Since my last blog post about film class screenings, I’ve seen a few more films in three different courses.  These are a really good mix of film genres – mystery and suspense, animated / biography, crime / drama / sci-fi, historical / romance and horror.

“North by Northwest” (1959)

For the longest time, I kept coming across “North by Northwest” starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint on TCM part way through.  So I figured, I’d skip watching it until I could catch it from the beginning.  The growing intrigue in the story of an innocent man on the run when he is seen as a criminal keeps you hooked.  In the film, Grant plays Roger Thornhill and knowing that nobody believes his innocence, he is very sly in his steps to avoid getting caught.  I love the acting by classic Hollywood legends in films like this because it can really pull audiences into the story.  Also, I feel that those legends are the inspiration for many of today’s great acting talents.

“Persepolis” (2007)

We watched this animated film in my English literature class as a follow-up to reading the graphic novel of the same title.  One thing about the novel first – if I were ever to publish a literary work, I don’t think I’d be the one to create the accompanying graphics.  It takes a lot of talent to keep consistent the dimensions of whatever you’re drawing.  The book is the first of its kind that I read and I enjoyed the film adaptation as well.  There was a wide range of all human emotion with moments to laugh, along with hard-hitting drama based on Marjane Satrapi’s experiences.  There are relationship issues as well as cultural situations that readers could identify or connect with on some level, which especially make “Persepolis” a great book and film.

“A Clockwork Orange” (1971)

I watched this for a film class and am beginning to read the novel by Anthony Burgess for the same English literature class in which “Persepolis” was covered.  For me, this is one of those films that I was never really interested in seeing on my own.  Now that I have seen it, I can say that I don’t really like “A Clockwork Orange” a lot.  It’s just not my kind of film overall.  There was a scene that comes to mind which I thought was funny, when Alex (Malcolm McDowell) imitates the officer’s marching in an exaggerated way.  But the interesting aspect to me regarding this film is the history surrounding it, which a guest professor came into class to discuss.  It’s that history which relays why, whether or not a person likes the film, I can see its significance in film and impact on society.

“Barry Lyndon” (1975)

After seeing this period film, I decided to write about it for a film scene analysis paper instead of going with “2001: A Space Odyssey.”  I love the elaborate details seen in films that recreate historical time periods.  “Barry Lyndon” may just be my favorite Stanley Kubrick film, with its architectural detail, the costumes and locations.  It’s another film that I add to my list of those featuring beautiful locations I’d like to visit one day.  Also, there were a lot of elements that reminded me of a number of my other favorite films, such as the poor guy versus the rich guy and attitudes about social class.  Think along the lines of “Titanic,” “A Knight’s Tale,” “Pride & Prejudice.”  Of course, social class is a timeless issue to this day with the 99% and the 1% news stories.

“The Shining” (1980)

This was only viewed in various clips during class, but I’ve also seen parts of “The Shining” at home when it was on TV a few times recently.  I can’t think of another actor who can do such a creepy, evil expression like Jack Nicholson does in this film.  It’s the overall intense creepy vibe throughout “The Shining” that has always prevented me from watching it from start to finish.  Also, the last time I caught it airing on TV, I happened to catch a warning about an upcoming graphic scene.  I didn’t see that scene, yet I know it involved someone who showed up to check on the family at the hotel.  In general, I can’t help comparing “The Shining” to today’s horror films and how they do or don’t build up suspense.


I’ve got another paper coming up for the film class on Kubrick’s work.  I’m going with “2001: A Space Odyssey” this time.  In another film class, we broke into groups to research different directors; my group focused on Christopher Nolan and four of his films (“Memento,” “The Prestige,” “The Dark Knight” and “Inception”), each of us watching a different one.  I chose “Inception,” although it was a tough choice between that and “The Dark Knight.”

After this semester and all the films I watched for the first time, there’s a list of DVDs growing in my mind that I want to add to my collection.