So, I’m releasing this a day late, but not too shabby considering my recent record. Up this month, I have a lot of Hitchcock because I’m taking a class on him, but I have a few more modern movies as well. No Tarantino, but hopefully next month!
September 1, 2015: Sunset Boulevard
Listing for completeness!
September 2, 2015: Into the Woods
School starts back up again, everyone’s moved back in, time to watch Into the Woods? Apparently, because that what we did in my apartment. It was a fun time; though on this rewatch I’m not sure it’s for the filmmaking or the music. I really like the music in this film. Not having any familiarity with the stage play though, this still remains my main connection with it so I have to give the film points for that one. I’m sure Disney makes it lighter than the original, but nevertheless it still puts across some great themes and goes to surprisingly dark places occasionally. Sure, I spent most of the movie bemoaning Jake Gyllenhaal’s absence (he was signed on to play the other prince that wasn’t played by Chris Pine), but all in all it was a fun time.
September 6, 2015: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
I still haven’t seen the Swedish version of this movie, probably because I just like the David Fincher one so much. This is probably the fifth or sixth time I’ve seen this film, and I concede that it might not be the deepest film out there but it’s just such an entertaining watch. I never get sick of it. One of these days I’m gonna have to reconsider my Fincher rankings because I originally put this one on top. While I would still defend that decision, I do really love Gone Girl. Don’t make me choose! Fincher is a director I appreciate more and more as time goes on. It was a fun time watching it with some people who hadn’t seen it before, too, cuz there’s some pretty messed up stuff in this movie. Though I was originally sad that Fincher didn’t get the money to make more sequels, after watching this again, I’m pretty okay with it. I did read all the books a couple of years ago, and this one really is the best one. The rest of them stray too far away from the Lisabeth/Mikael relationship for me to be interested in them. But I still really love this movie.
Around this time I played hookie for a day and did nothing but watch seasons 1-2 of Orphan Black, which was a fun time. The only big criticism I would have is that the second season kind of repeats an episode where Sarah has to pretend to be Alison at some sort of suburbian event. When you only have ten episodes per season, I feel like they should have switched it up a bit. Of course this might be a product of watching it all in one day!
September 16, 2015: Murder!
So Murder! marks the first rewatch I had to undertake for my Hitchcock class, and honestly I’m still not a huge fan. My original opinion basically holds; the film has a lot of cool stuff in it, especially for a film from 1930, but overall it’s not super entertaining. So correspondingly, the readings I was assigned on Murder! were a lot more interesting than watching the film itself. If anyone is a fan of super detailed shot-by-shot analysis, I’d highly recommend this book by William Rothman. It’s kind of a slog to get through because it is so detailed, but his points are really interesting and well developed. I can almost guarantee he’s thought about Hitchcock more than you. Rothman mainly examines the films’ theatricality and the characters’ attempts to control authorship of the film and the events therein. It’s quite fascinating, and gave me something to think about on the rewatch so I was able to pay attention much better than I was the first time around. Am I ever going to love this film? Probably not, but I will admit that others have seen very interesting things in it that I missed.
September 23, 2015: The 39 Steps
I seem to flip flop on my opinion of this movie a lot. Looking back at my original review, I was actually somewhat disappointed that the movie wasn’t as fun as I remembered. Now that I’ve seen it again, it was more fun than I remembered. I’m part way through the Rothman book chapter on it and he mostly discusses how the audience is able to identify with Hannay, and it’s pretty interesting stuff. Going along with that, what I noticed this time around (besides seeming funnier than usual because I was with an audience) is the magnitude of Robert Donat’s performance. Man, that guy has charisma. I don’t think I was far off in this post where I said that he could have played James Bond. The James Bond movies are very influenced by Hitchcock anyway, another thing that struck me while watching The 39 Steps. Besides the dashing hero (who by the nature of the innocent man wrongly accused plot, has to be a little clueless at least at the beginning), the women that show up are basically Bond girls. There’s Annabella Smith, a spy who dies at the beginning and sets the plot in motion, originally seeming like she’s trying to sleep with Hannay. Then you have Hannay pulling the “I’m gonna kiss you, random girl, to avoid suspicion” move on Pamela (Madeline Carol), very James Bond. She shows up later and magically falls in love with him, naturally. And of course there is extremely helpful married woman who is never seen again. But all in all, The 39 Steps held up a lot better than I remembered, which is always good.
September 30: Shadow of a Doubt
I know I promised a lot of Tarantino this month, but my picking up a Hitchcock class changed all that. Shadow of a Doubt has never really been one of my favorites, despite all of the tension Hitch manages to create, my annoyance with Teresa Wright and the nonsensical police work always distracts me. This time around, I managed to appreciate the performance of Patricia Collinge, who plays the mother. Looking at her imdb credits, I have seen The Nun’s Story but I don’t remember her in it, so I mainly know her from this movie. Like Teresa Wright’s character, the mom can play upon the small town innocence a little too much, but it works a bit better here somehow. Though the character isn’t as compelling as the movie might lead us to believe, Collinge’s natural performance is still quite impressive especially when contrasted with Joseph Cotten’s, which feels a bit forced (I still like him in the movie though).
So, I would love to promise to actually get to some Tarantino rewatches within the coming month(s), but to be honest I’m not sure it’s gonna happen. October is going to be even busier for me than September, so the posts will be even more infrequent. I’ll be lucky to get more than one a week, but I’m gonna try. The next thing that comes will be Yojimbo, which was supposed to be the September Blindspot, so I’ll try to get that next. The rewatches this month were pretty good. The highlight for me would probably be The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which held up just as well as I expected. The 39 Steps was the most surprising for me this month, I enjoyed it more than I remembered so that’s good. Next month I’ll definitely have more Hitchcock because of my class, but I’ll try to get some Tarantino in there too. Cheers!