Thursday, December 20, 2012

Favorite (four), part eighteen

Just like my other seventeen posts in this series, I want to take a second to single out the highlights of my recent film viewing.  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 will be good to someone else, too).

Michael Curtiz's The Breaking Point
So many things at once - a family melodrama, an action-adventure flick, a noir of reckless abandon, and a great film.  Curtiz shoots it with such a wonderful sense of invention, every shot, a little off and angular, immediately creating an atmosphere of complete unpredictability.  A third act that can be felt strongly in Taxi Driver and just a complete mystery to me as to why this film doesn't come up more during discussions of the great noirs.

Asif Kapadia's Senna
The footage makes this one pretty extraordinary at times, and it's the way that Kapadia choreographs the races that really shows his talents as an entertainer but also as a storyteller that knows how to trim the fat. By the end, there are moments I wish the filmmakers had chosen not to telegraph, but all in all, a very enjoyable doc about a subject matter of which I knew little to nothing.  

Michael Powell's The Edge of the World
Perhaps the greatest of all films are those haunted by either life or death.  In this case, there's a cloud hovering over every moment that suggests the latter but a vitality in every frame that leans more towards the former.  Either way, this earthy, hefty work is among Powell's very best.

Tim Irwin's We Jam Econo - The Story of the Minutemen
Great doc in just how intimate and up close it puts you with the band. About as satisfying a portrait of a group as any I have ever seen on film - between the long, un-cut performance footage to the informal dialogue with the band.

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