Rundown of some of the movies I’ve seen recently.
1. No Country For Old Men
Haven’t seen this since it first came out and forgot everything about it except for the gunfight at the motel which is still a sweet fucking gunfight. It’s noir and spaghetti western smashed together effectively and subtracted the atmospheric soundtrack associated by both those things. I love how gloriously fragmented this things is. The story starts late, ends early, and doesn’t feature its main protagonist for huge chunks of the narrative and background details are extremely spare which is fine given the propulsive nature of the film.
2. Charley Varrick
Shares a lot of surface elements with No Country: the Western setting, a huge amount of loot, and an oddball hit-man. The first 30 give-or-take minutes from the bank robbery to the time Walter Matthau and Andy Robinson get back to the trailer are incredible mayhem. There is a real emphasis on making moves here. Varrick spends the whole movie getting things into place, laying down false trails, setting people up and even finding time for recreational sex. THIS Walter Matthau is one we should have seen more of and I love his comedy. When you reach the end of this it works in two ways. It’s a surprise ending if you’ve seen enough 70’s movies and the whole story is re-contextualized instantly. The whole of the story is different all laid out than it was in its telling and that is super cool.
3. A Fish Called Wanda
John Cleese is so smart he could have been Prime Minister if he hadn’t turned to comedy instead. I like this better than some of the Python stuff just because its more fully formed and character-centric, the humor a natural extension of the characters and the situations and whip-smart dialogue. It works for its hard laughs to. It’s a chuckle inducer for the first hour while it moves characters around and then settles into a groove and becomes absolutely hysterical. You’re the vulgarian, you fuck.
4. Cat People (1942)
This was boring because nobody was putting out fire…with gasoline.
This is like, a perfect piece of entertainment. I don’t need to expound upon its values. I’ve seen it a bunch of times on TV and somehow always missed the first like 10 minutes of it where there professors and stuff and go to the library. So I guess I’m telling you I liked this movie that I already liked having now seen all of it, even more? That Busting makes me feel good?
Also I love how much casual smoking there is in here. It’s not cool or anything like that it just kind of is.
6. LA Confidential
One of my favorite movies. Longer post coming on this one.
7. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
I see the value in this and understand the appreciation for it but I found this to be at times dull and at others annoyingly assaultive to the senses. It does have its moments of right on film making and some decent suspense in parts…but this just didn’t work for me.
8. High and Low (Kurosawa Version)
I dig this for being able to mash a one room drama and a police procedural into the same story. The former is stronger than the latter but I will always have a soft spot for movies with cooperative procedure and dragnets (another example is Fritz Lang’s M.)
9.Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy
Great movie about idiots, super quotable, and it becomes the first 10 minutes of Gangs of New York in the middle for no reason and my favorite part afterwards:
Ron: Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast.
Champ: It jumped up a notch.
Ron: It did, didn’t it?
Brick: Yeah, I stabbed a man in the heart.
Ron: I saw that. Brick killed a guy. Did you throw a trident?
Brick: Yeah, there were horses, and a man on fire, and I killed a guy with a trident.
Ron: Brick, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that. You should find yourself a safehouse or a relative close by. Lay low for a while, because you’re probably wanted for murder.
-Daniel Von Egidy, 2011