October 2018 Viewing Log

  1. The Birds (63, B): Misogyny, weak first half, occasionally odd construction limit it, but big set pieces keep going strong after the party. – 10/1/18
    1. Me, Melina, and our boyfriends spent a lot of time talking about the very odd relationships all the women had with each other. Was Annie a repressed lesbian (yes)? was Lydia the same actress as Melanie but in makeup (no, somehow)? did Mitch matter (no)? Important questions here.
    2. Also, it’s so weird to watch this and know Jessica Tandy didn’t win the Oscar for this. She’s incredibly good, especially after her conversation with Tippi.
    3. Remember when a cop victim blamed Tippi Hedren & co. for being repeatedly attacked by birds? That’s fucked up. That’s really fucked up.
  2. Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (22, A): Less flamboyant than Caligari but casts its own lean, spooky, indelibly crafted shadow. – 10/4/18
  3. A Star is Born (37, B+): Not without limitations but frequently moving, funny, and heartbreaking. Gaynor’s good, March brilliant. – 10/5/18
    1. Undoubtedly a movie I’d like better on rewatch, because today’s events have really kept me from giving it my fullest attention
  4. A Star is Born (54, A+): I have approximately a million things to say about this movie but they all fit under the umbrella of absolute perfection. – 10/6/18
    1. A remake that improves on its source in every conceivable way. A musical that reaches operatic heights while keeping hold to real human emotions and behavior, and rooted firmly in its era of studio system moviemaking and star shaping.
    2. Unbelievably gorgeous, from set design to costumes and editing, but especially in Sam Leavitt’s spectacular photography, doing top notch work with color, silhouettes, shadows. Showcases dance numbers as well as he can frame a conversation.
    3. What can’t be said about Judy Garland’s unstoppable, brilliant, charismatic, heartbreaking performance? Or James Mason’s sad, charming, bittersweet turn? Or how perfectly George Cukor assembles all these elements, and makes them sing?
    4. The film I kept coming back to was I’m Not There, and how both projects are able to dissect what it means to be an artist, a spouse, an up-and-comer or fading light, to interact with fans. All in their specific era

    5. I can’t believe I’m not listening to The Man That Got Away as we speak. Everything about the staging and lighting is so perfect, and how on earth did she make her voice do that?
  5. The Last of England (88, A): Montage, enveloped in political, historical, and erotic chaos that inventively shapeshifts without losing hold of its pulsing, angry core. – 10/7/18
  6. Edward II (92, A-): Jarman’s bold decisions create a film that transcends the many eras it takes from, wholly with each one yet infused with a singular energy. – 10/7/18
  7. Monsters and Men (18, B+): Full views of the reactions three different men and their worlds have to an act of police brutality. Script, actors, sound nail it. – 10/10/18
  8. Alien (79, B+/A-): Elevated by smart control of tension, mood, and astonishing technical imagination. Holm the MVP of a strong cast. – 10/18/18
  9. Frozen (13, B): Do I wish it looked better? Yes. Do the songs feel weirdly distributed? Yeah. Are the script, performances, and characters all aces? YES! – 10/19/18
  10. Hot Fuzz (07, C+): Didn’t we learn from Adaptation that embracing the shit you’d been parodying for the past hour never works? Still, sound design a constant pleasure, best jokes land. Every ending drags – 10/20/18
  11. Airplane! (80, B+): An amazing gallery of jokes, made even more fun after seeing some of the shitty disaster movies it went after. Nielsen! – 10/21/18
  12. The Children Act (18, B+): Sharp craft, intelligent actors, and smart, surprising plot make this novelistic story a genuine joy to watch. – 10/23/18
    1. I’m sorta wondering if I’m rating it so high because I wasn’t expecting much, but I did really enjoy it. Compared to The Wife, this just felt like it had way more filmmaking assets that being pinned solely on its (very capable) lead actress
  13. Rosemary’s Baby (68, A): Takes care to trace the mundane and supernatural horrors in a distant spouse, an awful pregnancy, and the devil itself, leaving us to wonder which is more evil. – 10/24/18
    1. It’s interesting to think about Rosemary’s Baby in relationship to Hereditary, where a piercing, gothic exploration of everyday terror is made even more horrifying because of demonic meddling that doesn’t fully rear its head until the last third
    2. Farrow’s omission is absolutely bananas. Also: Komeada’s score is fantastic, and I never noticed how affecting the makeup and costumes on Rosemary were until this time around.
  14. Tropic Thunder (08, C-): Some bright spots (Downey, opening trailers) can’t compensate for what’s racist and tired in so much of this script. I laughed but sometime regretted it, and cringed without many problems. – 10/24/18
  15. Little Shop of Horrors (60, B): Grotesque, farcical tone sustains a wacky premise, some good performances. Doesn’t overstay its welcome. 10/26/18
  16. A Bucket of Blood (59, B): Literally the same plot structure as Little Shop, but sturdy, macabre ironies give it the feel of a Twilight Zone episode. 10/26/18
  17. Get Out (17, A-): I do wish it looked better, but since its themes, sound, cast, and direction are firing on all cylinders, I don’t mind that much. 10/26/18
    1. Another great film to watch following Rosemary’s Baby, where one character is put through the ringer and constantly has to evaluate if these hurts are just the way things are or something much more sinister
  18. Minding the Gap (18, B+): Fantastic insights on how domestic abuse is passed down and manifests in families while staying deeply rooted in its characters and community. – 10/27/18
  19. Psycho (60, A): Drenched in guilt, as two sad and spontaneous crimes, doomed to be found out, barrel towards unexpected and violent conclusions – 10/27/18
  20. The Ring (02, B-/B): Pulls off a genuinely eerie tone with potentially silly material, even with its most baroque flourishes. – 10/28/18
    1. And by baroque flourishes I clearly mean WHAT THE FUCK NAOMI WATTS MADE A HORSE COMMIT SUICIDE
  21. Carmen Jones (54, B/B-): Evokes passionate feelings without histrionics. Preminger could use more creativity. Actresses make it shine. – 10/29/18
  22. Madeline’s Madeline (18, B?): I admire the near-endless risk taking, but what was that ending? Felt more suspicious of it as it went, but I am impressed. – 10/31/18

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