August 2018 Viewing Log

Well, the lower number of films and pieces written definitely indicates school has started. Catch me pining to attend any of the twelve fall film festivals happening as we speak.

  1. Dark Money (18, B+): Potent story of what local journalism and grassroots efforts can accomplish, and a somber vision of the national stage. 8/1/18
    1. I get with what the boyfriend says about this maybe not being revelatory for people who’re more plugged in, but I admire the political spectrum of folks surveyed, the evocation of what dark money even is, showing all the work needed to fight it, and how much more there is to do

  2. Fanny and Alexander (83, A): Rich visuals interact beautifully with a story that’s dense, ephemeral, and aggressive without aiming for any one theme. 8/2/18
    1. Seems surprisingly more interested in characterization through script and direction than performance, though Andersson is brilliant in her few scenes. Also, I was so happy I guessed which Oscars it won besides Foreign Film
    2. Why did the kid from Fanny and Alexander look just like Liza in Cabaret
  3. Short Cuts (93, B): Has some high points, but the interweaving of stories, study of personality, and level of performance is less than I expected. 8/4/18
    1. Why didn’t Pedro Almodóvar direct Short Cuts
  4. Who We Are Now (18, B/B+): Tapestry of human behavior in all its mess that actually feels authentic. Well scripted. Cast works wonders. 8/5/18
  5. Ghost Stories (18, B): Alternates between fresh and overfamiliar interpretations of its campfire tales. Lensing, actors persuasive. 8/5/18
  6.  Before We Vanish (18, C): Gory opening gives way to ponderous alien invasion tale but stays unexpectedly flat. Stodgy and unoriginal. 8/7/18
  7. We the Animals (18, B+): Incredible gambles with editing, sound, cinematography. Dreamlike atmosphere carries well rounded emotional beats. 8/8/18
    1. The editing of We the Animals is genuinely one of the best things I’ve experienced all year. Incorporates a lot of weird stuff without skipping on character and emotional beats. The camera and sound are also pretty astonishing, but that dreamlike editing is so crucial.
    2. Editors are Keiko Deguchi and Brian A. Kates according to IMBD. Hope their futures are full of job offers that let them be as inventive and exciting as they are here. Hope they win some prizes for this.
  8. Mission Impossible: Fallout (18, B): Incredibly propulsive and tense even when scenes lag. Canonization of Hunt pales to Cruise’s stunts. 8/8/18
  9.  Eighth Grade (18, B+): A massive anxiety trip that simply wouldn’t work if Burnham wasn’t so kind, or if Fischer wasn’t so wonderful. 8/9/18
    1. I cried about three times during this movie. It’s so smart about how kids are nowadays, and how adults have trouble bridging that gulf, but also how this specific kid and her specific dad try to communicate with the world and each other. God Hamilton is so good too
    2. I’m not sure it’s completely non-judgemental to other people but it is absolutely not cruel to Kayla and that counts for so much
  10. The Tale (18, B+): Fox takes a powerful, unflinching look at her own life, making no concessions in character and taking risks aesthetically. 8/10/18
    1. No offense to HBO but how did this not get picked up by a major film studio at Sundance? Hard to imagine it getting less love from the Emmys, would Oscar have done better by it? Fox, her cast, and her technicians all do stunning work.
    2. Frances Conroy is super good in The Tale. That is all.
      1. Sometimes I really wish Conroy beat Lange for that Murder House Emmy. They’re both so fucking brilliant on that show
  11. BlacKkKlansman (18, A-): How is anyone calling this broad? Powerful discourse on black liberation and white terrorism. Outraged and outrageous. 8/11/18
    1. Forgoes niceties, mocking the Klan as people while taking them seriously as a force of danger. Who needs Mississippi Burning?
    2. Kwame Ture’s speech is easily one of the most beautiful sequences of the year. Jerome Taylor’s is easily one of the saddest and most frightening, especially juxtaposed to the footage closing the film.
    3. Makes the case for film as an inherently political and influential tool, both within its narrative and by nature of its own fury, humor, and intelligence.

    4. Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be for Spike Lee not to get a Best Director nomination this year
    5. I walked out of that really excited but have to admit I’ve had a hard time squaring with how underutilized Harrier is, and how little room the film gives the Panthers to really speak compared to the Klansman, parodied as they are
  12.  Hostiles (17, C+): Austerity and sober commitment impress, but every choice so calculated to its limited ideas they lose impact. 8/15/18
    1. Bale’s fine, but there’s not a thing he or Casey Affleck in Manchester do that Joaquin Phoenix doesn’t play more powerfully in You Were Never Really Here.
  13. Van Helsing (04, B-): Not high art or even high camp, but it’s silly and fun without being derivative even when it lags. Everyone gets it. 8/15/18
    1. Watching Van Helsing with the roommates and I love that Count Dracula is played by the fucking Duke from Moulin Rouge!
    2.  Van Helsing is a good movie. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is not
  14. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (03, D): N/A. 8/15/18
  15. Summer 1993 (18, A-): Achievements in naturalistic construction, emotional maturity, and direction of actors more magical than any heightened take on this story. 8/19/18

  16. Upgrade (18, C+): Futurist noir has some style but not much excitement or originality. Ideas about technology feel muddled. 8/24/18
    1. I really hope Betty Gabriel filmed this before Get Out was released but who knows. She deserves better.
  17. Mystery Men (99, B-): I may be drunk and in the presence of drunk friends but Mystery Men was a lot fun.
  18. Support the Girls (18, B): Amazing how much the performances, images, ideas all grow stronger and clearer about halfway through. Good finish. 8/26/18
    1. There’s a full third of Support the Girls that could’ve had Regina Hall go full Marion Crane and I really wish we got to see that movie too.
  19. Bride of Frankenstein (35, B/B+): Whale fumbles a bit with new technology and “morals”, but this is tonally agile and deliciously queer. 8/30/18
    1. Gotta say, and maybe it’s just me, but for a movie called Bride of Frankenstein, I really expected to see a lot more of the Bride of Frankenstein

  20. Sid & Nancy (86, C): Too hollow and unpersuasive in key areas, but makes nervier choices as the end draws nearer. 8/30/18

    1. Real highs and lows kinda even out. Webb acquits herself better than Oldman.

Additional posts: The Fifties!

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