Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): September Overlook

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September Overlook

If you don't visit Finding the Holy Grail (which has been updated to include Out 1) before midnight on September 30, these girls would like to have a word with you...

In all seriousness, it's time for my monthly Overlook, a fit of self-indulgence, um, I mean a round-up in which I highlight posts that didn't get many comments or links, and hence may have been overlooked. I can't tell for sure because my only reference point is the commentary and linkage (Screen Savour has been rather generous in the latter regard - and amidst all the self-promotion let me point you to his upcomings "31 Days of Hitchcock" series). So, if you missed these the first time around, jump in and please, start a discussion. This encouragement didn't work in August, but trust me, I don't care how old the posts are - they have no expiration date in terms of starting a conversation.

So here, without further fanfare, the top five overlooked entries of September 2008:

1. Another Take on the Holy Grail: Apocryphal ephemera or, Mouse Guts
"[W]as there ever a movie that you thought existed, or that actors, producers, or directors planned, which fell through? Or a legendary film which may or may not exist? What's your own apocryphal ephemera?"

2. Carefree (check out the great You Tube clip at the bottom of the page)
"That kiss may be the death of the Astaire-Rogers mystique but it's a rapturous death, sending forth shock waves that reverberated throughout the filmgoing consciousness. One can almost see the fertile cinematic sensualism of Godard, Bertolucci, Scorsese...sprouting up like radioactive mushrooms in its wake. "

3. I Married a Witch
"Only he could get away with a shot reverse shot involving empty and immobile glass bottles. Clair's films are delicate yet robust, light and frothy but bursting at the seams with creativity and verve."

4. 9/11
"The impression of '9/11' lingers, not because it's great art, but because it's something else just as valuable - invaluable historical documentation...the Naudets' bravery in service of their craft is commendable. But what '9/11' does most valuably is to put us there, on the street, inside that building, amongst the people who were in the thick of it that day."

5. Jubilee & Radio On
"Earlier in the film, one punk tells another (echoing Richard Hell's epitaph) that they belong to a blank generation. [Queen] Elizabeth not only eschews this nihilism but finds it impossible to understand, a kind of hellish mystery from which she retreats in haste."

One of these posts got a comment, and one got a link, but otherwise nary a peep. Also worth a final shout-out: Powell & Pressburgers' The Small Back Room, Nicholas Ray does Cortizone in Bigger Than Life, and Vincent Price goes fuedo-mystical in Dragonwyck. Of course, lots of posts were not overlooked. David Lynch proved very popular in the comments section with impassioned, insightful commentary on both Lost Highway and Inland Empire. The commentary for the last one in particular was a highpoint for this blog...thanks to everyone for making it interesting. I also did an in-depth analysis of the in-depth War and Peace, looked into the context of Kiss of Death, and explored the conjunction of Nicholas Ray and (hating) Hollywood with In a Lonely Place. I discussed Woody Allen twice (new and old), explored the Communist undertones of Force of Evil, and tipped my hat to a seaworthy Buster.

And, of course, if you haven't seen it already please visit the master megalist of movies and blogs that resulted from The Holy Grail. It will introduce you to a lot of great films and blogs and I'm thankful to everyone who participated. That said, the focus on lists and memes rather than movies was rare for this month.

September saw me dealing more with specific movies every day; in August a third of the posts were on general topics, and another third were entries in blog-a-thons or my ongoing series: Twin Peaks, THE AUTEURS, Hooray for (Hating) Hollywood. September was purer in this regard: more than half of my entries were responses to movies I had just seen, not as part of a series but because I had the DVD or TV screening on hand. Indeed, once my new DVR arrived, I binged on classic movies for a week, a nice change of pace since the content on this blog had been trending towards more recent cinema. These two developments were refreshing to me; hopefully you enjoyed them as well.

Where do I go in the next month? Early October will see some more classic movies, as well as three films by Paul Newman in honor of the late actor's long career (I paid tribute to him here). Then, on October 14, with three weeks to go until the election, I will go into political/historical mode: most, if not all, my reviews, will focus on political and/or presidential films, documentaries dealing with the crises of our time, and of course Oliver Stone's wacky W. which crashes into theaters around this time. See you there - and by the way, the Read More link is just a tease. This is all there is.

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