Wednesday, August 31, 2011

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

Though I have been down in both films and posts (54 last month!) I have actually accumulated more page views (over 20,000) this month than ever before. Huge thanks to my new followers and regular readers, and for those who consistently link to my site. I wrote 18 reviews, compared to 23 in July. The reason for this drop is likely because there were a bunch of films released in cinemas (The Beaver, Jane Eyre, Win Win, Senna and The Guard) that I had seen and reviewed back in in June at the SFF. I still saw Win Win and Senna again though. The best films I saw at the cinema this month were Rise of the Planet of the Apes and L'illusionniste, but if you count MIFF screenings from earlier in the month, then Drive was certainly the highlight of what was a disappointing string of new films I saw in Melbourne. That closing night party was epic, though.

As for Robert Altman, my August Director of the Month, I got a very very late start on his work, but I have managed to work through M*A*S*H, McCabe and Mrs Miller and Nashville, which impressed me a great deal. Well, not so much M*A*S*H, but certainly the other two. I then gave Popeye a go. Awful. I still intend to watch Short Cuts, which I have heard great things about, and re-watch Gosford Park to conclude. There will be no DOTM in September, unfortunately. I am not going to have enough time.

I was privileged enough to receive an invitation to this evening's Media Launch of the 12th Annual Lavazza Italian Film Festival presented by Palace Cinemas. The film screening is of Una Vita Tranquilla [A Quiet Life]. It is my debut attendance for such an occasion and I am both nervous and excited to find myself surrounded by media professionals. The festival runs around Australia from mid-September until late October. The event is proudly sponsored by Lavazza Coffee, while Palace Cinemas will be screening over 1000 sessions across five cities, creating the biggest Italian Film Festival in the world, outside Italy! Closer to the Opening Night I will dedicate a post to the Festival and suggest some films to check out.  

I will be busy not only working the festival, which commences at my cinema in Sydney on the 15th September and runs until the 5th October, but I'll also be reviewing some of the 30 films selected to play at the festival here on Film Emporium. This is a wonderful opportunity and a challenge I intend to embrace enthusiastically. In addition, I am going to 'try' and keep up to date with new releases. While I had intended to take a little break from blogging here in September, it seems I am going to be busier than ever.

Anyway, I saw a total of 29 Films in August. Find out my 'Essential Viewing' selections after the jump.

First Viewing (Cinema): Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (Eli Roth, 2011), Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Rupert Wyatt, 2011), Lillusionniste [The Illusionist] (Sylvain Chomet, 2010), Horrible Bosses (Seth Gordon, 2011), Beginners (Mike Mills, 2010) and Cowboys and Aliens (Jon Favreau, 2011)

First Viewing (MIFF): Melancholia (Lars Von Trier, 2011), Tiny Furniture (Lena Dunham, 2010), Drive (Nicholas Winding Refn, 2011) and Another Earth (Mike Cahill, 2011)

First Viewing (DVD): Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946), The Killing (Stanley Kubrick, 1955), MASH (Robert Altman, 1970), McCabe and Mrs Miller (Robert Altman, 1971), Nashville (Robert Altman, 1975), Camera Buff (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1979), Popeye (Robert Altman, 1980), Barton Fink (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1991), Cronos (Guillermo Del Toro, 1993), Howl's Moving Castle (Hayao Miyazaki, 2005) and Man on Wire (James Marsh, 2008)

Repeat Viewing (Cinema/DVD): Dawn of the Dead (George A. Romero, 1978), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Mike Newell, 2005), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (David Yates, 2007), Superbad (Greg Mottola, 2007), Inception (Christoper Nolan, 2010), Martha Marcy May Marlene (Sean Durkin, 2011), Win Win (Thomas McCarthy, 2011) and Senna (Asif Kapadia, 2011)

Essential Viewing


The Killing

McCabe and Mrs. Miller


Camera Buff

Man on Wire




Martha Marcy May Marlene

Tally for the year to date - August (29), July (33), June (35), May (30), April (22), March (26), February (19), January (35) = 229


  1. Oh! I'm going to watch Man on Wire next week which has been on my DVR for months. I'll also try and catch Senna in the coming weeks, hopefully with another film as it's at an art-house theater at Midtown Atlanta.

  2. i don't know if you saw but i too am gonna be checking out the Italian Film Festival, but when it hits Perth in October.

    the program is pretty poor, whoever wrote the movie information needs to go back to school, at no point do they make the movies sound appealing, but i did decide to review 4 films including A Quiet Life.

    I know you have pretty decent taste in film Andy so i'll be intrigued by your experience this month.

    don't forget to stop by for my Russian Resurrection Film Festival coverage in September.

  3. @ Steven - They are two of the best docos I have ever seen! Well two that I find especially interesting, personally.

    @ Toby - I have checked out your site, as you know, and had a browse through your choices. The line-up isn't as strong as say the French or the Spanish Film Festivals but I think there'll be some quality films in there. I look forward to the experience. I hoped I don't get Italian filmed-out. I'll definitely stop by for your coverage of the Russian Film Fest. which is also running in Sydney, though I wasn't aware of it until the other day.

  4. i'm not suggesting you bad mouth the people providing free stuff :D perhaps i shouldn't either if i want free stuff? is the Russian Resurrection not showing at your cinema then?

  5. It might be a good idea :-p

    Ahh, not at my cinema, but I think at one or both of the Palace twins in Sydney. The media opening is on tomorrow night at the Chauvel. I'm not attending. Still, I might be able to catch one or two. Any that you recommend?

  6. Elena got great reviews at cannes. The one I'm most looking forward to is who am i?

  7. Elena...damn, that's the one that's playing tomorrow night! Cool, thanks man, I'll keep an eye out.

  8. You watch a LOT of movies, that's for sure!
    No love for Melancholia? I was quite taken by it.

  9. Wow, 20,000 page views is an impressive number. Keep up the great work.

  10. @ Jessica - I guess I do. I try and keep it balanced between new releases (about 10/12 a month, but usually there are about 20 new releases every month) and classics that I haven't seen. Sometimes I just feel like something different, or one of my DVDs - this month Superbad and Inception. Chucked them in because I felt like it!

    I wasn't a fan of Melancholia. I thought the scenes at the wedding were superb, but I felt like it became laborious, considering the ending was inevitable, in the second half. It was none too subtle either, and all I got out of it really was that a depressed person suddenly becomes the most sane when faced with the end of the world. All those great characters introduced in the first half (to help us understand Dunst's character) become inconsequential in the second because the story shifts so much. Anyway, I thought Dunst was great, and that final shot was amazing, and I'll definitely give it another go because I do like Von Trier - sickly enough, I did really like Antichrist.

    @ Bonjour Tristesse - Thank you! First time I have surpassed that in a month. Next step, to top 200 followers! How did you do it, my friend? :-p

  11. I don't know, I follow and comment on a lot of different blogs not just film ones, that might help some. But I think pageviews and comments are a better overall measure of popularity because a lot of my followers have dead or dormant blogs.