Around the Bend

Holiday parties and activities have been eating into my movie time the last few weeks, which is frankly a good problem to have. That said, there’s a healthy group of films that have stacked up that I’d like to see in the next month or so. To give you a glimpse into the mind of a movie freak and to help me stay on target, here are at least some of the films I intend to see in the coming weeks. 

Ben-Hur (1959)
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’d received a deluxe blu-ray copy. And it’s one of a very few AFI Top 100 films I haven’t seen. It’s time to correct that.

lot794883Les Misérables (1934)
Admittedly, the French film orgy doesn’t usually happen until late May, June, and July. However, TCM ran this the other night and it’s on the Films de France top 100 list. It’s waiting for me on my DVR, all five hours staring me in the face. And I suppose the likelihood that I’ll see the new one will hinge upon my reaction to the 1934 version.

The Hobbit (2012)
It must be seen, and I have friends who will drag me to the theater to see it if I wait too long.

Django Unchained (2012)
I will never miss a Tarantino film when it’s in theaters. Ever. And while I’m at it, the lead-up to Django will give me the perfect opportunity to watch the Reservoir Dogs blu that I just bought.

Spartacus (1960)
See the Ben-Hur comments above, but omit the line about the AFI Top 100.

My Voyage to Italy (1999)
For all of the Scorsese that I’ve seen, I’ve barely seen his documentaries. My Voyage to Italy is the first step in correcting that error.


Oh boy

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
It has “Don’t Watch It, John!” written all over it.

Stalker (1979)
It’s very long, but it’s Tarkovsky, which means it’ll likely be mind-blowing and make me want to curl up into a little ball in my living room, babbling in Russian and pondering cinematic perfection. I have it at home right now, and it’ll be the first thing I watch just as soon as I find 3 hours in which I want to cook my synapses into scrambled eggs.

Cinema Paradiso (1988)
That’s right. I’ve never seen it. Shame me if you must but I’ll see it soon enough.

Criterion’s Pearls of the Czech New Wave
For those of you that don’t know, Criterion recently released a bundle of Czech New Wave films as part of their Eclipse Series. As you may know, the Czech New Wave is tremendous, and the films haven’t always been easy to find. So the Eclipse Series choices are like manna from heaven. Depending on what Facets sends me, I’ll be starting with Pearls of the Deep and Return of the Prodigal Son.

tumblr_memcfePVaD1qhm13zo1_400Some Christmas Crap
No matter what else I intend to watch in the next few weeks, it’s still the holiday season for at least another week or so, depending on whether or not you think it’s ok to watch Christmas movies in between Christmas and New Year’s Day. I’ll be breaking the seal on some combination of Elf (2003), which I’ve never seen from start to finish; The Polar Express (2004); Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984); and/or a disc featuring Satan Claus, Psycho Santa, and The Christmas Season Massacre (all three).

It’s a good list, and a well-rounded one at that. It includes films from Italy, Czechoslovakia, the former Soviet Union, France, and the US. There’s comedy, drama, horror, documentary, action, and fantasy. Directors include Scorsese, Tarantino, Peter Jackson, Kubrick, Tarkovsky, Raymond Bernard, and whoever the hell made Satan Claus. It should be a great few weeks for movie-watching.


Filed under Movies

13 responses to “Around the Bend

  1. I recommend Daisies of the Czech New Wave! A near-masterpiece revolutionary film!
    And, for the record, I going to see Django’s premiere tomorrow night…

    • Daisies is one of my all-time favorites. The scene with the scissors where they cut each other into pieces is brilliant, as is the food fight at the end. And… just about everything about that movie is brilliant. The sexual politics, the feminism, the revolutionary counterculture attitudes…

  2. Phil

    Stalker is on my top ten of all-time list. I’m not sure it is for everyone, but I’d guess you will love it.

  3. Vladdy

    There’s no need to be afraid of Ben-Hur. Remember it’s Wyler, not DeMille. My Voyage to Italy will make you want to go on an Italian neo-realism binge. Shouldn’t The Polar Express be a “Don’t Watch It, John”?

    • I’m about halfway done with My Voyage (I split it up into two viewings, not realizing it was four hours long). And you’re absolutely right- I really want to watch or re-watch the neo-realist films I’ve seen. Umberto D. especially… I’d forgotten how great that movie is.

      Heh… I have no idea what kind of rep Polar Express has. But I’m a sucker for holiday movies. And there really aren’t many reputable ones I haven’t seen. So it’s a crack I can fill in.

  4. Good stuff. I didn’t see Cinema Paradiso until just last month. I think you’ll enjoy it.

    I have Elf sitting here waiting to be watched. Never really had a burning desire to see it, but if there’s a time to do it, it’s now.

    • It’s one of those movies I never really thought much about but my brother loves it and so does my best friend. Even my friend’s 2-year old is a huge Elf fan.

  5. I just saw Elf today. Horrible movie.

    You will love Stalker. Oh how you will love it. It is long and it feels long – it’s a very slow movie – but I didn’t mind that at all. Tarkovsky at his best. Arthouse sci-fi is the best sci-fi.

  6. SShhh…don’t let anyone know that I think “Cinema Paradiso” is really over rated.

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