Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bird in a Garage

Not "my" bird.  Just a random pic I found to help illustrate.
No, that’s not the title of yet another obscure movie that I will be reviewing.  It’s also not the title of the Mel Gibson/Goldie Hawn pairing.  That was Bird on a Wire.  I wish that had been the title of what I experienced.

Yesterday I went out to my mailbox to get the latest DVDs from Netflix (see, this is a movie related post.  Well, sort of).  I went out through my garage because a bird has been building a nest on top of my porch light right next to my front door.  I didn’t want to disturb it.  Unfortunately, the birds chose not to show me the same courtesy.

When I returned to my garage I found that a bird had flown into it.  (I had left the door up since I was only going to be gone for a minute.)  A bird coming into the garage isn’t usually that big a deal.  I’ve had it happen before; they fly out when I walk back into it.  This one didn’t.  It just flew around in a circle.

I decided to try to herd it towards the huge open door to the sunlight, but it was either the world’s stupidest bird, or the world’s most stubborn.  It simply would not fly out the six foot wide, seven foot tall opening.  In fact, it seemed to think the raised door made an excellent perch.

I spent 15 increasingly frustrating minutes chasing this bird around my garage.  It occasionally dropped me a present, which made me even more frustrated.  I started out in “shoo” mode, progressed through “stun” mode, and finally ended up in “die motherf*cker” mode.

I tried closing the door for a minute to say to the bird, “See, you lost your opportunity.  Better take it if you ever get the chance.”  No dice.  When I opened the door to all the sunlight it just perched on it again.  The definition of insanity is trying the same thing the same way expecting a different result.  I closed and opened the door again.  Still no exit by the bird.

I finally realized that as stubborn as I was, this bird was either too stubborn or too stupid even for me.  I had worked up a decent sweat and I decided to say to hell with it, close the garage door so other animals didn’t get in, and give the bird the night to dwell on its situation.

This morning I once again needed to go to the mailbox (to return the Netflix DVDs.  See, still about movies.)  I quickly stepped into the garage so the bird couldn’t fly into my house.  I saw no motion.  I then opened the garage door, sure that the noise and activity would get the bird to reveal where it was.  Nope, still no motion.  I then looked around and finally saw it perched on my lawnmower handle.

It had somehow managed to apparently shit its own body weight during the night.  Not only did I have spots in several places, I had a frigging stalagmite under my lawnmower handle.  I took a couple steps towards the bird…and it flew directly out the open garage door without the slightest hesitation.

So, anyone ever have this happen to them?  How did you get the bird to leave?  I’d like to have some semblance of a plan if this bird isn’t too stupid to breed, and passes on its genes to the next generation.

Note: My apologies to those folks who are breathlessly (yeah right) waiting for my next review to find out what film I first saw Christian Bale in.  It’s actually going to be a few days before I get to it, so I will tell you now; it’s Empire of the Sun.  Look for the review around this coming weekend.  It’s going to be that long because tomorrow is the first of the month, which is when I always do my Movie Status post for the month that just ended.  After that I’ve also got to put up my annual Big Summer Movies parent post in which I link from and to all my reviews of, you guessed it, the Big Summer Movies.  An Iron Man 3 review should soon follow that.

Don’t worry, though.  I have not dropped the Movies Where I Saw Someone for the First Time category.  Just like the other years I have done this, I will do an occasional Big Summer Movie review then I always return to the category I am doing until I complete it.

As I leave you with this, all I have to say is….”Papa Ooo Mow Mow”.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Movie – Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)

Drop Dead Gorgeous is a mockumentary in the style of This is Spinal Tap, except instead of covering a rock band, this film covers a small town Minnesota beauty pageant.  Like Spinal Tap everyone in Drop Dead Gorgeous plays it straight – as if the outlandish things that are going on are completely normal.  In and of themselves pageants are funny anyway.  Now add in the small town gossip, rich family/poor family, good girl/bad girl, pervy judges, amateur talent productions, sabotage, death, and much, much more and you’ve got a funny, tongue in cheek comedy.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Movies Where I Saw Someone for the First Time

“Sawyer, you listen to me, and you listen hard.  Two hundred people, two hundred jobs, two hundred thousand dollars, five weeks of grind and blood and sweat depend upon you.  It's the lives of all these people who've worked with you.  You've got to go on, and you've got to give and give and give.  They've got to like you.  Got to.  Do you understand?  You can't fall down.  You can't because your future's in it, my future and everything all of us have is staked on you.  All right, now I'm through, but you keep your feet on the ground and your head on those shoulders of yours and go out, and Sawyer, you're going out a youngster but you've got to come back a star!” – Julian Marsh, 42nd Street

Over my years of watching movies I have sometimes taken a special notice of a performance from an actor or actress I have never seen before.  Sometimes those people have gone on to become household names in later films; sometimes they have not.  I honestly gave up a long time ago in trying to figure out why some of them made it and some didn’t.

