Underrated Dramas: France

Introduction

Recently I decided to partake in another great theme going on at Rupert Pupkin Speaks. The last list I did there was for the Underrated Comedies series. As I anticipated, there was far more competition among movies I like to make the dramas list than the comedies list. So much so that I decided to post ancillary lists here before the big list debuts there. I wasn’t able to get all the contenders onto these lists but I was able to feature the most competitive regions (foreign films were one of my main foci). This is my first list.

Underrated Dramas: France

One criteria that I tried to hold steadfastly to when creating the list submitted to Rupert Pupkin Speaks was that I wanted to avoid including “big directors.” Essentially, I wanted to try and find as obscured a film as possible that doesn’t deserve that fate. Hence, if a director is known the world over by his last name alone long after he has passed such title was usually omitted. One such director (François Truffaut) finds his way onto this list because of how staggeringly great I find one of his titles to be, how simultaneously like and unlike the rest of his works it is. Aside from that the rest of the list I think adheres fairly close to what I set out to do. There is one title that dabbles in myriad genre I feel and I’ll discuss it below.

La gloire de mon père/Le château de ma mère (My Father’s Glory/My Mother’s Castle) (1990)

My Mother's Castle (1990, Gaumont)

The way I figure it if you’re going to fudge selections, or it can be claimed that you are, you may as well start at the top. When I had these films listed I knew it’d be impossible to break them up. While you can watch one without the other, they are truly companion pieces. Here Yves Robert lovingly adapts the novels by Marcel Pagnol of simple childhood idyll in Provence roundabout the turn of the century. It’s not a wonder the series of novels is entitled “memories of childhood,” there is that reflective, glorified tinge to the most commonplace occurrence that makes the films radiate with warmth. With each title focusing more on one parent it really is impossible to pick one over the other for a list though I am inclined to say I like the former more. However, they ought to be viewed in the order listed above.

8 Femmes (8 Women) (2002)

8 Women (2002, Canal +)

Here’s another case where I can be said to be shoehorning a selection. Ultimately, these are some of the reasons these titles didn’t make the final list, but they are worthy of their attention here. It can be said that 8 Women plays in a number of genres: it’s unquestionably a musical, it’s also quite comedic, but there is a murder mystery aspect to much of it that brings skeletons out of everyone’s closet making it play out like a chamber drama in its straight moments. One way in which it qualifies as underrated is that while it certainly racked up many honors like 12 César nominations, it had no wins there; and while I lost my nomination records from 2003, I know it was much nominated there and only won one award (Best Song). It’s fairly different in some regards from Ozon’s other films, but in others quite similar, and definitely worth checking out.

Le Grand Chemin (The Grand Highway) (1987)

Le Grand Chemin (1987, Miramax)

As I have a tendency to do, some films will be references multiple times on this site. This is one of them. Having already written extensively, albeit in-depth, about this film in a series of posts (starting here); I’ll only add here, in very non-spoiler ways, that this film portrays three people in flux (a couple and a child), treats them with respect, as equal persons going through similar things at different stages of their life. This film also had the misfortune of being the subject of a watered-down American remake, which means the original deserves to have attention drawn to it.

La chambre verte (The Green Room) (1978)

The Green Room (1978, Les Films du Carrosse)

Here’s Truffaut’s selection on this list. I griped in the past about how this should be on DVD and was glad when it was, but I don’t necessarily think its profile has been elevated to where it should be. I’m rounding out my Truffaut filmography, but if you watch a few of his movies you very quickly get a sense for his milieu and his wheelhouse. That’s why it’s so brilliant to see him take an essentially Bergmanesque character who is preoccupied with death, portray him himself and also put his warm, humanist spin on it. For further thoughts you van visit the link above.

Mauvaises Frequentations (Bad Company )(1999)

Bad Company (1999, Pyramide)

If you become a fan of a particular foreign-bron actor, as I am of Robinson Stévenin, you may find their filmography sporadically available in the US. Every once in a while I’ve played catch up on his works. However, this film is much more than a personal showcase. It’s a disturbing and gritty tale of obsession, lust and greed that was one of the best films I saw in 2001, when it made its way here.

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Tarzan Thursday: Tarzan and the Leopard Woman (1946)

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 Leopard Woman (1946)

If there’s one thing you can’t really knock the Tarzan movies for is that they most definitely did introduce enough tropes, setpieces and motifs such that it did give the writers the flexibility to try and break certain molds from time to time. The issues usually stemmed from trying to juggle too much and being too inconsistent in the results as it pertained to these disparate elements.

A few things change here in Tarzan and the Leopard Woman. For one we open on the other interest in this film instead of opening on Tarzan and Jane or Boy. In fact, for a few consecutive titles the opening shots were nearly identical (Boy riding an elephant). So here we learn of the Leopard people. Everyone assumes it’s a Leopard attack but we and Tarzan knows better.

There is also introduced a native doctor whose now “civilized” who plays an antagonist role and a foil to Tarzan. However, there is also the character of Kimba, who is a far more active antagonist and more two-faced as he has most of the characters fooled throughout. The last time there was an additional young character was Bomba, but he ended up being fairly superfluous. Kimba is a fairly significant character and well-portrayed by Tommy Cook.

The biggest boon to the film is that there is a different feel to it than other Tarzans without giving away too much of what happens in the latter stages of it. There’s a more insidious, subdued plotting by those who threaten Tarzan. The things that hold it back are similar to other films but those that set it apart are quite unique. It does hold some surprises and tension in the latter third that many of the titles that fall short do not. It earns a mark of distinction, if not quality, due to Jane tailspinning, time-wasting and the like.

