Films Watched: February 2012

Here is what I watched this week.

A Better Life (dir. Chris Weitz, 2011) – A Better Life is the kind of film I was destined to appreciate. Demián Bichir gives a great performance as an illegal immigrant trying to achieve his version of the American Dream. This is an interesting companion film to 2007’s The Visitor and when I actually start working on my Thesis Redux project, I will add A Better Life to the mix.

The Grifters (dir. Stephen Frears, 1990)

I watched this just for Anjelica Huston’s performance. She is fantastic.

Now, Voyager (dir. Irving Rapper, 1942)

Now, Voyager is a fantastic melodrama and Bette Davis’ performance as a transformed spinster is powerful. You’ll crave a cigarette or two after watching this one. [Related Post: What I Learned From Now, Voyager]

2 Days in Paris (dir. Julie Delpy, 2007)

Julie Delpy’s directorial debut is a smart, romantic-comedy. I’m interested to see the sequel, 2 Days in New York. Chris Rock fills Adam Goldberg’s shoes as Delpy’s love interest.

Johnny Belinda (dir. Jean Negulesco, 1948)

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (dir. John Huston, 1948)


So. Damn. Good. Every. Single. Time.

Contagion (dir. Steven Soderbergh, 2011)

I always knew that Gwyneth Paltrow would set off the end of the world. Aside from that (very obvious joke), this is a solid, nail-biting movie from Steven Soderbergh. And look! My predictions about Contagion kind of came true.

Gaslight (dir. George Cukor, 1944)

Last Night (dir. Massy Tadjedin, 2010)

Keira Knightley and Sam Worthington play Joanna and Michael, a young couple at a crossroads in their marriage. A night apart leads  Joanna to spend time with her flame (Guillaume Canet) and Michael to contemplate cheating with a co-worker (Eva Mendes). Watch this movie if you like Knightley; she’s the best part.

Somersault (dir. Cate Shortland, 2004)


Somersault is my favorite movie I’ve seen recently. Abbie Cornish plays Heidi, a 16-year-old who runs away from home. She sexually confused and promiscuous. When she meets Joe (Sam Worthington) she tries to form a relationship with him but it has unfortunate consequences. Great story, great acting (especially by Cornish), and great direction.

Shoot the Piano Player (dir. François Truffaut, 1960)

The Band Wagon (dir. Vincente Minnelli, 1953)

Kissing Jessica Stein (dir. Charles Herman-Wurmfeld, 2001)

The Awful Truth (dir. Leo McCarey, 1937)

On the Waterfront (dir. Elia Kazan, 1954)

 After Sex (dir. Eric Amadio, 2007)

Quills (dir. Philip Kaufman, 2000)

Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (dir. Rodman Flender, 2011)

The Bang Bang Club (dir. Steven Silver, 2010)

The Maltese Falcon (dir. John Huston, 1941)

To Sir, With Love (dir. James Clavell, 1967)

The Lady Eve (dir. Preston Sturges, 1941)

Prom (dir. Joe Nussbaum, 2011)

Because I live vicariously through Julie Taylor, Prom is the greatest film of our time.


Love Me Tender (dir. Robert D. Webb, 1956)

In case you missed it, I’ve decided to watch every Elvis movie. Love Me Tender was my first (and perhaps only) attempt at taking this project seriously. Read my take on Love Me Tender here.

Hell and Back Again (dir. Danfung Dennis, 2011)


One of this year’s Academy Award nominated documentaries, Hell and Back Again follows Sgt. Nathan Harris, an American marine as he returns to civilian life after serving in Afghanistan. It’s an intimate portrait that is worth seeing, especially if you enjoyed Restrepo.

Sarah’s Key (dir. Gilles Paquet-Brenner, 2010)

A journalist discovers a secret that her husband’s family has kept about the Vel d’Hiv Roundup for more than 50 years. Unfortunately, Kristin Scott Thomas’ character, the journalist who uncovers the truth, is the least exciting part of this drama.

The Big Trail (dir. Raoul Walsh, 1930)

23-year-old John Wayne. That is all.

Take Shelter (dir. Jeff Nichols, 2011)

One of the best films from 2011. Michael Shannon’s performance was definitely overlooked.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (dir. William Joyce andBrandon Oldenburg, 2011)

One of this year’s Oscar nominated animated shorts. I insist that you watch it now.

Bill Cunningham New York (dir. Richard Press, 2010)


Long before I realized who Bill Cunningham is, I always read and love his work in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times. This documentary is a treat to watch from start to finish.

The Three Musketeers (dir. George Sidney, 1948)

Loving You (dir. Hal Kanter, 1957)

My attempt to watch every Elvis movie continues. [The Elvis Files: Loving You]

The Guard (dir. John Michael McDonagh, 2011)

Kramer vs. Kramer (dir. Robert Benton, 1979)


Kramer vs. Kramer is an exceptional drama. Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep are so good, it’s almost a sin.

The Exploding Girl (dir. Bradley Rust Gray, 2009)

The Exploding Girl only seems better the more times you watch it. [My review from October 2010.]

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