Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I will definitely be posting a full review in the near future, but I just have to say that after watching Werner Herzog's fascinating, brilliant documentary ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD, I am now completely convinced that he's one of the craziest, most important filmmakers ever to pick up a camera. Stunningly photographed and beautifully mounted, the film offers glimpses at a continent that one never really gets to see. I have never seen a Herzog film that I wasn't impressed with, but this is certainly one of his finest efforts, right up there with his masterpiece GRIZZLY MAN. How does Herzog find these people? How does he come up with some of his theories? He's one of our greatest treasures in the world of movies; there's nobody else out there like him. When I worked for Jerry Bruckheimer, I was always reminded of his mantra: I'm in the transportation business. I transport people from one place to another. That's the way he views himself as a producer. Well, Herzog also seems to subscribe to the same basic principle as Bruckheimer in that regard. Herzog always takes you somewhere special and new and completely unique in his films. ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD, which is all about Antarctica and the people who live and work there, is another spellbinding addition to his already legendary body of work. And he's finally gotten Academy recognition; the film made the short-list (released yesterday) for Best Documentary at this year's Oscars. After the ridiculous snubbing of GRIZZLY MAN, it would have been beyond insulting not to include Herzog's latest film in the running for the Oscar.


Joel said...

"Grizzly Man" is a devastating, emotion-shattering film. Compulsively watchable.

I cannot wait to check out "Encounters at the End of the World." Looks masterful and engrossing. Glad you loved it, Nick.

Actionman said...

Are you a Herzog buff in general? Have you seen Fitzcarraldo or Aguirre or Cobra Verde or My Best Fiend? If not, I highly recommend that you do so.

Grizzly Man is one of the best docs ever made. Encounters is a sublime viewing experience.

Joel said...

I'm aware of Herzog (I have to be; I'm wanting to be a movie critic). But no, haven't seen anything of his older works.

Ebert names him as one of the finest directors of all time, and that "Aguirre, Wrath of God" is in his top ten. I need to watch his movies.

Perhaps next summer I'll join Blockbuster Online or Netflix or something and rent a bunch of movies. Apparently the latter has just about every movie ever made, so that's useful. *puts "Werner Herzog on list of directors to watch*

Actionman said...

Herzog is a true original; there is no other filmmaker like him, living or dead. I have seen almost every single one of his films that are available on DVD. Here's my top picks, in order of how I think you should arrange your viewings:

Fitzcarraldo (read Ebert's review...)
Aguirre the Wrath of God
Little Dieter Needs to Fly
My Best Fiend
Even Dwarfs Started Small
Cobra Verde
Rescue Dawn
Lessons of Darkness
The White Diamond
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

This is a solid start. I have seen others that I haven't listed. But after you start getting into his work, you won't want to stop watching more of it.

Joel said...

Thanks for the list!

I found every one of them on Blockbuster Online, except the last three. But there are a good number of movies here, so I should be covered next year.

Actionman said...

Blockbuster Online is certainly solid, but I prefer Netflix. They. Have. Everything.

Random question, but have you seen Oldboy?

Joel said...

Not quite yet. I wanna get to that when I run through classics of Japanese cinema. Whenever that will be. That'll be near the end of that period. I'll be seeing stuff by Kurosawa, Ozu, etc. I wanna see the older stuff first, then the newer. Just a thing for me.

I've read some rave reviews for it that make me want to see it. Badly.

Actionman said...

So you know, and it's obviously no biggie, but Oldboy is Korean. YOU MUST SEE THIS FILM. Make it a priority. Chan-wook Park, the filmmaker, did a "vengeance trilogy;" Oldboy was one film, and the two others are Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Lady Vengeance. All three are masterworks and you should make it a day of intense, Korean cinema. I shit you not -- you will look at cinema differently after watching these three movies. Just buy 'em.