20 May 2008

When You're Fresh Out of Asia Argento Films to Watch...

Having a case of bronchitis isn't necessarily the worst thing in the world. Of course, it could turn into pneumonia, which would, naturally, be worse, but at least my bronchitis has kept me up-to-date on some overdue film viewing (and equally overdue sleep). Though my bank account is looking pretty measly as a result of not working, I can at least pride myself in this continuing self-education. I don't really have the mental or physical strength to write extensively about any of these films (in fact, some don't warrant more than a simple mention), but for those curious as to what I've seen, the list is as follows:

The Good:

You, the Living [Du levande] - dir. Roy Andersson - 2007 - Sweden/Germany/France/Denmark/Norway [And by good, I mean really fucking good]

The Edge of Heaven [Auf der anderen Seite] - dir. Fatih Akin - 2007 - Germany/Turkey/Italy - with Nurgül Yesilçay, Baki Davrak, Hanna Schygulla, Tuncel Kurtiz, Patrycia Ziolkowska, Nursel Köse

Frownland - dir. Ronald Bronstein - 2007 - USA - with Dore Mann, Paul Grimstad, David Sandholm, Mary Wall, Paul Grant

North by Northwest - dir. Alfred Hitchcock - 1959 - USA - with Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason [I'm embarrassed to admit that this was the first time I'd seen this]

Rolling Family [Familia rodante] - dir. Pablo Trapero - 2004 - Argentina/Brazil/France/Germany/Spain/UK - with Graciana Chironi

Irina Palm - dir. Sam Garbarski - 2007 - UK/Germany/France/Belgium/Luxembourg - with Marianne Faithfull, Miki Manojlovic, Kevin Bishop, Siobhan Hewlett, Jenny Agutter - Review here

The Bad:

Teeth - dir. Mitchell Lichtenstein - 2007 - USA - with Jess Weixler, John Hensley, Hale Appleman, Lenny von Dohlen - Review here

Funny Games - dir. Michael Haneke - 2007 - France/UK/Austria/USA/Germany/Italy - with Naomi Watts, Michael Pitt, Tim Roth, Brady Corbet

SoulMaid - dir. Jeffrey Maccubbin, Jeffrey Thomas McHale, Dan Mohr, Josef Steiff - 2007 - USA - with Joe Schenck, Tom Bailey, Becca Connolly

Be with Me - dir. Eric Khoo - 2005 - Singapore [I seem to be the only person I've found that disliked this film this strongly.]

Poor Boy's Game - dir. Clément Virgo - 2007 - Canada - with Rossif Sutherland, Danny Glover

Lost in Beijing - dir. Li Yu - 2007 - China

...And Somewhere in Between:

The Golden Compass - dir. Chris Weitz - 2007 - USA/UK - with Dakota Blue Richards, Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Sam Elliott, Eva Green

The Banishment [Izgnanie] - dir. Andrei Zvyagintsev - 2007 - Russia - with Konstantin Lavronenko, Aleksandr Baluyev, Maria Bonnevie

The Guatemalan Handshake - dir. Todd Rohal - 2006 - USA - with Will Oldham, Katy Haywood, Ken Byrnes, Sheila Scullin, Rich Schreiber

My Brother Is an Only Child [Mio fratello è figlio unico] - dir. Daniele Luchetti - 2007 - Italy/France - with Elio Germano, Riccardo Scamarcio, Diane Fleri - Review below

Mister Lonely - dir. Harmony Korine - 2007 - USA/UK/France/Ireland - with Diego Luna, Samantha Morton, Denis Lavant, James Fox, Anita Pallenberg, Leos Carax

8 comments:

Flickhead said...

Is The Golden Compass truly in between?

Life for a Nicole Kidman fan sometimes isn't easy. I went along with The Golden Compass until realizing it was setting me up for a series that would never materialize.

I felt far worse after seeing it than I did after Bewitched.

Joe said...

I agree completely about the tumultuous life of a Nicole Kidman fan. Not only are her choices lousy (The Human Stain, The Invasion, The Interpreter, and Bewitched of course), but sometimes are performances are as well in otherwise passable films.

She is probably the closest thing to a Golden Age "Hollywood actress" as we can hold onto today, so I find myself subconsciously supporting her schizophrenic career moves. Plus, the cinema is the only place I can actually look at her; outside of the screen, her botox-y-ness blinds me about as much as Renee Zellweger's squinty/sourpuss mug.

As for The Golden Compass, I think my sickness-fueled desire for divertissement deluded any intellectual deduction I could have made about the film. Plus, when it comes to this versus Narnia, I get the pom-poms out for the atheists.

Flickhead said...

Off-screen she looks like an insect from Planet Claire.

On-screen she's captivating. I don't think I'm really turned on by her -- I think it's a case of being endlessly intrigued.

Other than BMX Bandits and Far and Away, I think I've seen every movie she's been in, and will gladly sit through anything she does.

Looking over my Netflix queue, I see I gave Human Stain four stars. Maybe I AM smitten...

Joe said...

Intrigue is certainly what fuels my continued interest in the actress, although you deserve special mention for sitting through both The Stepford Wives and Practical Magic.

I wonder, what is her ratio of good films to bad? It's probably not far from 1:1.

Flickhead said...

Dude, I own a copy of Practical Magic!

Joe said...

I think you may have rendered me speechless.

filmbo said...

You're so right about her being an insect! It's something about how she squeezes her face when she smiles. Is it the botox?

Joe said...

I think it is the botox. Although in the case of Zellweger, I think more of someone shoving a grapefruit in her mouth than a bug.