Band of Outsiders (Jean-Luc Godard, 1964)
I really like the French New Wave, but sometimes I can't pinpoint exactly why. The influence on directors like Quentin Tarantino and Steven Soderbergh is obvious, and there is just a sense of abandon and experimentation and pure joy in filmmaking that you don't often find elsewhere. When you get down to sitting and watching the films, though, they can at times be boring. This isn't about to become my favorite Godard film (still can't beat Breathless), but it was entertaining to watch and illuminating as far as its influence goes. I'm amazed that the scene of the three main characters running through the Louvre, famous as it is, lasts maybe 30 seconds. There was a feature on the DVD that meticulously explained all the literary and cinematic references, but I gave up after checking out two of them. A movie that needs to be explained in that much detail to be enjoyed isn't worth watching. This one certainly doesn't, and to have a narrator teach me about all the allusions seemed like a waste of my time. I had enough fun just sitting back and watching Godard let loose.
Miranda (Marc Munden, 2002)
I try to rent movies that enhance my knowledge of film history, or expand my appreciation for certain genres or the cinema of different countries or the works of a particular director, but sometimes I just rent a movie because it stars Christina Ricci as a sexy femme fatale. This was one of those times. I don't think this was ever released theatrically in the U.S., but an acquaintance recommended I see it. It's a pretty mediocre romantic thriller, but Christina is hott, and, although she's not naked, she has some loud sex and talks dirty. If you, like me, have a Christina Ricci fetish, this might be worth your time, but otherwise it's eminently forgettable.