Sunday, September 1, 2013

August Movie Status

I saw 5 new movies in the month of August, plus 2 TV show seasons.  For those people who remember seeing me post a couple of months with 100+ new movies seen, that “5” is not a typo.  After completing the 1,001 Movies list in early July I’ve been taking a break from movies.  In fact, I’ve seen only 11 movies in the last eight weeks, and one was a re-watch.  The only Oscar Best Picture nominee I saw in August was watched mostly because it was expiring from Netflix Instant viewing.  I watched Late Spring on the last day of the month just so I had seen at least one film from a couple of other lists; in this case, it was the only film in the They Shoot Pictures Don’t They Top 100 that I had not seen.  It was also on the Sight and Sound 2012 Critics Top 250 list.

Here are the 5 new movies I saw in August.  Highlighted movies are ones to which I would give at least three stars out of five.  

Oscar Nominees (1): A Farewell to Arms (1932)

Other Movies (4): Run Silent, Run Deep (1958), Kick-Ass 2 (2013), Olympus Has Fallen (2013), Late Spring (1949)

Re-watches (0):

TV Series (2)Castle: Season 5 (re-watch), Covert Affairs: Season 3

I had no four or five star movies in August.  Since I saw so few, I will comment on each.

A Farewell to Arms (1932) – This is based on the classic Hemingway novel.  Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes play the star-crossed lovers.  The film was surprisingly frank about sexual matters for its time, even with the fact that the Production Code was not yet being enforced.  I don’t know how faithful it is to the novel, but I did read that after some debate the studio kept the ending from the book.

Run Silent, Run Deep (1958) – Submarine drama with Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster.  You can read my review of it here.

Kick-Ass 2 (2013) – Sequel to the very entertaining Kick-Ass.  It’s a step down, but still has its moments.  You can read my review of it here.

Olympus Has Fallen (2013) - Decent action scenes, but like all action movies it has some really big plot holes that you have to ignore.  Unfortunately, I couldn't ignore the fact that the entire concept is based on the idea that the threat of killing the President would be enough to force the hand of the U.S. government.  The President is neither royal nor religiously divine.  He's not a King or a Pope.  He's just a man hired to do a job. There was one before him and there will be one after him.  If he's killed then in a very short time the next person in line will be sworn in.  It's the Presidency that is important, not the President.  And for a movie that consciously echoes Die Hard and Under Siege, there's a funny bit where a macho helicopter mission is launched.  Apparently none of the characters in the film has seen Die Hard.

Late Spring (1949) - This is basically the exact same story as Ozu's later film An Autumn Afternoon (1962), which I had already seen.  It even has the same actor playing the same role - the widower who is trying to get his daughter to marry.  I have no idea why the 1,001 Movies editors picked An Autumn Afternoon over the more celebrated Late Spring for inclusion in their book, especially if the former is a remake of the latter.
I like the films of Ozu's that I have seen, and I respect him as a filmmaker, but I don't love his films.  Perhaps its cultural, perhaps his style just doesn't mesh well with me.  If it's the latter, he wouldn't be the first acclaimed director I've had that reaction to.

In September I may be taking some time to do some hiking, so I don’t know if my total of movies seen will be higher or around the same as August.


  1. I'm going to watch Late Spring this month as I'm going to do a mini-Ozu marathon w/ four other films. Right now, I too am taking a break after spending the summer doing a bunch of Woody Allen films. I'm just hella-tired.

  2. I sort of envy the vast desert of viewing.

  3. @thevoid99 and SJHoneywell - It's been nice to take a breather. I intended to take a week or two, but it has extended. Most of the 11 movies I've seen in the last 8 weeks were for potential reviews, too. I only saw a couple because I just wanted to see them.

    Back when rentals were through stores I used to have binge periods followed by fallow periods. I would get 4 new releases for 2 days for 10 bucks, watch two one evening, two the next evening, return them and get four more new ones. I would go like that for a couple of weeks, then not watch another movie for three weeks after that.

    Netflix kind of spread my viewing out, and there's always the "I want to get the most for my money" aspect by turning the disks around as fast as possible. When I went active on the 1,001 Movies list it sort of shifted me into high gear most of the time. There was a period in January and February of this year that I watched a lot fewer 1,001 Movies, but my total was still at least a movie a day because of the Netflix churning and my desire to see as many 2012 films as I could before I made my Top 10 of 2012 list.

    Even now it's not like I've been out doing triathalons the last 8 weeks. I've watched some whole seasons of various TV shows, as well as live sporting events.