Rewind Review: Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is the latest film and franchise attempt from Chris Columbus. While there definitely are some very strong positives to this film there are a few drawbacks as well.

The film is built upon standard story elements both of our age and the fantasy genre, but at least it puts them to good use. For example, it’s a quest film, however, that is openly addressed when Percy is getting volunteers to help him. His mother is married to a jerky man, who is Percy’s stepfather, and Percy has a learning disability which both fit neatly into the plot in very creative ways. Not so creative ways are the ticking clock which is introduced to indicate that Zeus needs his bolt back by the summer solstice, the reason he needs it back is never established. The trio is somewhat Potter-esque and the necessary mentors are all in place to aid in the unwitting heroes’ quest.

The cast for the most part is very strong with a few glaring exceptions. The film is carried well by the young leads particularly Logan Lerman who has to play both awkward teenager then embracing and capable of living up to his demigod status. Perhaps more important is Brandon T. Jackson, who plays Percy’s protector and provides much of the comic relief in the film and he steals the show. Alexandra Daddario is also very capable in the role of Annabeth.

The supporting cast brings the inconsistency. You have the stark contrast of the brilliance of Uma Thurman‘s short turn and Rosario Dawson‘s charmingly sinister appearance contrasting with the wheezing-in-an-attempt-to-sound-older Pierce Brosnan and Catherine Keener, who is not as effective as she was in Where the Wild Things Are.

The CG in the film is solid albeit a little more inconsistent than desirable. Medusa’s head for example could look convincing or bogus depending on the angle its seen from. However, the Hydra and the water-work were spectacular.

The film is a funny and action-filled piece of escapism, which includes some very well-choreographed swashbuckling. It also wastes no time in diving into the tale and letting us know there could be war.

The film is rather entertaining despite a few head-scratchers like why Percy doesn’t make a run for the entrance to Olympus when the true nemesis is heading at them; instead they just wait for him to land. Or why the entrance to Olympus is atop the Empire State Building (At least in diegetic, non-inferred terms).

On a side note not really impacting interpretation of this film, all seems well and sewn up at the end of this film and there is no apparent opening for a sequel.

Overall Percy Jackson is very enjoyable entertaining, action-packed film which provided laughs and diversion even while flawed.

7/10

Mini-Review Round-Up August 2013

Here’s my standard intro to this post:

I had quite a review drought to end 2011 so I think the remedy for this kind of post would be to have the post be cumulative monthly. Therefore, after each qualifying film a short write-up will be added to the monthly post. The mini-reviews will be used to discuss Netflix and other home video screenings. Theatrical releases, regardless of how they are seen whether in an auditorium or on VOD, will get full reviews [That is when deemed necessary. As I wrote here I do want to focus more on non-review writing wherever possible].

For a guide to what scores mean go here.

Under the Bed

Under the Bed (2012, XLrator Media)

This is a film that’s a classic non-starter. The work that’s done to build the characters, the brothers, at least, is appreciated; as is the late reveal of several key pieces of information. However, the issues that come into play are that the film ends up not having enough jolts or enough incidents. The battle against the evil entity these brothers fight is forestalled too long, is resolved to quickly and far too anti-climacticly. So you have a film where engagement is barely kept for as long as it takes and then there’s no real pay-off. With a horror film, especially one of this type, you know certain characters are going to be safe so it really ends up being more about how things occur rather than who makes it. The film has really good performances by Jonny Weston and Gattlin Griffith, especially the latter, but not much else to show for itself.

3/10

Funeral Kings

Funeral Kings (2012, Freestyle Releasing)

In most cases, it takes some fairly brave filmmaking, the kind you usually only find on the indie scene; to get a refreshing and fairly honest coming-of-age style tale. This is not just a question of using profanity and making “kids sound like kids,” but also being unafraid to make the characters fairly complicated; gray, neither black nor white. For in this tale the two main foci Charlie (Alex Maizus) and Andy (Dylan Hartigan) are inclined to make trouble and misbehave, but when backed into a corner they reach the point of maturation, and reveal their true character. The closest thing to a “white” character is Dave (Jordan Puzzo) but even he, as the plot necessitates, shows a little added dimension and isn’t entirely squeaky-clean.

Of course, none of this journey, which is more a life-like domino-effect of events than a standard plot; without very realistic performances from the young actors in question. This leading trio is exceptional. Maizus has before him what can likely be considered as the most daunting task having to juggle streetwise smart-aleckness, Napoleonic complex and a well-guarded sensitivity and excels. However, Hartigan matches Maizus’ worldliness and brings his own brand of alpha to the part. Last, but most certainly not least is the performance most likely to be overlooked, and it oughtn’t be, is Jordan Puzzo. Puzzo has to be earnest and deadpan and absolutely nails all of his dialogue that has to land.

Funeral Kings is very funny, insightful and refreshing take on a coming-of-age tale that put character first and circumstance second even though it sets itself up for potentially sensationalistic scenarios.

8/10

Swoopes

Swoopes (2013, ESPN Films)

Nine for IX continues with the tale of Sheryl Swoopes carer. It’s always great when I don’t know much about the subjects of these films, or as much as I thought I did. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Swoopes as a subject is the fact that she is not easily definable and is an individual. She’s not at all interested in labels of any kind. The only issues I really had with the film itself was that it glossed over what she did in the two-year span between her graduation and the Olympics, and then one interviewees seemed to have responses that made him seem the mandatory contrarian. It would’ve benefitted the film all the more if one subject had varying interpretations of her actions and career choices. However, it’s still a very effective piece that highlights many aspects of the game and the player that would otherwise be overlooked. A job very-well done by director Hannah Storm.