Obviously, just about every movie I have watched features someone I have never seen before, so I needed to come up with some ground rules to limit the number of films in this category.  

1.  The person has to be a reasonably well known name today.
2.  They have to have been relatively unknown when I first saw them (i.e. Sandra Bullock in Love Potion #9).
3.  The film I first saw them in cannot be the one that made them a star (i.e. Tom Cruise in Risky Business).
4.  Even if the film didn’t make them a star, it cannot have been a blockbuster (i.e. Eliza Dushku in True Lies).
5.  I cannot have first seen them on a TV show (i.e. Anne Hathaway on Get Real).
6.  I cannot have forgotten them from that first sighting (i.e. Jim Carrey as the rock star in The Dead Pool).
7.  The movie cannot be so bad that I would not recommend it (i.e. Johnny Depp in Private Resort).
8.  “First movie” is the first one I saw them in, not the first one they ever acted in (i.e. I’ve now seen Tom Cruise’s 1981 debut movie Taps, but that was years after I had seen him in Risky Business).

Even with these restrictions, I still came up with 20 films from my own movie collection.  I will list the names of the performers now and I will add the links to the reviews of the first movies I saw them in as I post those reviews.

By the way, the first film that I saw both Reese Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire in is probably not the one you are thinking of.

Christian Bale – Empire of the Sun (1987)
Sandra Bullock – Love Potion #9 (1992) (posted October 9, 2011)
Kevin Costner – American Flyers (1985) (posted August 24, 2012)
Penelope Cruz – Belle Epoque (1992)
Leonardo DiCaprio – What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
Robert Downey, Jr. – Back to School (1986)
Katherine Heigl – My Father the Hero (1994)
Angelina Jolie – Hackers (1995)
Nicole Kidman – Dead Calm (1989)
Jude Law – Gattaca (1997)
Matthew McConaughey – Lone Star (1996)
Carey Mulligan – Pride & Prejudice (2005) (posted February 11, 2012)
Keanu Reeves – The Night Before (1988)
Charlize Theron – 2 Days in the Valley (1996)

Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh – Dead Again (1991)
Julia Roberts and Matt Damon – Mystic PIzza (1988)
Reese Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire – S.F.W. (1994)

Jeff Daniels, Melanie Griffith, and Ray Liotta – Something Wild (1986)

Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Phoebe Cates, Forrest Whitaker, Nicolas Cage, Eric Stoltz, Anthony Edwards, and Judge Reinhold – Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

On to the reviews…

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Movie – Eating Raoul (1982)

In my prior review I noted that that film (The Insatiable) was probably the least overtly comedic of the films I had written about for my horror comedies category.  This time up the film I am going to recommend is probably the least horrific – at least in terms of what appears on screen.  Eating Raoul is a dark comedy about an ultraconservative couple who find they can kill people for profit and rid the world of “perverts” at the same time.  The film is played straight, not as a spoof.  In other words, it is filled with deadpan humor (and that was a pun, but if you haven’t seen the film, you won’t get it yet.)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Movie – The Insatiable (2007)

I hesitated on including The Insatiable in my Horror Comedies category.  It is a little more serious than the other films I have reviewed.  While there is humor in it, it is more understated than in movies such as Zombieland.  In addition, the rating for this film on IMDB is only average, which made me wonder if I was not remembering the appeal of this film correctly.  I did something I don’t often do and watched this film again before deciding to write this review.  My re-watch confirmed for me both that I like this film and that it has enough humor in it to be included in the horror comedy category.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Movie – Man Bites Dog (1992)

What if a documentary crew had been following the lead character of Alex from A Clockwork Orange around, Spinal Tap mockumentary style?  What if he was even more violent than we thought?  What if he chose to share his innermost thoughts on life, art, culture, and music while simultaneously killing people?  What if he had his own Spinal Tap “Stonehenge” and “lost behind the stage” moments?  What kind of movie would that be?  The answer is Man Bites Dog, an ultraviolent, seriously twisted, dark dark satire on "reality" programming.  I was saying to myself, "I shouldn't be laughing at this."  It’s a movie that is certainly not for the faint of heart.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Movie – The Lost Boys (1987)

