No more football and no primetime television worth watching has freed up a lot of time for movies in February. Thankfully, February is also TCM's annual "31 Days of Oscar," so let's get a head start on all the good movies I've watched this month:
16. (763.) Nothing Lasts Forever (1984)
According to The Net, this rarity has spent the better part of the last 30 years locked away from audiences until TCM aired it in January. It very lovingly recreates fantasy and science fiction films of the 40s, but it doesn't have much substance to add. It reminded me of a lighthearted Atlas Shrugged, though I'm not entirely sure if that was intentional. Worth a look if you enjoy the period its evoking and you have a strong stomach for sentimental nonsense.
17. (764.) Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)
Rod Serling delivers a depressing tale about the steamroller of life. It's probably the best acting I've ever seen from Mickey Rooney, but I could barely understand anything Anthony Quinn said.
18. (765.) The Exterminating Angel (1962)
This absurdist Spanish fantasy film could have been a horror movie, but it twists suddenly in the third act and instead becomes an existential comedy. I watched it mostly because Roger Ebert considered it his favorite film. I can see why. I didn't love it, but mostly because I couldn't tell if the director, Luis Bunuel, considered the film a satire of politics, class warfare, and religion, or simply an exercise in nihilism. That ambiguity is the core of the picture, and how comfortable you are with the sensation of never quite knowing what is going on will probably define how much any viewer appreciates this film.
19. (766.) A Place in the Sun (1951)
My hate affair with Elizabeth Taylor continues with this piece of trash. I bailed after a little over an hour because I was tired of watching Montgomery Clift continue pursuing a series of increasingly self-destructive urges that could only possibly end poorly for everyone involved. (As I said, I didn't stay to the finale. My guess is a three-way murder suicide. Yippee.) I don't enjoy my own foibles enough to find other people behaving badly to be especially entertaining.
20. (767.) Lucky Number Slevin (2006)
What a great palatte cleanser after the downer of Place in the Sun. Slevin is a stylish revenge flick that disguises itself as a crime thriller. Think Payback with extra carbonation.) I've been recommending it to everyone I know.
21. (768.) Twice Upon a Time (1983)
According to the credits, David Fincher worked on this animated product of Executive Producer George Lucas. I didn't care for the animation style, but I did enjoy the complete irreverence for fairy tale tropes. Worth a look.
That's just the tip of February's iceberg. More to come.