1. The Shop Around the Corner (Ernst Lubitsch, 1940) (re-watch) Christmas, 1940s
2. Funny Face (Stanley Donen, 1957) (re-watch) Musicals
3. Warrendale (Allan King, 1967) Canada, Documentaries
4. Apache Drums (Hugo Fregonese, 1951) Westerns
5. Meet Me in St. Louis (Vincente Minnelli, 1944) (re-watch) Christmas, Musicals, 1940s
6. Anvil: The Story of Anvil (Sacha Gervasi, 2008) Canada, Documentaries
7. Gremlins (Joe Dante, 1984) (re-watch) Christmas, Horror, 1980s
8. The Holiday (Nancy Meyers, 2006) Christmas
9. Superbad (Greg Mottola, 2007) (re-watch) Comedies, 2000s
10. Toki o kakeru shôjo / The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Mamoru Hosoda, 2006) Japan, Sc-Fi, Animated
11. Pyaasa / Thirst (Guru Dutt, 1957) Musicals, 1950s
12. I Love Melvin (Don Weis, 1953) Musicals
13. Christmas Shorts - 16 + 25 + 26 = 67 minutes
14. Cabaret (Bob Fosse, 1972) (re-watch) Favorite Movies, Musicals, LGBT, 1970s
15. The Smiling Lieutenant
(Ernst Lubitsch, 1931) Musicals, 1930s
Solid if typical Lubitsch musical that I imagine will entrance most fans of the director and/or his frequent star at this period, Maurice Chevalier, but which doesn't for me stand with the best. Chevalier is a poor but charming lieutenant pushed into a marriage through a typically silly misunderstanding with a princess (Miriam Hopkins) though he is really in love with - or at least fooling around with - musician Franzi (Claudette Colbert). He thinks he'll get out of the situation but doesn't reckon with the fact that Princess Anna really is falling for him, or that Franzi is quite willing to give him up, and to help Anna get his attention. Lots of charm, lots of pre-Code naughtiness (one song is called "Jazz Up Your Lingerie") but overall I didn't get as involved as I often do with Lubitsch, and the songs weren't among the best. Still, minor Lubitsch is good enough.
16. Ging chaat goo si III: Chiu kup ging chaat / Police Story 3 - Supercop
(Stanley Tong, 1992) Action, Chinese
It's been at least a decade since I've seen the first two entries in the series but I don't have too much doubt that this is the weakest in the series, with a fairly uninteresting plot (Jackie teams up with a mainland cop (Michelle Yeoh) to stop a big drug operation) and not enough Maggie Cheung (though to be fair, she's in it quite a bit; there just can't ever bee enough Maggie Cheung). Major plus is Yeoh, a better actor than Chan and nearly as impressive in her stuntwork; major minus is a lot of the comedy, particularly the whole issue with May (Cheung) jealous of Jackie - wouldn't you think by this time she would have some understanding of the kind of undercover work he does? Still the action sequences are very impressive and I certainly wasn't ever bored.
(Sergey Loznitsa, 2006) Russia, Documentaries, Experimental
Excellent wordless document of the siege of Leningrad, a year of privation and horror cataloged in less than an hour, with modern sound effects added in that at times struck me as a little obtrusive but overall worked. It's all in the editing in a work like this and it's quite brilliantly done, communicating as much of the feel of life under siege as anything I've seen in twice the duration.
18. 3 Godfathers
(John Ford, 1948) (re-watch) Christmas, Western
I saw this probably a dozen years ago, remembered just vaguely the saving-the-baby plot and the parallels with Jesus; didn't remember that it was in color surprisingly, the usual rich sort of color you find in a Ford film of this vintage. It's a very good film overall, with John Wayne, Pedro Armendáriz and Harry Carey Jr. as three bandits escaping across the desert from a posse led by Ward Bond after robbing a bank, and coming across a dying pregnant woman who they help to give birth to a son, and who extracts a promise to look out for him. You can maybe guess how things go from there. It's all superbly put together, with one of Wayne's better performances and a meatier role for Bond than usual, though the always wonderful Armendáriz leaves the biggest impression; but I have to say I found the typical Fordian humor a little tiring this time around and the ending's sentimentality is just on the verge of palatable for me.
(Andrew Currie, 2006) Canada
A pretty wonderful suburban 50s satire in the form of a zombie comedy, with a little newsreel exposition at the beginning explaining how the zombie outbreak changed the world and almost destroyed it, until we learned that a shot through the head would kill them - and we could tame them with control collars. Years later, everyone in the middle-class (verging on upper) suburb we're watching has at least one zombie servant and rules about death and burial and all kinds of other social customs are significantly changed, and our perfect family, Bill and Helen Robinson (Dylan Baker and Carrie-Ann Moss) have their first zombie (gotta keep up with the Joneses, or in this case the Bottoms family led by patriarch Henry Czerny, a hero in the zombie wars and the head of security of Zomcon, a corporation that more or less runs everything), the title character (Billy Connolly) and everything seems to be wonderful, but the relationships between Fido and their young son Timmy (K'sun Ray), Fido and Helen, and other zombie-human situations point to some dark problems at the heart of this strange utopia. Fido
's biggest problem is that it's got too much on it's plate, trying to do political/historical satire, horror-comedy, a bit of 50s science fiction and lots of other things in a standard hour-and-a-half, and it doesn't quite gel into a cohesive, satisfying whole though it's always entertaining and inventive, and Moss and Czerny in particular are just great, as is the colorful pastel-oriented photography and production design. This is right up my alley so while I wish it went a little deeper in it's exploration of the suburban psyche, and in the obvious allusions in the human-zombie relationships to pets, slavery, and various other unequal societal arrangements in history, it offers plenty of food for thought and entertainment as is.