May 2018 Viewing Log

  1. Avengers: Infinity War (18, C+): Clears some typical hurdles but bungles others. Villains, finale land, but doesn’t get there gracefully. 5/2/18
    1. Did I like Infinity War? I think so? But not totally? Hmmmmmmm
    2. Nobody at the small party I’m with believes the end of Infinity War, even though they were all moved by it
    3. John Guilbert’s editing on Fellowship of the Ring has ruined me on all those massive blockbusters that feel bloated instead of big
  2. Poison (91, A-): This triptych is even more startling than I expected. Three distinct tales and styles, scarily and sensuously interwoven. 5/3/18
  3. The Conjuring (13, B): Takes longer than it should to shape up, but its impact grows as stakes get higher. Strong finish. 5/6/18
  4. Vampire Clay (18, C)The Thing for insecure rural art students, except stupid and fun. Wish the humans mattered, but the clay’s neat. 5/7/18
  5. I Walk the Line (70, B): Surely not the best version of this story – songs unhelpful. But Weld’s good, Peck even better in their corner of the world. 5/7/18
    1. After Gentleman’s Agreement and with Atticus Finch stamped into my brain from high school, I’m impressed by how little I thought of those two insofar as I kept going “The guy who played them could be so shamed and passionate and reckless?”. Damn!
  6. Avengers: Infinity War (18, C): Moment to moment, more affecting the second go-round. Ending still hits. But the cinematography’s hazardous til they get to Wakanda, and I still don’t believe any of this matters. 5/8/18
    1. These motherfuckers really just forgot all about lighting and color for like two hours. And I hate what the acquisition of the Soul Stone validates about Thanos’s relationship with Gamora. Just hideous. And why can’t these heroes ever get ruthless?
    2. Holland’s the most consistently affecting, and it’s pretty funy (“WHY is Gamora??”), but the camera doesn’t serve the actors for so long, and the score and editing are inconsistent. VFX looks pretty video gamey too
    3. Maybe I’m being too negative, but I’m kinda pissed that I’m being told to pretend *any* *of* *this* *matters*. Plus side: I want Dinklage’s character to traverse the multiverse so he can flatten Jason Dixon’s ass into a goddamn motherfucking pulp
    4. I wanna see Ray Romano’s Bruce Banner
  7. Tully (18, A-): Hi I have a lot of thoughts about Tully which is great! Because Tully had so many thoughts about Tully and I couldn’t believe all the thinking I did during it! It’s so incredible you guys, I know y’all know that but you were so right. 5/9/18
    1. So, easy start, I didn’t expect to remind me of so many different films. I mean, Juno and Young Adult, obvs, and it kinda starts like The Babadook, but the last half hour felt like A Christmas Carol, or It’s A Wonderful Life. Memory lane’s very sweet and so so haunted.
    2. But I really, really spent most of it thinking about Things to Come, and how that movie is so ruminative and smart and regretful about what has and hasn’t been achieved in life. And how my response was as much about who I could be in the future, sitting there watching it.
    3. Like, I’m not gonna be Marlo or Nathalie per say, though I would love to be a professor. But I’m a gay man, so I’m probably not gonna “have” kids, nor do I want them or that many at this time.
    4. These are just films about experiences I can’t have *yet*, whether or not I have them at all, and all three (two?) women at the center make it clear what you could get out of their lives, and how it is and isn’t rewarding even if all paths lead somewhere you’ll never be ready for. So I take this as sort of, y’know, who do I want to be when I grow up?
    5. Which feels like a decent enough pivot to Reitman and Cody and Theron and Davies who’re just unstoppable in asking so many questions of themselves and this character and just running with them, to really provocative effect. Not just the end but the whole thing.
    6. There’s just a point where it kinda stops being funny and gets a little off? Like, the montage from the first day at new school to the birthday party. And I accidentally spoiled things for myself so, it read differently, to see time change so much.