The Lost Boys, combined with the release three months later of Near Dark (1987), signaled that there was a new kind of vampire movie out there and it wasn’t your parents’ creature of the night.  With nary a tuxedo, cape, old mansion, or coffin in sight, these two movies made a major redefinition in how people presented vampires.  These creatures were young, cool, and badass.  As the tag line for The Lost Boys says: “Sleep all day.  Party all night.  Never grow old.  Never die.  It’s fun to be a vampire.”  Don’t think these are cuddly Twilight vampires, though.  They are still brutal killers and there are no sparkles to be found (except maybe from sequins in all the 80s outfits).

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Movie – The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

The Cabin in the Woods is an interesting take on the generic American horror movie.  On the one hand it is given the usual kind of skewed version of a story you can expect from writers Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard.  On the other hand, the film and the characters within it function as parallels to the entire movie industry, from the people who make the movies to those that watch them.  There are a number of references to other movies for the true horror fans, as well as some familiar faces for the Whedonites.  And to think, this film sat on the shelf for almost three years before it got released.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Movie – Slither (2006)

Slither wears its B movie horror comedy pedigree not with shame, but with pride.  Writer/director James Gunn had previously written the screenplays for the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake and the 2002 live action Scooby-Doo movie.  Take the tone of both of those films, mix them together, throw in some people like Nathan Fillion and Elizabeth Banks who can do both comedy and drama, and you’ve got Slither.  It’s a fun movie, but it’s not for everyone.  I’ll explain.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Movie – Tremors (1990)

I can’t remember exactly why I rented the movie Tremors when it came to video back in 1990.  I’m not a big horror fan, but I do remember liking to watch Saturday afternoon “Creature Double Feature” movies on a local channel when I was a kid.  Maybe it was because this looked more like a “creature” movie than a horror film, or maybe I had seen the trailer to it and it looked like it might be some fun.  Whatever the reason, when I saw Tremors I liked it a lot and I started telling my friends they should watch it, too.  I got some funny looks, but those that did give it a try told me they also liked it.  It’s a fun film that works as an homage to the 1950s creature B movies, but it also has a decent story and a big sense of fun that makes it stand on its own.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Movie – Night of the Comet (1984)

Return with me, if you will, to the early 1980s (aka the Valley Girl Ages).  Frank Zappa’s song Valley Girl had been a big phenomenon and had captured a moment in time of “teen speak” from his southern California daughter and her friends.  It became a bit of a social phenomenon and even Hollywood jumped on the bandwagon.  There were a string of movies about empty-headed valley girls.  Towards the end of this run the movie Night of the Comet hit theaters.  Long before Joss Whedon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame had the thought “what if a monster follows a pretty blond girl into an alley and she kills him?” this film made two valley girls the seemingly sole human survivors of a global catastrophe.  They weren’t empty headed, though, and their military man father had trained them in self defense and how to fire a weapon.  The result was a very tongue in cheek film – one that most horror fans were not ready for.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Movie – Zombieland (2009)

What do you get when you take three Oscar nominees and a Golden Globe nominee, throw them together in a movie about zombies, and let them do their thing?  Zombieland (which is, according to someone with way too much time on their hands, the highest grossing movie ever to start with the letter “Z”.)  While this may be sacrilege to Night of the Dawn of the Day of the Twilight of the Midmorning of the Shaun of the Dead fans, Zombieland is my favorite movie about zombies.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Movie – Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010)

You know the drill: a bunch of college students decide to go camping in the woods.  They stop for supplies and meet two scary looking hillbillies.  A nubile coed catches their eye and they cast unsavory looks at her.  The students continue to their camp site where they encounter the hillbillies again.  Carnage and chaos ensue.  Don’t be so fast to judge, though.  Have you ever asked yourself, “What is the story from the hillbillies’ perspective?”  Maybe, just maybe, they are innocent creatures in the wild who are more scared of the students than the students are of them.  What if they are just innocent victims of profiling?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Roger Ebert 1942 – 2013

Just yesterday I read a short article that famed film critic Roger Ebert had found out that his cancer had returned and that he was taking a “leave of presence” while he battled it.  He planned to scale back his work and only review those films that he truly wanted to see.  I then go on the internet today and I find that he has just passed away.  Needless to say, it was a shock.

