January 2019 Viewing Log

  1. Wildlife (18, B): Subtly marvelous images. Tone, story hold interesting textures. Oxenbould’s understatement > Mulligan‘s, Gyllenhaal’s theatricality. 1/2/19
  2. If Beale Street Could Talk (18, A): Phenomenal realization of a tough, intricate novel. Emotionally rewarding without softening its many tragedies, neglecting its political heft, or denying the might of its love. 1/5/19
    1. Surely the ensemble of the year? (Please no SAG jokes) Every performance is exquisitely in sync with Jenkin’s direction. Flooring level of construction on every conceivable level, swooning and majestic
    2. I said level twice cuz I’m a fool and a moron who is very excited by That Good Shit
  3. Bird Box (18, C-): Hijacking of premise for memes and weird sex parties makes sense since this film has such thin ideas at its center. 1/6/19
    1. Amazing that this story is so dully visualized, engagingly told but very easy to turn on. Cast deserves better
  4. Postcards From London (18, B-): Exciting experiments with form, story, theme. Keeps finding new, interesting angles on an odd premise. 1/6/19
  5. Christopher Robin (18, B): Transfixing study of mundane, grown-up sadness, lovingly situated in Milne’s idioms. 1/6/19
    1. Between Paddington 2, Christopher Robin, and Annihilation, 2018 has been a strong year for digitally animated bears
  6. Custody (18, B+): Story, tensions escalate horrifically without rising to histrionics. Subtle, skilled craft. 1/7/19
  7. Ocean’s Eleven (01, A-): Bitch! Bitch!!! BIIIIIITCH!!!!! 2/8/19
  8. A Star is Born (18, B+): I know what I’d wanna change bUT WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN/ AND THE BAND WON’T PLAY/ I’LL ALWAYS REMEMBER US THIS WAY. 1/18/19
    1. No joke but how isn’t Cooper SWEEPING
    2. Everything Sam Elliott pours into “What did you think? That I was gonna take care of it while I’m fucking cradling your ass all over the goddam world?” alone beats anything and everything Ali, Chalamet, Rockwell, and Driver do in their performances
  9. Hale County This Morning, This Evening (18, B+): A more technically inventive Raising Bertie, where everyday events are depicted through unusual construction. 1/18/19
  10. Shoplifters (18, A-): Astonishing balance between forcefully provoking its themes and nuanced delicacy in presenting them. 1/18/19
  11. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (20, A): Disarming finale emphasizes the power of this weird, potent fable about a madman running a madhouse. 1/20/19
  12. Of Fathers and Sons (18, B-): First half a wash. Second gives story the specificity and widening scope it needs. Should be better. 1/20/19
  13. Ocean’s Twelve (04, B-): Loses key balance between plot points and breezy entertainment. Still a pretty fun time. Improves as it goes.
  14. Halloween (18, D?): So many stupid/nasty scenes in a story that never justifies it existence. Turns Laurie/Haddonfield into an NR@ fable. 1/21/19
  15. Ocean’s Thirteen (07, B): Sits nicely between Eleven and Twelve, featuring some smart twists and offering an easy, entertaining time. 1/22/19
  16. The Night of the Hunter (55, A-): Weirder than its reputation could possibly suggest, even after repeat viewings. Astounding imagination in construction and characterization. Mitchum divine. 1/22/19
  17. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (18, B): I liked and admired many choices tremendously but never got to loving the whole. My fave? Liv. 1/23/19
  18. The Wife (18, B-): Like Joan, an equal mix of real success and stifled potential. Close shines. Wonder what Heller, Haigh could’ve done. 1/24/19
  19. The Last Laugh (28, A-) was a very good movie but I discovered that “non deranged German Expressionist Cinema” is something I need to acclimate to. 1/25/19
  20. At Eternity’s Gate (18, D+): Belabors the one(?) idea it has through so much aesthetic and emotional nonsense it drowns itself out. 1/30/19
    1. Poor, misunderstood Van Gough! He beats a child in an alley cuz the boy threw a rock at him and everyone gets so mad they curb stomp him! If only they’d seen the boy throw the rock first! Then they’d understand!
    2. Julian Schnabel: “Did you know Van Gough was sad and misunderstood and super mentally ill? I think we covered all the bases here” *makes Dafoe hold one(1) pained expression as the dialogue we literally just heard plays again while Van Gough is In Turmoil*
    3. The cinematography in At Eternity’s Gate is fully one of the most irritating things I’ve seen from any 2018 movie
  21. Snowpiercer (14, C): Blunt, limited interpretation never jives coherently with its politics or its artists, even if it has its moments. 1/31/19
    1. Swinton’s wackadoo antics the most tonally varied, though I still wish she was sharper. Evans only registers – but does so strongly – when he’s scared and shocked. But by and large, this mess should be more interesting

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