Last batch of movies from February:
36. (783.) Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
This great movie investigates the deep implications of any individual's difficult decision between obeying moral and civil authorities and the angst resulting from the wrong choice. (This theme will be investigated from the other side in A Man for All Seasons, which I just watched last week.) The filmmakers come down clearly on one side of the debate, championing The American Way as sold to schoolchildren in 1955. Is this morality still relevant in the post-9/11 America seen in Zero Dark Thirty where torture is the best way to achieve a "greater good"? As my father always said: "right is right if nobody's right."
37. (784.) The Mark (1961)
As interesting as I found Judgment at Nuremberg, I found The Mark boring. Maybe it's a character study that turns into something great if you wait it out. I couldn't, so I didn't. If you are interested in the psychology of a recovering child abuser, this may be the film for you. It was not the film for me.
38. (785.) Fury (1936)
Spencer Tracy finds himself unjustly persecuted by a lynch mob in this Fritz Lang's first American movie. It's a good movie by itself, but is even more interesting in contrast to Lang's classic M, in which we side with the mob instead of the victim. Lang's films consistently explore the themes of crime and punishment, and I'm wondering how much of the difference between the attitudes of his first American film and his German masterpiece is related to rise of the Nazi movement that forced him out of Germany and how much is related to the Hollywood Hays Code that would never allow the glorification of a lynching.
39. (786.) Fame (1980)
Remember, remember! For all the glory of it's theme song, Fame isn't very deep or memorable. So shit happens to all of us, no matter how talented we are in the arts? Who'd've thunk it?
40. (787.) The Hustler (1961)
I get why this movie is a classic. Great dialogue, great acting, great cinematography. Despite all that, I hated it. Just a slog to get through. I don't watch "drug movies" — my term for films featuring characters struggling with abuse like Lost Weekened or Drugstore Cowboy or Trainspotting — because I don't enjoy watching people lose at life. In the end, Fast Eddie figures it out, but he has to lose it all first. Hooray? As I said, great film, but not for Walter.
41. (788.) Total Recall (2012)
Stupid garbage from beginning to end. It makes me angry that this exists.
42. (789.) The Rocker (2008)
Emma Stone has been in eighteen theatrically released movies. I've seen twelve, and she's stood out in all of them, even when they are as generally mediocre as this one. She's been in five movies in the past 25 months that I haven't seen yet. Those I'll get to sooner or later, but it seems I need to get my hands on 2009's Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and 2010's Marmaduke first, both of which get terrible ratings at Rotten Tomatoes. Still, I gotta catch 'em all!
That's all for February. We'll cover movies from March in April!