24rd August – From Rome with Love – Another Woody Allen film, and another one that I enjoyed without being totally bowled over by it. There is quite a lot going on, and the multiple narratives can get confusing at times, but it was well acted and directed, and I am certainly glad I watched it. One thing that struck me is that Woody Allen is looking really old (probably because he is), and I was also quite surprised by how much of this film was in Italian, as I wasn’t actually expecting that despite the title.
2nd September – Ab-normal Beauty – I’ve been meaning to watch this for ages, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s visually stunning, with a spellbinding soundtrack, and was obviously made with a lot of love. It’s an 18 rating (and deserves to be), but if you’re not put off by that (or by the fact it’s subtitled) then it is well worth a watch.
2nd September – Bad Timing – Jim O’Rourke’s Bad Timing is one of my all time favourite records, and was inspired by this film (or at least named after it). O’Rourke also named his next two albums after Nicolas Roeg films (Eureka and Insignificance), and I thought it might be interesting to watch all three films back to back (or as it turned out over a three day period) as I’ve recently listened to the albums they inspired. Bad Timing stars Art Garfunkel, and is what I would probably describe as a psychological thriller. It’s fairly non-linear, but does have a strong narrative once you assemble the component parts, and if you can get past some of the dubious 80s fashion sense then it is certainly very watchable. I think this is a film I want to watch more than once, and I have a feeling that repeated viewings may divulge more meaning.
3rd September – Eureka – As with Bad Timing, I know the music inspired by Eureka far better than the film itself. Eureka was actually the first Jim O’Rourke CD I bought (in 1999, when it came out). From Eureka I worked backwards to Bad Timing, and then further back to his more experimental work that probably influenced me more than anything else I currently listen to. Although I was impressed by Bad Timing (the film), I had no such expectations for Eureka, due to the very mainstream casting choices and the fact it was based on a true story that didn’t particularly engage me. The first ten minutes changed my mind, and I really think whoever wrote the blurb and designed the DVD cover for this one should have tapped into the darkness that is definitely present rather than try and sell it as yet another 80s blockbuster. I also think it could have done with some serious editing, as the pacing in the middle is far too slow for my tastes, but then I’ve always said 90 minutes is my perfect film length, and this adds around 35 minutes to that. All in all, it’s a watchable film, but one that I don’t particularly want to watch again any point soon.
4th September – Blood and Chocolate – This film is named after my favourite Elvis Costello record, and is also about werewolves. As such, it was almost certainly going to be disappointing on some level. Blood and Chocolate isn’t a bad film as such, it’s just a film that is not quite sure what it wants to be (specifically it does not know if it wants to be horror or romantic comedy). It’s visually impressive, but once you scratch beneath the surface then there isn’t a great deal of substance until the final half an hour, and I wish that the care and attention that was obviously taken on the locations and sets permeated the rest of the film. I suppose the closest point of reference I have is Hemlock Grove, which I much prefer, and which does a very good job of making the supernatural element subtle and understated. Blood and Chocolate is neither of these things, and as such is far less satisfying.
5th September – Glass : A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts – This is a documentary about Philip Glass. I’m not massively familiar with his music, and as such had no real expectations regarding this film. It’s actually a really interesting snapshot into a creative mind, and it makes me want to check out more of his music now. I also have no idea why I added this to my watch list, but I’m glad that I did, because I really enjoyed it.
5th September – Insignificance – Marilyn Monroe, Joseph McCarthy, Joe DiMaggio, and Albert Einstein walk into a room. By that of course I mean The Actress, The Senator, The Ballplayer, and The Professor walk into a room. And hilarity ensues. Insignificance is the third Nicolas Roeg film to influence a Jim O’Rourke album title. It’s a comedy drama, with characters who look and behave a lot like famous people from 1954. As a premise, it’s fairly original, and it does work on some levels. I suspect I would have got more out of this if I’d known more about the famous people’s lives, but it is still entertaining enough for a lazy Friday night. Talking of which, I should get round to posting this before I leave for London in the morning.