Things have been pretty busy around here lately, so May looks to be a rather light month. But we do what we can. Here are some of the films I watched during the first half of May.
The Searchers (1956) John Ford (5x)
Warner Blu-ray (1:59)
The Searchers marked the fifth film in our Great Movies series at the library. It’s interesting how many people either love or hate John Wayne’s performance as Ethan Edwards, undoubtedly his most complex role. This was the fifth time I’d seen the film in probably 25 years and for me there’s too much comic relief in it, but maybe 1956 audiences weren’t prepared for such darkness without some scattered laughs. Still the film is permeated with too much greatness for me to give it anything less than five stars.
My Friend Irma Goes West (1950) Hal Walker
Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Collection Vol. 1 DVD (1:31)
Recently discussed here
The Hitch-Hiker (1953) Ida Lupino (2x)
Kino Classics Blu-ray (1:11)
Discussed as a part of The Great Villain Blogathon 2016
King Corn (doc. 2007) Aaron Woolf
Docurama DVD – library (1:28)
Discussed as part of The Beckie Project Part III
Big River (2010) Curt Ellis
Docurama DVD – library (0:26)
If you’ve seen King Corn but not the follow-up short documentary Big River, you’re not getting the whole story. Two years after making their first film, Curt and Ian decide to investigate the effects and consequences of their King Corn project as they travel down the Mississippi River. (Big River is included as a second disc in newer DVD editions of King Corn.)
I Saw the Devil (2010) Kim Jee-Woon
Netflix streaming (2:21)
I keep telling myself that I simply must watch more South Korean films. Each time I do, it’s almost as if I’ve been allowed access behind the curtain to see how the magic once owned by Hollywood has now come to settle in South Korea.
The things I want to tell you about I Saw the Devil amount to a very small number. It’s not the horror movie the title implies (although the horror elements are tremendous), but a serial killer/revenge film. Be warned: it is amazingly violent. Much of it is unbelievable and I’m sure my lack of knowledge of Korean culture prevents me from understanding some of its components. It won’t be for everyone, but it is a visual wonder with masterful pacing. When it’s over, you probably won’t realize the film is nearly two-and-a-half hours long. More South Korean films, please.
The Straight Story (1999) David Lynch
Walt Disney Home Video DVD – library (1:51)
Previously discussed here as part of my David Lynch Project
They Met in the Dark (1943) Carl Lamac
Kino British Noir DVD (1:31)
This British thriller about a dismissed Royal Navy officer (James Mason, above right) and a young woman (Joyce Howard, above left) attempting to solve a murder and bring down a German spy ring is all over the place, packing in espionage, romance, and music. Unfortunately none of those combinations work very well. Even Mason, who had made about 20 films at this point in his career, can only keep things moderately interesting. I’m hoping the rest of the films in the British Noir set hold up better.