Andrea Arnold, Preston Sturges & More: My Films of the Week #32

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!)

 

Red Road
dir. Andrea Arnold
2008, Denmark/UK ⭐⭐⭐

An alternative gritty revenge flick with Hitchcockian undertones set in the Scottish underbelly. For all its sophistication, Andrea Arnold’s film lacks intensity and its message is a little unfocused.

 

Don’t Cry, Pretty Girls!
dir. Márta Mészáros
1970, Hungary ⭐⭐⭐

The first Hungarian feature to have been directed by a woman is a slow and repetitive musical. Despite that, its depiction of the time’s counterculture and its daring portrayal of sexual politics among the adolescent population of the time is worth the price of the ticket.

 

Swimming Pool
dir. Francois Ozon
2003, France/UK ⭐⭐⭐

A rather uninspired movie by the prolific Francois Ozon, replicating some familiar tropes ever-present throughout his body of work.

 

O Fantasma
dir. Joao Pedro Rodrigues
2000, Portugal ⭐⭐

While it’s funny to see a “gimped” up man in latex move about like Fantomas, O Fantasma is a provocative erotic thriller drama that is neither provocative nor particularly erotic.

 

Gertie the Dinosaur
dir. Winsor McCay
1914, USA ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Winsor McCay’s most famous work of early cinematic animation. The structure is that of his other shorts. But Gertie stands out, not least because its lead character was one of the first-known in animation to be given a likable personality.

 

Something Useful
dir. Pelin Esmer
2017, France/Germany/Netherlands/Turkey ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A film about human connection, defined by an authorial touch and a poetic eye. Pelin Esmer’s film is a charming and revealing journey both on a socio-political level and on an existentialist one.

 

The Palm Beach Story
dir. Preston Sturges
1942, USA ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A beloved Hollywood screwball comedy starring Joel McCrea and Claudette Colbert, the latter at her finest. Its rushed and awkward ending lets down a hilarious ride enriched by modern themes, including observations on sex and divorce.

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