Discover more from 812: Film Reviews and Other Musings
August: Podcasts, Noir City, and Colonel Blimp
Monthly Roundup Post
Welcome to my newsletter! Every month you’ll receive this update featuring all of my writing, and my favorite film and television watches.
It’s been a wonderful, fulfilling August: I debuted at a new outlet, Screen Daily (where some of my TIFF reviews will appear); I attended Noir City for a second year in a row; I appeared on Jim Laczkowski’s wonderful Director Club podcast to talk Wendell B Harris’ Chameleon Street and also popped up on the Letterboxd Show to share my four favorite movies; I’ve also read so many poetry books and right now I’m working my through Arthur Knight’s brilliant work Disintegrating the Musical: Black Performance and American Musical Film. Most of all, Marya and I treated ourselves to seeing Bruce Springsteen live at Wrigley Field. Somehow I did all of this while having my busiest writing month since Cannes. Here’s what I’ve been working on:
My overall film watches for August are a bit skewed. Mostly because there are two films I watched for Telluride Film Festival and about eleven movies I’ve already seen for TIFF 2023 that I can’t log. Also, I covered the inaugural year of the XL Film Festival — many of these films aren’t on Letterboxd either. Not only that, I turned in my September action movie column in early; I can’t log those yet either. So the modified count of films seen this past month is a paltry 38. I know, that’s more than most people see! But still, I’m tellin’ ya I was much closer to my usual 60 than Letterboxd would indicate. Which probably means my September will be way inflated, so it all evens out… I guess. In any case, here are my favorite watches from August.
Clash By Night - Check out this loaded cast: Paul Douglas is a fisherman yearning for Barbara Stanwyck, who might actually be interested in Robert Ryan, as she lives with Marilyn Monroe. Before it became a thing, Fritz Lang knew how much we eat up messy.
The Murder of Mr. Devil - A collaborator of Věra Chytilová, the Czech director Ester Krumbachová offers a wonderfully eccentric tale of a pleasing, lonely woman feeding a hungry, hungry devil with mountains of food in the hopes of gaining his affection.
Random Harvest - Ronald Colman is a World War I British officer afflicted with amnesia who escapes from an asylum, marries Greer Garson, only to remember his past life as an heir to an industrialist fortune in a weepy that knows home is where the heart is.
White Trash Girl - An early rough-around-the-edges Jennifer Reeder short pictures an impoverished, abused girl who grows into a costumed cowboy hat and fur coat wearing superhero fighting the patriarchy. Love it!