I’ll let others detail his life accomplishments and awards (i.e. the first, and I believe only, film critic to ever win a Pulitzer Prize); I’m going to write about what he meant to me.

I first became aware of him in the early 1980s.  He and fellow critic Gene Siskel (who died in 1999) had a syndicated half hour show where they would give their famous “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” to films that were being released that week.  I wasn’t yet watching movies to any great extent, but I liked listening to what these two had to say about them.  While I did not watch their show every week I did usually tune in to it when I thought of it.  And kids, this was in the days before the internet, so if your local paper did not have a film reviewer (which mine didn’t) then this was literally the only way to hear about movies.

Over time, and as I started to see more films, I found that I tended to agree with Ebert more often than I did Siskel.  As I grew older I watched their show less and less, but whenever I happened upon an Ebert review I would usually take the time to read it.

As newer critics came along they seemed to be a nastier sort of person.  I would get the distinct feeling that they would give negative reviews of some films solely because they had thought of a good insult they could make from the title of it.  While Ebert would certainly not hesitate to call a movie out if he felt it sucked, he seemed to usually do it with more class than the newer crop.

It may be strange for a person who has been writing his own reviews for more than two years, and who has seen over 6,000 films, to say this but I really don’t put much stock in ANY professional film critic that is out there.  They all seem out of touch to one extent or another, whether they are obviously frustrated screenwriters who are slumming it, or people who feel that a certain filmmaker did not pay enough attention to their “advice” on how to make their films better.  Ebert was the only one who I would even marginally pay attention to when he said a film was great or when a film was bad.  I didn’t always agree with him (Kick-Ass is a recent example where I completely disagreed with him – he hated it), but no one agrees with any other person all of the time.

I can’t say that I am the movie lover I am today only because of Roger Ebert, but I can say that listening to his (and Siskel’s) comments on movies made me want to see more of them.  That led to me discovering a whole other world that I could enjoy.

I will miss Roger Ebert.  Film lovers are the worse off for his passing.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Laugh Until It Hurts (Horror Comedies)

“When lights flicker, this sometimes means that your electrical system is inadequate, but more often it means that your home is possessed by demons.  If you’re not sure whether your house is possessed, see The Amityville Horror, a fine documentary film.” – Dave Barry

As a genre, many modern horror films don’t do much for me.  Over the years I would watch a horror film for the suspense and scares, while others would watch them for the blood and gore.  It feels like in the last 20-30 years that the “gorehounds” are the ones buying all the tickets to see horror movies so studios have been catering to them more and more. 

In addition, I find most of the chase scenes boring, not suspenseful.  The woman is being chased by the killer/psycho/monster/alien.  She trips (gee, didn’t see that coming.)  She hides behind a door/tree/rock.  She keeps looking back the way she came and doesn’t see the pursuer.  Suddenly, she is killed from a different direction, with a loud noise in the musical score to tell us we should now jump (gee, didn’t see that coming, either).  There are only so many ways that filmmakers can show this same scene and they ran out of new ones a long time ago.  The only way to make them different is to increase the gore factor over what has been seen in earlier films.

In all honesty, if I’m going to watch a movie with little to no plot then I would much prefer to see a beautiful woman naked, with her insides where they belong – on the inside.  Seeing various organs and intestines scattered all over the place has never held any appeal for me.  (Please note that I am not opposed to a certain level of bloodiness; I just don’t find it entertaining.)

When I have mentioned this in the past I usually get the horrified (pun intended) response, “You don’t like horror movies?”  I would tell them that of course I like some horror movies and then proceed to name off a bunch.  After I did it a few times, though, I noticed a pattern where many of the ones I was naming had comedic elements in them in addition to the horror.

Oh sure, I like plenty of “straight” horror movies, too.  28 Days Later (2002) is a very good, modern horror film that has a whole other layer about human nature in the face of a breakdown in society.  The Descent (2005), in addition to being scary, inspired many debates about whether it had a positive or negative portrayal of women in it.  The Haunting (1963) is one of the scariest movies I have ever seen.  (Know how much gore is shown in it?  Zilch.  Nada.  Nary an intestine to be found.)  These are just a few examples.

Horror movies that make me laugh, though, seem to be the kind I prefer.  I’ve already written reviews of enough horror comedies for other categories that I could fill this new category with just those.  I will include the links to them below, but I will also be writing reviews for roughly ten more films that I feel you might like.

