Wheel of Time (2003)

This documentary is about a Buddhist monk ordainment festival that takes place in Bodh Gaya, India and in some place in Austria.  Herzog takes the viewer through the long journey to the festival (at the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment) and to various other important locations.  One monk had traveled for 6-7 years straight, making the journey by prostrations.  While Herzog only encounters this particular … Continue reading Wheel of Time (2003)

No Country for Old Men (2007)

One of my favorite poets is William Butler Yeats and when I heard about this film, I thought of him and one of my favorite poems of all time, Sailing to Byzantium.  The “perne in a gyre” gets me every time.  I see I’m out of touch just enough to only just now realize how deliberate that connection is–wikipedia covers all bases. This film definitely … Continue reading No Country for Old Men (2007)

Old Khottabych (1956)

I didn’t realize it when I ordered the film on Netflix, but based on the number of languages available in subtitles and overdubbing, this film must have had quite a world-wide appeal.  Or, at the very least, it has become a classic of Russian cinema.  It’s a delightful, propagandistically-charged (if that’s even a word) tale of a young, and “well educated” Soviet boy, Volka, who comes across … Continue reading Old Khottabych (1956)

Little Otik: Otesanek (2001)

We came across this film from the Czech Republic on Netflix in the “Watch Instantly” section.  Who could resist a description and a movie poster like this: In this bizarre fantasy from the Czech Republic, an ordinary couple, Karel and Bozena, are unable to conceive a child. When Karel digs up a tree root and whittles something vaguely resembling a human baby, Bozena’s strong maternal longings … Continue reading Little Otik: Otesanek (2001)

Umberto D (1952)

I’ve seen a few De Sica films, including The Bicycle Thief and The Garden of the Finzi-Continis–both in Italian film classes I had as an undergraduate.  I love Italian film.  I love Italian Neorealist film because it deals with (and usually stars) regular/real people in real-life situations.  It is for this same reason that I like the fiction of Muriel Spark–regular people, regular problems.  In … Continue reading Umberto D (1952)

Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay–Unrated (2008)

I can honestly say that this is the absolute funniest film I’ve seen in a long time.  I most appreciate the sick, childish, and ridiculous humor that directors Hurwitz and Schlossberg have let run rampant throughout.  This film is littered with stereotypes for all, and while it provides an endless “I can’t believe they’re doing that!”, those ridiculous stereotypes nonetheless have specific functions in the … Continue reading Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay–Unrated (2008)

Woman in the Dunes (1964)

Hiroshi Teshigahara directed Woman in the Dunes in 1964, and while I haven’t read Kobo Abe’s novel, on which this film is based, I have recently been reading a lot more Japanese fiction, notably Haruki Murakami.  Murakami led me to this film.  One of the things that keeps me coming back for more Murakami is his persistent placing of his protagonists (or others) into holes that … Continue reading Woman in the Dunes (1964)

The Machinist (2004)

Christian Bale’s presentation of the grossly emaciated and psychologically-disturbed Trevor Reznik is disturbing but also fitting.  Bale in The Machinist is reminiscent of Bale in American Psycho  (2000)–another film that gives the viewer a wicked look into the life of a highly disturbed individual.  In the case of American Psycho, the highly-disturbed individual, Patrick Bateman, is a high-powered Wall Street egoist.  In The Machinist, Trevor Reznik … Continue reading The Machinist (2004)