With the NBA Playoffs in full swing (plus devoting some time to some TV programs and getting sick over the last couple of weeks), my usual pace for watching movies has slowed considerably. Accordingly, these last ten films I’ve watched extend back to last month’s Calgary Underground Film Festival and screenings of Harpoon and Foosballers (both of which were enjoyable films, particularly the latter).
- Amazing Grace (Sydney Pollack and Alan Elliott, 2018)
- MFKZ (Shoujirou Nishimi and Guillaume Renard, 2017)
- Madman (Joe Giannone, 1981)
- The Last Circus (Álex de la Iglesia, 2010)
- Murder Obsession (Riccardo Freda, 1981)
- Crazy Thunder Road (Gakuryū Ishii, 1980)
- The New Rijksmuseum (Oeke Hoogendijk, 2014)
- Foosballers (Joe Heslinga, 2019)
- Harpoon (Rob Grant, 2019)
- Welcome Mr. Marshall! (Luis Garciá Berlanga, 1953)
Actually, this list has some sneaky good titles in it. The New Rijksmuseum is a rather fascinating observational documentary about the ten year renovation of Holland’s iconic art museum, offering a complicated survey on the intersection of art and creativity on the one hand and democracy and bureaucracy on the other. Ishii’s Crazy Thunder Road is an underappreciated classic of Japanese cinema that is not merely about punks but also is punk from its production to its aesthetics. The Last Circus, a story of mad love and violent clowns in Franco-era Spain, and MFKZ, a Studio 4°C adaptation of a French comic book, turned out to be a pair of secret successes, proving to be surprisingly entertaining despite their relatively poor critical reputations. The Criterion Channel’s Berlanga titles included Welcome Mr. Marshall, a sweet Andalusian comedy in the best spirit of an Ealing film that concerned some opportunistic townsfolk greedy for some sweet foreign aid. Amazing Grace looks like it’s cobbled together from off-cuts (a testament to the degree Pollack struggled in filming the two-night performance) but the janky camera movements and haphazard focus pulls somehow work to only revere Aretha Franklin’s singing, as if the film production is staring into the sun itself and struggling to depict its full glory.