The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (2009)
The third in the series that started with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. To be honest, I liked the third installment more than the first two, though all three films are solid, well-made mystery/crime thrillers. Not great films I'd insist on everyone seeing, but if it's your genre, don't miss them. It's rare that I see a film made with real skill that aspires to be nothing more than an interesting story. It's refreshing, in a way.
Ghost World (2001)
One of the rare cases where the movie is better than the book.
I was surprised by how hard it was to find a copy of this movie. Even the local Target didn't have it on the shelves--nor any of the video stores close by. I thought Ghost World was a fairly beloved "cult" movie at this point. Guess not. I need to own a copy before it evaporates entirely.
This was one of my favorite movies in high school, and yet I only saw it once on DVD when I was sixteen or so. I related to it then, but though I always loved it, I never watched it again until this week. This time, I was both a little horrified and a little pleased to find that it was even more resonant now. I guess it's really been searing into me lately how utterly weird I actually am and how utterly alone that leaves me in the long run of life, and that's exactly the right sentiment to be carrying around when you watch Ghost World. It's a movie about lonely, messed-up people, some of whom are teetering on the edge of hopelessness, but it manages to be all at once sweet and hilarious and sad, while being neither too morose nor twee. It's simultaneously funny and painful, which is hard to pull off, but given director Terry Zwigoff's other work, this combination may be one of his strengths.
The performances of the actors are much more subtle than I remembered, in some ways making the emotional center of the movie more tragic. Maybe I've just become more calculatedly observant of body language over the years. Seymour (Steve Buscemi) and Enid (Thora Birch) pretty much own any scene they're in. Their onscreen chemistry is fantastic, and though it would be easy to make both of their characters unlikable, it's testament to the actors' skill and charm that the people they depict are both people I'd like to be friends with.
On one of the DVD special features, Terry Zwigoff comments that every woman he knows "has a thing for Steve Buscemi." Which will be completely vindicating for every woman who (like me, circa age sixteen) watches this movie and feels a little weird about the sudden awareness that she has the hots for Buscemi. (Addendum: I still have the hots for Buscemi, but nowadays I don't feel weird about it.)
The Killers (1946)
A film noir based on a Hemingway story. A well-made film and an influential one, but one that suffers from plot twists that are occasionally a little too convenient. Certainly entertaining and effective, beautifully shot, and worth your time for both that and for historical purposes.
- William S. Burroughs: A Man Within (2010)
- Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)
- Inspector Bellamy (2009)
- The Man From London (2007)