman's film (which influenced it?) I can't imagine a better Hawkeye than Alan Alda though! Love that guy!

    Did you end up seeing Captain America? And are you going to make it into the city anytime during the last days of MIFF? I'll be there Aug 5th-7th.

  10. @ James - Yeah, I had quite a good month. The three you mention are all excellent! I have only seen three Almodovar films (All About My Mother, Talk to Her and Bad Education) so I have plenty more to work through!

    I saw on Cinema Sights that you recently watched Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. It's quite an extraordinary film! I wasn't sure what to make of it, but it looks great and I was captivated throughout. Your observations covered it in great depth, and plenty I hadn't even considered. I'll have to watch it again!

    @ Cherokee - Thank you very much! I am proud of my blog, but there is always improvements to be made. Time management being one. I sense I will have less time to blog in August, so I will have to use my time more wisely (and perhaps write shorter, more concise reviews :-p) to keep material coming. Ahh Rango is a treat! I love it!

    @ Aww! Classy? Thanks Anna! There are plenty of films to watch out there, and plenty of great blogs. Yours especially! Even seeing ten new releases in a month is exhausting! Looking at August, I have seen most of the films being released (at the SFF) so I might have some time to just chill (and rest my eyes :-p)

  11. @ Ibe Tolis - I'm really looking forward to Altman. The films you mention have all been tagged 'classics' and 'essential viewing' so I'm sure I won't be disappointed. Thank you so much for following! I saw you added/followed on Facebook, and commented on my Meek's Cutoff review on Anomalous Material. Appreciate the support!

    @ Toby - Yeah, seeing All About Eve and The Wages of Fear a couple of days apart really blew my mind. Then came The Double Life of Veronique and The Player. Whoa! Oh, I have seen The Gingerbread Man. Years ago when I was quite young and liked everything. I remember it being difficult to follow though (?). Hmm, I think I'll stick to the Altman ones I mentioned! Thanks for the support, buddy!

    Oh, and the last mention on the previous comment was addressed @ Anna from Split Reel! Sorry Anna :-)

  12. You do great work, man. Always happy to stop by. In fact, it was your write-up on All About Eve that made me sit down last week and re-watch it. Such a classic.

  13. Congrats on the 100K milestone! You've certainly seen a ton of movies this past month (more than 1 a day?)

  14. Congrats on the 100k milestone as well. I passed that about a week ago I think as well. In fact, it took me years to pass that at and about an entire decade to get a million there as well, which was when I already had left the site.

  15. @ Nicholas - That's great to hear, thank you! It was your hilarious write-up on The Expendables that secured a strange urge to watch that one too!

    @ Castor - Cheers. Yeah, I went a little crazy. I still have a pile of films 7 deep next to my bed, plus upcoming new releases, and the Altman stuff. So I expect I'll surpass at least 20 in August!

    @ Steven - Thanks! I noticed that you passed it a little while ago. As for that million counter at Epinions, insane!

  16. Apparently Altman hated the series, but I love the series too, and Alan Alda is amazing!

  17. Thanks for the mention and a big congratulations on hitting 100K. I hope to join you by the end of the year.

  18. You are welcome! How can I not come back to this blog?

    And 33 films. Wow. You're a film watching/reviewing beast. I've watched a lot of films, but I just can't review them all. I am so disappointed in my lack of motivation!

  19. @ Ruth - That's a real shame. I guess I'll understand why when I watch the film. Surely he couldn't have been disappointed by the early seasons haha. I think, later, when characters come and go, and it gets a bit depressing, he might have disapproved :-p

    @ Bonjour - Cheers. You'll make it in no time, my friend!

    @ Stevee - I'm starting to feel the fatigue of watching too many films. June/July have been big months. Evening watching/reviewing 10-12 new releases a month is exhausting! Don't be disappointed, you are doing a wonderful job. I don't know how you write so much, and attend school, and work!

  20. I randomly caught up with a lot of Altman last year when I did a New Hollywood series - turned out a bunch of the films I liked the best from that series were Altman films (including Nashville and McCabe and Mrs. Miller). You should add The Long Goodbye to your list - brilliant deconstruction of the classic hard-boiled detective film.

    I think I've only hit 33 films in a month when there was a film festival involved. So, like twice, maybe. Kudos on that number, plus most of them are really great films!

  21. This is the second straight month I have surpassed 30 films. Pretty exhausting!