Another week, another set of movies in my DVD library that I've worked my way through. Here's what I watched this week:
September 22: Anna Christie (1930) - Garbo Talks! But, unfortunately, she does it in this aggressively uncinematic film that feels stuck somewhere between film and play, and silent and sound. As usual, Garbo is a fascinating onscreen presence, but the film itself is far from a "must see."
September 23: Anna Karenina (1935) - An ornate but lively adaptation of Tolstoy's novel that cuts a lot from the source (and in the process comes in at a lean 95 minutes), but still manages to stay true to the spirit. Garbo is fantastic as the ill-fated heroine and Fredric March turns in a solid performance as the object of her affections.
September 24: Annie Hall (1977) - My favourite Woody Allen movie. It's a film that doesn't adhere to convention in any way, and which is smart and funny and even a little heartbreaking.
September 26: Babel (2006) - An uneven film with lots of great individual pieces that don't really work very well together. Ironically the plot thread that fits most uneasily (the Japan story) is the film's most affecting, featuring Rinko Kikuchi as an alienated deaf mute teenager.
September 27: Bad Santa (2003) - Billy Bob Thornton has played his share of nasty characters, but few have been as nasty as his alcoholic, safe cracking derelict (though he does turn out to have a bit of a soft side).
September 28: Before Sunrise (1995) - Perhaps the most unlikely film ever to inspire a franchise (the third segment Before Midnight is due in 2013), Richard Linklater's "one night only" romance still holds up well.
On Tap for Next Week: The second part of the Before series, some Bogie & Bacall, and the watershed film of the New Hollywood period.