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Month in Review: March 2011

by on 2011/03/31

I think it began as a Simpsons joke. Smarch became Noirch.

Maybe a little Caesar . . . Julius Caesar: “Beware the Ides” and all that jazz.

My investigations turned up a pile of videos stacked higher than the days in a month. I learned that some think of noir as a style. Others believe it’s a genre. Me? I need it to be a subset of both.

I didn’t just want mid-century urban Americana by night, conflicted anti-heroes, unattainable ideals, femme fatales, cops and robbers, twists and turns and plans gone wrong, frameworks and flashbacks, nonlinearity and narration, stark lighting, grainy black and white stock, odd angles, long looming shadows, hats, trench coats, cigarettes, and jazz in the rain…

I wanted it all.

I got more than I bargained for, yet all too fleeting a glimpse, in a month where contenders were running neck and neck.

Here, then, are Hacker Renders’ lucky — or not — five noirs: favourites, surprises, disappointments, and least-liked, as well as the movie I’d most like to see based on the recommendation of our resident gypsy goth.

In short, it was some kind of a month. What does it matter what I say about it?

Favourite Film:
Double Indemnity (1944) on 2011/03/03

“Now this is my idea of film noir. It’s not the hard-bitten street cop taking on a gutter mob. It’s worse. An average person, getting ahead, going too far, unable to escape. The vain, terrible struggle of the doomed. In Double Indemnity’s world, there are two kinds of people: those who fear it could happen to them, and those who are fooling themselves.”

Honourable Mention:
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) on 2011/03/28

The Asphalt Jungle (1950) on 2011/03/08
Laura (1944) on 2011/03/04
Out of the Past (1947) on 2011/03/06

Greatest Surprise:
Touch of Evil (1958) on 2011/03/30

“They say converts make the best evangelists and, now, I suppose I’m proof of it. I’m not overstating the matter to say I dreaded revisiting this film. You see, the thing is, I never liked Touch of Evil.

“Until now.”

Honourable Mention:
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) on 2011/03/26

Most Disappointing:
D.O.A. (1950) on 2011/03/24

“At present, I have seen D.O.A. three times, all in all. With an approximate gap of ten years between each opportunity, I’m not surprised the plot details keep dissipating from my mind. By the end of my latest viewing, I felt little benefit from hindsight. It simply didn’t matter “whodunit” or why. Style became the reason I stuck it out.”

The Third Man (1949) on 2011/03/07

“Much as I wanted to appreciate it, I didn’t. My only memories were of sheer bloody boredom, a score overstaying its welcome, and a whole lot more work than play. “The Third Man being a perennial “great” well and truly astounds me. I very much want to “get” it and, as some of my favourites took time, perhaps that day will come yet. While I have little doubt I’ll see it again, it won’t be for entertainment.”

Show Me:
Cool World (1992) on 2011/03/20

“A seething, seamy world of noids, doodles and wacka-doos, Cool World is the creation of graphic artist and jail-bird Jack Deebs (Gabriel Byrne). Obsessed with his own creation, Holli Would (Kim Basinger), a smoldering sexpot in white, Deebs wobbles drunkenly across the line between grim reality and the Cool World.”

Honourable Mentions:
Dark City (1998) on 2011/03/31
The Grifters (1990) on 2011/03/26


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