8/10

Pat XO

Pat XO (2013, ESPN Films)

Here’s another Nine for IX title that takes an unexpected avenue. Not only was I unaware for Pat Summitt’s early career, both in being Head coach at such a young age and also her close-calls, but it tells the story mostly through her and her son, Tyler Summitt (recent University of Tennessee graduate), reminiscing and other colleagues, former players, etc. The film reflexively talks about how it likely helped her remember things she wouldn’t have otherwise (Summitt recently retired due to early onset dementia). Therefore, aside from being a great piece on her life and career it also becomes a living document for her and her family and all those she coached and helped along the way. The film could end up being far too loose with such a format but it crafts itself into a very neat and highly effective narrative.

9/10

Cherry Tree Lane

Cherry Tree Lane (2010, Metrodome Distribution)

It’s not that the attempt being made by this film isn’t understood or appreciated, it’s just that somewhere along the way it loses the plot. The film deals within a home invasion wherein thugs are really after their teenage son. While it occasionally elicits the desired emotional response, ennui eventually wins out. It tests the limits of voyeurism and fails. It brings existential questions to mind like “Why am I watching this?”.

An example of how it loses the plot is by having a fairly standard horror-film jolt-ending which feels tawdry, unearned, and mostly disingenuous. If we’re meant to just bask in the terror of how quickly and nearly irrevocably things change for this family the end should be more low-key and broken. This film by no means wants to be The Strangers, but it reaches wildly for it end when perhaps its prior sin was being unambitious. Perhaps the most enjoyable passage of the film is the set-up where there’s mundane small-talk that establishes character- that’s not good enough because there’s a second and third act where it can’t be compelling enough one way and tries another at the end.

1/10

The Diplomat

The Diplomat (2013, ESPN Films)

As I was a young when the Berlin Wall came down and communism collapsed in Eastern Europe, documentaries like this that take a more focused look at things are really beneficial. For example, I was under the impression that it was just because I was young that it felt like the wall’s coming down was fairly sudden; as it turns out, it was, compared to other similarly seismic sociopolitical touchstones. However, that’s a detail about a larger event. What this film does is take the diplomatic, athletic lightning-rod that was Witt and examines East Germany, both their sports regimen (pro and con) and the Stasi (only cons) through that guise and billows out from there to close relations and the everyman – and it has great and significant interview subjects on the matter. However, it’s also about Witt, some of conflicting feelings about the time, about her relationship with her coach; and how her coaches struggle molded her path to an extent. It’s a film that made me want to delve into that period, into other films about East and West Germany, made me want to see Carmen on Ice; in short, I wanted more and lots of it, and there’s hardly a higher compliment one can pay a film.

10/10

Shadow People

Shadow People (2013, Anchor Bay Films)

I could probably write a much longer piece on this film. One thing it does fairly successfully is mash feature and documentary techniques together. It fully commits to the this “inspired by real events.” The subject matter (Seeing malevolent shadows that would kill you in your sleep if you know they exist) is very strong. This commitment to approach, and the scoring help driving home despite missteps in the approach on occasion and casting issues. A testament to it’s efficacy is that it still was unsettling even in spite of nagging doubts about the quick escalation of the investigation of the phenomena and the fact that much of the second into the third act is spent crystallizing the modus operandi of these beings. Some aspects work brilliantly, for example, it’s a shame I watched it on TV because it was trying deft, slight scares at time that would read better in a theatre, some facets of the myth aren’t quite as strong as the others, however, it’s a fascinating one.

Granted the bones of it do have a source in popular culutre but its impact on the cinematic realm, as far as I know, is fairly small at current. What one can say is that this film is not unlike The Curse with better production values that’s slightly less clear on its own rules – in short, it excels in spite of itself. Taking that into account, and owing to how it made my skin crawl, I can give it a…

8/10…

despite my reservations.

Silent Feature Sunday: The Kid (1921)

While I do watch many new films, and have annual awards and will discuss current cinematic topics. Part of my desire to create my own site was to not have an agenda forced upon me that was not my own. This allows me to discuss films from all periods of history whenever I see fit. Recently my Short Film Saturday posts have been running toward silents more often. I questioned this tactic for a second until I realized that if I really do hope to encompass all of film history then the silent era most definitely should not be ignored. If you mark the silent era from the birth of film (1895) to the first talkie (1927), and I realize it could be argued that the silent era stretched a few years beyond that, and also that there were experiments with sound very early; that’s still 27% of film history at current which was entirely silent. Therefore a weekly post (or, however often I put it up) is not out of line at all mathematically or otherwise.

The good news is that many silent films are available to watch online, and are in the public domain. So I will feature some here.

As this series progresses I fully intend to discover new silents through it. However, as I get it started I figure what better way to do so than to start with ones that I know best, and have known for the longest. As a long-time fan of Charles Chaplin it’s hard to say if this is my favorite. I may be more inclined to lean towards Modern Times or, dare I be so blasphemous as to say, The Great Dictator (seeing how it is his capitulation to talkies), but what I can say about The Kid is that it does perhaps do the best of combining Chaplin’s comedic skill, dramatic sensibilities and whimsy. Enjoy!

Short Film Saturday: Sooner or Later

This August, on the 16th specifically, marks Madonna’s birthday. I’ve had occasion to discuss Music Videos and their cinematic tendencies on occasion here, but I never really focused on them during a Short Film Saturday. So during this month I will feature some of her more cinematic, or cinematically-inspired ventures.

This first video for the song “Sooner or Later” plays both into the music and the film of the 1940s as it was produced to accompany the 1990 film Dick Tracy.

