Charlie Chaplin, Louis Malle & More: My Films of the Week #29

As a lifelong cinephile, I have always consumed a copious amount of films. In this new feature, I keep track of the films I watch during the week. (Also, Click here to buy my book of thoughts on film, Eye of the Beholder, on Amazon!)

 

Chess Fever
dir. Vsevolod Pudovkin
1925, Russia

A chess-themed comedy with tinges of surrealism that is also a creative take on the more general theme of obsession. Stylistically impeccable, this is a hidden and somewhat unlikely take by one of the fathers of Soviet cinema. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

The Cure
dir. Charlie Chaplin
1917, USA

Few things bring as much joy as Chaplin’s Little Tramp wreaking havoc in a variety of places. Here, he enters a day spa as an “inebriate,” and by the time he leaves, the impression is that it will never be the same. And at times, The Cure feels like a merciless revelation of humanity’s absurdity. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

Winsor McCay, the Famous Cartoonist of the N.Y. Herald and His Moving Comics
dir. Winsor McCay, J. Stuart Blackton
1911, USA

One of the earlier known blends of live-action animation in cinema. While the color animation is not that visually stimulating, you still get a sense of the spectacle that this one-reeler offered audiences of the time. ⭐⭐⭐

 

Why Did You Kill Me?
dir. Frederick Munk
2021, USA

The Netflix true-crime documentary scene is a wasteland and this is one of the latest awful additions to this trend. Avoid. ⭐

 

The Fire Within
dir. Louis Malle
1963, France

One of the best films about alcoholism that I have ever seen. A powerful, character-driven exploration of addiction and depression by Louis Malle. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

A New Leaf
dir. Elaine May
1971, USA

Definitely one of the most criminally underrated American black comedies of the time, starring Walter Matthau in top form. Irresistibly Hitchcockian and downright hilarious, Elaine May’s finest directorial hour may also make the best argument for monogamy that I have ever seen. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

Sombra
dir. Bruno Gascon
2020, Portgual

A focused exploration of grief. Ana Moreira’s lead turn is quite strong, though the film has a tendency to feel a little too academic. ⭐⭐⭐

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