September 2018 Viewing Log

Hiya! In regards to the most recent bout of inactivity, I’ve gone full bore into GRE prep, grad school applying, class paper writing mode. Effectively, I’m gonna end full-on write ups for the Where Were They Then? writing project for now, but might continue with shorter write-ups. As for now, keep expecting less, though I’ll keep these going if only for some kind of regularity.

  1. Ocean’s Eleven (01, A-): Still feels endlessly slick, polished, and sharp as a diamond even when cut for TV. Fuck that was fun. 9/1/18
  2. Paddington (15, B+): King’s direction shapes a smart, heartwarming film, not just great with his script and actors but beats most American comedy for using visual and sonic jokes too. 9/2/18
    1. No scene in any horror movie has more sheer tension than watching Paddington destroy the Brown’s bathroom
    2. Nicole Kidman’s Wall Of Asses is the fucking funniest sight gag of the decade if not the millennium
    3. Bold to cast known twink Ben Whishaw as a bear of any kind but man is his voice as warm and pleasant as marmalade
    4. My mom got SO SCARED when Paddington almost fell into the furnace
    5. Paddington’s drag name is Lady Marmalade
  3.  Lilo & Stitch (02, B+): My favorite of Disney’s weird period? Unusual, winning take on Iron Giant template that’s funny and moving. 9/3/18
    1. Maybe it’s just Daveigh Chase is there but this had a very Miyazaki esque vibe to it. Especially at the end, where it’s just two unrelated, unromantic characters fighting for each other because it’s just the right thing to do.
  4. Gloria (80, B-/B): Score, kid almost sink it. Rowlands keeps it afloat. Fun crime drama from people who’re clearly better at other stuff. 9/5/18
  5. Psycho (60, A): Where do I even start? Lean, nasty filmmaking exudes tension and hidden depths, sculpts two stellar perfs, and grows gnarlier. 9/7/18
    1. I wish I cared more about Sam and Lila, but that’s a small price to pay for such an iconic first hour and unnerving endings.

    2. Also, the fact that John Gavin played the unidentifiable, uncharismatic slabs of meat that somehow ends up better off than his far better leading ladies in Psycho and in Imitation of Life blew my fucking mind
    3. The only thing more awful than Psycho losing all four of the Academy Awards it was nominated for is all the shit that didn’t even get recognized. No Perkins? No Hermann? No Picture or Editing or Screenplay? What the fuck
  6. Inside Man (06, B+): Brilliantly reworks familiar tropes to complicate its characters and setups. Charismatic, sly, and easy to watch. 9/9/18
    1. I loved how it kept finding moments to individualize the hostages, bystanders, cops, thieves. Creates a real sense of community, and building from sincerity rather than smugness or irony helps it in every possible way
  7. Tag (15, C+): Never stops being completely bananas, but nightmare logic soon adds up to some strange, moving ideas and images. 9/10/18
  8. Psycho (98, B+): The kind of inspired/faithful remix usually reserved for pop music, with its own bright colors beneath a long shadow. 9/12/18
    1. Love the application of New Queer Cinema aesthetics, especially in Beatrix Una-Pasztor’s costumes. Desperately wish Van Sant had applied queer texts in his retelling. Marion and Norman as two lonely souls wrangling with the closet would’ve been so moving
    2. Heche’s spin on Marion is so the most inspired performance, though I really appreciate the updates Moore, Mortensen, and Macy bring to the table compared to Miles and Gavin
  9.  Heaven Will Wait (18, C+): French melodrama about radicalized teen girls tilts too often into PSA territory. Cast aims higher. 9/13/18
  10. What Keeps You Alive (18, B): Some baggage, implausibility in story but rarely is this twisty, surprising film not productive with how it shoots, edits, and performs those twists. 9/13/18
    1. Easily a B+ if it was a little tighter in the middle and cut down on the endings. But the sound, camera work, and cutting are very often unimpeachable
    2. The two lead performances are very good, but I especially liked Brittany Allen. Her face is very wonderfully reminiscent of Michelle Williams and Annette Bening. She makes a lot of stuff work, and I look forward to seeing her in something soon
  11. Birth of a Nation (15, ??): One can only be so impressed by technical virtuosity alone, especially with such a dull first half and disgusting second. Crude, revisionist drivel, but hey. It’s well made. That’s worth it, right? 9/14/18
  12.  Crazy Rich Asians (18, B): An uneven, satisfying and frothy romcom melodrama. Pacing, visuals beat many American comedies. 9/15/18
  13. Inside Man (06, B+): Fuck yeah
    1. Christopher Plummer acting like a doddery old white dude in the police van in Inside Man is better than the entirety of All the Money in the World

  14. Halloween (78, B+): Brilliant, simple choices in mood and style still go incredibly far. Politics deserve pushback. Cast delivers. 9/18/18
  15. The Wife (18, B-): The kind of tricky, compelling, but not entirely satisfying character study that suggests a much richer novel. 9/20/18
    1. Close is very very good, especially as her material gets more complicated. Slater makes a strong impression. Filmmaking takes some interesting risks but I wish the performances felt more shaped.
  16.  Within Our Gates (20, A-): Layered, harrowing, visually and rhythmically daring account of black survival in post Reconstruction America. Bold politics not without issues but forcefully, potently presented. 9/21/18
  17. His Girl Friday (40, A+): Dense comedy of remarriage equally sharp on sentimental and mercenary angles. Hawkes dexterous with tone. Brilliantly plotted and acted. Burning tempo inside a shifting, unexpectedly paced narrative. 9/24/18
    1. Denzel Washington in His Girl Friday is honestly what I’m hoping to dream about tonight
  18. Scream (96, B): Self consciously meta script subverts and plays with tropes in fascinating ways, even when it stumbles. Killer finale. 9/25/18
  19. A Sort of Family (18, A-): Tale of one woman’s black market adoption shot, cut like a thriller and continues to grow in political scope. 9/26/18
  20. Imitation of Life (34, B+): Sincere with melodramatics Sirk ironizes. Gorgeously acted. Racial politics even more questionable. 9/28/19
    1. And the race elements all feel way more peripheral in this version than in Sirk’s, which is crazy since the first third is so about making Delilah into a brand. But after that she mostly vanishes for the romance plot. Even when her daughter runs away, it feels more about Colbert
  21. Mandy (18, B): Absolutely deranged in story and style but I enjoyed its commitment to these choices, even if I see why others wouldn’t. 9/29/18

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