Friday, September 30, 2011

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

It's going to be a different structure this month. I have limited time this morning - off to a screening of Crazy, Stupid, Love - and I'm taking a break, remember. I'm going to spout out some random facts about my film-going experiences in September and a few things that I learned along the way.

If one of your favourite films is Sideways and you take a trip to wine country chances are you will be infused with enthusiasm. I was. I accompanied a rather large group of friends and we sniffed and swirled and quaffed wine (Hunter Valley Shiraz is the shit), cooked and ate lots of food, listened to Jazz music, watched The Lion King (?) and I even had a personal crisis - resulting in a sit down and stare off into space (in this case a beautiful expanse of vineyards) moment. It was a great weekend.

I watched a lot of Italian Films. The highlights of the Festival (which actually doesn't finish until October 5, and then there are some 'back by popular demand' sessions returning for another week) were 20 Cigarettes, Corpo Celeste, Sorelle Mai and A Quiet Life - but easily the most popular have been The Ages of Love, Welcome to the South, A Family on the Verge and Escort in Love. The latter I also saw. It was fun. October 13-30 is the Greek Film Festival at Palace Cinemas Norton Street. It never ends.

It was hard to be enthusiastic about any new releases this month - the best (13 Assassins andProject Nim) I had already seen. But The Help, Submarine and Red Dog were all entertaining. The latter I watched a day after Eye of the Storm, the worst Australian film of the year, which is contrary to common opinion. What were they watching? October brings some awesomeness - Take Shelter, Midnight in Paris, Contagion and Drive at least.

October will also be my month for Godard. Having only seen Masculine Feminine and Pierrot Le Fou by the great French New Wave director, and with the recent LAMB: MOTM being Bande a part, I figure that was the inspiration I needed to get caught up - does anyone have any suggestions on where else to look in his resume? Breathless obviously. Alphaville? A Woman is a Woman? Les Carabiniers? 

I did a lot of re-watching this month, with a number of individual urges - A History of Violence(because I watched A Quiet Life at the Italian Film Festival and decided I wanted a better ex-mafia story), Ronin (I got inspired by these great videos by Jim Emerson, where he breaks down action sequences in films), Stalker and Uncle Boonmee (just because), Knocked Up andThe 40 Year-Old Virgin (because I needed something light and funny, and wanted to be sure of what I thought of Judd Apatow) and Collateral (because I had written about Michael Mann all day and decided I needed to watch one of his films).

What I learned: 23 reviews in one month is too intense. I need a break - after this post, and after reviewing Crazy, Stupid, Love, it begins...

Counting Crazy, Stupid, Love, which will be the final film of the month, here are my 33 Films.

New Releases (Cinema) - One Day (Lone Scherfig, 2011), The Help (Tate Taylor, 2011), Super(James Gunn, 2010), Submarine (Richard Ayoade, 2010), The Eye of the Storm (Fred Schepisi, 2011), Red Dog (Kriv Stenders, 2011), The Sorcerer and the White Snake (Tony Ching Siu-ting, 2011), The Hunter (David Nettheim, 2011), The Whistleblower (Larysa Kondracki, 2010) andCrazy, Stupid, Love (2011)

Lavazza Italian Film Festival - A Quiet Life (Claudio Cupellini, 2010), 20 Cigarettes (Aureliano Amadei, 2010), Escort in Love (Massimiliano Bruno, 2010), Lost Kisses (Roberta Torre, 2010),Corpo Celeste (Alice Rohrwacher, 2011) and Sorelle Mai (Marco Bellochio, 2010)

First Viewing (DVD): The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah, 1969), Fright Night (Tom Holland, 1985), Short Cuts (Robert Altman, 1993) and Volver (Pedro Almodovar, 2006)

