May's Movie Slot Machine spit out over 33 hours of movies for me to cover, ending with the taxing six-hour Italian soap opera, The Best of Youth. Following that seemingly endless marathon, June has been declared the first inaugural "Speed Round." There is only one new rule added for a Speed Round: to qualify for selection this month, a single movie must not be longer than 100 minutes.
Movie Slot Machine Selections for June
Here are the lists that were picked for each of June's 12 slots, and my initial thoughts on each movie:
- Random pick from Watchlist / Sullivan's Travels (1941) — I've seen this Preston Sturges movie before, after Joel and Ethan Coen pronounced it one of their favorites, but it didn't make much of an impression. I'm trying to be more open now to movies from the 1940s, so hopefully, I'll find more value in it this time around.
- Independent Spirit Award for Best Film Nominated / Primer (2004) — I've heard a lot about this revered indie time travel puzzle, but that subject makes many sci-fi fans salivate, and I do not share that Pavlovian response. Director Shane Carruth is a notoriously challenging artist, so I'm also wary of it being purposefully obscure.
- Golden Bear for Best Film Winning / Alphaville (1965) — I like the idea of Jean-Luc Godard making a fun science fiction spy thriller, but I'm not so sure I'll enjoy it in practice.
- Anna Karina / Vivre Sa Vie (1962) — the second straight Godard selection, and also the second starring his then-muse Anna Karina. She also starred in Band of Outsiders, which I reviewed last November.
- Paste Magazine's 100 Best Film Noirs of All Time / In a Lonely Place (1950) — This Bogart noir is my highest ranked unseen movie on Flickchart.
- Masters of Cinema / Trouble in Paradise (1932) — I saw this Ernst Lubitsch comedy 25 years ago in a college History of Film class, but remember nothing about it.
- Empire Magazine's 100 Best Films of World Cinema / Rome, Open City (1945) — Probably the second most famous movie from the Italian Neo-Realist movement, after the Bicycle Thieves. I strongly appreciate that style, so I have high hopes for this one.
- Rolling Thunder Pictures / Chungking Express (1994) — I do not have a good track record with director Wong Kar-Wai (see my frustrated reviews for Ashes of Time and In the Mood for Love). I have a sliver of hope that this one will be more accessible to me.
- Silver Bear Jury Grand Prix Winning / Overlord (1975) — I love it when a movie I've never heard of, by a director who is a complete mystery, gets selected. A wild card!
- Random pick from Watchlist Oldest 20 / The Killing of America (1981) — I want through a phase many years ago during which I added every mondo-style "documentary" to my watchlist, mostly on the strength of my reaction to the wild Italian slavery exploitation movie Goodbye, Uncle Tom. I am slightly afraid that this will turn out to be a slightly more sophisticated version of Faces of Death.
- Nastassja Kinski / To the Devil a Daughter (1976) — the Speed Round rule was particularly harsh on this slot, eliminating every Kinski movie that has been generally well-reviewed.
- Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film Nominated / Soylent Green (1973) — This slot almost went to Alex Proyas' Dark City, until it was revealed that the preferred director's cut of that movie barely surpassed the Speed Round's 100-minute limit. Therefore, I will be watching what is probably a very dated sci-fi thriller with a twist ending that is a frequent source of parody.