Une Femme Mariée (dir. Jean-Luc Godard, 1964) – Have read it said that this one empowers women, but that’s about the most superficial, narrative-prejudicial sort of reading one can imagine. Do not the first umpteen shots in the film so fracture the female body that the rest of the film can only be seen through that violent lens? This is Vivre sa vie but less coherent, less worked through. The woman is either mother or whore, sometimes both, but never neither. The headshots alone create either the most uncomfortable viewing experience or the most obliviously pleasurable. She is so framed, so polished, so posed, so (sigh) objectified, and JLG knows it all too well. This is apparently the point, and one that he never seemed to tire of making in the same basic way so repeatedly.
Under Suspicion (dir. Stephen Hopkins, 2000) – Pretty much the worst. You can be a nihilist, but you still have to mean something.
The Rescuers (dir. Wolfgang Reitherman et al., 1977) – Not much to report. Fun in places, perhaps stands out by virtue of being Disney, being animated, and not being a musical in the usual Disney sense.
The Rescuers Down Under (dir. Hendel Butoy & Mike Gabriel, 1990) – They say, the first fully totally digitally animated film made. The opening shot alone is worth one’s viewing. After that, the first 15 minutes or so are alone worth one’s viewing. The animators are clearly having fun here, exploiting their new computers to maximum effect, and it’s pure visual pleasure. Sure, you miss the little pencil imperfections from The Jungle Book and Robin Hood, but this is a new breed of Disney, and one that works well. Ensemble of characters that maintains the spirit of the good ones and opened a brief, great period of Disney films that has now been overtaken by Pixar/Disney.
The Awful Truth (dir. Leo McCarey, 1937) – A predictable (but that’s the point, right?) bit of classic code-era Hollywood fare. It creates the initial impression of raciness, suggesting divorce, but then comes full circle and celebrates raciness within its boundaries, not unlike It Happened One Night. So, like The Philadelphia Story but not as good. Cary Grant & Irene Dunne click together almost as well as Grant and Jean Arthur, but Ralph Bellamy does well to offer some Southern, masculine flare.
Eight Miles High (dir. Achim Bornhak, 2007) – A German biopic on the infamous groupie Uschi Obermaier. A major problem with many biopics is the impression that the filmmakers don’t need to defend their content on the basis of it being a “true story.” This seems to be one of the problems here. Just because it “happened” doesn’t make it film-worthy. And in some cases, a particularly interesting true story doesn’t make for a great film. Eh.