May 2017 Viewing Log

  1. Casting JonBenet (17, B+/A-): As intimate with the actors as they are with their parts. Life experience as credibility in interpretation. – May 1, 2017 (review)
  2. The Fighter (10, A-): O’Russell realizes the best possible version of this script to create a stunning, spiky showcase for everyone involved. – May 2, 2017
  3. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days (07, A): An incredibly tense, textured portrait of two women in a time and place that’s slowly creeping back. – May 4, 2017
  4. The Butler (13, C-): Gumpy, conventional plotting, odd casting & makeup undermines everything neat about Daniels. Amazingly broad. – May 4, 2017
    1. Props to David Oyelowo for being the stillest thing in that movie, enhancing everyone else while giving a great, quiet performance.
    2. Pitch perfect supporting acting. Great work, improves the lot, and you wonder why this isn’t a movie about him and the Black Panthers.
  5. Don’t Think Twice (16, B): Spry cast, easy chemistry, remixed script beats elevate this tale of relocated dreams and success. Jacobs! – May 5, 2017
  6. Nebraska (13, C-): Dern gets his Crazy Heart but instead fights flat, mean direction & plotting, false emotions & atmosphere, shitty musak – May 6, 2017
  7. Face/Off (97, B+/A-): So deliciously, entertainingly Extra, finding the perfect tone to pull off this astounding nonsense. Cage! Allen! Woo! – May 7, 2017
  8. Aladdin (92, B-): Feels like a different Disney musical than the 10′s movies. Lovely songs. Williams more magical than the Genie. – May 7, 2017
  9. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (17, B): Such a wide color palette! Shaky til “Come a Little Bit Closer”, then becomes the space opera it dreamed of. – May 7, 2017 (review)
    1. Who else thinks Guardians of the Galaxy 2 should’ve been a musical, and that the next one should just go for it?
  10. Florence Foster Jenkins (16, B-): Great fun, especially the leads. Generous, but overly so? Seems to resist a deeper dive into her rise. – May 8, 2017
    1. And with that, I’ve seen all the 2014, 2015, and 2016 acting nominees!
  11. Nightcrawler (14, B-): Provocative, in distinct and generic ways, but strained. Wonderfully lit, creepy, and blunter than Snowpiercer. – May 8, 2017
  12. The Innocents (15, B): Textured like a Gothic horror story. Milieu I’ve rarely seen in this genre. Intertwined, parallel narratives hit hard. – May 9, 2017
  13. Autumn Sonata (78, B+): Bergman, Bergman, Ullmann, and Nyqvist just beat the shit out of me for ninety minutes and it was an incredible experience. – May 9, 2017
  14. Dheepan (16, A-): I noticed so much more in practically every aspect the second time around. Camera, Srinivasan my favorite elements. – May 9, 2017 (rewatch)
  15. Blue Jay (16, B+): Another one that spiked up for me. Dynamics even richer the second time around. Paulson and Duplass are so lovely! – May 10, 2017 (rewatch)
  16. Blue Caprice (13, B+): Hard, risky, genuinely nightmarish. Symbiosis, paranoia as real bonding. Finds so many questions in its own answers. – May 11, 2017 (rewatch)
  17. The Immigrant (14, A-): An operatic marvel, moving freely through every period of cinema. And so gorgeous! God rewatching things is great. – May 11, 2017 (rewatch)
  18. The House of Mirth (00, B+): A warmer, more conventional, but just as impassioned cousin to Portrait of a Lady. Great look. Gillian shines. – May 11, 2017
  19. The Lady Eve (41, A+): Lord why don’t they make them like this anymore? Quick, witty, lovely, silly, paced like a dream. Superb. Stanwyck!!! – May 13, 2017
    1. I get how problematic the setup could be if made today, but it’s hard to image a modern comedy with this much genuine craft at all levels.
  20. The Stanford Prison Experiment (15, B): Every element builds & improves as it goes. Not sure how much to credit any one part over source material. – May 16, 2017
    1. Maybe because the real thing is so pervasive in the culture already but I’m not sure what I got out of this. Already thinking about B-.
