Five movies in this update, I am still waiting to get my hands on a couple more Criterion DVDs before I start my marathon, so I am clearing out various queue’s and stacks.
Two films from the Hulu Criterion Collection, the first being a film by French New Wave director Francois Truffaut, Jules and Jim. It is considered one of the greatest love-triangles in the history of cinema, and it is a sprawling one at that. It follows two good friends (Jules and Jim) before the start of WWI, and they meet the beautiful Catherine. She is impulsive and seductive, and over the course of several decades, their lives become a tangled love affair. It is a beautiful and emotional film.
The other Criterion flick I watched was Le Havre, a significantly less enjoyable French film. It is about an old shoe shiner who takes in an African boy who was found on a cargo ship. The movie was really beautiful, the colors popping off the screen, but it just didn’t click with me. It felt very jumbled and incoherent at times, switching to a rock show at one point. Anyway, I probably won’t be picking it up at Barnes and Noble.
One of the greatest noir-films, The Third Man, still holds up today. Orson Welles, who hit his stride oh-so-early, is fantastic. It is textbook noir, with dutch angles, shadows that seem unnatural, and a tale that twists and turns. Noir’s have seemed to fade out of cinema as of late, and though films like L.A. Confidential have reestablished its importance to the history of cinema, they do not function entirely well without the use of black and white.
A big departure from historical epics and thrillers, Ridley Scott directed a peaceful film about a vineyard, regret, and growing up in A Good Year starring his favorite, Russell Crowe. The movie at times, especially the beginning, has an edgy feel with its editing, but once it gets to the vineyard, it becomes slightly more cheesy than exciting. Russell Crowe does well in a more slow-paced film, and the movie makes you want to drink wine much like Sideways. If you’re a fan of Crowe, or wine and Italy, check it out.
Finally, a sci-fi. The final film in the Cornetto “Trilogy”, The World’s End is a parody and homage to science-fiction films of old. It has aliens, mind-control, action, and everything you would expect from Edgar Wright (Who sadly is no longer directing Ant Man), Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost. It also has Martin Freeman (The Hobbit) in tow for the ride. It does not hold the excellence of the first two films (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz), but it certainly a fun thrill ride that ends in bizarre territory.