Blog Home - Archives

B thru B

Marc Palm watched one film from each director we have who's last name begins with the letter "B" and give his two cents.

After a year and a half of undisciplined viewing, I've finally finished the "B" directors! Not "B-movie" directors, well some of them are, but the directors who's last name's begin with the letter "B" in our main director section on the ground floor of the store. I decided a couple of years ago that I want to watch one film by every director in the director section of the store. If you remember I started with our "A" directors and reviewed them here. I'm going to watch one of each director we have until I finish, get fired or perish along the way. I don't know how many there are in total but I'm sure there's a lot. I've chosen not to include the documentary, animation or sexploitation directors because that's a whole different challenge. There's no rhyme or reason why I pick what I pick. It might be, I've wanted to see this director's film for a while and haven't gotten to it. Sometimes the cover and the write-up on the back sounds good, so I'll pick it based on that. I'm also trying to watch things that I haven't seen before. I don't remember every one of these films very well and I didn't take some of the reviews very seriously. So I don't expect you the reader to either. I have strange taste and won't pretend to be a pretentious reviewer. I'm just saying what I feel. Comments are always appreciated. wind eating raoul 5 dolls for an august moon 1. Wind by Carroll Ballard - I chose this movie about competitive sailboat racing over Carroll's animal movies. Why? Because I'm weird and it was the black sheep. I'm not generally drawn to sailing in any way, but found myself pretty fascinated and interested throughout this whole film. It was excellently filmed and had a swift enough plot that I wasn't bored out of mind. 2. Eating Raoul by Paul Bartel - A great comedy about eating people in the '80's. This film has to be the influence for the funny cannibal movie genre that followed in the 90's with Delicatessen and Last Supper. Eating Raoul can sit perfectly next to Female Trouble or Polyester as far as humor and quality go. Which is a good thing.

3. 5 Dolls for an August Moon (5 bambole per la luna d'agosto) by Mario Bava - If done any other way, this movie would be as unexciting as a Murder She Wrote episode. Thankfully it's a stylish and beautiful Italian Giallo with a swinging soundtrack. A group of couples meet at a private home on an island to discuss mysterious dealings and one by one they are getting knocked off. While they're getting suspicious of each other there's a weird teenager always hanging around in the background that doesn't seem to be associated with anyone.

casque d'or diva_cover good morning, night 4. Casque d'or by Jacques Becker - I trust Criterion so I just went with a gut feeling and blindly picked this one. I ended being really pleased with a film about dandy French gangsters with a pretty cliché plot. It was just so fascinating and filmed so well that there's not much to dislike. 5. Diva by Jean-Jacques Beineix - This film is pretty well dated, it's got 1980's all over it. That doesn't ruin it though. It actually feels very modern for it's time. For one it doesn't have horrible soundtrack with music you've heard two million times and the actors are quite good. No wonder... it's French. 6. Good Morning, Night (Buongiorno, notte) by Marco Bellocchio - I'm not into political things at all. Radicals and over-throwing something or another just doesn't interest me. I'm also so ignorant to foreign political history. Good Morning, Night only kept me interested because it was well made and I thought the hiding place they had for the prisoner was pretty cool. nobody's wife señora de nadie bad company seventh seal 7. Nobody's Wife (Señora de nadie) by María Luisa Bemberg - Even reading the description I still can't remember a thing about this movie. I remember thinking it was nice, but no idea why. 8. Bad Company by Robert Benton - I remember reading Blood Meridian at the time I watched this, so I was interested in the loneliness and desperation of wandering the west. Yet this is another that I don't remember too well. I just recall the great grey 1970's quality that makes this western a bit more interesting in comparison to the average orange cowboy movie. 9. Seventh Seal (Det sjunde inseglet) by Ingmar Bergman- This is the first and only movie of Bergman's that I have seen. I've wanted to watch his stuff for a while, but just had some other stupid movies to see instead. Because I've consumed so much junk I think I lost my ability to really enjoy something like this. My only reaction to this movie was "Whoa, it's like in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey". I'm an embarrassment to my job. forty_second_street conformist 01 le_dernier_combat

10. 42nd Street by Busby Berkeley - Out of the handful of musicals that I've seen, a lot of them are about putting on a musical. This is one of the earliest I've seen and I'm surprised that this storyline was something that people wanted to keep rehashing. As fascinating as it can be minus the romantic melodrama, it ends up being so self-serving. Beyond that rant, the finale that Berkeley choreographs is amazing.

