PopGap #20: The Return of the Movie Slot Machine
Written by dorrk
The Return of the Son of the Bride of the Movie Slot Machine
July's vacation was but a brief respite, as the Movie Slot Machine has been percolating a new list of 12 movies for me to watch during August.
- Monica Vitti / Red Desert (1964) — As a big fan of Italian actress Monica Vitti in two other movies from director Michelangelo Antonioni, L'Aventurra and L'Eclisse, it's about time that I experienced Red Desert, the last of their four prime collaborations.
- Robert Bresson / A Man Escaped (1956) — I'm surprised to find that this is director Bresson's highest ranked movie on Flickchart. I've always thought of Pickpocket as his most renowned film, but this earlier effort of his has come up a lot recently in a group of fellow movie fans, so I'm pleased to reacquaint myself with Bresson after only having seen Pickpocket once long ago.
- Cannes Caméra d'Or Winning / Alambrista! (1977) — A movie I've never heard of pulled right out the Movie Slot Machine's mystery hole!
- Roger Ebert's Great Movies / Fitzcarraldo (1982) — I've seen this Werner Herzog classic before, but most likely during the VHS/tube TV era. For that reason alone, it needs revisiting.
- Mary Elizabeth Winstead / 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) — One of the most appealing actresses of the past 10 years, Winstead is finally breaking through with some starring roles in mainstream movies. Although better known as Scott Pilgrim's dream girl, she was fantastic in the indie drama Smashed. I watched the unexceptional prequel to The Thing only because she landed the lead; this well-regarded new release should give her some better material to work with.
- Rouben Mamoulian / Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) — I had this classic monster movie slated for a watch during July's list-vacation, but never got around to it. I'm sure I've seen it before, although maybe as long ago as the 1980s. Reading Stephen King's praise for it in his tribute to horror movies and literature, Danse Macabre, recently stoked my interest, and it will be fun to see Miriam Hopkins in such vastly different material so soon after loving her in the comedy Trouble in Paradise.
- Paolo Sorrentino / The Great Beauty (2013) — When Sorrentino's name came up in slot 7, I thought I would get to see his latest movie, Youth, which has earned raves from some of my movie friends. However, Flickchart's global rankings are telling me to watch this Best Foreign Film Oscar-Winning drama instead. I've heard mixed reviews of The Great Beauty. It could be a slow one, but with the right tone that sometimes appeals to me. I'm a Sorrentino noob, but I've heard that he's eccentric, so I don't really know what to expect.
- Louis Malle / Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987) — I saw and liked this World War II-era French drama around the time it was originally released on home video, but I can't remember a thing about it.
- Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix Winning / Amores Perros (2000) — I expected to get an enticing classic Japanese movie from this slot, so I was a little surprised to find Alejandro González Iñárritu's debut at the top of Flickchart's rankings for what I should have guessed was an international film festival. Even though I was irritated by Iñárritu's Oscar-winning Birdman, I've mostly liked Babel, 21 Grams and The Revenant, so I'm hopeful of enjoying what has been described to me as "the Mexican Pulp Fiction."
- Elder's Film That Changed My Life / The Exterminating Angel (1962) — I added this list to the Movie Slot Machine because I was amused by imagining a nameless old person counting down the movies that changed his or her life. It turns out that "Elder" is a name, and it's the name of Robert K. Elder*, a film columnist who wrote a book of interviews with directors about the movies that changed their lives. Flickchart's top recommendation for me from this book is Luis Buñuel's The Exterminating Angel, which was cited by acclaimed documentarian Alex Gibney as a pivotal influence. Buñuel's movie was also significant to me during high school, when I became intrigued by its bizarre and hilarious-sounding plot description and, without a way to watch it at the time, I checked out a book of Buñuel's collected screenplays to read during summer vacation. I eventually watched the movie — again, through the poor media of VHS and a lousy TV — but it's ripe for a rewatch. (Coincidentally, Elder's Wikipedia page says that he once edited the University of Oregon student-run magazine Oregon Voice. I wrote a film column for Oregon Voice during my freshman year in college. I'm only three years older than Elder, so there's a slight chance that we might have friends in common.)
- Hiroshi Teshigahara / The Face of Another (1966) — Teshigahara's stunning Woman in the Dunes enthralled me last year — making my recently compiled list of the Top 21 movies I've watched over the last 18 months — so it's a thrill to encounter another one of his movies, and especially one with such fascinating poster art. I only hope my expectations are not too high.
- Tribeca Film Festival Best Narrative Feature Winning / Roger Dodger (2002) — I have to admit that having this seemingly innocuous, possibly quirky crime dramedy take up the last slot of this month's otherwise enticing list was like finding out that a delicious-looking ice cream sundae had been topped with corn. However, I have actually eaten ice cream with corn in it, and it wasn't nearly as bad as it sounds. Hopefully this early Jesse Eisenberg vehicle is likewise merely unappetizing to think about.
Trailers for August's Watchlist
THE BEST MOVIES I HAVEN'T SEEN... YET!
I'll post reviews for all the movies on this blog, and live-tweet most viewings here:
As movies are added to this list, I'll add them to Letterboxd, here:
You can keep track of my Flickchart here:
Movie:THE BEST MOVIES I HAVEN'T SEEN... YET!