Updates: August 1st, 2013

As those of you who follow my Twitter or the sites Facebook once every two weeks I update all the posts that I consider to be what I call “Running Posts.” Those being lists I update throughout the year or month for various year-end considerations. This is also why I like to say I (try) to post new or updated content daily, as usually update days allow for little else. However, I thought it time to formalize this process. So every two weeks or so (the next one will be up on August 13th) I will write a brief blurb and link to all the posts being updated on the day in question.

Enjoy!

Films Viewed in 2013
Contenders for Favorite Older Film First Viewed in 2013
My Radar
Contenders for the 2013 Robert Downey, Jr. Entertainer of the Year Award
Series Tracker

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Tarzan Thursday: Tarzan and the Amazons (1945)

Introduction

Last year the character of Tarzan celebrated his 100th year in print. A serialized version of the story first appeared in 1912. A hardcover collection of Tarzan of the Apes first appeared in 1914. Being in the middle of the Tarzan centennial period it’s an opportune time to (re)visit many of the screen renditions of the character.

Tarzan and the Amazons (1945)

So after the last installment was a triumph here is where the series should excel again, instead it starts to falter anew. Sure after two successful (at least in financial terms) go-arounds without Jane’s character being present re-introducing her, even with the need to recast here, should’ve been a no-brainer. Only the recasting wasn’t done right. This is not to lay the entire blame on Brenda Joyce. She’s not terrible, but she’s mediocre at best, and certainly at Maureen O’Sullivan’s level.

A majority of the blame though has to lay on the shoulders of the writers who through the course of Jane’s appearances in the RKO titles backslid her from being a progressive character to one who was nearly antiquated even in the 1940s. She soon began to become overly-trusting of the outside world and bowing to them too much, thereby defying Tarzan without good cause. This may have even worked if it was addressed; if Tarzan called her out. However, it was like a retcon, as if Jane was always this gullible about the world she willingly left behind and the writing of her character became even more unfortunate than the recast.

This is difficult enough to swallow without combining it nearly on a film-by-film basis with Boy either consciously or naively making a mistake. Sure, the leads can be flawed but what it does is to an extent defangs the antagonists. They seek to trick and gain confidence where maybe a few more instances of strong-arming would’ve been more effective.

Tarzan and the Amazons (1945, RKO)

I’ll grant some of those preferences are subjective, but what’s not as much is the importance of Act II and that’s where this film decides to do most of its time-wasting, which makes it a rather grueling viewing experience. What makes it worse is that it does waste some of the better elements of the film: there is an animal attack with great relevance, as opposed to the gratuitous ones in other films. Johnny Sheffield, both in reciting Hiawatha and his conflict with Tarzan, delivers his best performance as Boy, and there’s the great Maria Ouspenskaya as seemingly one of the few playing a non-caucasian character in the film. All those things go for naught due to the missteps.

I can’t fault the film for trying to create conflict, but when there are characters that are established acting somewhat out of sorts; it feels hollow. The best element of the tale is perhaps Tarzan that needed to keep a secret and not giving any clues as to the fact that there even is one, but even this becomes redundant as it’s discussed quite a few times with no progress made. It’s a good touch to have Tarzan an allied secret-keeper as opposed to an intimidating force, but, sadly this title has far too many failings.

Considerations for the 2013 Robert Downey, Jr. Entertainer of the Year Award

Originally I didn’t want to list considerations for either Entertainer of the Year Award or Neutron Star Award. The reasoning behind this was that these awards being for a body of work should’ve had their winners be rather apparent. However, owing to previous memory lapses, I reconsidered this philosophy.

Therefore, any and all eligible, worthy candidates for either award will be kept on this list. It will be one of the running lists that I update on a biweekly basis.

In essence, this will give those who stand out in these categories their due. For example, last year I felt remiss in not mentioning Matthew McConaughey in my explication for the Entertainer of the Year Award for 2013. In my reasoning behind Samuel L. Jackson’s win I had to talk about his year and how great it was and why Jackson’s superseded it. With this list, at year’s end I will be able to discuss each of the prospective candidates works.

Please note that while this award only requires two ‘participations,’ no “eggs will be counted before they’re hatched,” meaning if I have yet to see a second title, though I may expect to, that person will not be listed yet.

Without further ado, the candidates…

Candidates

Nicholas Hoult
Dwayne Johnson
Ryan Simpkins
Ty Simpkins
Rebecca Hall
James Franco
Spencer Treat Clark
Michael Shannon
Bruce Willis
Chloe Grace Moretz
James Wan
Hailee Steinfeld
Sandra Bullock
Abigail Breslin
Ben Kingsley

My Radar

This is a post that I’m creating for a few purposes. First, it will serve as an unofficial checklist for my BAM Awards. I will not hold up the awards in anticipation of seeing these films. A deadline is a deadline. It will help me either define Gray Area films or keep an eye out for undistributed titles. Secondly, this will serve as a back-up to my watchlist on GoWatchIt, which is a great site to get notifications about film releases. I anticipate I’ll update this bi-weekly as I do with films watched and older film posts.

