The Month in Movies: September 2013

I am really late with this but, alas, here is my breakdown of the movies I watched in September.

I had 11 viewings last month and was fully prepared to go on the defensive. I was going to talk about how the TV season really destroyed my chance of watching many movies, not to mention the additional time I put into getting the podcast out every week.

Then I looked through my records and, as it turns out, September 2013 was my best September on record. It’s not saying much considering it’s only 11 viewings. But I’m pleased. Read on for my analysis of the month.

  • Total Viewings: 11
  • First Viewings: 4
  • Theater Viewings: 4

the_worlds_end_movie-wide

Best First Viewing: The World’s End (2013) – amazon-logo

I’m a big Cornetto Trilogy fan. Shaun of the Dead is one of my favorite movies and Hot Fuzz is a great comfort movie to satisfy any lust for goofy action genre clichés. So you can imagine my excitement for The World’s End.

I had a unique theater experience with The World’s End. It was one of only a few times in my life where I had an entire theater to myself. It happens sometimes when you see a movie at a matinee late in its theatrical run. Because I was by myself, I was able to relax and really enjoy the experience.

As for the movie itself, I was very satisfied with it. The themes of growing into bland, unadventurous adulthood, reclaiming your youthful vigor and outright refusing to grow up were all very strong. I would say they were the strongest of the entire Cornetto Trilogy.

The directing was also top notch. Edgar Wright’s work has grown from fun and unique to equally fun but with a more professional and mature flair. He’s quite a talent and I’m looking forward to Ant-Man as well as whatever else he does in the future.

For more discussion of The Cornetto Trilogy, check out episode 20 (The Cornetto Trilogy, Nielsen Ratings, Prisoners and Rush) of The Obsessive Viewer Podcast.

 Insomnia

Honorable Mention: Insomnia (2002) – amazon-logo 

I have owned Insomnia for a while now. I blind bought it specifically because I am a sucker for anything Christopher Nolan does. I held off on watching it for a long time. I was nervous about watching a Nolan movie that he didn’t have a hand in writing. Nolan is one of my favorite filmmakers and I was nervous to see my opinion of his talent tested.

My nervousness was unfounded, though. Insomnia is a solid detective movie about a man hunting a killer. Al Pacino turns in a very good performance that’s calm and nuanced all the same. Nearly overshadowing him, however, is Robin Williams. Williams plays a sociopathic killer. His performance is strangely charming while at the same time very unsetting. The two actors’ scenes together were fantastic as well.

Nolan’s directing was great. His style is very evident here. Insomnia has similar visual cues as Memento in that we see flashes of muted scenes play before us while the character on the screen is in a mentally compromised state.

Insomnia isn’t Nolan’s best work, but it is a worthy entry in his filmography. If you want to hear more thoughts on Insomnia and Christopher Nolan in general, check out The Obsessive Viewer Podcast’s 2-part Nolan retrospective.

 The-Purge (1)

Worst First Viewing: The Purge (2013) – amazon-logo

I started writing my thoughts on The Purge here and then I realized it deserved its own full-length review. You can read it here.

 openwater

Dishonorable Mention: Open Water (2003) – amazon-logo

I hated The Purge. But Open Water wasn’t terribly far off. I was on board with this “stranded in shark infested waters” thriller up until the couple was actually stranded in shark-infested waters. From there things take such a dull, annoying turn. Once the man and woman are the only characters on the screen, it’s evident that the actors simply can’t carry the movie. Not to mention, the writing was wholly unremarkable.

 the-empire-strikes-back-Darth-vader

Biggest Surprise: Star Wars Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – amazon-logo 

I’ve never been a big fan of Star Wars. For the longest time I couldn’t understand why people preferred Empire to A New Hope. I always thought A New Hope was a tighter, better story.

I still think that, but I gained a new appreciation for Empire Strikes Back when I saw it at a private screening for my friend’s bachelor party. You can read all about my experience here.

 
openwater

Biggest Letdown: Open Water (2003)amazon-logo

 

I originally had The Purge in the “Biggest Letdown” category. But I changed it to Open Water because the movie set things up well enough. Everything before the couple is stranded, helps set the tone. As bad as the actors are at conveying the tension of being surrounded by sharks in the freezing ocean, they are surprisingly good at being a couple onscreen. If the movie had maintained that level of quality, I would have a very different opinion of the finished product.

 shaun-of-the-dead-2004-06-g-1024x673

Returning Favorite: Shaun of the Dead (2004) – amazon-logo

You simply can’t go wrong with Shaun of the Dead. I love everything about it. It subverts the zombie subgenre while simultaneously paying tribute to it. Not to mention, it does all of this in a spectacularly written, hilarious movie. It’s one of the best. You can hear more about how I feel about it in The Obsessive Viewer Podcast’s Cornetto Trilogy episode.

You can see the full list of movies I watched in September here. How was your September? Let me know in the comments and find The Obsessive Viewer all over the web with the links below.

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