Monday, August 1, 2011

First-Time Viewings (July, 2011)

I had another off month as far as discovering films went. The new job, some submissions I had due, watching old favorites and reading (count me among those now obsessed by The Hunger Games) all kept me quite busy. I did get around to watching not quite 20 new-to-me films with the best being the incredibly moving The Last Play a Shea, a really remarkable documentary capturing Billy Joel's closing concert at the then soon to be demolished Shea Stadium. I was also blown away by Cracks, a stunning film from earlier this starring a jaw-dropping Eva Green, and Kidnapped Coed, a mesmerizing and beautifully composed film from 1976 directed by Frederick Friedel.
Other films I enjoyed were the Kristen Stewart kids action-comedy Catch That Kid, the ultra-strange The Baby (out recently from Severin on a nice special edition DVD) and the John Holmes 1980 vehicle Stormy from director Joseph Blanski.

Films I didn't enjoy included the lame adaptation of Norman Mailer's masterful An American Dream (which is my favorite novel from Mailer), the dreadful Beast of Blood (which even Celeste Yarnall, Andre Techine's beautifully shot but vacant The Bronte Sisters (what a waste of an extraordinary cast) and the weak mid-sixties black comedy The Secret of My Success.

My favorite that I caught up with at the theater was absolutely the extraordinary closing chapter to the Harry Potter saga, a film which managed to be one of the best of the series as well as a rousing and emotionally fitting closing to s truly special series. I have already seen it three times and I will really miss watching Daniell Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Harry, Ron and Hermoine...not to mention the rest of the extraordinary reoccurring cast gathered for those films.

Anyway, I plan on catching up with considerably more in August, as well as writing more again here throughout the month.

Pre-2011 Films

An American Dream **
Beast of Blood *
Catch that Kid ***1/2
Kidnapped Coed ****1/2
Stormy ***
The Baby ****
The Bronte Sisters **
The Final Sin **1/2
The Last Play at Shea *****
The Secret of my Success (1965) **
Wall Street Money Never Sleeps ***

2011 Films

Bad Teacher ***1/2
Cedar Rapids ***
Cracks ****1/2
Friends With Benefits ***
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2 ****1/2
Horrible Bosses ***1/2
No Strings Attached *1/2


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