April 2019 Viewing Log

  1. I Am Legend (07, B-): Neville/Sam stuff more interesting than I expected. Anna stuff less so. Not the book, which is mostly fine. 4/2/19
  2. Gloria Bell (19, B/B+): A close remake with its own, unique textures. A total blast with sad edges. A lovely Julianne Moore carrying it to glori(a). 4/2/19
  3. Melancholia (11, A-): Conjures depression so painfully well you almost don’t mind the world ending. Each half rewards itself and the other. Dunst! 4/3/19
    1. Somewhere between Melancholia and Rachel Getting Married is the most toxic, heinous rich white girl wedding in the world.
  4. Johnny Guitar (54, A-): Double barrel of sharp political critique and rich, vibrant colors, as bold as Vienna’s red scarf. Crawford! 4/5/19
  5. Diane (19, B+): Conjures so many experiences and emotions within a limited range of affects. Interesting stylistic experiments. Strong cast. 4/8/19
    1. Diane is a very small, emotionally unmanipulative, moving film that I’m surprised I don’t have the words for right now. Plays like a sad, delicate slice of life about a woman at the age in her life where her friends keep passing away.
  6. Germany, Pale Mother (80, A-): Devastating story of one family as allegory for political turmoil and repression of self. Perfectly shot. 4/9/19
    1. (4/12/19) Talked about this film in class yesterday and am still struck by how it navigates and integrates national and private pains with such complexity, its story as both autobiography and fairy tale. Also: Eva Mottes is absolutely extraordinary in the lead role.
  7. The Nasty Girl (90, B+): Playfulness with form and tone never upends its truths as one woman fights to unearth her town‘s buried Nazi history. 4/11/19
  8. Pet Sematary (19, D-): Confluence of tastelessness, bloodlessness, and bleakness that’s roundly unappealing and often laughable. 4/12/19
    1. Hard to believe that any mom in our year of 2019 would be remotely okay finding her daughter in some creepy ass homemade graveyard with John Lithgow looking that goddamn creepy
  9. Swoon (92, A-): Study of bored, gay child killers smartly judges criminality, “perversion”, and which is considered worse. Inventive craft. 4/13/19
  10. Monster House (06, B+): Stronger senses of horror, comedy, and childhood than most King adaptations. Plays to all audiences. Great designs. 4/13/19
  11. Stranger by the Lake (14, B): Hypnotically tense, whether lunging to action or coiled in wait, even as some ideas and tactics grow slim. 4/14/19
    1. Best stuff to me was the central relationship between Franck and Henri, especially as played by Deladonchamps and d’Assumçao, and the weird, funny periphery notes of routine and discomfort, like the unofficial assigned parking spots and the masturbator.
    2. Thriller elements felt the most disconnected. Remove the scene where we witness the murder and I wonder if Framck’s dilemmas or Paou’s secrets would seem more interesting. The investigator himself never gels with the tone.
  12. Monster (03, A-): Demands consideration of the paradoxes and “what if”s that haunt Lee’s life without moralizing or offering answers. 4/14/19
    1. Theron’s performance is frightening, tragic, sympathetic and unsettling even as she renders the weight of every terrible thing Lee has seen and done and put herself through – in no small part because of what Jenkins has created as a director and writer.
    2. Every nuance and feeling in Monster’s philosophies would not be possible without these two women working so powerfully from atop a very high wire. Jenkins’ script is just as Oscar-worthy as Theron’s performance, which is saying a hell of a lot.
    3. I admit the one part that never quiet clicks for me is Christina Ricci, who isn’t anywhere near the complexity Theron’s operating at. I pine for a recast yet am still so stunned by everything else Monster achieves I barely mind.
    4. (4/26/19) After spending days analyzing Monster for a final paper, Scott Wilson’s small, generous performance is sitting with me very strongly.
  13. Sophie Scholl – The Last Days (05, D+): Competently made biopic too reliant on ahistorical, politically false emotionalism. 4/16/19
  14. The Fifth Element (97, B-): An astonishingly fun way to procrastinate. Messy and eccentric as fuck, even if it’s not all new. 4/16/19
    1. Bruce Willis is very going at Doing That Bruce Willis Thing with so many super stylized directors and I’m very impressed by that
  15. Beasts of the Southern Wild (12, A-): Stunning synthesis of fantastical and realist story elements, plugging gorgeously into its very specific milieu and smartly rewriting the tropes of apocalyptic fiction. 4/17/19
    1. I am so absolutely delighted that everyone in my apocalyptic fiction class loved this movie; and the discussion we had about it was so wide-spread and intelligen
    2. We talked a lot about Hushpuppy as a genderqueer protagonist, or at least one in an environment without any strict gender roles, the very American awfulness of The City and its many ways of excluding and erasing The Bathtub . . . .
    3. The very interesting dynamics of the brothel(?) where Hushpuppy meets her maybe-mom, and The Bathtub as its own society, one completely independent and self-sustaining while successfully operating outside of Western bullshit
    4. I haven’t seen this in years, and again I’m stunned by the sheer level of technical achievement here. The Bathtub is an incredible location, and it’s perfectly shot, cut, and scored. How it received no tech nominations at the Oscars is beyond me.
    5. That said, I’m so unbelievably happy for Quevenzhané Wallis, Ben Zeitlin, and Lucy Alibar getting recognized for their brilliance. Maybe they would never have won, but thank god their indelible work was shortlisted. There is no Beasts without the
    6. Another cool thing about Beasts: It’s so interesting to compare Hushpuppy leading the residents of The Bathtub off to parts unknown and keep their culture alive vs Fury Road and Furiosa returning to The Citadel, dismantling/working from the old and rebuilding it into something bette
  16. Ash is Purest White (19, B+): Moving braids of transformation and (un)familiarity, of personal and national shifts. Zhao carries it. 4/18/19
  17. Airplane! (80, B+): N/A. 4/19/19
  18. The Naked Gun (88, C+): Some good moments, but cruder and less consistent than Airplane!. Montalbán shows best. 4/21/19
  19. Avengers: Endgame (19, B): I know what I’d change, but upped stakes bring massive boosts in creativity and emotional resonance. A worthy finale. 4/27/19
    1. Wild how Chris Hemsworth singlehandedly save Thor’s characterization in Endgame from utter ruin and manages to be totally funny and completely empathetic with his pain

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