1) "Grizzly Man" (Werner Herzog): I loved this movie. I didn't like his most recent when I saw it a few weeks ago, but this one I loved. It was a well-told story about a man who made it his life's mission to "protect" Alaskan grizzly bears and ultimately died when him and a companion were eaten by one. Yes, eaten. It was the first movie I saw this week and a great start! You felt like you understood the subject of the film, helped along by those who knew him, and the more than 100 hours of footage he left behind.
2) "Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?" (Matt Coen, Mike Kirne, Frank Popper): We started this in class so I finished it. It's about this nerdy guy running for U.S. senate with these very idealistic goals and how he gets 500 volunteers to help him push his mission. You're rooting for him because he's an underdog. I liked it because I liked the character and he had some good supporting characters.
3) "Vertigo" (Alfred Hitchcock): Oddly interesting. One of Rah's favorite. We watched it as a date on the phone. Very cute right? Anyway back to the movie. I didn't like the ending of it. It shocked me. I wasn't expecting it. Interesting plot twists prior to that.
4) "In the Shadow of the Moon" (Ron Howard): AWESOME!! As soon as I saw this, it and "Grizzly Man" had to duke it out for movie of the week. The 9 living men who have been to the moon all took part in this documentary, telling their stories supplemented by archival footage from the time. I felt like I was watching Neil Armstrong take that first step with the entire world and I was more than 10 years from being born! Made me wonder how anyone could go to the moon and not believe in God (btw most of them do). Every science or space travel nerd should see it. Brought out the kid and me AND gave me a religious boost (which I needed after that **AWFUL bible study-- see no. 10). All of them seemed so philosophical about life after their trips to the moon. It was great.
5) "Girl 27" (David Stenn): About a 17-year-old raped at a Hollywood party and the ensuing smear campaign and cover-up. Narrated/hosted by the filmmaker. He put himself in the film more than I thought necessary. Definitely didn't like the inclusion or see the necessity of the inclusion of Greta Van Susteren. I don't like her, but I know how to be impartial. She didn't add to the movie. The entertainment lawyer didn't add much, either. The tension leading up to seeing Girl 27 was fantastic. Good lighting on her in the interview. Another long-distance date movie for me & Rah.
6) "The Thin Blue Line" (Errol Morris): A teenager steals his neighbor's car, drives miles away, picks up a drifter. They go to a movie and at some point in the night a police officer is shot and they speed away from the scene. This movie is about who was responsible. They mount the evidence that was and was not used and the stories of the attorneys, police officers and the two suspects. Well-told story. Used recreation which made it almost a docudrama. I understand WHY they used recreation because it advanced the story, but I don't know how receptive I am to using it. Another instance where perhaps I haven't fully formed my decisions on that and they are subject to change.
7) "180 Days: Life After Prison" Student film: I know the story behind the story so I understood more the things going on on camera. Nice reunion scenes. I didn't like the music. It's about a man's first 180 days out. They had to stop filming to finish their film and graduate just as you could tell things were about to really unravel for the main character.
8) "Deliver Us From Evil" (Amy Berg): Another date movie for us. Realize we go by movies I can check out and he can watch online, not whether it's romantic because this clearly is not. The filmmaker follows a Catholic priest who admitted to molesting children across the state of California, one reportedly as young as 9 months old, for years as the church bounced him from parish to parish. It used survivors, the priest and deposition tapes from his trial. Amazing lighting in this film. Great shots. Well-told story. Another one in the excellent movie category. The subject matter definitely made it difficult to watch.
9) "First Letters" Student Film: I really liked this one. My favorite of the student films I've seen so far. I saw several in my first week on campus that I don't think I mentioned here. This film documented two kindergarten classes in the area as they became pen pals and met each other. Very cute.
10) "Bringing Up Baby" Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant. Baby is a leopard they chase across part of Connecticut. 30s B&W movie. Amusing.
11) "Salesman" (The Maysles Brothers): Bored me. I'm not so much a fan of verite-style films where it's character-driven with no real plot. I liked Grey Gardens okay but this one not so much. The characters (Bible salesmen) didn't capture me as much in this one. There's something sort of creepy about people pushing a $50 Bible. My bible didn't cost that much and it's the best I've ever had. I love it. Anyway I can admit I didn't finish this movie. After 70 minutes I couldn't even focus anymore.
12) "How to Draw A Bunny" (John Walter, Andrew Moore): Another date movie. I loved how stylistically this movie was able to show how utterly odd artist Ray Johnson was. Okay let's say unconventional he was. Lol. He was weird. I kept saying, "You're so weird." But I like collages so I really liked some of his stuff. And it was quirkily crazy. I think Joy would like it. Rah thinks so, too. Lol.
13) "One Day in September" (Arthur Cohn): Story of the 11 Israeli athletes captured by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympic games in Munich. Appropriately covered several viewpoints and included the last living terrorist telling his side of the story. Great tension and use of archival footage.
14) "The Big One" (Michael Moore): Another date movie. Moore took us along on his journey film of his book tour. Kind of boring. He employed his usual tactics of attempting to ambush CEOs and those of similar ilk.
15) "The Beauty Academy of Kabul" (Liz Mermin): Too much Afghan history too fast at the beginning. The movie is about a beauty school set up in Kabul. I liked the characters well enough but was still not terribly drawn in by the movie. Verite style and character-driven. Another date movie.
16) "The Weather Underground" (Sam Green, Bill Siegel): About the militant group of white mostly college students who wanted to join what they saw as a worldwide revolution. Their aim was to overthrow the US government. The subjects of the film came off as amazingly naive. Overly long conclusion. I still enjoyed it. Another date movie.
17) "Funny Girl": Barbra Streisand movie I liked! I can absolutely understand why people love her. I liked it a lot. Fun movie and for her, an Oscar-winning role.