April 2018 Viewing Log

  1. Mildred Pierce (45, C+/B-): Woman’s weepy not fully stitched to noir style. Crawford holds it together, but could someone catch up? 4/1/18
  2. A Quiet Place (18, C+): Sound design aces, setup and characters specific in not all ways. More sentimental of its patriarch than It Comes At Night. 4/6/18
  3. Isle of Dogs was incredibly lovely, though I hope an eventual second viewing will give me a clearer picture of what I enjoyed vs every other Anderson film vs the legitimate issues & discussions surrounding Isle 4/11/18
  4. Isle of Dogs (18, A-): Unfussy story and presentation, yet incredibly detailed and wildly entertaining. Flawed, but savvier than expected. 4/15/18
  5. Princess Cyd (17, B+): Heartfelt, intelligent, and an astonishingly pleasant space to be in. Leads, lensing, Cone knock it out of the park. 4/15/18
  6. Love is Strange (14, B+): Incredibly sharp character dynamics, smart ellipses. Seeing queer characters that old in the center a treat in itself 4/15/18
  7. Pariah (11, B/B+): Moment to moment nuances and character beats stun, as do Rees, Young, Oduye. Why hasn’t she lead anything since? 4/15/18
  8. Where is Kyra? (18, C/C+): Clearly made by talented people with real ideas. But the limits on Young and the cast stifle its impact 4/16/18
  9. Gentleman’s Agreement (47, C/C+): As bland as it is earnest and easy. Some payoffs, and sticks the landing, but not much clicks til then. 4/17/18
  10. Zama (18, A): Astounding formal, narrative, political control in telling a story of soul-sucking purgatory, with grace notes of humor and horror. 4/18/18
    1. I got to meet Lucretia Martel after in a Q&A with the most packed audience I’ve ever seen at the Wex. What a brilliant woman.
    2. At every moment I just couldn’t believe the sound and images and how idea-rich it is at every turn. Malaise makes way so powerfully to danger.
  11. Pinky (49, C): Crain a liability to shaky material, Kazan not quite helpful. Melodrama gives it some intrigue, as do Waters and the other women. 4/19/18
  12. Lost Boundaries (49, B?): Difficult to applaud this kind of story, but handled more insightfully than contemporaneous Kazan vehicles. 4/19/18
  13. Best Years of Our Lives (46, A-): Russell thread more limited than I’d like, but still poignantly executed by Wyler, Tolland, actors. 4/19/18
  14. No Way Out (50, A-): Stanley Kramer who? Stark political convictions inform and enhance a pulpy plot that never gets lurid. Genius cast. 4/20/18
    1. The fact that it shows a planned white race riot as evil and a preemptive attack from the black community being targeted as a justified response is all the more revelatory for how often *nonviolent protests* are still misrepresented in modern media coverage
    2. *And* that is does that while still validating Dr. Brooks’ desire to not participate, and validating his version of proving himself to white racists who may never change their minds about him
    3. *AND* that it shows Ray’s racism as utterly self-destructive, self-pitying, and with literally no basis in reality. Gentleman’s and Pinky aren’t without their insights into bourgeois racism of differing shades, but this cuts much deeper and with less fuss
  15. Crossfire (47, B): Thin mystery defused by its finish, but effective stylization and smart performances keep it going, make it angry. 4/20/18
  16. Airport (70, C-): Plays like a composite of B-plots from other films. Airplane! doesn’t excuse how organically ridiculous and painfully dated it is. 4/24/18
    1. You really can just draw a line from Maureen Stapleton in Airport to Marcia Gay Harden in Mystic River can’t you
  17. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (01, A-): Moves like a bullet train and still finds time for every story and character beat. 4/24/18
  18. You Were Never Really Here (18, B+/A-): Brutally presented and assembled, and that’s for starters. Congested with rage and depression. 4/25/18
  19. Five Easy Pieces (70, B+): Indelible intro to American New Wave. Actors, camera, editing wow, though not all story beats equally shaped. 4/25/18
  20. MASH (70, B+): Not all strands have aged well, but fascinating as a slice-of-life war film and stepping stone to greater Altman films. 4/25/18
    1. Pro: Donald Sutherland is great Con: Every single thing about how the film treats Houlihan Pro: Bud Cork (the kid Burns yells at early on) is a snack
  21. The Landlord (70, B+): Lefty comedy of manners that takes real stock of how race and class inform its characters and their actions. Genius ensemble. 4/25/18
  22. Dr. Strange (17, B-): N/A 4/29/18
  23. Lovers and Other Strangers (70, C/C-): Draggy pacing, uneven cast. Unappealing ideas about marriage and gender roles, poorly put over. 4/30/18
    1. Still, to everyone who said Arthur was worth seeking out, thanks for a quality performance to recommend.

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