I have finally found the time to sit down and look back on the films I watched in the month of July. The meat of the summer brought a lot of good films to my attention. In addition, most of my viewings were new viewings, with only one repeat viewing. This is what Netflix and a love for buying DVDs brings to someone.
I watched a total of 22 films over the course of July, a rather admiral number if I must say so myself. On to the list. * denotes a first time viewing and all links lead to IMDB pages for the specific film.
163. 7/2 – Public Enemies*
164. 7/3 – I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang*
165. 7/4 – Mr. Smith Goes to Washington*
166. 7/4 – MST3K: Final Justice*
167. 7/5 – Jackie Brown*
168. 7/6 – Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid*
169. 7/10 – Woodstock, 3 Days of Peace & Music*
170. 7/12 – I’m Not There*
171. 7/14 – Play Misty for Me*
172. 7/18 – Don’t Look Back*
173. 7/18 – Down by Law*
174. 7/19 – Almost Famous*
175. 7/20 – Bronson*
176. 7/21 – Trainspotting
177. 7/22 – Stranger Than Paradise*
178. 7/25 – I Love You, Man*
179. 7/25 – Big Time*
180. 7/26 – In the Loop*
181. 7/28 – Night on Earth*
182. 7/29 – Watchmen (Director’s Cut)*
183. 7/30 – The Hurt Locker*
184. 7/31 – Ivan’s Childhood*
Best Film (New Viewing): In the Loop
This was a tough choice. In the Loop is one of the best films to be released in 2009. It's smart satire filled with quick, biting and unrelenting humor. The film is an insider's look at the on goings in lower level government in both Britain and the United States. It's not quite the president, but these people certainly make important decisions. The absurdity, stupidity and downright audacity of the characters are entertaining enough, and this is without the witty and snappy dialogue. I could have picked a few films from the list to give this award to, but I felt In the Loop was the most impressive in its own way. Certainly, a few of the films I saw are more heralded classics and a few others might hold more "intellectual" substance, but this particular film was a surprising and remarkable treat.
Runners-up: The Hurt Locker, Ivan's Childhood, Down by Law, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
Best Film (Repeated Viewing): Trainspotting
It was the only film I watched that I saw before, so it's a gimme. But even if I had seen a good amount of other films, this still might be my pick. It's a startling and stylish tale of drug addiction from Danny Boyle, and overall is one of his most impressive films of his career.
Worst Film (Any Viewing): Final Justice
I mean, the Mystery Science Theater 3000 riffing of the film was truly brilliant. The actual film? Of course it was terrible. So I guess for the sake of picking something, I'll go with this. Everything else on the list is far too good to stick next to the word worst in any situation.
Most Surprising Film: Bronson
The trailer for Bronson played like a sort of action/brawler film. The actual film, not so much. More of a character study of a very dangerous and troubled man, Bronson offers insight into the character without any of the glamorizing of violence that one might think a stylish and loud film like this might. I expected good things, but I didn't expect to get what I got. With great intention, the film is an impressive and forcing study of unrelenting nature.
Runners-up: Down by Law, Night on Earth, Stranger than Paradise.
Most Disappointing Film: Woodstock, 3 Days of Peace, Love & Music
This was a fairly good film documenting the first ever Woodstock festival, but it wasn't quite what I was looking for. The extended director's cut is very long and features a lot of great imagery detailing a fascinating and lost era. All this is great, but it didn't always captivate me. Some moments are fascinating, such as the warning over the P.A. system for folks to stay away from a certain bad drug that was being passed around. Others, such as random hippies dancing, were mostly filler. It's an impressive time capsule, but not quite the execution I enjoy.
Most Underrated Film: I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang
Back in July I wrote about why I'm such a fan of the fugitive, and you can read all that here. This is a rather old film, but holds to be very impressive even to this day. It's highly influential, and for good reason. Do yourself a favor and take a look at this one.
Runners-up: Play Misty for Me, Down by Law, Ivan's Childhood.