Movie Diary 4/28/2009

Catching up on movies watched.

Goodbye Solo (Ramin Bahrani, 2008). Variation on Taste of Cherry, with a role for former Elvis posse member Red West. Best thing about it is the nocturnal photography of Winston-Salem, which looks like something seen from a train going past at midnight. (full review 5/8)

Merrily We Go to Hell (Dorothy Arzner, 1932). Alcoholic writer Fredric March drags rich girl Sylvia Sidney into his world; a melodramatic but keenly-directed movie from Hollywood’s most prominent female filmmaker.

The Cheat (George Abbott, 1931). Okay, this is just lurid melodrama: Tallulah Bankhead racks up gambling debts, gets beholden to super-creepy world explorer Irving Pichel.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (Mark waters, 2009). Matthew McConaughey becoming a rom-com genre unto himself (rom-com-McCon?), and Jennifer Garner sending out more Morse Code indicating she is prepared to do much better than this. (full review 5/1)

Odd Man Out (Carol Reed, 1947). Reed warming up to The Third Man, in an Irish Troubles scenario that ingeniously spreads around its large ensemble.

The Limits of Control (Jim Jarmusch, 2008). Think Dead Man but without the storytelling or star turn. (full review 5/8)

Monster Road (Brett Ingram, 2004). An absorbing look into the world of clay animator (and 1970s Frank Zappa collaborator) Bruce Bickford. As Bickford told the audience at the Frye Art Museum on Sunday, he is still climbing trees, “when I can find a good one.”