We’re just about halfway and summer is slipping away fast folks so this week’s watchlist is all about bang for your buck. You could do all three of these in an afternoon and still have plenty of time for frolicking among the hydrangeas. All three clock-in at under 90 minutes but fear not true believers, they provide exquisite examples of quality over quantity – this week’s theme is tasty morsels.
Friday – Fantastic Mr. Fox – Genre: Animated
This adaption of Roald-Dahl’s classic is a riot. Wes Anderson adapts his distinct style effectively to suit the animated medium, and fans will recognise the unique framings and snappy (almost awkward) dialogue that characterises his work. The stop-motion lends an almost staccato nature to a lot of the action that feels appropriately playful, and if you can get over most of the cast being American (tragedy) the all-star voices give the whole thing a nice veneer. Plus it spins a bloody good yarn from start to finish (as you’d expect) and is really quite hilarious. At 86 minutes you can’t go wrong.
Saturday – Searching for Sugarman – Genre: Documentary
It remains astounding to me that both this film and the artist it focuses on were essentially unknown to me until about a week ago. The Doc centres on the story of mysterious Detroit-based musician Rodriguez and the fans that desperately searched for the truth behind his disappearance. The soundtrack is composed entirely of his work and is entirely brilliant, providing the narrative with a tragic context as we witness the evaporation of this unappreciated genius. Panning shots of Detroit pavements tie in effectively with the songs to lend them an authenticity and displaying the filmmaker’s understanding. The story itself is gripping of its own accord, feeling almost akin to a crime piece at times as the strands are unravelled. Top music, top story, top camerawork. Top notch.
Sunday – The House of Small Cubes – Genre: Animated
This short is essentially why I decided I wanted to start writing weekend watch lists. Twelve minutes start to finish and completely enchanting from the opening frame, this hand drawn silent film is astonishingly beautiful. The central character lives in a world submerged in ever-rising water, with houses built like teetering alphabet block towers emerging from the depths. The score conveys the narrative with an elegance and tenderness that is just so, so wonderful, and pairs with the detail of the art to develop the protagonist without needing dialogue. I dare you not to smile and be touched by this. Also, IT’S TWELVE MINUTES and I honestly think that as a reader if you can’t spare twelve minutes to watch this short that I am recommending SO HIGHLY you are probably a horrible person. It would really make both of us very happy so I just think you should.
But then I think you should watch all the films I recommend.
Still. 12 minutes though.
(Image courtesy of Oklahoma City Museum of Art)