Thursday, December 9, 2010

Favorite (four), part seven

Just like in my other six posts thus far in this series, I want to take a second to single out the highlights of my recent film viewing.  I'm trying right now to take in almost a film a day.  Most have been first-time viewings.  And most I have been glad to finally see, but only very few have stayed with me.  This series is my filter for those (and hopefully one or two of these will be good to someone else, too).

Yasujiro Ozu's Late Spring

Another extraordinarily tender and wise film about  life, relationships, and personal growth and evolution.  Ozu keeps things minimal and spare, as usual.  But whenever he goes outside he reminds us of his strong connection to nature and tremendous feeling and eye for the outdoors.  Soft but packs a punch.

Vittorio De Sica's Umberto D.

Perhaps the film if you want to understand the bond between a dog and its owner.  Moving, realistic, wise, and full of heart.  A movie with a huge reputation, and rightfully so.  

Craig Brewer's Hustle & Flow

Brewer brings both a tremendous vitality and heart to the film.  And Howard's performance is delivered with such an amazing amount of conviction.  Perhaps slightly messy and overwrought at times.  But a film that deserved to put Brewer firmly on the map.  It's also a film that hits on things such as the incredible vulnerability and anxiety that come with trying to be discovered and the grit and hustle necessary to achieve success in a creative profession.  

John Ford's Mogambo
A flawed film, certainly.  But a fever dream of a flick, with the painfully beautiful Grace Kelly, and some of the most suspenseful scenes in the history of cinema involving animals and humans.  Nice to see Ford taking a break from the Irish thing and delivering this complex tale.  


  1. Once again Jeffrey, beautiful capsule work here, and with Ozu's LATE SPRING and DeSica's UMBERTO D. you highlight two of the greatest masterpieces in the entire history of the cinema! I love both deeply, and in both instances I was emotionally overwhelmed. Yes, the bonding between man and dog in the latter is incomparable in true neo-realist style, and with the latter, you have framed the Ozu perfectly with this:

    "Another extraordinarily tender and wise film about life, relationships, and personal growth and evolution."

    With TOKYO STORY, and THERE WAS A FATHER this is one of three irrefutable Ozu masterworks that defines the essence of his focus, and the universality is both all-compassing and piercing.

    Geez, I'm sorry to say I haven't seen the HUSTLE AND FLOW, but hopefully will remedy that soon, and I do appreciate the Ford.

  2. Sam, thanks so much for your incredible addition to this post.

    Wow, I need to see THERE WAS A FATHER. That's another Ozu that I've yet to see.

    As for HUSTLE AND FLOW, that's definitely my most controversial pick here. It's not usually the type of film I go for and champion. But it had so many things in it that I found impressive that I wanted to mention it. I'd be curious to hear how you respond to it.

    Thanks, Sam, for always adding such great perspective. I truly appreciate it.

  3. Jeffery, Umberto D. was one of the movies I saw as a teenager that made me realize movies could be more than just passing time. Like Sam, I remember being emotionally overwhelmed. I owned it on video for years, but never watched it again. Not because I couldn't handle it, but because I didn't want to tarnish my memory of it. As I move forward with my own project I will watch it again, but with some years and perspective I am looking forward to it. Thanks for reminding me why I love movies!

  4. Thanks so much for stopping in, Jason. I've been following your countdown and enjoying it very much. There are several titles that you've brought to my attention, and that's something that I always really appreciate.

    I love what you say above, particularly:

    "...I owned it on video for years, but never watched it again. Not because I couldn't handle it, but because I didn't want to tarnish my memory of it."

    I have several titles that I feel exactly the same way about.

    Thanks, Jason. I really appreciate the excellent comments and look forward to following your countdown as it continues to unfold.

  5. Thanks Jeffery! It's nice to hear you are enjoying my countdown. You have your own favorites list that I am not ashamed to say I have consulted from time to time. Keep up the good work.

  6. Thanks, Jason! Keep up the great work, too. I'm looking forward to following.