  21. Cool Hand Luke (67, B+): Lots to say about people, about one among many, and how we treat them. Newman makes it about a man. – May 16, 2017
  22. We Own the Night (07, A-): Technical prowess and directorial strength ably fight off genre cliche. Tense, captivating, and very much Gray’s – May 16, 2017
  23. Network (76, B+): THIS was the film so many adults have said I’d be inundated to because of the world now? Friend, that makes it stronger. – May 18, 2017
  24. Malcolm X (92, B-): Artistically and politically valuable even in the sequences Lee is less interested in. Not always both at the same time. – May 19, 2017
    1. That being said, Denzel is incredible, giving a massive performance in an epic that’s sporadically as alive as he is.
    2. The cinematography, especially the lighting, is also really spectacular. It’s artistically strong across the board, just conventionally told.
  25. Secret Sunshine (10, B+/A-): Grabs you by the gut with bracing handlings of trauma and religion, albeit with small hiccups. Jeon’s a marvel – May 19, 2017
  26. The Wolf of Wall Street (13, D+): Is there anything to even say about it? No new ideas from scene one. Boring depravity. So visually dull. – May 20, 2017
    1. Melina, after making a joke about snorting coke out of a stripper’s ass: ”Can women really have it all?”
  27. Alien: Covenant (17, B-): The case against humanity, by David. Human stupidity as real plot logic. Sets, VFX even better than Fassbender. – May 21, 2017
    1. After the movie I realized I almost have the same haircut that Katherine Waterston has. So that’s neat.
  28. August: Osage County (13, C): Not all the pieces fit, especially with so many sharp edges shorn. But Streep’s incredible, Roberts gets it. – May 21, 2017
  29. Passion (13, C): Weirdly uninspired style for such a pulpy tale. Awful sets balanced by great clothes. Score works. McAdams on point. – May 21, 2017
  30. Love & Mercy (15, B): Limited in scope but what textures it finds. Separates art and madness even as they feed each other. Great leads. – May 22, 2017
    1. All three really blew me away, and between this and the Manson You Must Remember This episode, hot damn are The Beach Boys interesting.
    2. And on a totally unrelated note, Paul Dano can fucking get it. Oh yes. Yes he can. Young Brian did have a sweet bod. I’ll stop now.
  31. The Final Girls (15, B+): There’s an even more inventive script in here, but so much more going on visually than I realized. Åkerman! – May 22, 2017 (rewatch) (review)
  32. The Iron Lady (11, C): Damp rag baby of La Vie en Rose and The Whisperers. Messy camera and direction. How much really happened here? – May 24, 2017 (review)
  33. Sweet Bird of Youth (62, B): Scrumptious. Not quite the play but expands nicely. Page a delectably seasoned ham, Newman a sweet hunk of meat. – May 25, 2017
  34. Stage Door (37, A-): Is it a bird? A plane? No! It’s the inner lives of over a dozen artistic, intelligent women, right there on the screen! – May 25, 2017
    1. Is there any point in film history where this project isn’t a miracle? Why hasn’t this been remade every ten years? God, was I in heaven?
  35. Caterpilar (11, B): So confrontationally severe in content and style, even as it dilutes itself in the final third. Iffy taste, but it hits. – May 26, 2017
  36. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (05, C+): No tweet (rewatch) – May 26, 2017
    1. Me, watching Goblet of Fire: “Why couldn’t Ron have dated Hermione AND Krum?”
    2. My mom, every time we watch a Harry Potter movie: “It shoulda been Harry and Hermione.”
    3. Not to read too deeply into things but Ron being Harry’s person he has to save is Really Gay
  37. Easy A (10, C+): Kinda spotty outside Stone, but boy does it care about her. And lord does she make it something special. – May 27, 2017
    1. It’s abominable that with a filmography seemingly built on delightfully supporting women Stanley Tucci’s sole Oscar nomination is for Lovely Bones
  38. The Banishment (07, B): Pace and length made me sleepy but Zvyaginstev’s formal control more than kept me awake. Oddly compelling. – May 29, 2017
  39. The Miracle Worker (62, B+): Beats Arrival for conveying the power of language and understanding. Bancroft’s great, and Duke’s even better. – May 29, 2017
  40. The Man With The Golden Arm (55, B): Sinatra does great work to elevate this semi-cliched tragedy, but Parker and the score hit a home run. – May 30, 2017
  41. Paranoid Park (08, C+/B-): Never not overworked, especially sonically, but unbearable first half hour turns into a compelling yarn. – May 30, 2017
  42. National Velvet (44, B): So kind to its characters, mature about their wants and ideas. Gorgeous, infectious, and well-acted to boot. – May 31, 2017

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