Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Monthly Round-up: What I Watched In July

I managed to watch 35 films in July, despite working almost every day to save up for my Melbourne visit. As a result of working more and a slim line-up of new releases I have written less reviews, and some of them I have not been particularly happy with, and have been re-watching a lot of films. More than I have in recent months, anyway. Traffic has been low. Throw in a period of limited motivation and an absence of ideas and overall July was a little disappointing personally. Winter blues? It has been chilly here.

With the release of The Dark Knight Rises I revisited Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and was predictably underwhelmed by the latter. It took me two views of Rises, but I loved how dark and intense the film got, and now declare it my favourite of Nolan's Batman trilogy. 

The best film I watched in July was Taxi Driver, and I have now watched it close to 10 times. The best new film for me was Once Upon  A Time in the West. Sergio Leone's skills, which I admire so much in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, are at their peak here.

I had no selected theme for July, but I have been working through a number of festival screeners. At the beginning of the month, the Spanish Film Festival was held, and I reviewed four of the films, two for my own site and two for the Official Spanish Film Festival blog. This introduced me to Wrinkles, the best animated film of the year so far, and one that will be hard to top. Oscar nomination coming up.

With Possible Worlds Canadian Film Festival in Sydney taking place August 13-19 I have been working through some pre-fest screeners and have posted reviews of Goon, Indie Game: The Movie and 40 Days at Base Camp on my blog. The other films I have watched have been extremely disappointing, but each of these films, especially Indie Game, are worth seeking out.

In August I will be reviewing films for the Korean Film Festival in Australia and I have Arirang, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter...and Spring, Bleak Night and Silenced on tap before the festival commences August 22. Prior to that I will be visiting Melbourne for MIFF (Aug 15-20), and I have 14 films scheduled over the final five days. Reviews will prove to be impossible, so I will be writing a daily diary with brief thoughts on the films I am seeing...or something of that nature. It is going to be a busy month.

First Viewing - Cinema/DVD/Screener (In Order of Preference)

——— Essential Viewing ——— 

Once Upon A Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

Polytechnique (Denis Villeneuve, 2009)

Wrinkles (Ignacio Ferreras, 2012)

Margaret (Kenneth Lonergan, 2011)

The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan, 2012) TWICE

Indie Game: The Movie (James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot, 2012)

Bernie (Richard Linklater, 2012)

Heartbeats (Xavier Dolan, 2010)

Sleep Tight (Jaume Balaguero, 2011)

Magic Mike (Steven Soderbergh, 2012)

Goon (Michael Dowse, 2012)

——— Essential Viewing ——— 

40 Days at Base Camp (Dianne Whelan, 2011)

You Instead (David Mackenzie, 2012)

Tyrannosaur (Paddy Considine, 2011)

Cousinhood (Daniel Sanchez Arevalo, 2011)

The Amazing Spider-Man (Marc Webb, 2012)

Play Misty For Me (Clint Eastwood, 1971)

The Sitter (David Gordon Green, 2011)

London Boulevard (William Monahan, 2010)

The Story of Mr. Sorry (Kwak In-Keun, Il-hyun Kim, 2009)

Replicas (Jeremy Power Regimbal, 2012)

Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg, 2012)

The Girlfriend Experience (Steven Soderbergh, 2009)

I Am A Good Person/I Am A Bad Person (Ingrid Veninger, 2011)

I also watched a fantastic short film from the talented Alex Withrow, called Earrings. It is very impressive visually, and his attention to detail and the subtle way he reveals the film's narrative and strong emotional weight is an example of thoughtful and cleverly restrained filmmaking. The central performance from Catherine Warner was compelling and there are some effective music choices. I look forward to seeing what Alex comes up with next.

Here's the comment I left on Alex's site, And So It Begins:

I really liked this film, and it is clear that you have a keen eye for the filmmaking craft and have utilised both your own creativity and innovation as well as respectful influence from some of the fantastic filmmakers you have observed over the years. 

I loved the photography - the shifting focus, and the way we were quickly immersed into this character's headspace through the odd-angled close-ups. We weren't sure why she was acting the way she was, but we were intrigued to find out.

I think the deliberate pacing at the beginning added to this intrigue. I loved the editing in Chlo's breakdown scene and the accompanying music was perfect. Radiohead. Good job.

Catherine is stunning and gives an affecting performance. What an acquisition. Love your work.

Re-watches (In Order of Preference)

Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)

Inception (Christopher Nolan, 2010)

Shame (Steve McQueen, 2012)

Tenebre (Dario Argento, 1982)

Ocean's Eleven (Steven Soderbergh, 2001)

Batman Begins (Christopher Nolan, 2005)

Headhunters (Mortem Tyldum, 2012)

Zoolander (Ben Stiller, 2001)

Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)

The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)

Year to Date: 190 + 35 = 225 Films Viewed. 17 reviews written in July.


  1. So glad you liked TDKR this much, I really need to see it in the cinema again, it was just glourious.

  2. Nice to see the love for Earrings. I loved it.

    Also I just passed on the Liebster blog award on to you. If you want to pass it on you can check it out here:

    1. I really liked Earrings. Very powerful, and technically skiled. Thank you very much for thinking of me for the award. I will work on a post over the next couple of days :-)

  3. TDKR - THRICE for me. Glad you liked Earrings so much, as I did too.

  4. I wonder if any other critic would rate THE SITTER above COSMOPOLIS? Hahaha. I completely agree though...

    1. I really doubt it. I had a much better time watching The Sitter hehe.

  5. There are so many movies on your first list I haven't seen yet but want to. I really like your re-watch list, too -- especially Taxi Driver.

    1. I had a really good month of re-watches. Definitely the best film I watched this month - and it is one of my favourites - is Taxi Driver. Shame was amazing (third time) and Headhunters held up on a repeat. So much fun.