Back and Forth
Looking back on 2003, DVD journal has a nice roundup of some of the best DVD releases of last year. Many I've seen, a few I own, but I was inspired to add a couple of French films to my Netflix queue. Le Cercle Rouge by Melville, which boasts a fan list that includes Walter Hill, John Woo and Quentin Tarantino, had escaped my attention until now. And Clouzot's Quai des Orfevres was another I missed. I am a fan of Clouzot's Diabolique, so look forward to seeing this one. Both from Criterion - where would we be without them?
And taking a gander forward to 2004 releases, James Lileks bleats on Spidey 2 (he is excited) and trailers for foreign films (he is not excited). In spite of the fact that I just got all enthusiastic about a couple of French movies, I have to agree with Lileks on the cliche ridden nature of the current crop of foreign movies.
"But the real treat was a movie whose title makes you sit right up and bark Yes! Or it makes you roll your eyes and look for a slow, aimless, sort-of-funny movie about gently-bitchy Spanish 20somethings and their picaresque sexual adventures as they come to grips with life at the funeral of their father, a former Franco officer who sired them all . . . etc. You know the kind of movie. It always plays at theaters that have trailers for movies like "La Spume D'Hiver," which won some useless award handed out by a bunch of Euro-dorks who smell like ashtrays. Yes, that was it, the Golden Ashtray, that was the award. "La Spume D'Hiver," winner of Le Cendrier D'Or. And they always star some old blonde who was hot years ago but now she's crinkly but still kind of hot, and she smokes all the time because she's like at her sexual peak or something but her husband has a mistress, so she nails a train conductor in a public bathroom and then they talk about Sartre. And the next trailer is for Indistinguishable Central American Village Drama #234 - well, look at that! It revolves around a big dinner with dishes indiginous to the Guapo region of El Salvador! Never saw that coming!"
I do part company with James on his negative assessment of "Meet Me in St. Louis". Great songs and Judy Garland at her best with wonderful Vincente Minelli direction. I dare say that Lileks misses the point.