Monday, June 1, 2009

Wrap Up of Films Watched in May of 2009

June has it, and it's dawning on me that the year is almost halfway over. Amazing. Time flies when you're watching a lot of films. As of June 1st, I've now watched a total of 134 films. The number includes some of the same films as they were repeated viewings.

I've decided to take this time to actually reflect on the rather large amount of films I've watched. Some might wonder, is this taking away from any part of your life? My answer would be an emphatic no. Because of my love for films, it's easy to sit down and watch a film instead of surfing the web or watching television. Most of my viewings also come during the late hours of the night when I'd be up anyways.

That said, May had me watching 33 total films, including a double dose of the new Star Trek film. The selections once again encompass my vast taste and love in film. Below you will find the lists for May. As always, the links will bring you to a film's IMDB page if you wish to find out more about the film. An * means it was a first time viewing for me. Along with the films are my typically generous ratings. You'll find the monthly awards below the listing.

102. 5/1 – The Terminator – 9.25/10
103. 5/1 – Spoorloos* - 9.5/10
104. 5/1 – Collateral* - 9/10
105. 5/2 – A History of Violence – 9.25
106. 5/2 – Sexy Beast – 9/10
107. 5/3 – The Great Buck Howard* - 8/10
108. 5/3 – The Petrified Forest* - 9.5/10
109. 5/4 – 2001: A Space Odyssey* - 10/10
110. 5/7 – D├ętective* - 8/10
111. 5/8 – Crank – 9/10
112. 5/9 – Star Trek* – 9.25/10
113. 5/10 – Solaris (2002)* - 9/10
114. 5/11 – The Underneath* - 8.75/10
115. 5/13 – The Long Goodbye* - 9.25/10
116. 5/14 – Star Trek – 9.25/10
117. 5/15 – The Girlfriend Experience* - 8.5/10
118. 5/16 – Terminator 2: Judgment Day – 9.5/10
119. 5/16 – Schizopolis* - 9/10
120. 5/16 – Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines* - 6/10
121. 5/17 – Kafka* - 9/10
122. 5/20 – Terminator: Salvation* - 8.5/10
123. 5/24 – Funny Games (1997)* - 9.5/10
124. 5/24 – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – 9.5/10
125. 5/25 – Wall Street* - 9/10
126. 5/26 – Breaking the Waves* - 9.5/10
127. 5/27 – Gonzo: Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson* - 9/10
128. 5/27 – Gray’s Anatomy* - 7.5/10
129. 5/27 – Talk Radio* - 9/10
130. 5/29 – Forgetting Sarah Marshall* - 8/10
131. 5/30 – Play It Again, Sam* - 8.5/10
132. 5/30 – The Hit* - 9.25/10
133. 5/30 – They Live by Night* - 9/10
134. 5/31 – Solaris (1972)* - 10/10

Wow, what a month. I saw a great amount of inspiring films from major artists of cinema including Andrei Tarkovsky, Steven Soderbergh, Stanley Kubrick and Lars von Trier. I was hard at work trying to see as many Soderbergh films as I could as he is one of the directors I've recently fallen under trance of. Below are my quickly picked awards.

Best Film (New Viewing): Solaris (1972)
The month of May included me watching two of the greatest science fiction films of all time for the first time. The first being 2001: A Space Odyssey, a dazzling and trance-inducing film from one of the all time greatest artists, Stanley Kubrick. The other was the film I picked as the best film I watched all month. And I just got it in last night. Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris is more scientific, philosophical and exploring of the human condition than Steven Soderbergh's thriller-orientated, but still very good, remake. Solaris is very long and very Russian, requiring a quite patience to fully comprehend and appreciate the artistic vision Tarkovsky presents. I fell in love with him as an artist with Stalker, and Solaris only furthered my appreciative view of him as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time.
Runners-up: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Breaking the Waves, The Petrified Forest, Spoorloos, Star Trek.

Best Film (Repeated Viewing): Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
It strains me to not pick Terminator 2 for this one, but Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas always leaves me with an incredibly strong and appealing aftertaste. Both Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro have strong performances in this film. Terry Gilliam's direction is unbeatable, transforming Hunter S. Thompson's work to something we can watch in motion.
Runners-up: Terminator 2, A History of Violence.

Worst Film (Any Viewing): Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Too easy of a choice, really. T3 isn't AWFUL, but it is something I'd rather not set eyes on again. How anyone could like this more than the gritty fourth film in the series is beyond me. A few good action scenes with not much else to boot.
Runners-up: None (Sorry, I love too much!).

Most Surprising Film: Talk Radio
I don't consider myself a huge fan of Oliver Stone. Never was. Even though I might own a collection of his films, I haven't seen them all, and I plan on going through them very slowly. I did absolutely love Salvador and I found The Doors to be a rather entertaining (but who knows how accurate) portrayal of a band I love. After a friend and I watched Wall Street, I moved on to watching Talk Radio. After being blown away by the film's heavy hitting introduction, I was dragged further and further in to Eric Bogosian's performance as the shock jock. The film uses limited locations. It is, after all, a reproduction of Bogosian's play. Regardless, the film is ultimately entertaining thanks to smart and fast flowing dialogue.
Runners-up: Schizopolis, Kafka, They Live by Night.

Most Disappointing Film: Detective
I love me some Jean-Luc Godard almost any day of the week. Trouble his, some of his films are tough to swallow. Detective is the example of one of these. Initially, the plot sounded like it'd be right up my alley. Which it was. It was just the way Godard went about showing it to us. I've always like Godard's early work more (this film came out in 1985). Detective is a very radical piece of work from Godard, a largely experimental take on multiple plots. It's a good film, don't get me wrong, I just wanted to love it like I loved Alphaville, Breathless and Band of Outsiders.
Runners-up: Gray's Anatomy.

Most Underrated Film: The Underneath
I saw a lot of films this month that I felt don't get the credit they deserve. A lot of those came from the mind of Steven Soderbergh. The one I chose to write about here is his mid-'90s crime/thriller The Underneath. As always, Soderbergh played around with the unique ways of telling a story. At heart the film is a film noir, and the characters represent as such. I simply think that this is a film worthy of more acclaim as a great thriller rather than just a good thriller. It entices all the way through and is thoughtfully presented to the audience.
Runners-up: They Live by Night, Schizopolis, Kafka, The Long Goodbye, Funny Games, The Hit.

And there you have it. Another month gone, another 33 viewings added to the list. One can only wonder what the month of June will bring. I guess you'll have to check back in a month to find out.

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