Films Viewed in 2013

Encore screenings are in plain text.
Films I’ve seen for the first time are in Italics .
Films that are new releases, or otherwise BAM eligible and are in Italics and Bold

Short films will be included on this list in their own section with their own numbers assigned to them.

1. Jack Reacher
2. Penrod’s Double Trouble
3. Maya
4. Clandestine Childhood
5. Jack Frost (1965)
6. The Aggression Scale
7. Les Misérables (2012)
8. The Impossible
9. The Godfather
10. The Godfather Part II
11. The Godfather Part III
12. Stealing Beauty
13. Mostly Ghostly
14. Camp Nowhere
15. Madison
16. Tendres Cousines
17. Texas Chainsaw 3D
18. Mama
19. Pioneers in Igolstadt
20. The Divorcée
21. Belial
22. A Free Soul
23. Three on a Match
24. Female
25. Night Nurse
26. Insight
27. The Great Water
28. The Perfect Creature
29. Patrick
30. The Hamiltons
31. Stealing Beauty
32. Tarzan of the Apes
33. The Marriage of Maria Braun
34. Rio Das Mortes
35. Little Lord Fauntleroy
36. The Birds
37. The Rescuers
38. The Rescuers Down Under
39. The Great Ghost Rescue
40. Movie 43
41. A Haunted House
42. Cinderella (1950)
43. Tentacles
44. Warm Bodies
45. Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters
46. Night Across the Street
47. Be My Valentine
48. The Marriage of Maria Braun
49. Lola
50. The Thompsons
51. Goldiggers of 1933
52. The Story of Louis Pasteur
53. The Life of Emile Zola
54. The Hanging Tree
55. Imitation of Life (1934)
57. The Lost Patrol
58. The Narrow Margin
59. Citizen Kane
60. Treasure of the Sierra Madre
61. Pocahontas (1995)
62. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
63. Tarzan the Ape Man (1932)
64. A Dog of Flanders (1959)
65. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
66. Jezebel
67. Friendly Persuasion
68. Bad Day at Black Rock
69. Father of the Bride (1950)
70. The Racket (1928)
71. The Lady Eve
72. Way Down South
73. Seven Days in May
74. The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T
75. From Here to Eternity
76. Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
77. All-American Co-Ed
78. Way Out West
79. Victor Victoria
80. Blossoms in the Dust
81. Anna Karenina (2012)
82. Saraband for Dead Lovers
83. Identity Thief
84. Dark Skies
85. A Good Day to Die Hard
86. Zombie Lake
87. Madhouse
88. The Beatniks
89. Hell
90. The Magnificent Ambersons
91. Arcadia
92. Nicky’s Family
93. The Invisible Boy
94. Bestiare
95. The Awakening
96. Sleep Tight
97. Straight A’s
98. Song of the South
99. Finding Nemo
100. Muppet Treasure Island
101. Zokkomon
102. Babes in Toyland
103. The Princess Diaries
104. Cars
105. Death Valley
106. Secretariat
107. Bridge to Terabithia
108. Darby O’Gill and the Little People
109. The Gnome-Mobile
110. Bolt
111. The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band
112. Little Orvie
113. A Wicked Woman
114. Treasure Island
115. Slumber Party Massacre
116. The Circus
117. Saraband for Dead Lovers
118. Leviathan
119. The Last Exorcism II
120. A Dark Truth
121. Storage 24
122. Repossessed
123. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
124. Atta Girl, Kelly!
125. The Happiest Millionaire
126. Veronika Voss
127. A Shriek in the Night
128. Maniac (1934)
129. Time of My Life
130. Shadow of Chinatown
131. Toll of the Desert
132. The Rawhide Terror
133. Phantom
134. The Phantom Cowboy
135. Murder by Television
136. The World Accuses
137. The Ghost Walks
138. The Tonto Kid
139. At the Gate of the Ghost
140. The Fly II
141. The Condemned
142. The Sorcerer and the White Snake
143. California Solo
144. 4 Some
145. Crush
146. John Dies at the End
147. Time of My Life
148. Rabid
149. Evil Dead
150. Admission
151. Jurassic Park
152. A Royal Affair
153. Sinister
154. The Garbage Pail Kids Movie
155. Mac and Me
156. Tangled Destinies
157. The Mystery Train
158. Sex Madness
159. One Year Later
160. High Gear
161. Hearts of Humanity
162. Ten Minutes to Live
163. The Night Rider
164. The Phantom Express
165. Oliver Twist
166. The Racing Strain
167. In Love with Life
168. Allez, Eddy!
169. Elway to Marino
170. The Croods
171. Oz the Great and Powerful
172. Tommy Tricker and Stamp Traveller
173. Dick Tracy (1945)
174. Peter and the Wolf (1995)
175. Leonie
176. Olympus Has Fallen
177. G.I. Joe: Retaliation
178. Scanners
179. Fast Company
180. Ghost Storm
181. Jacob
182. Mud
183. Lizard in a Woman’s Skin
184. Halloween III: Season of the Witch
185. The Monster Squad
186. Tarzan and His Mate
187. The Croods
188. Happy People: A Year in the Taiga
189. Deep Dark Canyon
190. Iron Man 3
191. Werckmeister Harmonies
192. Stroszek
193. Mirage
194. In a Year with 13 Moons
195. Love is Colder than Death
196. You’re My Hero
197. Shadows in Paradise
198. Fast Company
199. Yossi & Jagger
200. Dracula 3D
201. The Fast and the Furious (2001)
202. Milk Money
203. My Girl
204. After Earth
205. The ABCs of Death
206. This Girl is Badass
207. Duma
208. Celia
209. Yossi
210. In Their Skin
211. Blood Car
207. Space Warriors
208. The Village
209. Wide Awake
210. Life Boat
211. Epic
212. 2 + 2
213. Little Tough Guy
214. Tarzan Escapes
215. The Great Gatsby
216. Star Trek Into Darkness
217. The Fast and the Furious
218. 2 Fast 2 Furious
219. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
220. Fast & Furious
221. Kai Po Che
222. Upstream Color
223. The Giants
224. The Magic Flute
225. Deadfall
226. Brooklyn Castle
227. The Ghastly Love of Johnny X
228. Room 514
229. Mon Oncle Antoine
230. The Merchant of Four Seasons
231. Max Rules
232. The Purge
233. Shadows in Paradise
234. Fisherman’s Wharf
235. Rainbow on the River
236. Tarzan and the Leopard Woman
237. Tarzan and the Amazons
238. Tarzan’s Desert Mystery
239. Tarzan Triumphs
240. Tarzan’s New York Adventure
241. Tarzan’s Secret Treasure
242. Tarzan Finds a Son!
243. The Bat (1926)
244. Monsters University
245. The Heat
246. The Smart Set
247. On Dress Parade
248. World War Z
249. The Asphyx
250. Upside Down
251. Fast & Furious 6
252. Ariel
253. Man of Steel
254. Into the White
255. 23:59
256. This is the End
257. Imaginaerum
258. A Place at the Table