    7. Off in a good way. The makeup on making Marlo look refreshed and look like she’s about to die if she doesn’t nap is so good. The filmmaking and scripting is exquisite. I think I said the big philosophical part of my thing. Charlize and Mackenzie are so sharp. I need to see this again soon. That’d be really nice
  8. The Hawaiians (70, C): Interracial epic trudges on for generations. Rampant white capitalism odiously framed as noble. Tsin unevenly handled. 5/10/18
  9. Raiders of the Lost Ark (81, A-): Amazing how much a quick pace, energetic direction & cast, underdog positioning makes this feel so alive. 5/12/18
  10. The Black Dahlia (06, B-): Comes alive in fits and bursts. Best parts sing, worst ones embarrass. Inchoate, yet haunting almost in spite of itself. 5/13/18
  11. Princess Mononoke (97, A): Incredible to see Ghibli’s breathtaking visuals attached to such violent content and dense ideas. I’m in awe. 5/16/18
  12. Castle in the Sky (86, B/B+): Plenty of characters, sequences to enjoy. Dola a highlight. But the Laputa plot continues to drag. Too long? 5/16/18
  13. Se7en (95, B+): Fincher, actors, tech artists on fire. Distinct take on New York’s underbelly that earns its nihilism. Sits with you. 5/19/18
    1. Darius Khondji if you’re on twitter I just want you to know that I love you
  14. The Piano Teacher (02, A-): Cerebral direction and deliberate pace finds room for volcanic emotions inside a psychosexual spiral. Huppert!!!! 5/20/18
    1. I’d heard *a lot* of hype about her before watching this and I’m sure it’ll need to sit with me longer to get fullest impact but holy fuck.
    2. Quick aside: Isabelle Huppert as Marion McPherson
  15. Suddenly, Last Summer (59, B+): Perverse concepts even more perversely executed, but hones and uses its crazy so productively. Hepburn! 5/21/18
  16. Pope Francis: A Man of His Word (18, C+): Filmmaking can get too ostentatious, not all issues organically summoned. But Francis is a fascinating subject, and the film works best by sitting back and watching him do his thing. 5/22/18
    1. edit: Not that he isn’t fascinating, but you could also find all this on YouTube
  17. Deadpool 2 (18, C+): Leitch still a commendable director of action and actors, slicking what must be a shaky script. Tries more than the first one, works out alright. 5/22/18
  18. Saturday Church (18, B-): Stylistic choices richly reward this earnest study of black queerness. Some beats easier to guess than others. 5/23/18
  19. Paris is Burning (91, A-/A): Incredible dive into the past and present of Harlem vogue, into the lives and concerns of its members. 5/23/18
    1. So so fun, but doesn’t skimp on the other scary, precarious, fading, maternal, political realities of their lives. Hall of fame cinematography too
  20. Mary Poppins (64, A+): Visually versatile and thematically rich without using a hammer. Performances, effects, numbers haven’t aged a day. 5/25/18
  21. Bullets Over Broadway (94, B+/A-): Frothy and fun, easy on the eyes and deliciously scripted, acted, directed. Allen’s last great film. 5/25/18
  22. The Madness of King George (94, C)Darkest Hour but statelier. Wafts between acceptable, bracing, weak, never memorably. Hawthorne alright. 5/25/18
    1. The scene of King getting trapped in the chair was pretty bracing but boy did that feel like the right time to just end the picture
  23. All the Money in the World (17, D): So utterly convinced of its importance it forgets to make its story compelling. Bloated like a corpse. 5/26/18 (All the Money in the World review)
  24. The Wailing (16, B/B+): I still question some elements of theme and length, but it has a mighty grip on story, tone, atmosphere. Great lead. 5/27/18
  25. Tom & Viv (94, C/C+): Not the ordeal I expected but still stumbles a lot, either by trying too hard or not enough. Leads iffy. Harris a boon. 5/29/18 (Tom & Viv review)
  26. Pulp Fiction (94, A-): Every segment has its own real caveats but even greater rewards. Galvanizing and endlessly rewatchable. 5/29/18
    1. Sam Jackson is so goddamn perfect in this. I have no beef with Landau, but holy fuck. Maybe one wins lead and the other supporting? Fuckin’ Jules, man
    2. Pulp Fiction would be infinitely funnier if that dude who failed to kill Jules and Vincent hiding in the bathroom was Jerry Seinfeld
  27. Interview with the Vampire (94, B-): Novelistic filmmaking frequently turns camp in productive and silly ways. Strong aesthetics. Could be gayer. 5/31/18
  28. Vanya on 42nd Street (94, A): Slips so quietly into itself, yet every beat carries the agile precision of a talented, hardworking crew. 5/31/18
    1. What an unusual, rewarding task for these artists to set for themselves and to succeed at so fully. What an endlessly talented ensemble, working with a brilliant director. Editing, camerawork just incredible. Oh my god

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