It’s The Last Month of the Year in Film!
Well, so the year is over. I will refrain from wrapping up the year right now because I intend to write a nice long(ish) wrap up post tomorrow. But I felt December deserved a proper 2011 in Films post just like every other month of the year got. I’m also not going to write about any of the 2011 releases I saw in December (I fit A LOT in at the eleventh hour), because hopefully you read my Favorite Fifteen Films post from earlier today already. December saw a slight decline in film watching, partially because of finals and partially because I’ve been visiting my parents (who, as you may remember, live in the middle of nowhere) for the last two weeks. I did, however, watch all nine Lew Ayres Dr. Kildare films thanks to their TCM and DVR, so that’s pretty fantastic. Now I’m just rambling (that may be because it’s New Year’s Eve and I’m drinking a white russian and listening to big band tunes), so I’m just gonna to stop writing now and after the cut you’ll find the list of all the new-to-me films I watched in December, plus some thoughts on five that really stuck out.
- Adventure in Manhattan
- The Prince and the Showgirl
- We Bought A Zoo
- River of No Return
- The Ex-Mrs. Bradford
- College (1927)
- Boxcar Bertha
- The Gentle Sex
- These Three
- Natural Born Killers
- The Heartbreak Kid (1972)
- Death Takes A Holiday
- Underworld (1927)
- Johnny Suede
- The Quatermass Xperiment
- Plot Device
- Young Adult
- Weird Science
- Career Opportunities
- Chimes At Midnight
- C Me Dance
- Zombie High (aka The School That Ate My Brain)
- Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
- Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
- Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
- A Dangerous Method
- Fort Bowie
- The Last Sunset
- Albert Nobbs
- We Need to Talk About Kevin
- Man in the Shadow
- Another Earth
- J. Edgar
- Invitation to a Gunfighter
- Young Man With Ideas
- The Vikings
- Scrooge (1970)
- L’arbre de Noël (aka The Christmas Tree)
- Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
- The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
- Indestructible Man
- Divorzio all’italiana (Divorce – Italian Style)
- War Horse
- Young Dr. Kildare
- Calling Dr. Kildare
- The Secret of Dr. Kildare
- Dr. Kildare’s Strange Case
- Dr. Kildare Goes Home
- Dr. Kildare’s Crisis
- The People vs. Dr. Kildare
- Dr. Kildare’s Wedding Day
- Dr. Kildare’s Victory
- The Devil’s Double
- Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (A Separation)
- The Last Temptation of Christ
- Eyes Wide Shut
- Le notti bianche
Although I saw fewer new-to-me films in December than I did in previous months (only one less than November, though), I saw quite a bit of great films. It always baffles me that no matter how many films I manage to see, I always find so many more that I need to see and so many that I wind up loving to pieces.
The Prince and the Showgirl, 1957 (dir. Laurence Olivier)
Skip My Week With Marilyn and just watch the real thing, you will not regret it. She is so effortlessly genius in this film (well, maybe it took a great deal of effort, but it never shows). I’ve heard a lot of bad things about this film, but I don’t understand any of the dislike of it. It’s charming and quirky and, as always, you can’t take your eyes off of Marilyn for an instant.
The Heartbreak Kid, 1972 (dir. Elaine May)
Elaine May is one of the greatest comic geniuses Hollywood ever had, it’s a shame they eat her up and spit her back out so ruthlessly. Every film of her’s that I’ve seen, whether she’s written it, directed it or just acted in it, has been great because of her involvement. This film is no different. There was a remake that came out a few years ago (I haven’t seen it), that I believe took the premise and made it very slapstick-y. This film is far from slapstick. It’s a dark comedy, with a lot of honesty and heart and probably one of the best films to come out of the 1970s. It’s a shame Elaine May couldn’t get the love her male American New Wave counterparts managed to get.
Chimes At Midnight, 1965 (dir. Orson Welles)
I’m still floored that I got to see this film at last – and I got to see it on the big screen! At the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley (where I saw many a great film when I was in college). Orson is superb (when is he not?) and his take on Falstaff is everything I’ve ever wanted for the character. This is maybe my favorite of Welles’ Shakespeare adaptations.
Divorzio all’italiana (Divorce Italian Style), 1961 (dir. Pietro Germi)
I’m going through a bit of a Marcello Mastroianni phase right now and this movie is just too perfect. It’s almost two movies in one and Mastroianni gives such a perfectly dark comic performance in it. Not only is it one of the best unreliable narrator films I’ve ever seen, it’s also got one of the best, subtly ironic endings ever.
The Last Temptation of Christ, 1988 (dir. Martin Scorsese)
I just saw this one today (it was the last of Martin Scorsese’s narrative films I had to see; more on that tomorrow) and I absolutely loved it. This film tackles so many of the issues of faith that are brought up in several of Scorsese’s films (especially his earlier films) and I’m so glad he was able to get it made and express all these feelings he’s probably had for many years. I hope he was as happy with the outcome as I was. Also, I have to admit I was more than a little attracted to Willem Dafoe in this film (I usually am though, so. . .) and it is perhaps his greatest performance. What a shame he got snubbed at the Oscars that year.
Again, don’t forget to check back tomorrow for a proper round-up of the entire year in all its crazy film watching glory.
Posted on January 1, 2012, in 2011 in Films and tagged 2011 in Films, Chimes At Midnight, Divorce Italian Style, Divorzio all’italiana, he Prince and the Showgirl, The Heartbreak Kid, The Last Temptation of Christ. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.