259. The Iran Job
260. The Brass Teapot
261. Despicable Me 2
262. The Lone Ranger
263. Grown Ups 2
264. Bad Kids Go To Hell
267. Pacific Rim
268. Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain
269. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
270. Wake In Fright
271. In the Family
272. Brecha
273. In Your Absence
274. Crazy
275. Wallah Be
276. Tarzan and the Huntress
277. Tarzan and the Mermaids
278. Mississippi Mermaid
279. Under the Bed
280. Seven Keys to Baldpate (1935)
281. Seven Keys to Baldpate (1929)
282. Red 2
283. The Conjuring
284. Venus and Serena
285. La Sirga
286. Teen Beach Movie
287. Paradise: Love
288. Post Tenebras Lux
289. Stoker
290. The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia
291. Hayride
292. The Depraved
293. Byzantium
294. Ginger & Rosa
295. Safe Haven
296. Let Them Wear Towels
297. The Deflowering of Eva Van End
298. The Wolverine
299. Come Out and Play
300. 56 Up
301. No Limits
302. The Way, Way Back
303. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
304. Batman (1943)
305. Little Men (1940)
306. Alice in Wonderland (1933)
307. Blondie (1938)
308. Under Capricorn
309. The Mask of Dimitrios
310. The Blair Witch Project
311. The 400 Blows
312. Antoine and Colette
313. Love on the Run
314. Stolen Kisses
315. Shadow People
316. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
317. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
318. Elysium
319. We’re the Millers
320. Swoopes
321. Pat XO
322. Cherry Tree Lane
323. The Sandlot 3
324. Funeral Kings
325. Woochi
326. Mississippi Mermaid
327. Graveyard Disturbance
328. The Fog (1980)
329. The Little Prince (Great Performances)
330. The Blair Witch Project
331. You’re Next
332. Beyond the Walls
333. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
334. The Iceman
335. House of Bodies
336. Shadow People
337. Kick-Ass 2
338. Twixt
339. Blue Jasmine
340. Amour
341. Runner
342. The 99ers
343. Kiss of the Damned
344. Branded
345. Museum Hours
346. A Haunting at Silver Falls
347. Lee Daniels’ The Butler
348. Love on the Run
349. You’re Next
350. Beyond the Walls
351. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
352. The Iceman
353. House of Bodies
354. Riddick
355. The Grandmaster
356. Shadow Dancer
357. Fruitvale Station
358. Branca’s Pitch
359. Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie
360. Insidious: Chapter 2
361. Tales from the Gimli Hospital
362. Child’s Play
363. Child’s Play 2
364. Child’s Play 3
365. Bride of Chucky
366. Blame
367. Spectre
368. A Real Friend
369. A Christmas Tale
370. The Baby’s Room
371. Miss Annie Rooney
372. No Place on Earth
373. To The Left of the Father
374. Asylum (1972)
375. Orphans of the Storm
376. Home, Sweet Home (1914)
377. Judith of Bethulia
378. Let’s Scare Jessica to Death
379. Cody the Robosapien
380. Doctor X
381. The Return of Dr. X
382. Dead of Night
383. The Case of the Bloody Iris
384. Trilogy of Terror
385. Sisters
386. Seed of Chucky
387. Insidious: Chapter 2
389. Aliyah
391. Three Worlds
392. V8- Start Your Engines
393. To the Wonder
394. V/H/S 2
395. In the Name Of
396. Hammer of the Gods
397. Die Farbe
398. Breakout
399. Standing Up
400. Don Jon
401. Saw
402. To Let
403. Pulse
404. Demonic Toys 2
405. Waxworks
406. Gorgo
407. Metallica: Through the Never
408. The Almost Man
409. Romeo and Juliet
410. Machete Kills
411. League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis
412. Captain Phillips
413. Dracula (1931)
414. Dracula (1931 – Spanish Version)
415. R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour – Don’t Think About It
416. Witchmaster General
417. Dracula’s Daughter
418. Son of Dracula
419. Seven Deaths In a Cat’s Eye
420. Macabre
421. The Silence of the Lambs
422. House of Dracula
423. Dead Souls
424. Hell Night
425. Seven Keys to Baldpate (1947)
426. Once Upon a Time, Veronica
427. About Time
428. The Green Wave
429. Ender’s Game
430. In Bloom
431. Big Shot
432. No Más
433. Free Spirits
434. Gravity
435. The Stream
436. Carrie (2013)
437. Escape Plan
438. Paradise: Faith
439. Jug Face
440. Haunter
441. Bad Grandpa
442. The Counselor
443. Stitches
444. Mother, I Love You
445. This is What They Want
446. Blind Spot
447. A Haunting in Connecticut
448. Hell Night
449. The Ghosts of Buxley Hall
450. Dead Ringer
451. Curse of the Fly
452. Return of the Fly
453. The Fly
454. The Bloodstained Shadow
455. The Notebook
456. Watchtower
457. Class Enemy
458. La Playa DC
459. It’s All So Quiet
460. Once Upon a Time Veronica
461. About Time
462. The Green Wave
463. Schooled: The Price of College Sports
464. Two Lives
465. The Old Man
466. Great Expectations (2012)
467. Thor: The Dark World
468. Pete’s Christmas
469. In the Fog
470. You and the Night
471. Bernie & Ernie
472. Zurdo
473. The Kings of Summer
474. The Wall
475. Maniac
476. Only God Forgives
477. Extracted
478. Blackfish
479. Pete’s Christmas
480. In the Fog
481. You and the Night
482. Bernie & Ernie
483. The Fifth Season
484. The Christmas Ornament
485. The Color of the Chameleon
486. Hannah Arendt
487. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
488. Contest
489. La Jaula de Oro
490. I Declare War
491. Philomena
492. The Book Thief
493. Frozen
494. The World’s End
495. In the House
496. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
497. Peter Pan (1953)
498. The Neverending Story (Original German Cut)
499. Justin Bieber’s Believe
500. A Vienna Boys’ Choir Christmas: Songs for Mary
501. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
502. <strong>The Wall
503. Maniac
504. Only God Forgives
505. Extraction
506. Blackfish
507. The Kings of Summer
508. In the House
509. Berberian Sound Studio
510. Spring Breakers
511. Homefront
512. The Playroom
513. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
514. Out of the Furnace
515. The Broken Circle Breakdown
516. Electrick Children
517. Frances Ha
518. Europa Report
519. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
520. I Killed My Mother
521. The Short Game
522. The Hunt
523. An Extremely Nutty Teacher
Saving Mr.Banks
Stuck in Love

