Thursday, August 30, 2012

Monthly Round-Up: What I Watched in August

August was Festival Month with Possible Worlds, MIFF and KOFFIA overlapping and taking place back-to-back. I was involved with all of them - reviewing screeners for PW and KOFFIA - and it was fantastic to see them run so well achieve such success. My highlight was visiting Melbourne for MIFF and meeting all of the fantastic Melbournites I had only prior interacted with through Twitter.

With the exception of the six days away I have still been working away on the blog, trying to come up with interesting new material and posting news about upcoming projects to break up the reviews and articles. I tried the diary-entry format for my MIFF coverage and really enjoyed the shorter reviews. I think I have made a transition I might not turn back from. My daily hits are significantly lower, however. This is not concerning me a great deal, but it has actually been one of my weakest months of the year. Even less than April when I was bouncing back from the URL change. I can't explain it.

Looking ahead to September, there are more festivals to cover - the Sydney Underground Film Festival (SUFF) starts next week, and the Lavazza Italian Film Festival kicks of Sept 20. As I have seen a lot of the big new release films coming in the next few weeks, things should be pretty quiet on the screening front, but with my girlfriend Sam embarking on a Classic Horror Film Discovery Journey, I am looking forward to revisiting some of my favourite horror and discovering a few more along the way.

I watched a total of 42 films in August, including nine re-watches. Here they are.

First-watches (Cinema/DVD) - In Order of Preference

---------- Essential Viewing ----------

Remains of the Day (James Ivory, 1993)

The Imposter (Bart Layton, 2012)

Bleak Night (Sung-Hyun Yoon, 2011)

Oslo, August 31st (Joachim Trier, 2011)

The Hunt (Thomas Vinterberg, 2012)

Your Sister's Sister (Lynn Shelton, 2012)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Phillip Kaufman, 1978)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel, 1956)

Lore (Cate Shortland, 2012)

Leaving Las Vegas (Mike Figgis, 1995)

 Berberian Sound Studio (Peter Strickland, 2012)

 First Position (Bess Kargman, 2012)

Summer Wars (Mamoru Hosoda, 2009)

The Angels' Share (Ken Loach, 2012)

Ruby Sparks (Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris, 2012)

Silenced (Hwang Dong-hyuk, 2011)

No (Pablo Larrain, 2012)

---------- Essential Viewing ----------

Arirang (Kim Ki-duk, 2011)

Starbuck (Ken Scott, 2011)

War of the Arrows (Han-min Kim, 2011)

Broken (Rufus Norris, 2012)

In the Fog (Sergei Loznitsa, 2012)

Vulgaria (Pang Ho-cheung, 2012)

The Sapphires (Wayne Blair, 2012)

Magnificent Presence (Ferzan Ozpetec, 2011)

The Day He Arrives (Hong Sang-soo, 2011)

Alois Nebel (Tomas Lunak, 2012)

Last Night (Massy Tadjedin, 2010)

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Timur Bekmambetov, 2012)

Bully  (Lee Hirsch, 2012)

God Bless America (Bobcat Goldthwait, 2012)

Mental (P.J Hogan, 2012)

Mine Games (Richard Gray, 2012)

Re-watches (Cinema/DVD

Fargo (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1996)

Sideways (Alexander Payne, 2004)

Punch-Drunk Love (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2002)

Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Tomas Alfredson, 2011)

Drive (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2011)

Suspiria (Dario Argento, 1977)

This Must Be The Place (Paolo Sorrentino, 2011)

Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin, 2012)

As I can't review them all, here are some tweet reviews of films I am yet to examine further.

STARBUCK, opening , was sweet, heartfelt and a lot of fun. Plenty of laughs and an endearing lead character. Forgivable logic gaps.

VULGARIA - the title says it all. Barrage of gross-out and funny gags tell the bizarre behind-the-scenes tale of a producer's proudest work.

LORE - bleak, uncommon tale of siblings' traverse across war-ravaged country. Grim reality beaut. conveyed in photography. Strong lead/performances.
 BULLY - its subject is undeniably important and I felt terrible for the kids - tragically all on their own - but was rarely engaging as a film.

Year to date: 225 + 42 = 267 Films Viewed in 2012.


  1. Oh God, that's a lot of movies! I too rewatched Fargo and the film just keeps getting better and better.

    1. It really does. The Coens' best. Just pipping out No Country.

  2. I need to check out "The Imposter" ... can't find it anywhere though.

    1. I wager it won't get a wide release. I hope it does come your way. I think it has been making the rounds through the States.

  3. Forget the slightly lower figures, you're doing an absolutely fantastic job! Keep up the good work, so many films on this list I'm way behind on!

    1. Thanks a lot Pete. I'm not too concerned about it. I haven't reviewed a big blockbuster release before the rest of the world in a while (John Carter, The Avengers) so hits on indie films and festivals are never as high. Still, I'd rather be having the opportunities that I have and watch these films than worry about trying to boost numbers.

  4. So jealous. I really want to see Holy Motors and Oslo, August 31st.

    1. I was lucky to see OSLO. Had to travel interstate to watch it at a fest. I doubt it will get a release here. You might be lucky. As for HOLY MOTORS, the same deal applies.

  5. I'm glad to see you liked The Remains of the Day. It doesn't get mentioned much now, but I consider it Hopkins' second best performance of his career (after Silence of the Lambs). And you couldn't get two, more different kinds of films, either.

    1. Yeah I thought he was sensational. So subtle and underplayed. His emotions are conveyed completely through his facial expressions and tweaks in mannerism. Certainly as strong as his work in The Silence of the Lambs, which is undeniably terrifying. 5 Stars for The Remains of the Day. Topped the month.

    2. SPOILER WARNING for The Remains of the Day:

      Yeah, the scene where he finally goes to visit Thompson's character in the hops of having a relationship is a killer and is very subtle. When he finds out she has moved on his face changes ever so slightly, showing the tremendous amount of disappointment he has, as well as the realization that it is his own lack of action that has caused it.