Posted by: ckckred | July 2, 2017

June 2017 Round-Up

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Another month, another round-up.  This June I had seen more contemporary films than I had done so in the last several months (though “contemporary” really accounts for movies that have debuted within the last several decades), as well as some more revival screenings (for Love JonesRashomon, and Paint It Black).

The Usual Suspects (Singer, 1995)

eXistenZ (Cronenberg, 1999)

I, Daniel Blake (Loach, 2017)

Fist Fight (Keen, 2017)

Love Jones (Witcher, 1997)

Wonder Woman (Jenkins, 2017)

The 400 Blows (Truffuat, 1958)

Children of the Corn (Borchers, 2009)^

Rashomon (Kurosawa, 1950)*

Paint It Black (Tamblyn, 2016)

Baby Driver (Wright, 2017)

I caught last year’s Pal d’Or winner I, Daniel Blake, and while I thought Dave Johns’ performance as the eponymous character captivating, the excessive melodrama and sentimentality at the end felt overbearing. I also finally watched The 400 Blows, perhaps the most notable feature of the French New Wave that I hadn’t seen, and while I found its child protagonist to be a relatable figure, the ending left me feeling a bit cold (though I did really enjoy the movie overall and thought its depiction of lost adolescence holds up today; a second viewing is perhaps in order).

Last week, I was fortunate enough to watch Rashomon in a newly restored 35mm print. Akira Kurosawa’s breakout feature is undoubtedly one of the most important films of the 20th century, largely for introducing the concept of the unreliable narrator to mainstream cinema, and it’s still one of the auteur’s finest work. I too enjoyed David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ, which updates Videodrome to address the hypnotic allure and mystique of video games and virtual reality, and Paint It Black, where director Amber Tamblyn, her father and actor Russ (of Twin Peaks and West Side Story fame), Alfred Molina, and cinematographer Brian Rigney Hubbard were in attendance.

^Viewed about 3/4s of the movie on an airplane ride

*Denotes a rewatch

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Responses

  1. Was it your first time seeing The Usual Suspects? If so, what were your thoughts? I am still to see I, Daniel Blake. I’ve heard tons of good things about it.

    • It was. I enjoyed The Usual Suspects, though I had the ending spoiled to me years ago (fortunately it did not ruin the experience).

      I was mixed on I, Daniel Blake. I found the performances to be solid, yet by the second half the picture morphs into a full-on political sermon. And even though I share Loach’s concerns on the need for public welfare, it was just so overly preachy.

      • They always say how The Usual Suspects’ ending is like at least half of the film’s enjoyment, but this is not really so. It is a really good film all the way. Even knowing the ending, I then re-watched this film so many times.
        Yeah, I will still see I Daniel Blake, but I agree with you – I generally do not like films which are going out of their skin to prove their point – I think that is why there is such a “genre” as documentaries there 🙂

  2. Ahh yes. The 400 Blows. One of my favorite films of all-time. I adore it not just as a great French New Wave picture but as an enthralling work of cinema. So good.

    • I do want to see it again. I learned about the ending’s ambiguity years ago, but it did leave me a bit cold (though that’s very much the point). It is a dark and very realistic portrayal of adolescence, and Léaud’s performance is quite something (I’ve enjoyed his collaborations with Godard as well).


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