Short Films

Little Rascals

1. Small Talk
2. Railroadin’
3. Lazy Days
4. Boxing Gloves
5. Bouncing Babies
6. Moan and Groan
7. Shivering Shakespeare
8. The First Seven Years
9. When the Wind Blows
10. Bear Shooters
11. A Tough Winter
12. Pups is Pups
13. Schools Out
14. Helping Grandma

Alice Guy

1. The Fisherman and the Stream
2. Bathing in a Stream
3. Serpentine Dance by Mme. Bob Walter
4. The Turn of the Century Blind Man
5. At the Hypnotist’s
6. The Burglars
7. Disappearing Act
8. Surprise Attack on a House at Daybreak
9. At the Club
10. Wonderful Absinthe
11. Avenue de l’Opéra
12. Automated Hat-Maker and Sausage Grinder
13. At the Photographer’s
14. Dance of the Seasons: Winter, Snow Dance
15. The Landlady
16. Turn-of-the-Century Surgery
17. Pierrette’s Escapades
18. At the Floral Ball Featuring Miss Lally and Miss Julyett of the Olympia
19. The Cabbage Patch Fairy
20. Serpentine Dance by Lina Esbrard
21. Midwife to the Upper Class
22. An Untimely Intrusion
23. Miss Dundee and Her Performing Dogs
24. How Monsieur Takes His Bath
25. Faust and Mephistopheles
26. The O’Mers in “The Bricklayers”
27. The Statue
28. The Magician’s Alms
29. Dog, Clown and Balloon for (a.k.a. Dog Plays with Ball)
30. Spain
31. The Tango
32. The Malagueña and the Bullfighter
33. Cook and Rilly’s Trained Rooster
34. Cake Walk, performed by Nouveau Cirque
35. Alice Guy films a Phonoscène
36. Saharet Performs the Bolero
37. Polin Performs “The Anatomy of a Draftee”
38. Dranem Performs “The True Jiu-Jitsu”
39. Dranem Performs “Five O’ Clock Tea”
40. Félix Mayol Performs “Indiscreet Questions”
41. Félix Mayol Performs “The Trottins’ Polka”
42. Félix Mayol Performs “White Lilacs”
43. The Birth, Life and Death of Christ
44. An Obstacle Course
45. Madame’s Cravings
46. A Sticky Woman
47. The Hierarchies of Love
48. The Cruel Mother
49. A Story Well Spun
50. The Drunken Mattress
51. The Parish Priest’s Christmas
52. The Dirigible “Homeland”
53. On the Barricade
54. The Irresistable Piano
55. The Rolling Bed
56. A Four-Year-Old Hero
57. The Cleaning Man
58. The Fur Hat
59. The Glue
60. The Race For the Sausage
61. The Game Keeper’s Son
62. Ocean Studies
63. The Consequences of Feminism
64. The Truth Behind the Ape-Man

Louise Fazenda

1. Wilful Ambrose (1915)
2. Ambrose’s Fury (1915)
3. When Ambrose Dared Walrus (1915)
4. Ambrose’s Lofty Perch (1916)
5. Ambrose’s Nasty Temper (1917)
6. Once Over Lightly (1944)
7. Her Fame and Shame (1917)
8. Her Torpedoed Love (1917)
9. A Versatile Villain (1915)