11. Conformist (Il conformista) by Bernardo Bertolucci - I picked this film to watch over Dreamers by accident. I thought it was a different movie with Gene Hackman. I'm an idiot. So I found myself being awed by the beauty of it, but bored by the subject. 12. Le dernier combat (Last Battle) by Luc Besson - Now this is my kind of movie. Having the feel of a live action Heavy Metal (Métal Hurlant) comic by Moebius. It's dialogue free and shot in black and white, which is a nice change for a post-apocalyptic film. The black and white gives it a more realistic feel to the dirt, trash and loneliness. It's not epic like a lot of future films seem, to be. It is mostly about surviving in a small world of dust and greed. howmuchdoyouloveme tall t targets 13. How Much Do You Love Me? (Combien tu m'aimes?) by Bertrand Blier - Lots of pretty scenes, lots of moodiness, lots of Monica Bellucci and that's nice, but a pretty forgettable film. 14. Tall T by Budd Boetticher - I picked this because it was written by Elmore Leonard and that peeked my interest. I don't care for average westerns. They're just so cliché and tired. But when I see one like this, I can't help but think I've got a narrow view. This film was pretty dark and super pretty. 15. Targets by Peter Bogdanovich - This was recommended to me by a co-worker and I thank that man. I was hooked after the opening scene where people driving down the freeway are being taken out by a sniper. This has obvious ties to Charles Whitman's own psychotic killing spree. You also have Boris Karloff playing an aged horror movie star who is bitter and sick of the movie world. zardoz 01 street angel l'argent 16. Zardoz by John Boorman - This was mind-blowingly awesome! I didn't know anything about this beyond its cult status. I now know why there's a following. It's one of the strangest and dream-like fantasy movies out there. Very much a product of it's time and that dates it but also gives it a quality that cannot be matched. 17. Street Angel by Frank Borzage - A really beautiful and sweet silent, that has Janet Gaynor poor and desperate enough to try prostitution. In order to avoid trouble she hides away with a circus and finds love. Embarrassed of her past she avoids mentioning it until it becomes an issue. This was another film that surprised me with its darkness and relatively modern plot. 18. L'Argent (Money) by Robert Bresson - I was really pleased with this tale of counterfeit money and how one thing can lead to another and then lead to utter desperation. It's so stark and dry in a documentary sort of way. The boldness in the silence kept me anxious to see how each individual action was going to work itself out. le magnafique lord of the flies real life 19. Le Magnifique (How to Destroy the Reputation of the Greatest Secret Agent) by Philippe de Broca - I like all sort of secret agent movies anything from the Bourne trilogy, to Bond movies and to the Bond rip-offs. In this French spoof of those movies, Jean-Paul Belmondo is a writer and the character he's writing about. Throughout the film you're watching both parts as their stories progress. Pretty entertaining overall. 20. Lord of the Flies by Peter Brook - I picked this film because I had not seen or read any version of this story up to this point. Boy what an influential story it is. It's perfect, in that what happens is so awful and so human. It's another one of those gorgeous black and white films that just wouldn't work in color. It has a harsher realistic feel to it this way. 21. Real Life by Albert Brooks - This was brilliant. Obviously ahead of it's time as far as reality TV goes, but still relative today. This movie sees it all and shows it all. It's clever, super creative and has the dry semi-dark humor that the best of 80's. I don't think it needs to be modernized to have people today relate with it. high anxiety 143965.1020.A edison, the man 22. High Anxiety by Mel Brooks - I can't help that I grew up when sarcasm was king and one-liners were cheesy. I think this is why I groan at Mel Brook's humor instead of spitting out my drink every time I laugh. It's just some of the most obvious ridiculous jokes that I can see them coming a mile away. Since I know Hitchcock enough, I sort of just knew where this movie was going all the time and there were no surprises. 23. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Richard Brooks - I had never read or seen this play, but once I saw this movie, I understood why it was so popular. The story is enthralling enough, but the performances really sell it. Newman is so hard and cold but you can see the hurt warmth inside. Elizabeth Taylor is beautiful and smart but you start to feel resentment towards her as you learn who she is. The cast is perfect and the emotions are perfectly realized even though it is stagey. 24. Edison, the Man by Clarence Brown - I obviously drew too much in school because I don't remember learning about how cool Edison was. This movie is pretty Hollywood and charming because of that. I don't feel I learned to truths about Edison watching this, but I at least saw him from a perspective where you can appreciate what he did and the passion he had. It has a real Capra-like sincerity and hopefulness. unholy three phantom of liberty killer of sheep 25. Unholy Three by Tod Browning - This is a really entertaining and cool silent film. Three sideshow performers come up with a charming but ridiculous scheme to steal jewels from rich women who buy birds from their pet shop. Lon Chaney plays a ventriloquist who pretends to be an old woman and the dwarf of the crew pretends to be an innocent baby in order for them to pull of their crimes. It's all done very seriously, but I couldn't help but find it hilarious. 26. Phantom of Liberty (Le fantôme de la liberté) by Luis Buñuel - I really enjoyed the Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie and I figured that because the covers were similar that I'd like Phantom of Liberty as well. I was right. It had the same great settings and cinematography. The surrealist stories were at times silly but done so seriously I found myself pondering deeper meanings. I also think of how this sort of film has to be an influence on the sketch comedy of the last 20 years. Kids in the Hall and the State pull of absurdist humor that is framed in seriousness all the time. 27. Killer of Sheep by Charles Burnett - This was really terrific. It's so beautifully shot in black and white, and has so much warmth and humanity. This felt like movie that Diane Arbus could have made. A huge contrast to the other low budget movies being made in the 1970's about African-Americans. What I loved so much about it was the depictions of the children playing. They're not acting one bit and they're doing the weird stuff that kids do. Seeing them like this reminds you of how stilted and adult-like children are in current movies. This film sets right next to some of my favorites like Ratcatcher, Gummo, and George Washington. charlie and the chocolate factory 28. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Tim Burton - I only know of this story via the original film with Gene Wilder, who I don't think could ever be replaced. Thankfully, Burton didn't try to get someone to be just like him. However the obvious spoofing of Michael Jackson was not a good idea either. That's just one part of the whole thing that I find to be very self-indulgent. It doesn't feel like something that children will latch onto for the rest of their lives. It's not iconic enough and there's no heart or passion. It took parts of the story and the original movie and stylized them to death. It's as fulfilling as a bag of sugar coated lumps.

5 bambole per la luna d'agosto