Film Diary: April


April was a “slow” movie month. Despite a trip to watch movies at a drive-in near Pittsburgh (more about that soon) I only saw 31 movies! That makes 4 months straight that I’ve seen more than necessary to stay on schedule, so I’m feeling pretty confident about project Waste My Life A Film For Every Day.

I tried another film from the Criterion set of Czech New Wave. Last month’s “Daisies” was so radical that it defied viewing. “A Report on the Party and the Guests”, on the other hand, subverted from within conventional structure, making it easier for me to access and appreciate. It was still very much an art film, but it was one that I enjoyed and would recommend as an example of film as political rebellion.

At the polar opposite of the spectrum I watched Wakefield Poole’s “Bible!”, which presented a few scenes from the Old and New Testaments with, ahem, very little demands on the wardrobe department. The best thing I can say about it is that the Bathsheba segment was genuinely funny. Second best is that Poole comes off as a bargain basement Pasolini. There are worse things to be, I suppose.

For instance, one could be Dario Argento still leeringly filming his naked daughter. It’s always been a bit creepy to see Asia Argento unclad in her dad’s films, but at least there used to be some effort put into the movies. Argento’s 2012 production of “Dracula” was so indifferent and sloppy that it made his execrable “Phantom of the Opera” look like “Deep Red”! Okay, maybe more like “Two Evil Eyes”, but still…

My favorite new-to-me movies of the month were “Steamboy” and “A Shock to the System”. The first is a magnificently animated story of the conflict between invention for furthering humankind and for dominating it. It’s a grand and delightful adventure, and I wish it had led to a series chronicling the further adventures of Steam (hinted at by stills during the end credits). The second follows Michael Caine as a businessman whose prospects rise as he becomes more horrible. As social satire it’s ponderous and obvious, but it’s such a joy to watch Caine transform into a monster that I have to love it.

Anyway, here’s the list.

Apollo 18 (2011)
The Asphyx (1973)
The Beast Within (1982)
Bible! (1974)
Carrie (1976)
Cheerleader Massacre 2 (2011)
Crossworlds (1997)
Dario Argento’s Dracula (2012)
Daughters of Satan (1972)
Episode 50 (2011)
Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)
Grave Secrets, aka Secret Screams (1989)
Halloween (1978)
The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)
King Dinosaur (1955)
The Last Days on Mars (2013)
Mean Girls (2004)
La Nave de los Monstruos (1960)
Phantasm (1979)
A Report on the Party and the Guests (1966)
Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964)
A Shock to the System (1990)
Solomon Kane (2009)
Steamboy (2004)
Suspiria (1977)
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976)
Twixt (2011)
The Void (2001)

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