Movie-a-Day: August 2007

Nineteen titles this time around, reflecting the fact that, around the third week of August, the oncoming fall semester was looming as large as the giant alien saucers that shadow the world’s capitals in Independence Day. Getting my courses up and running finally killed poor Movie-a-Day, bringing to an end the blissful ritual that structured my summer … except that Movie-a-Day isn’t dead; in fact, since September 29th, I’ve been back on the plan. Turns out I’m hooked. Hooked not simply on movies – I’ve always loved them – but on the practice of watching them daily, of unequivocally setting aside two-plus hours to lock the door, kick back in my armchair, and do nothing but watch (with occasional note-taking). With the semester underway, it’s a lot harder to find the time, and I’ve loosened the rules a bit (it’s now OK to watch movies I’ve seen before, and films screened for class count). But, like my friend and former employer Sy Safransky at The Sun Magazine, who wakes up every day at 4 a.m. to meditate and write, I’ve learned that the commitment itself – the claim one stakes on each new day – is the real treasure, and not one to be traded away lightly.

As always, I’ve starred the titles that made the greatest impression on me, positive, negative, or any other flavor. More stars than usual in August – either I meandered into some good choices, or I’m becoming easier to impress. (Not that I’m complaining: impressionability is precisely what I’m trying to cultivate.) Also a few more animated titles; recent releases; my first silent film of the summer (unless one counts Sherlock, Jr.); and films from outside the U.S.

Movie-a-Day: August 2007

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (George Roy Hill, 1969)
Paths of Glory (Stanley Kubrick, 1957)*
Key Largo (John Huston, 1948)*
Waitress (Adrienne Shelly, 2007)*
Ninja Scroll (Yoshiaki Kawajiri, 1993)*
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (Mamoru Oshii, 2004)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1928)*
A Scanner Darkly (Richard Linklater, 2006)
Fantastic Planet (René Laloux, 1973)
Avalon (Mamoru Oshii, 2001)
The Shanghai Gesture (Josef von Sternberg, 1941)*
The Holiday (Nancy Meyers, 2006)
Wicked City (Yoshiaki Kawajiri, 1987)
Sink or Swim (Su Friedrich, 1990)*
A Face in the Crowd (Elia Kazan, 1957)*
One Missed Call (Takashi Miike, 2004)
Medium Cool (Haskell Wexler, 1969)*
Soylent Green (Richard Fleischer, 1973)
Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006)*

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