A few notes:  I will not be reviewing Evil Dead II (1987) here.  I am saving it for a “Sequels That Are Better than the Originals” category I will do someday.  The same goes for Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008), which will go in a future “What the Hell Did I Just Watch?” (title subject to change) category.  Finally, I have seen Cemetery Man (1994) twice and I still don’t know what the heck is going on in the second half of it, so I can’t in good conscience recommend it.

After I post each review for the films in this category I will add a link to them here:

An American Werewolf in London (1981) – reviewed August 29, 2012
Bubba Ho-Tep (2002) – reviewed April 17, 2011
My Name is Bruce (2006) – reviewed August 26, 2011
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) – reviewed December 17, 2011
Serial Mom (1994) – reviewed December 20, 2012
Shaun of the Dead (2004) – reviewed April 7, 2011

On to the reviews…

Monday, April 1, 2013

March Movie Status

I saw 106 movies in the month of March, plus 5 shorts, plus 1 TV series re-watch, plus 1 movie re-watch.  That’s not an April Fool’s Day joke.  After only watching 21 films from the 1,001 Movies list so far in 2013 I decided to refocus on it.  I saw a normal number of movies from the Oscar Best Picture Nominees list, but I was able to bring the number remaining to under 100.  I also watched a bunch of DVDs I’ve had lying around for a few years from when I bought them for a little bit of nothing from a video rental store that was going out of business.

For the 1,001 Movies I’ve never really had any intermediate goals other than the total number itself reaching the next hundred.  A few months back I deliberately finished off all of the films that have been added to the original 2003 list, but that was it.  For my refocus I decided to take a look at what I had left and find some short term goals for the month.  As it turns out I had several that were achievable. 

For the month of March I passed 900 total entries seen (or as Steve at 1001plus likes to look at it, less than 200 entries left.)  I saw the two films I had remaining to finish off the first 100 entries.  I happened to have already completed the final 100.  With 15 films watched I was able to complete the final 200, and then with another 17 the final 300.  Along with this I also completed both the 1990s and the 2000s.  I had one film left that was greater than 3 hours long (not counting The Decalogue which I am leaving for last), and three other movies longer than 2 ½ hours.  I saw all four.  As part of completing the final 300 I saw the only entry I had left that was less than one hour long.

I’m not sure if I’m going to try to knock off more short term goals in April.  I have 24 entries left that are over two hours.  I have 15 entries to complete the first 200 and 17 left to complete the last 400.  If I concentrated on some of these I could achieve them, but at the moment I am feeling more like just floating around the list, like I have in the past.  I am actually thinking of trying to reduce the numbers of all the ones in the middle of the list to kind of balance things out.  I’ve got 15 (101-200), 25 (201-300), 29 (301-400), 29 (401-500), 30 (501-600), 22 (601-700), and 17 (701-800) entries left to see.  Dropping all of them below 20 might be a good goal for the month.

Here are the 106 new movies and 5 shorts I saw in March.  Highlighted movies are ones to which I would give at least three stars out of five.  I will single out the four and five star films, as well as the worst films, in the paragraphs below the lists.

1,001 Movies (66): Rosetta (1999), Through the Olive Trees (1994), Safe (1995), Yol (1982), Dawn of the Dead (1978), Zero Kelvin (1995), Kippur (2000), Signs & Wonders (2000), Attack the Gas Station! (1999), Close-Up (1990), Withnail & I (1987), Short Cuts (1993), The Earrings of Madame de… (1953), Lola Montes (1955), Senso (1954), Fast, Cheap & Out of Control (1997), Europa Europa (1990), Sombre (1998), The Pillow Book (1996), Deconstructing Harry (1997), Man Bites Dog (1992), Yeelen (1987), Through a Glass Darkly (1961), Me and My Gal (1932), Love Me Tonight (1932), Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1990), Babes in Arms (1939), Buffalo ’66 (1998), My Own Private Idaho (1991), Kundun (1997), Crumb (1994), The Cow (1969), The Hole (1959), The Unbelievable Truth (1989), Trust (1990), The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964), Woman in the Dunes (1964), Naked Lunch (1991), Animal Farm (1954), Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (1991), The Blue Kite (1993), Taboo (1999), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), Fitzcarraldo (1982), The Red and the White (1967), Make Way for Tomorrow (1937), The Rapture (1991), The Big Sky (1952), The Mortal Storm (1940), Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), Cairo Station (1958), Shoot the Piano Player (1960), Ordet (1955), Au Hasard Balthazar (1966), Tongues Untied (1989), Breathless (1960), Viridiana (1961), Pickpocket (1959), The Story of a Cheat (1936), Things to Come (1936), The Quiet Earth (1985), Performance (1970), Fantastic Planet (1973), The Tin Drum (1979), Juliet of the Spirits (1965), High School (1968)

