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April in Movies

Posted on the 01 May 2012 by Tjatkinson @T_J_atkinson

April has been a considerably big month for film. I managed to pass the 200 mark in my movie year (that is, I’ve watched over 200 movies this year), which has seen some scoff in derision and some gasp in amazement, so for that I’m proud. The month has had more than its fair share of highlights and certainly a few lowlights, as today’s list will explain.

Movies Watched for the First Time in April 2012:

April in Movies
Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980): In all fairness, I watched this fifteen-hour German epic over the course of four nights and throughout both March and April, but I finished it in April so I count it as an April viewing. ★★★★★

The Phantom of Liberty (1974): I was absolutely freaking ecstatic to finally see this, a masterwork from Luis Buñuel that has eluded me for far too long. So glad I saw it, and will definitely be watching it again. ★★★★★

Va Savoir (2001): A later film from the New Wave director Jacques Rivette that I was pleased to see and enjoyed greatly. A fantastic French comedy for those looking for something lighter, and tremendously fun. ★★★★

Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928): Classic Keaton. What’s not to love? ★★★★1/2

April in Movies
Jack and Jill (2011): Some people make bad movies, and some people should just be shot. Repeatedly. ★

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011): Interesting but flawed. The plot becomes wearisome, the dialog is poor, and the acting varies from bad to decent. Sandra Bullock is surprisingly excellent. ★★★

Close-Up (1990): An early Abbas Kiarostami feature I waited far too long for. Really bloody good. ★★★★

Three Ages (1923): Another classic Buster Keaton movie, though I didn’t love this one with the same vigour as some of his other greats. Funny though. ★★★1/2

Burden of Dreams (1982): The best Behind-the-Scenes documentary you’ll ever see. ★★★★

Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1980): The title says it all. ★★★1/2

April in Movies
Brink of Life (1958): I’m surprised how difficult this Bergman film is to find. It has a great cast, an interesting plot and decent dialog. Bergman fans will enjoy. ★★★★

Life During Wartime (2009): I’ve never hated a Todd Solondz film, and as distractingly offbeat as they sometimes are, I don’t think I ever will. I’ve seen all his main features since 1995 and this is the worst, but it still gets three stars easily from me. ★★★

This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006): One of the best film-related docs I’ve seen. A real eye-opener. ★★★★

Perfect Sense (2011): An interesting indie film with a decent premise that is let down in parts by its own sloppiness. ★★★

Mother and Son (1998): The most visually beautiful movie I have ever seen. ★★★★★

Chacun son cinema (2006): A collection of short films by famous directors a la Paris, Je T’Aime, but this one was better. Some shorts are odd, some are funny, some are sad. Many are great. Worth seeing for Lars von Trier’s fantastic, fantastic short film starring himself (which you can view online here, and I highly recommend you do so.) ★★★★ http://vimeo.com/29024018

April in Movies
Grin Without a Cat (1977): One of the best documentaries ever made. If you’re looking to write a history report and want to watch a documentary that’s actually interesting, this one’s top notch. Utterly amazing editing mixed with Chris Marker’s own cheeky sense of political humour, as subtle as it may be. Contains one of the best opening sequences you’ll ever see in your lifetime. ★★★★★

Manhattan (1979): Woody motherfuckin Allen. Yes please. ★★★★1/2

Titicut Follies (1968): Holy hell. What an eye-opener. ★★★★

When the Wind Blows (1987): A movie to make you cry like a baby if ever there was one. ★★★★

Gates of Heaven (1978): A documentary about pet cemetaries? Sounds stupid. Well Roger Ebert reckons it’s one of the ten best movies in the history of film. He’s not wrong. ★★★★1/2

Powaqqatsi (1988): The first sequel to the visual stunner Koyaanisqatsi. Fails to capture the magic of the original, and unlike its predecessor, is occasionally boring. The soundtrack is brilliant, though. ★★★

Naqoyqatsi (2002): The second sequel to Koyaanisqatsi. Worse than Powaqqatsi, but not by much. There are moments of genuine beauty and wonder though, but they are few and far between. Unsurprisingly, the soundtrack is the best part of the movie. ★★★

April in Movies
Anima Mundi (1992): A short film from Godfrey Reggio, who directed the incredible Koyaanisqatsi and its less impressive sequels. At least it’s only a short. As great as the visuals are, it’s a bore. ★★★

Evidence (1995): Another short from Godfrey Reggio. This is only a few minutes long and consists purely of a camera showing us the faces of children who are watching television. Creepy, haunting, and utterly magnificent, its message is clear and terrifying. ★★★★1/2

