I watched 5 movies over the last week, a number significantly less than I would have liked to, but I will be picking up the pace here hopefully now that the Criterion Collection sale at Barnes and Noble is here. I will admit that I need to be watching more of those movies, and I already have bought 8 movies, so be on the lookout for those.
Up first I watched a little-known movie from the 70s, The Picnic at Hanging Rock, an Australian film by Peter Weir (The Truman Show). The film is strange. It is filled with a haunting score, and it follows a school of girls when part of their class goes missing on a picnic. It is an interesting little film, not one that I truly enjoyed the first time, but it does make you think. The film is on Hulu Plus for those who are interested, and a Criterion Collection DVD was released just recently.
Continuing on with Hulu’s Criterion Collection was Babette’s Feast, a film from Denmark that won Best Foreign Film all the way back in 1987. It is a peaceful little film, shot on the coast of Denmark, about religion, food, love, and sacrifice. The movie will make you feel hungry by the end, no doubt about it, but it does feel a little cheesy and almost too peaceful at times. Nonetheless it is a beautiful movie.
Next, a rather short film, Pickpocket. The director, Robert Bresson is synonymous with raw performances. As a French director in the 50s and 60s, he highly influenced the French New Wave. His films are powerful thanks to his attempts at getting the most raw and emotional performances out of characters as opposed to them feeling rehearsed. Pickpocket simply follows a pickpocket whose luck may or may not be running out. It is a great film, and like many of Bresson’s other’s (A Man Escaped for example), it is full of tension and excitement.
Ugetsu, often considered one of the greatest Japanese films, was released during the Japanese Golden Era. It is known for popularizing Japanese Cinema in America too. It is combines supernatural and reality, at times it is indistinguishable, but is haunting. Like many of these Japanese films of the era, it does require your full attention and thought.
Finally, not a Criterion film, Perks of Being a Wallflower. I loved this movie when it came out back in 2012. I had never read the novel which had been released some 20 years prior, but luckily in a rare occurrence, the author of the novel wrote the screenplay and directed the film. Some might argue this is not a good idea, but it allows for the director to convey the same feelings he had when writing the novel. Anyway, the film is about a lonely freshman who falls in with a group of seniors. It is very intense at times, so be warned, but still check it out because it is fantastic.
News Update: Be on the look out for more words on Criterion films, you can find out more about the movies on their website: criterion.com and also be expecting reviews on more summer blockbusters.