20 June 2011


A.  Some films with numbers in their titles:

  1. 500 Days of Summer:  Upbeat hip romantic comedy with a wry feel to it.  Worth watching for its pleasant aesthetics and good use of music.  The female lead is the sort of character you hate with the fury left over from everyone who has ever hurt you.  
  2. 8 1/2:  Fellini's most famous film, with La Strada.  Possesses a similarly grand, sweeping vision of a person's life, and similarly through a small concept.  In La Strada we have a travelling performer, in 8 1/2 a film-maker trying to make a movie he's lost hold of.  8 1/2 is exceptionally boring unless you're ready to psychoanalyze everything, but it makes up for it somehow.  I've never watched it all in one go, despite several attempts.  The final sequence is great.
  3. 9: A poorly made post-apocalyptic animated action flick, with voice acting done by Christopher Plummer and Elijah Wood among others.  The plot is like cottage cheese, the graphics feel like a videogame, and the whole thing makes very little sense.  An unsatisfying ending tops the whole thing off.
  4. 12 Angry Men (the original):  Classic jury-room drama.  Excellent acting and good writing transform a simple cast of 12 men standing around a small room into a valuable civics lesson and reflection on prejudice.
  5. 13 Conversations About One Thing: The "one thing" happens here not to be sex.  This was one of the first major multi-narrative flicks produced by hollywood in the 2000s.  A series of short vignettes run into each other in chance ways, etc. etc.  Not bad.
  6. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea:  Classic underwater adventure, based on Jules Verne.  Haven't seen it since I was pretty small, so I won't say more.
  7. 28 Days:  Rehab drama starring Sandra Bullock in one of her better roles.  Alcoholic main character is sent to a 28-day rehab program where she meets a suicidal heroin addict, a sex-addicted baseball player (Viggo Mortenson), and various other screw-ups.  Vague feelings of life-progress and sentimental moments follow after she stops fighting the system.  If you want to watch this, watch Rachel Getting Married instead.
  8. 28 Days Later: One of the best zombie movies of all time.  Britain has been taken over by a zombie virus when a comatose man wakes up in an abandoned London.  He and a few survivors attempt to find their way off the island.  Very well made.
  9. The 39 Steps:  Classic Hitchcock spy thriller.  A man is charged by a stranger to make his way to Scotland to prevent a cell of germans from stealing vital plans for a new warplane.  One of my favorite Hitchcock films.  An entertaining romantic subplot keeps you engaged.  Robert Donat does a great job.

B.  "The usage of the multitude, which according to the Philosopher is to be followed in giving names to things, has commonly held that they are to be called wise who order things rightly and govern them well."  SCG I.1

C.  "Brother, you don't need to turn me away."