Monday, October 31, 2011

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

Okay, so we can say goodbye to October. I can't believe the Melbourne Cup has come round again (tomorrow). I posted 21 reviews this month - 12 of which were of new releases. This was also the highest trafficked month in the blog's existence, and I am on pace to not only surpass 365 films in 2011, but also 500 posts. This is barring any unforeseen circumstances, or a huge drop off in motivation and/or material. In the lead up to the Oscars, there is usually always plenty to write about.

There will be no 'Monday Links' post this week so I thought I would us this as an opportunity to recap what I have watched in the last week, and provide a few links to the week's top articles. At the cinemas I re-watched Drive (and it jumped straight into my Top 10 of 2011) and saw a couple of advanced screenings of Bill Cunningham New York and Our Idiot Brother.

For the LAMB Acting School 101 I reviewed Heavenly Creatures and listed my Top 5 Kate Winslet Performances. To catch up on the films I didn't cover in a feature length review, I compiled a series of Quick Reviews/Ratings of films new to me in October. For further reading, be sure to check out:

Alex @ And So it Begins has embarked on an Epic Horror Quest for Halloween. Check out the results of his marathon here, with Part 1 and Part 2.

Tyler @ Southern Vision asks: What Makes A Movie A Must-See?

Max @ Anomalous Material writes a great article on The Cinema of Assault.

The LAMBCast #90 is up on The LAMB, hear Dylan, Sam, Alex and Fredo discuss The Ides of March.

and, Ryan McNeil @ The Matinee has written a great review of Martha Marcy May Marlene.

Though I had intended to work through the films of Jean-Luc Godard this month, I only managed to squeeze in two. November should include the other eight I have on my list. I also watched multiple films from several other directors this month. Included were Sam Peckinpah (The Getaway and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia) and for a personal Halloween special, Wes Craven (The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes) and Dario Argento (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage and Suspiria). Having been disappointed by what I had seen by Peckinpah prior to this pair, I did enjoy both films. I was impressed by The Hills Have Eyes (and it was a big improvement over Craven's debut) but I still preferred Alexander Aja's 2006 re-make. That might be blasphemy, but it's true. Suspiria is a film I will be obsessing about for a while. There are some terrifying moments, and the 'candy coloured nightmare' (as I have read it to be described as) is a triumph of visual flair, vibrant colour and clever lighting, and an unforgettable score by Goblin.

I might have time to watch a film this evening - Run Lola Run - which would then make it 41 films watched in October. You can find them, and my 'Essential Viewing' selections, after the jump:

New Releases (Cinema): Higher Ground (Vera Farmiga, 2011), Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen, 2011 - twice), Take Shelter (Jeff Nichols, 2011), The Cup (Simon Wincer, 2011), The Thing (Matthijs van Heijningen, 2011), Warrior (Gavin Cooper, 2011), The Three Musketeers (Paul W. S Anderson, 2011), Red State (Kevin Smith, 2011), Bill Cunningham New York (Richard Press, 2010), Contagion (Steven Soderbergh, 2011), Drive (Nicholas Winding Refn, 2011) and Our Idiot Brother (Jesse Peretz, 2011)

First Viewing (DVD): Black Narcissus (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1947), Breathless (Jean Luc-Godard, 1959), A Woman is A Woman (Jean-Luc Godard, 1961), Cape Fear (J. Lee Thompson, 1962), Alfie (Lewis Gilbert, 1966), The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (Dario Argento, 1970), Harold and Maude (Hal Ashby, 1971), The Last House on the Left (Wes Craven, 1972), The Getaway (Sam Peckinpah, 1972), Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (Sam Peckinpah, 1974), The Hills Have Eyes (Wes Craven, 1977), Suspiria (Dario Argento, 1977), Escape from New York (John Carpenter, 1981), Fitzcarraldo (Werner Herzog, 1982), Weekend at Bernies (Ted Kocheff, 1989), Troll 2 (Claudio Fragasso, 1990), Heavenly Creatures (Peter Jackson, 19994), Run Lola Run (Tom Tykwer, 1998), eXistenZ (David Cronenberg, 1999), Finding Neverland (Marc Forster, 2004), Half Nelson (Ryan Fleck, 2006), Mr Brooks (Bruce A. Evans, 2007) and The Reef (Andrew Traucki, 2011)

Re-watched (DVD): Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974), Amadeus (Milos Forman, 1984), Face/Off (John Woo, 1998), Bronson (Nicholas Winding Refn, 2008) and Up in the Air (Jason Reitman, 2009)

Essential Viewing

Black Narcissus 


A Woman Is A Woman

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage





Heavenly Creatures


Up in the Air

Midnight in Paris

Take Shelter


Current Tally: (262) + 41 = 303, and on pace to have watched a film a day in 2011.


  1. Thanks for the linkage! :)

    SUSPIRIA is a freaking masterpiece in my opinion. So glad you enjoyed it, I am watching it tonight for Halloween!

  2. 41 movies?wow, that's a good number! I like the recap post, I think I'll be doing one tonight, as well!

  3. 41... nice! There's so much good stuff here. I'm writing something similar to this tonight, per your influence. Not sure what my final film tally is yet.

    Also, thanks for the link bud!

  4. You watched way many movies than me. Did you like Up In The Air? I love it :) I should watch Amadeus, the DVD is lying in my table for couple of months now.

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  6. I'm so jealous that you got to see 41 movies this month. Quite a diverse selection of years and genres as well. Nicely done!

  7. @ Tyler - I will probably make it a future Halloween regular. I loved it. You're welcome!

    @ Aziza - I enjoyed your recap post Aziza. 41 is pretty intense. It's rare I'll hit this target.

    @ Alex - You have watched so many films over the last few days. It would not surprise me if you beat me this month haha. Pretty diverse range of decades and genres, and some decent new releases.

    @ Andina - I do love Up in the Air. Always leaves an emotional impact on me. Probably seen it 5/6 times now too. You should check out Amadeus. It's long, but very good!

    @ Prasetyo - I appreciate the comment. Thank you!

    @ NeverTooEarlyMP - Thanks! Strangely, it didn't feel like that many. Some months you feel the 20 or so you see. Here, it was just a regular routine of watching a couple of films back-to-back - both at the cinema and at home. We started having movie nights too, which bulked up the number. Saw some great stuff. The highlight was probably Black Narcissus!

  8. Thanks for the AM link love Andy :) Looks like you had one busy month of movie-watching in October. Have yet to see Black Narcissus but the others certainly are essentials!

  9. No worries Castor! Yeah, it was a busy one. Mostly first viewings too, which is good. You should see Black Narcissus, probably my favourite film of the month!