Gish Sisters Blogathon

1. An Unseen Enemy (1912)
2. So Near, Yet So Far (1912)
3. The Burglar’s Dilemma (1912)
4. The New York Hat (1912)
5. The Painted Lady (1912)

Miscellaneous

1. Le Grand Méliès (1953, Dir. Franju)
2. Mamá
3. Frosty Man and the BMX Kid
4. So You Want To Be a Detective
5. Hot Cross Bunny
6. Sweet Love
7. If
8. Nuts & Robbers
9. The Earth Rejects Him
10. The Crush
11. Der Fuehrer’s Face
12. Three Little Pigs
13. The Little Matchgirl
14. Aquamania
15. Runaway Brain
16. Prologue from Visions of Europe
17. The Show (1922)
18 The Adventures of Billy
19. The Right Time
20. Samesies
21. Bill Oldfield’s Race For Life
22. Two Short Train Rides
23. Yuck
24. The Death of Poor Joe (1901)
25. Katsudo Sashin
26. Sherlock Holmes Baffled (1900)
27. The Electric Hotel (1908)
28. The X-Ray Fiend (1897)
29. Chiromancy
30. His Wedding Night
31. Rough House
32. Back Stage
33. Frankenstein (1910)
34. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1912)
35. Cherish
36. Vogue
37. If I Am Your Mirror
38. Sleepover
39. Trick ‘r Treat – Making Friends
40. The Facts in the Case of Mr. Hollow
41. Trick ‘r Treat – Making Friends
42. Headlong
43. Santa Claus and the Snow Queen
44. Get a Horse!

Oscar Nominated Short Films – Live Action (5)

Death of a Shadow
Asad
Henry
The Curfew
Buzkashi Boys

Oscar Nominated Short Films – Animation (8; 3 Highly Commended Selections)

Fresh Guacamole
Adam and Dog
Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare
Head Over Heels
Paperman
Abiogenesis
The Gruffalo’s Child
Dripped

Méliès

1. Playing Cards
2. A Terrible Night
3. The Vanishing Lady
4. A Nightmare
5. The Haunted Castle
6. The Surrender of Tournavos
7. Between Calais and Dover
8. The Bewitch Inn
9. After the ball
10. Divers at work on the wreck of the “Maine”
11. Panorama from Top of a Moving Train
12. The Magician
13. The Famous Box Trick
14. The Adventures of William Tell
15. Before Troublesome Heads
16. The Temptation of St. Anthony
17. The Conjurer
18. The Devil in a Convent
19. The Pillar of Fire
20. The Mysterious Portrait
21. Arrest of Dreyfus
22. Devils Island – Within the Palisade
23. Dreyfus Put in Irons
24. Suicide of Colonel Henry (Dreyfus Affair #4)
25. Landing of Dreyfus at Quiberon (#5)
26. Dreyfus Meets his Wife at Rennes (#6)
27. An Attempt Against the Life of Maitre Labori (#7)
28. The Fight of Reporters (#8)
29. The Court-martial at Rennes (#9)
30. Cinderella
31. The Mysterious Knight
32. Addition And Subtraction
33. The Cook’s Revenge
34. Misfortunes of an Explorer
35. The One-man Band
36. Joan of Arc
37. The Rajah’s Dream
38. The Wizard, the Prince and the Good Fairy
39. The Magic Book
40. Up-to-date Spiritualism
41. The Triple Conjurer and the Living Head
42. The Christmas Dream
43. Fat and Lean Wrestling Match
44. A Fantastical Meal
45. Going to Bed Under Difficulties
46. Eight Girls in a Barrel
47. The Doctor and the Monkey
48. How He Missed His Train
49. What is Home Without a Boarder
50. The Brahmin and the Butterfly
51. Extraordinary Illusions
52. The Magician’s Cavern
53. The Bachelor’s Paradise
54 Excelsior! – Prince of Magicians
55. Blue Beard
56. The Hat with Many Surprises
57. The Devil and the Statue
58. The Door from the Giant
59. The Colonel’s Shower
59. The Dancing Midget
60. The Shadow-Girl
61. The Treasures of Satan
62. The Human Fly
63. Gullivers travels among the Lilliputians and the Giants
64. The Coronation of Edward VII
66. The Marvellous Wreath
67. Misfortune Never Comes Alone
68. The Mysterious Box
69. The Enchanted Well
70. The Inn Where No Man Rests
71. The Drawing Lesson
72. The Witch’s Revenge
73. The Oracle of Delphi
74. Spiritualistic Photographer
75. The Melomaniac
76. The Monster
77. The Kingdom of the Fairies
78. The Infernal Cauldron
79. Apparitions
80. Jupiter’s Thunderballs
81. 10 Ladies in an Umbrella
82. Jack Jaggs and Dum Dum
83. Bob Kick and the Mischievous Kid
84. Extraordinary Delusions
85. Alcofibras, the Master Magician
86. Comical Conjuring
87. The Magic Lantern
88. The Ballet Master’s Dream
89. The Damnation of Faust
90. The Terrible Turkish Executioner
91. A Moonlight Serenade
92. Tit for Tat
93. The Bewitched Trunk
94. Untamable Whiskers
95. The Clockmaker’s Dream
96. The Imperceptible Transmutations
100. Miracle Under the Inquisition
101. Faust and Marguerite
102. Tchin-Chao, the Chinese Conjurer
103. The Wonderful Living Fan
104. The Cook in Trouble
105. The Devilish Plank
106. The Mermaid
107. The Impossible Voyage
108. The Firefall
110. The Living Playing Cards
111. The Magic Dice
112. The Lilliputian Minuet
113. The Palace of the Arabian Nights
114. A Crazy Composer
115. The Enchanted Sedan Chair
116. An Adventurous Automobile Trip

