Saturday, February 16, 2008

imdb widget updated

The widget label is self-explanatory; for the first 15 see here. A few brief comments on these films, most of which were good enough to make the other list if there had been room:

1. Ballad of a Soldier

An excellent companion to The Cranes are Flying from the other list. Let's all lobby Criterion to bring out more Russian stuff.

2. Cafe Lumiere

Hou Hsiao-Hsien in Japan. Nice.

3. Triad Election.

Hard-boiled HK mob film from Johnny To. This is actually the second one (the first one's just called Election) but it stands on its own. Might as well start with the first one, though, which is also good.

4. Offside

Sly social commentary, Iran-style. (And you thought they didn't allow such things over there.) Interesting interview with director Jafar Panahi on the DVD.

5. Black Book

Just missed the last cut. Carice van Houten is spellbinding as a Dutch resistance fighter in WWII. (I saw a lot of WWII films last year!)

6. Army of Shadows

Here's another one, from France this time. Very different tone though (as one might expect from Melville). Strange poster on the widget!

7. Stray Dog

This one's about a WWII veteran. Early Kurosawa, with Toshiro Mifune.

8. Leaves From Satan's Book

Dreyer's answer to Intolerance.

9. Aura

Falls down on a key plot point, but it's got a nice noirish mood and Ricardo Darin's incandescent star power.

10. The Science of Sleep

Gael Garcia Bernal as a shy nerd with an active fantasy life. Quirky and charming (but don't let that scare you off).

11. Volver

I never liked Almodovar's early films, but recently he's been very consistent. Someone at one of the local libraries likes Penelope Cruz a lot!

12. Tarnation

A son's video tribute to his dying mother. Some reviewers revile this film for its self-indulgent narcissism, but that's what the film is about: a self-indulgent narcissist's inability to keep from moving the subject back to himself, even when he's supposedly making a film about his mother. Very creative, if also fracked up.

13. The Fallen Idol

Possibly annoying if you let the kid get to you, but Ralph Richardson is great. Oblique spoiler: someone gets Gettiered but good.

14. Richard III

Olivier as the not-that-misshapen anti-hero. Some textual liberties are taken; I swear I heard Richard say something early on about "murd'rous Machiavel," which would be somewhat anachronistic (not to Shakespeare, but to Richard at least). Richardson's in this one too (stealing every scene he's in).

15. Rebels of the Neon God

Early Tsai Ming-Liang.

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