March 2019 Viewing Log

  1. Speed (94, A-): Fun as fuck, fantastically made, with charisma to burn and action movie smarts. Perfect payoffs. 3/2/19
    1. Sandra Bullock in Speed > most of last year’s Oscar nominees
  2. Border (18, B+): Poignant, utterly weird designs on isolation and community, performed with total and heartfelt commitment.
    1. Fuck everyone who didn’t vote for Border in Makeup, but it’s also a more consistent experience than Capernaum or Roma, expertly acted by its leads, and a fantastically ambitious screenplay.
  3. Copycat (95, B-/B): Massively entertaining, even as it toes between interesting and contrived. Weaver, Hunter make it stick. 3/6/19
  4. Mad Max: Fury Road (15, B+): I have some quibbles aesthetically, a few more politically, but the sheer velocity and ambition of its execution only improves as time goes by. 3/5/19
  5. L.A. Confidential (97, A): Flawlessly executed on all levels, dense and deliciously sleek without neglecting its intellect. 3/6/19
  6. Captain Marvel (19, B-/B): Peak cat jokes. A prequel that actually links interesting stuff. Strong plot, filmmaking, even if it could use more charm. 3/7/19
  7. Harold and Maude (71, B+): l’ve never seen this blueprint executed with such merry, morbid panache. Cort and Gordon absolutely wonderful. 3/9/19
  8. Mid90s (18, B): Plays like a prequel and sibling to Minding the Gap, better with observational insights than big moments and showing real potential in its creators. 3/10/19
  9. Dogtooth (10, A-): Never ever okay, but severity and perversion of story and tone rich to the very last without being hollow. 3/10/19
  10. Time of the Wolf (04, A-): Societal observations as lensed through apocalyptic bleakness, upsetting without a hint of false dramatics. 3/11/19
  11. All About Eve (50, A): How delicious that something as ephemeral as the theatre is immortalized in cinema by a work this ageless. 3/11/19
    1. The script and cast are unimpeachable, with everyone showing new sides in each scene. Celeste Holm in the bathroom with Eve – and her laugh of relief at an unexpected miracle soon after leaving it – may be my favorite acting beat, but each performance is gorgeously realized.
  12. Raiders of the Lost Ark (81, A-/A): Stunningly assembled template that totally earns its place in pop culture. Perfectly edited. 3/14/19
    1. As someone in the “Nazi Propaganda” portion of a class on German Art & Cinema before, during, and after WWII, this was immensely satisfying.
  13. A Simple Favor (18, B): Massive ambition with tone and story. Some cliches cloy it. Kendrick’s great, Lively’s incredible. 3/15/19
    1. What today’s movie watching has taught me is that Blake Lively could be a fun Indiana Jones
  14. The Handmaiden (16, B): Intricacies of plot and construction more affecting the second time around, even at its most off-putting. Too much yet not enough yet worth studying for exactly that reason. 3/15/19
    1. Who knows how far it would’ve gone if South Korea submitted it, but I’m still stunned it got no tech nominations in such an odd Oscar year.
  15. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (84, C-): Dumb fun is still fun, but what a depressing step down in basically all departments. 3/16/19
  16. Milk (08, B+): Stunning, passionate act of political and aesthetic recreation, specific to its era yet deeply resonant. Penn’s tremendous. 3/19/19
  17. Bird Box (18, C): Cast makes it work, even if you see them having to overcome that dialogue. Vagueness probably an asset. 3/20/19
    1. I’d probably be more upset about the way Bird Box frames motherhood, biological-vs-adopted children, blindness, mental illness, etc., if the direction actually had anything to say about those conceive as written. On the plus side: Trevante Rhodes
    2. Sandra Bullock in Bird Box: “We can’t tell the children about stuff they’ll never get to experience! That’s a lie, that’s cruel!”/ Sandra Bullock in Bird Box: “Yes children, these Pop-Tarts are exactly what strawberry tasted like.”
  18. The Lady Eve (41, A): Miraculous that something so funny, farcical, and heartfelt looks so easy, and works so beautifully. Stanwyck’s divine. 3/21/19
    1. The boyfriend, repeatedly, while watching The Lady Eve: “Holy fuck this dude is so fucking stupid!!!!”
  19. Us (19, B-/B): Ambiguities in its ideas more interesting than clarifications, but I’m not sure it ever fully pans out, even in its best scenes/perfs. 3/22/19
  20. Ju-On: The Grudge (02, B): Series of scares inside a strong, unsettling mood. Feels barely strung together but its techniques work. 3/23/19
  21. Sleeping Beauty (11, A): Exquisite control of sound and image. Makes rituals out of alienation, intimacy, and the ways they intertwine. 3/24/19
    1. Originality of conception and execution feel impossible to overstate. Leigh’s control is remarkable. And between Sleeping Beauty and They, Jane Campion’s taste in other people’s art seems as unimpeachable as her own.
  22. What We Do In The Shadows (14, B+): Unbelievably hilarious, putting over its concepts with real specificity and wit. Great script. 3/24/19
  23. Children of Men (06, B+): Hard to overstate what a massive success of construction it is. Hard not to see how much weak characterizations hurt its ideas, even when some conceits impress more than others. 3/27/19
    1. It was very interesting to watch this after Roma and compare the way they use pregnancy on narrative/thematic levels. Lower class/stateless women as carriers of the future in inhospitable lands, with different levels of support and self-commitment.
    2. His ideas of political representation and subjugation feel very materialist to me. I wonder if he has the capability to approach something like Aquarius, let alone the interest in doing so.
    3. That said, his strengths really are astonishing, and between Y tú mama Tambien, Azkaban, Children of Men, Gravity, and Roma, he’s great at translating those talents into different contexts and tones (I haven’t seen anything earlier than Y tú mama)
  24. Out of Blue (19, D+/A+++): Ingeniously stupid. Gestures towards being about everything in the universe yet says absolutely nothing. 3/28/19
    1. I still have no fucking clue why Jacki Weaver has picked so many of her recent movies, but everything she does in her last sequence is hilarious so I’m not complaining
    2. The ONLY WAY Out of Blue could have been more perfect if Joe Don Baker was the councilman instead of James Caan
  25. Carnival of Souls (62, B+/A-): Weirdness of plot, mood way sturdier than I first realized. Brilliant use of photography and sound. 3/29/19
  26. Woman at War (19, A-): As surprising and capable as its central figure. Droll humor an odd, fitting match for its political convictions. 3/30/19

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