Oscar Nominees (10): Friendly Persuasion (1956), Ivanhoe (1952), Decision Before Dawn (1951), Quo Vadis (1951), Moulin Rouge (1952), America America (1963), King Solomon’s Mines (1950), Twelve O’Clock High (1949), The Bishop’s Wife (1947), The Razor’s Edge (1946)

Other Movies (35): The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2012), Dredd (2012), Holy Motors (2012), Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2012), The Intouchables (2011), Cop Out (2010), Red State (2011), Kevin Smith: Burn in Hell (2012), Branded (2012), Stiletto (2008), Layer Cake (2004), The Man in the Moon (1991), Enigma (2001), Georgia Rule (2007), Bob Funk (2009), Tan Lines (2005), The Informers (2008), Spread (2009), Celeste & Jesse Forever (2012), Lola Versus (2012), About Cherry (2012), You and I (2011), Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970), Win Win (2011), Happy, Happy (2011), The Lincoln Lawyer (2011), What’s Your Number? (2011), A Dangerous Method (2011), Mothlight (1963), Arnulf Rainer (1960), Outer Space (1999), A Movie (1958), Unsere Afrikareise (1966), Last Man Standing (2011), Rocket Science (2007)

Re-watches (1): Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

TV Series (1): The Middleman (re-watch)
I did not have any five star films this month.  My four star films were Man Bites Dog (1992), The Story of a Cheat (1936), The Bishop’s Wife (1947), The Intouchables (2011), Kevin Smith: Burn in Hell (2012), and Tora ! Tora ! Tora! (1970).  I just reviewed Tora ! Tora! Tora! as part of my Repeated Movie Titles category. 

What if a documentary crew had been following Alex from A Clockwork Orange around, Spinal Tap style? The answer is Man Bites Dog, an ultra-violent, seriously twisted, dark dark satire on "reality" programming. You'll be saying to yourself, "I shouldn't be laughing at this." Not for the faint of heart. 

The Story of a Cheat is a delightful movie about the life story of, well, a cheat. The roguish lead character regales us with tales of his past exploits. I'd be surprised if you didn't like the character, despite his dishonest moments. A scene regarding a Countess and a pocket watch is comedy gold.

The Bishop’s Wife from 1947 is definitely better than the remake. I'm glad I finally got around to seeing the original version. I'm not religious, so the movie didn't do anything for me that way. I just liked the little bits of humor and the message about focusing on what's really important.

The Intouchables has good humor without being a comedy and good emotions without being maudlin. It also makes great use of existing music, from classical, to Jazz, to R&B.

Kevin Smith: Burn in Hell is, I believe, the fifth of his Q&A sessions that have been released as films and I have liked them all.  They are not stand up comedy.  He is more in the mold of a storyteller who relates things in a humorous manner, then takes questions which he turns into more humor.

The 1,001 Movies list is reliable for providing me with at least one star movie every month.  In March that was Sombre (1998).  The director shot most of the movie in very low light.  Even the outside, day scenes were shot with a day-for-night filter.  The movie is so (literally) dark that you cannot see what is happening on the screen.  Most of the two hours are spent simply listening to the movie and trying to figure out what is going on.  If you are an expert at watching scrambled cable channels then this is the movie for you. 

A number of shorts made the 2013 They Shoot Pictures Don’t They for the first time.  I watched some of them.  Most were a waste of time, but at least the time lost was not much.  Even then, at only seven minutes Arnulf Rainer (1960) just sucks.  Its entire seven minutes consists of occasionally projected completely blank screens, accompanied by white noise.  That’s it.  People subject to seizures should probably avoid it for medical reasons (seriously).  Hell, everyone should avoid it for mental health reasons.  And this is considered to be one of the 1,000 greatest films ever made (#871)?  I’ll never understand critics.

Now that I’ve done my monthly duty (and for the Wreck-It Ralph fans it was a big duty) I’m going to go watch the first episode of Game of Thrones season 3 and then the Red Sox/Yankees game for baseball’s opening day.