Hello again friends! I am pleased to report that I have managed to keep up my film viewing at a good pace since the last update.

Week 24: Ice Age: The Meltdown. British Airways actually has a pretty solid set of films that they make available to international travelers. So of I course I chose to watch the sequel to Ice Age, as I really didn’t have the energy to watch anything without squirrels in it. Like the first movie, The Meltdown captures a good cross-section of cute animals, apropro real-world themes and oddly risque adult humor – but, really, who cares about anything other than the saber-toothed squirrel?

Thats right.

That's right.

Week 25: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. I remember having no idea what this movie was supposed to be about, based on the previews. My friend selected it as the movie to watch on a slow evening while hanging out at my buddies place in Edinburgh; such a good call!  It hits an exact tone of comic quirkiness that resonates well with me; it’s also really filmically interesting. Done in that faux-documentary style that’s all the rage these days, this homage/sendup of Jacques Cousteau and nature films managed to make me both laugh hysterically and WTF constantly. Which is good. Highly recommended, if you’re into red caps, speedos and Bill Murray.

Week 26: A Fish Called Wanda. Classic, curtosy again of British Airways! John Cleese and Jamie Lee Curtis star in the ’88 comedy concerning crime, love, revenge and fish. I think I saw this for the first time when I was, like, 12, and my memory does not deceive me – it’s great. John Cleese, who also co-wrote the script, plays as straight a man as I think he’s capable of, while the rest of the cast scrambles around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to get their hands on a whole bunch o’ diamonds. A few laugh-out-loud moments, great sexual comedy, and some very poignent vignettes. Great film.

Week 27: Azur and Asmar. As it turns out, I now have discounted admission to the Gene Siskel Film Center here in Chicago, which a cursory glance at their programming will convice you is a totally rad thing. Last week I checked it out for the first time, attending a screening of this French animated film. Somewhat of a meditation on the definition of beauty and the nature of family and brotherhood, I was a little underwhelmed, mostly by the animation style. While the backgrounds and environments were rendered in a wonderful cel style, the actual character animations looked like Flash. Example:

See? Wierd!

See? Wierd!

So the dissonance in the animation actually made it difficult for me to follow the story. And it ended with a dance party. Which is not bad in and of itself, but was a little bollywood-esque in an inappropriate way, I thought.

Week 28: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I have a thing for Tim Burton (surprise, surprise). I saw this when it came out, which was rad, and the watched it recently with one of my new neighbors, which was also rad, because the movie is – well, it’s rad. I mean, it’s hard to top the 1971 original, but I think this film actually co-exists with it, rather than attempts to replace it. It’s in a wierder zone, with an even creepier edge to it and some really mindful cruelty on the part of Wonka.

It’s also the beginning, I think, of Burton’s latest phase of film-making, which I affectionately refer to “I’m bored with my own work so I’m going to make movies that are even wierder” phase. I still like them (I mean, Sweeny Todd? That movie rules), but I wouldn’t be surprised if the mass market starts being put off by his films over the next couple of years. Good thing we have Guillermo del Toro to fill in the cultural gap.

Over the half-way point, and still caught up! Huzzah!

The Rankings, as of 7/11/09:

New Releases

  1. Milk (Week 1)
  2. Watchmen (Week 11)
  3. Gran Torino (Week 2)
  4. Star Trek (Week 19)
  5. Push (Week 10)
  6. Terminator Salvation (Week 21)

New To Me!

  1. Rear Window (Week 12)
  2. Let The Right One In (Week 23)
  3. Traffic (Week 17)
  4. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. (Week 22)
  5. The Exorcist (Directors Cut) (Week 7)
  6. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (Week 8 )
  7. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (Week 25)
  8. Hellboy (Week 3)
  9. Serenity (Week 5)
  10. Ice Age: The Meltdown (Week 24)
  11. Conan the Barbarian (Week 16)
  12. Formula 51 (Week 6)
  13. Azur and Asmar (Week 27)
  14. Slaughter of the Vampires (Week 18)
  15. The Hunger (Week 13)

Old Favorites

  1. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (Week 9)
  2. The Great Escape (Week 15)
  3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Week 28)
  4. Hook (Week 4)
  5. A Fish Called Wanda (Week 26)
  6. Dracula (1979 version) (Week 20)
  7. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Week 14)