Four Nights of a Dreamer (1971): An adaptation of the Dostoevsky novella White Nights (also made into a film by Luchino Visconti in 1957). Very Bressonian, and thus interesting, but not as much as I’d liked it to have been. ★★★

Mala Noche (1986): Gus van Sant’s first film is an intriguing experiment (reminiscent of Jim Jarmusch’s work during the same era) with interesting characters and is executed more than decently. ★★★1/2

The Young One (1960): One of Luis Buñuel’s only English-language films. A decent watch, but very unlike the director. One cheeky shot of a teenage girl’s feet as she showers makes the director instantly identifiable among fans. ★★★

April in Movies
Ordet (1955): [insert over-the-top italicised adjectives here] ★★★★★

My Dinner with Andre (1981): Two men talk for two hours. It starts of slow, but boy is it riveting towards the end.I love it. ★★★★1/2

Atlantic City (1980): Louis Malle is a director who worked in every genre at least once and rarely made a bad movie. Atlantic City, one of the first of many English-language films for the director, is a great place for people to start and one of Malle’s coolest movies. ★★★★

Damage (1992): The third Malle film in a row! I liked this one a lot more than most people, mainly due to the icy, mysterious Juliette Binoche (hot off the set of Three Colours: Blue). ★★★★1/2

It Rains On Our Love (1946): Ingmar Bergman’s second film after the failure that was Crisis. A very good second film and one that’s consistently moving and well-made. ★★★1/2

A Ship Bound For India (1947): Bergman’s third film. Less impressive, but still showing the promising signs of the great director to come. ★★★

Vampyr (1932): One of Dreyer’s first sound films. Creepy horror made more impressive by great visuals. ★★★★


W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism (1971): My first film from the controversial but highly praise Yugoslavian director Dusan Makavejev. I liked it a lot, but some people won’t. ★★★★

April in Movies
The Man With the Movie Camera (1930): If you’re watching this fucking fantastic silent film, make sure you’re listening to the 2003 soundtrack by The Cinematic Orchestra. You won’t regret it. ★★★★★

Sweet Smell of Success (1957): Just damn good noir. ★★★★1/2

The Producers (1968): “I’m the writer, you’re the audience. I outrank you!The Producers, Mel Brooks’ directorial debut, is a damn good comedy that never lets up, pulling no punches in being highly controversial and incredibly hilarious. ★★★★★

Late Spring (1949): My second Yasujiro Ozu film, and I bloody loved it. There are definitely more to come in May. ★★★★1/2

The Iron Lady (2011): I went into this film wanting to like it a little bit. I didn’t. It’s shit. I’ll save most of the ranting for my review. ★1/2

Gertrud (1964): Carl Dreyer’s last film is one of his least impressive. While the atmosphere and cinematography is absolutely brilliant, the film becomes slow and drags on in parts. I did love the Dreyer-ness of it all, though. ★★★1/2

Earth (1930): A silent film that caused controversy because of its “support” of communism. While this is hard to avoid and easy to debate, can I just ignore all that rubbish and say it’s great. I loved it. For me, that’s all that matters. ★★★★

Movies Rewatched in April 2012:

Russian Ark (2002) ★★★★★

Nostalghia (1983) ★★★★★

The Exterminating Angel (1962) ★★★★1/2

Inglourious Basterds (2009) ★★★★★

The Big Lebowski (1998) ★★★★★

The Brown Bunny (2003) ★★★★1/2

Glengarry Glen Ross (1993) ★★★★★

Somewhere (2010) ★★★★★

In the Bedroom (2002) ★★★★1/2

La Jetee (1962) ★★★★1/2

Sans Soleil (1983) ★★★★★

Red Desert (1964) ★★★★1/2

Dr. Strangelove (1964) ★★★★★

Alphaville (1965) ★★★★

Werckmeister Harmonies (2000) ★★★★★

Glengarry Glen Ross (1993) second watch in a month  ★★★★★

Three Colours: Red (1994) ★★★★★

See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1986) ★★★★

Caddyshack (1980) ★★★★1/2

Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962) ★★★★1/2

The Seventh Continent (1989) ★★★★★

Benny’s Video (1992) ★★★★1/2

Freeway (1996) ★★★★


Best Movie Watched in April 2012 (not including rewatches):

Mother and Son (1998)

Worst Movie Watched in April 2012 (not including rewatches):

Jack and Jill (2011)

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