1. The Fifth Season

Played SxSW 2013. Belgian film about a endless winter. Made known to me by Scott E. Weinberg.

2. To the Wonder

New Malick. Ebert’s last review. SOON TO BE VIEWED

3. White Elephant

From Strand Releasing. Look for it on Netflix.

4. Sister
Foreign language film nominee. Missed Theatre N date. Seek out on video.

5. Amour

Amour (2012, Sony Pictures Classics)

Only nearby engagements in 2013. Have missed them. For more about qualifying for the BAM Awards read this.

6. 56 Up

Knew it was hitting both Philly and local theaters and didn’t get out to it.

7. Our Children

Heard of it during Oscar-season last year, appears to be hitting screens, at least in the UK.

8. Mud

Heard of it last year at Cannes. Has been at Philadelphia Landmark theater(s) for two weekends and I haven’t been yet.

9. In the House

Heard of Ozon’s latest in late ’12. Have followed some reactions and release dates. Have had three weekends to see it. Haven’t yet.

10. The Dirties

The Dirties (2012, Phase 4)

Heard it was picked up by Phase 4 this week in THR.

11. Cody the Robosapien

There’s a one sheet. Not much in the way of release date information as of yet.

12. Dark Frontier

Saw the trailer for this film before watching Deep Dark Canyon.

13. Jacob

Was to be my second Redbox freebie recently had my other code not expired.

14. Faust

Heard of Sokurov’s version last year. Currently at Film Forum in NY.

15. Tragedy of Man

The Tragedy of Man (2011, Mozinet)

I know this hit an New York screen while I was not there. Haven’t heard about it being on video.

The following films are those which are on my GoWatchIt queue as of today (5/15/13):

Dracula-3D

16. Elles SOON TO BE VIEWED
17. Jack and Diane
18. Dracula 3D
19. In Their Skin
20. Beyond the Hills
21. Antiviral (SOON TO BE VIEWED)
22. Me and You
23. Post Tenebras Lux
24. Reality
25. Good For Nothing
26. Just the Wind
27. Thursday Through Sunday
28. Father’s Chair
29. I Killed My Mother SOON TO BE VIEWED

The following are selections based on Larry Richman’s top picks of 2012.

Dead Europe (2012, Wild Bunch)

30. Stuck in Love
31. Vanishing Waves
32. Una Noche
33. Pavilion
34. The Hunt SOON TO BE VIEWED
35. DELETED – DUPLICATE
36. Apartment in Athens
37. Tio Papi
38. The Playroom SOON TO BE VIEWED
39. I Declare War
40. Funeral Kings
41. Electrick Children SOON TO BE VIEWED
42. Blackbird

And a random one I just called which stars a BAM Nominee from last year for Best Original Song, Troye Sivan.

Spud 2: The Madness Continues (2013, Nu Metro Films)

43. Spud 2: The Madness Continues

The following title was made known to me by frequent reader/commenter Connie:

La Jaula de Oro (2013, Machete Producciones)

44. La Jaula de Oro

The following titles are ones I hear much buzz about recently in general or out of Cannes:

The Kings of Summer (2013, CBS Films)

45. Frances Ha
46. Stories We Tell
47. Blue is the Warmest Color
48. Inside Llewyn Davies
49. Heli
50. Nebraska
51. Ilo Ilo
52. The Past
53. The Kings of Summer
54. The Place Beyond the Pines
55. What Maisie Knew
56. Ginger and Rosa


57. Satellite Boy
58. Blackfish
59. The To Do List
60. Fruitvale Station
61. Only God Forgives
62. Chennai Express
63. Blue Jasmine
64. Standing Up
65. Summerhood
66. Horrid Henry: The Movie
67. The Human Promise
68. Hannah Arendt
69. Child’s Pose SOON TO BE WATCHED
70. The Rocket
71. Blancanieves SOON TO BE WATCHED
72. The Weight of Elephants
73. The Wicker Man (1973) Extended Cut
74. V8
75. The Double
76. Staten Island Summer

77. Leap 4 Your Life
78. Headlong (Corps Perdu)
79. The Art of the Steal
79. Grand Piano
80. Slow West
81. Beyond the Heavens
82. Bunks
83. As I Lay Dying
84. The Lost Medallion SOON TO BE WATCHED
85. Category 8
86. The Fall
87. Side Effects SOON TO BE WATCHED
88. Child of God
89. The Short Game SOON TO BE WATCHED
90. The Contest
SOON TO BE WATCHED

91. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair

The-Chronicles-of-Narnia-The-Silver-Chair-Christian-MovieFilm-DVD_5117

Yes, I know the odds are I won’t miss this one. However, not only do I plan for many of these titles to crossover into next year (and beyond) but this is the film I wanted next.

92. The Borgman
93. Joe
94. Concrete Night
95. Rhymes for Young Ghouls
96. WNUF Halloween Special
97. Chennai Express
98. Torment
99. Kid
100. Into the Woods
101. 13/13/13
102. Crystal Fairy
103. Prince Avalanche

See also: John Waters’ Best of 2013 list.
and Cahiers du Cinema for more options.