This is the first in an ongoing series of weekly posts in which I discuss the films I watched throughout the preceding week.
Last week I decided to watch every Criterion Collection film. They currently contain more than 600 releases in their catalog. It’s a project that will take me years to complete, but will be made considerably easier with the aid of the Los Angeles Public Library, where I have been able to find many Criterion DVDs, including the first film I saw this past week:
Simon of the Desert (The Criterion Collection)
Directed by Luis Buñuel, this short film (45 minutes) is a compelling story of an ascetic who spends his life standing on a pillar in the desert in a act of God-worship, while the devil relentlessly tries to tempt him down. It’s a satirical allegory about religious conviction, and it was damn entertaining.
The Tree of Life
This film was easily one of the best boring movies I have ever seen. It was not bad by any means. In fact, I think it was great. But man was it s l o w. Quiet and slow.
The Passion of Joan of Arc (The Criterion Collection)
I saw this on the British Film Institute’s list of 50 greatest films. The whole film was shot entirely in close-ups, usually of people’s faces. It was from 1928, and so it’s the oldest feature film I’ve seen thus far, as far as I can remember.
Bottle Rocket (The Criterion Collection)
This is the first film from Wes Anderson, and it’s one I’ve been wanting to watch for a long time now. It’s also the film that introduced the careers of Luke and Owen Wilson. I absolutely loved it.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (The Criterion Collection)
I liked it, but it didn’t come close to Bottle Rocket. Still, I really enjoyed it.
I was anticipating this film before it came out because it is an adaptation of the eponymous novel by Richard Yates, and though I have not yet read the novel, I am familiar with Yates and his work, and so I was expecting to like the film. I put off seeing the film for so long because a friend (who had not even seen it) had told me that it was not that good. I don’t know why, but I took their word for it. I finally watched it last night and I regret putting it off for so long. It was absolutely incredible. Great directing, great music, great costumes, and great performances by not only Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, but also Michael Shannon as well, whom I really like and was not expecting to see in the film.