Re-watched (DVD): The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960), Lancelot du lac [Lancelot of the Lake](Robert Bresson, 1974), Stalker (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979), The Lion King (Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff, 1994), Ronin (John Frankenheimer, 1998), Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001), Minority Report (Steven Spielberg, 2002), Sideways (Alexander Payne, 2004), Collateral(Michael Mann, 2004), A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005), The 40 Year-Old Virgin(Judd Apatow, 2005), Knocked Up (Judd Apatow, 2007) and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apitchatpong Weerasethakul, 2010)

Essential Viewing

The Apartment


Mulholland Drive



A History of Violence

Knocked Up

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

20 Cigarettes

Year to date (229) + 33 = 262 Films


  1. I'm doing the same post tomorrow. Been keeping track all month, quite fun really.

    Nice job Andy. Have fun on your break :D

  2. That's mad, that's more than one movie a day! I would probably be around 10 movies a month if I were to count them ;)

  3. I love Godard! Among the ones that I have seen, I think Bande a part, Restless and Vivre sa Vie were my favourites.
    I saw The Apartment fairly recently and it's definitely become one of my most favourite films ever.
    And yes those are loads of films, good job :)

  4. I'm not a Godard fan, so it's hard for me to recommend anything by him other than Contempt from 1963. Much to my own surprise I actually kind of liked Sympathy for the Devil, but that's him in his post-death of cinema so I don't know if I can really recommend it or not.

  5. It's no wonder if you get a little bit tired with that amount of movie watching. It's just crazy... I see a few movies every week, definitely not one every day, and I still think it's a little hard both to find the time I need for watching and for writing...

  6. I'll suggest Breathless, Contempt, and Weekend

  7. After all of those movies, you really do need a break! Enjoy!

  8. *sigh*...I can't wait until uni is over and I finally have time to go to the cinema least I have cinema studies to keep me occupied, but I miss all the lovely new releases...sadface.

  9. Ah, Godard, where to start? WEEK END is my favourite of his films, and it's also his most depressing and downright disturbing. Your mind will not be fucked, it will be raped by Godard in that movie. Seriously disturbing shit, but still my favourite of his movies. CONTEMPT is also really good. And 2 OR 3 THINGS I KNOW ABOUT HER.

  10. @ Sam - Nice work on your round-up too. This functions as a journal of film-watching; keeps me aware of the sort of films I am watching - and the new release reviews I have completed. Thanks buddy :-)

    @ Castor - It is a little mad isn't it? I reviewed 23 of the 33 films I saw too. October will likely be about half of that number.

    @ Nikhat - Thanks for the recommendations! I will try and see 5-7 of his films, so I'll have to see what I can get my hands on. Yeah, The Apartment is an amazing film; both amusing and poignant, and for a comedy it tackles some pretty dark themes - and Lemmon is great!

    @ James - Contempt has been noted. Thanks for the comment. Appreciate it! It's one that I will likely add. Tyler also recommended it, so it seems to be a common favourite :-)

    @ Jessica - Sometimes I watch 2 or 3 in one day. Usually a double feature in the evening, or perhaps one before/after work. There was one day I watched three at the cinema :-p It's a little bit crazy haha. I had no DOTM in September, but I guess i focused on Italian Films and Judd Apatow (Knocked Up and The 40 Year Old Virgin). I was inspired to write, which made it easier, but I certainly felt the affects of all the work...

  11. @ Bonjour - Thanks for the recommendations. I'll definitely see BREATHLESS and that's the second mention of CONTEMPT. Thank you!

    @ Aziza - What is interesting, is that almost all of the re-watches improved the film for me. A History of Violence, Stalker, Uncle Boonmee, Minority Report, Knocked Up and Mulholland Drive all improved. Ronin, however, did not! Thanks :-)

    @ Ruth - You didn't miss too much this month. Really only Red Dog, Submarine, The Help and Crazy Stupid Love. Oh and 13 Assassins :-(

    @ Tyler - Weekend sounds amazing :-p I'll give it a go because BT also recommended it. That makes three for Contempt, so it's a lock. Thanks for the feedback Tyler. I'll scour your Top 100 Foreign Films for more Godard!