My Week in Staring at Screens: 06/24/2012

June 24, 2012 — 4 Comments

I was a bit more productive in my movie-watching this week. And by productive, I mean I watched some more movies. I think the big help here was that my mom likes watching movies, too, so we sat down to watch two together. That said, both films were re-watched for me.

I do plan, this coming week, on finally watching some classics. I now have a region-free Blu-ray player, and with it I’ve ordered Sunrise, Picnic at Hanging Rock and Lifeboat. All films I’ve seen before, but ones I’m very much looking forward to revisiting on Blu-ray. I also plan to finally find the five hours to consume Fanny and Alexander, but I guess you’ll find out in the next ‘Staring at Screens’ post whether I accomplished the task. Anyway, it’s time to tell you about the movies I’ve been watching.

Cosmopolis (Cinema) – A movie so bad I actually walked out. You can read about why in my “review’ over here.

Safety Not Guaranteed (Cinema) – I didn’t write about this movie because I didn’t feel like I had a lot to say. This, though, is not reflective of my feelings about the film. It’s wonderful. A low key film with a tiny bit of a sci-fi premise used to explore the tiny details of human relationships. It reminded me a bit of Another Earth, only without that film’s penchant for ponderousness. Safety Not Guaranteed is all about the interactions between its characters. It’s funny and sad and charming and not everything is wrapped up in a nice neat bow. There’s a real sense that the characters change through the course of the film. I highly recommend it.

Moonrise Kingdom (Cinema) – My second time viewing Wes Anderson’s latest, and still fairly easily my favourite film of the year.

Kingdom of Heaven: Director’s Cut (Blu-ray) – With all the talk about Prometheus, it’s good to look back on a truly great modern Scott film. Kingdom of Heaven, in it’s Director’s Cut form, is one of my favourite films from the last decade, and every time I watch it I get sucked into the beauty of its images and the complexity of its story. It’s got an amazing idealism, but also without coming off cloying and stupid. An impressive achievement. Oh, and the Italian Blu-ray I got certainly looks superb, and I love having the overture and intermission restored. Make it feel like a proper old school epic.

Frankenstein (Cinema) – I saw the other side of the play, by which I mean the recording of the Danny Boyle play with Jonny Lee Miller as the creature instead of Cumberbatch. I was very glad I saw both versions as it really brought home the power of the story at its heart, and I actually liked Miller more in the creature role. You can read about my thoughts on the play here.

Brave (Cinema) – Saw Brave again (since I’d already seen it at a preview screening) and loved it outright this time out. A smaller film, and still slightly problematic, but also quite beautifully rendered, with a great set of lessons and a tender finale. Also, this second viewing was once again in 3D, which was a bit better because it was projected brighter, but still something to avoid. The only reason I went for 3D again was to see the film presented with the new Dolby Atmos sound system, which you can read about here.

The Descendants (iTunes rental on AppleTV) – A film that collects a lot of small moments into something much more powerful that it first appears. Not a truly great film, but a work of great emotion. Also, Clooney and Woodley deliver pretty outstanding and subtle performances. My mom liked it, too.

Punch-Drunk Love (Netflix on AppleTV) – Genius. A show of lights and colours and music and mood and acting so precise and so engaging that I can’t help wondering of Paul Thomas Anderson was gifted by magic.

The Skin I Live In (Netflix on AppleTV) – I’d been wanting to re-watch Almodovar’s film ever since first seeing it in the theatre last year, so seeing it arrive on Netflix was wonderful. I put the movie on just as my mom sat down, knowing she’d at least go with it for a bit. Well, about 30 minutes in she made a comment, “I’m not sure I like this film.” She said nothing more for the rest of the film, right until the end when she said, simply, “Wow!” Such is the power of The Skin I Live In. A dark, twisted, disturbing, beautifully photographed world of intense emotions and even more intense action. Even though I knew what was coming, my heart still raced and dropped and nearly stopped. It’s a remarkable film with a lot to say about gender and self-identification. It’s also brilliantly crafted, doling out information in such a way as to shock and intrigue. I hear my mom gasp when the major revelation of the film. Worked like a charm.


4 responses to My Week in Staring at Screens: 06/24/2012


    Love your description of “Punch-Drunk Love”. I’ve been in the mood to watch that again, so I think you’ve pushed me over the edge…

    I enjoyed “The Skin I Live In” a great deal (as I do most Almodovar films), but I didn’t quite get to the level you’re at. Not sure why to be honest…For whatever reason the reveals didn’t quite hit me with the dread I expected them to. I do think a revisit is in order which was my plan when I saw it get added to NetFlix.

    Off to see Brave in about 20 minutes…Looking forward to the Dolby Atmos, but really wish it wasn’t in 3D (the scheduled time just works a lot better for us).


      Yeah, Punch-Drunk Love, while not my favourite PTA (that honour goes to Magnolia) it’s maybe Anderson’s most focused and accomplished film. It’s very single-purpose, but so brilliantly crafted. Plus, it’s only about 90 minutes, which makes it like concentrated Anderson.

      And yes, you definitely should give Skin I Live In a re-watch. The thematic implications of the film are pretty amazing. So much to chew on, which for me makes the reveals all the more special.

      Also, enjoy the Atmos. Like I said in my piece, it’s not best demonstration of the system, but it’s definitely some of the best sound I’ve heard in a theatre outside IMAX, and IMAX is only better due to the quality of the speakers and the raw power of the system.


    Punch Drunk Love is one of the most underrated movies I’ve come across. Either nobody’s heard of it, or they refer to it as “oh, that one.” Really? It’s awesome.


      I agree. So underrated. Even among PTA movies it gets lost between the bigger titles like Boogie Nights, Magnolia and There Will Be Blood. All great films, but there’s something so unique and remarkable about Punch-Drunk Love.

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