Louis Feuillade

1. The Colonel’s Account
2. A Very Fine Lady
3. Spring
4. Fairy of the Surf
5. Custody of the Child
6. The Defect
7. The Roman Orgy
8. The Trust
9. The Heart and Money
10. Bout de Zan Steals an Elephant
11. The Obsession
12. The Agony of Byzance
13. Tragic Error

2013 BAM Award Considerations – August

Last year I had one massive running list and it became very cumbersome to add to, and to read I’m sure. By creating a new post monthly, and creating massive combo files offline, it should make the process easier for me and more user-friendly for you, the esteemed reader. Enjoy.

Eligible Titles

Under the Bed
Funeral Kings
Swoopes
Pat XO
Cherry Tree Lane
The Diplomat
Elysium
We’re The Millers
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Shadow People
Kick-Ass 2
Twixt
Blue Jasmine
Amour
Runner
The 99ers
Kiss of the Damned
Branded
Museum Hours
A Haunting at Silver Falls
Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Best Picture

Elysium
Blue Jasmine

Best Foreign Film

Amour
Museum Hours
*

*How much of a foreign film it ends up being ends up being a little debatable, its split between English and German. I don’t have an Academy-like percentage.

Best Documentary

Last year this was an omitted category, due mostly to the fact that too few total candidates existed to make the slate feel legitimate. I will hope to be able to rectify that this year.

Swoopes
Pat XO
The Diplomat
Branded
The 99ers
Runner

Most Overlooked Film

As intimated in my Most Underrated announcement this year, I’ve decided to make a change here. Rather than get caught up in me vs. the world nonsense and what a film’s rating is on an aggregate site, the IMDb or anywhere else, I want to champion smaller, lesser-known films. In 2011 with the selection of Toast this move was really in the offing. The nominees from this past year echo that fact. So here, regardless of how well-received something is by those who’ve seen it, I’ll be championing indies and foreign films, and the occasional financial flop from a bigger entity.

Funeral Kings
Shadow People
Twixt
Museum Hours

Best Director

Funeral Kings
Elysium
Blue Jasmine
Amour

Best Actress

Alice Braga Elysium
Jennifer Aniston We’re the Millers
Chloe Grace Moretz Kick-Ass 2
Cate Blanchett Blue Jasmine
Emmanuelle Riva Amour
Mary Margaret O’Hara Museum Hours
Oprah Winfrey Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Best Actor

Jonny Weston Under the Bed
Matt Damon Elysium
Jason Sudeikis We’re the Millers
Logan Lerman Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Dallas Roberts Shadow People
Aaron Taylor-Johnson Kick-Ass 2
Val Kilmer Twixt
Alec Baldwin Blue Jasmine
Jean-Louis Trintignant Amour
Bobby Sommer Museum Hours
Forest Whitaker Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Best Supporting Actress

Jodie Foster Elysium
Kathryn Hahn We’re the Millers
Sally Hawkins Blue Jasmine
Isabelle Huppert Amour
Ela Piplits Museum Hours
Adriane Lenox Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Best Supporting Actor

Sharlto Copley Elysium
Wagner Moura Elysium
Will Poulter We’re the Millers
Stanley Tucci Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Douglas Smith Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Jim Carrey Kick-Ass 2
John Leguizamo Kick-Ass 2
Bruce Dern Twixt
Ben Chaplin Twixt
Bobby Cannavale Blue Jasmine
David Oyelowo Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

Chloe Grace Moretz Kick-Ass2

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

Alex Maizus Funeral Kings

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

Emma Tremblay Elysium
Valentina Giron Elysium
Katelyn Mager Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Elle Fanning Twixt
Chloe Barach Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role

Gattlin Griffith Under the Bed
Dylan Hartigan Funeral Kings
Jordan Puzzo Funeral Kings
Maxwell Perry Cotton Elysium
Mattie Liptak Shadow People
Samuel Braun Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Bjorn Yearwood Percy Jackson:Sea of Monsters
Daniel Jenks Blue Jasmine
Max Rutherford Blue Jasmine
Michael Rainey Jr. Lee Daniels’ The Butler
Isaac White Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Best Cast

Funeral Kings
Elysium
We’re the Millers
Kick-Ass 2
Twixt
Amour
Museum Hours
Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Best Youth Ensemble

Funeral Kings
Elysium
Shadow People
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Twixt
Blue Jasmine
Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Best Original Screenplay

Elysium
Shadow People
Twixt
Blue Jasmine
Amour
Museum Hours

Best Adapted Screenplay

Funeral Kings
Kick-Ass 2
Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Best Score

Under the Bed
Elysium
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Best Editing

Funeral Kings
Elysium
Shadow People
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Kick-Ass 2
Twixt
Blue Jasmine
Museum Hours
Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Best Sound Editing/Mixing

Elysium
Kick-Ass 2

Best Cinematography

Elysium
Twixt
Blue Jasmine
Amour
Kiss of the Damned
Museum Hours
Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Best Art Direction

Shadow People
Kick-Ass 2
Twixt
Amour
Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Best Costume Design

Elysium
Kick-Ass 2
Twixt
Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Best Makeup

Under the Bed
Elysium
Twixt
Kiss of the Damned
Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Best Visual Effects

Under the Bed
Elysium
Twixt

Best (Original) Song

Funeral Kings
We’re the Millers
Twixt

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

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.