May 2019 Viewing Log

  1. The Last Seduction (94, A-): Nasty, sexy noir stays slick even as its morals and manipulations build layers. Fiorentino’s perfection. 6/1/19
  2. Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (94, B-): Energetically grooves to its own beat. Dated and uneven in different ways, some more fun than others. 6/5/19
    1. Never liked the dancing in the drag performances. Costumes utterly delightful, but should they be the *whole* show?
  3. Gosford Park (01, A-): A singular entry in Altman’s career, outside his milieu yet richly in conversation with his style and themes. 6/6/19
    1. My very first Altman – saw it sometime in high school, hitting that sweet spot of “I know I like this and am sure I need to learn a lot more to fully appreciate this since it’s pretty slow”. Remember being confused why Scott Thomas wasn’t nominated, a sentiment I still hold
  4. In the Bedroom (01, C+): Wan yet visibly strained mood of tragedy. Fields shows disproportionate attention towards his characters and actors. 6/7/19
  5. Iris (01, B): Colder than Still Alice. Equally capable of moving, deft, and histrionic scenes. Strong quartet of performances. 6/7/19
  6. A Beautiful Mind (01, C-): Few qualifications to handle its increasingly complex story. Some cohering elements. Overstuffed yet hollow. 6/8/19
  7. The Royal Tenenbaums (01, B/B-): Characters deserve better setup than Bad Dad Returns, even if it works. Key artists vivify it beautifully. 6/12/19
  8. Julie & Julia (09, B-): Delectable comfort food, even if the recipe isn’t perfect. Interesting on fame and fandom. Streep, Tucci a lovely couple. 6/12/19
  9. The Cell (00, A-/A): Audiovisually astounding. Recoups its cliches. Cat/Carl bond indelible. Sense it could implode only strengthens it. 6/12/19
  10. Detective Pikachu (19, C+/B-): Some perfunctory beats, but a genuinely fun time that doesn’t get wrapped up in fan service. Odd mash of tones. 6/14/29
  11. The Man Who Cried (01, D+): Blanchett nails it. Handsomely made. Otherwise: bad lipsyncing, blank actors, foggy politics all doom it. 6/14/19
  12. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (01, B+/A-): First hour as tense a sci-fi study of personhood and family as I’ve ever seen. Second loosens into something baggier, messier, equally fascinating in its own way. 6/14/19
  13. Baby Boy (01, B): Singleton’s take on a grown man finally growing up. Winning cast. Equally appealing with lower and higher stakes. 6/15/19
  14. The Man Who Wasn’t There (01, B): Thornton, Deakins hold it together. I admire the varied attempts at tone but it just plays as uneven. 6/16/19
    1. Thornton’s quiet, observant performance kept bringing me back to Yoo Ah-in’s work in Burning, another noir I couldn’t quite “get” but had a lot of real assets. Johansson and Jenkins were unexpected high points for me, too.
  15. John Wick (14, C): Amazingly less stylish and interesting than Atomic Blonde. Some vivid scenes, but not always in a good way. 6/17/19
  16. Wit (01, B+): Steadfast hold to a tough story, reservoir of feeling, and fluid craft a rare trifecta for play adapatations. Atkins the MVP of a solid cast. 6/17/19
  17. Vanilla Sky (01, D+/C-): Can bad direction really hurt material this messy? Cruise irritating. Weirdness inchoate instead of interesting. 6/19/19
  18. Ali (01, B+): Not all its experiments work, but so exciting to see a biopic this formally vigorous and this aloof about impressing us, even as it fully attunes to the man it celebrates. 6/19/19
  19. Amores Perros (01, A): Rot, blood, and sadness, served plausibly and viciously but without moralizing or fetishism. Iñáritu’s best. 6/20/19
  20. Memento (B+/A-): Layers of temporal and personal dissonance all the more impressive for being so personal in scale. Pearce! 6/22/19
  21. La Cienága (01, A-): The depth of a great novel, emboldened by Martel’s singular ideas about what a movie can feel, look, and sound(!) like. 6/22/19
  22. The Shipping News (01, D): I can’t even pretend to have thoughts on this. It’s well shot. Almost every other individual component is hard to believe, or hard to stomach. Wavey Prowse???? Beaufield Nutbeem????? 6/23/19
  23. John Wick 2 (17, B/B+): Massive step up in style, plot, worldbuilding. Welcome beats of humor and paranoia. An ideal sequel. 6/24/19
    1. You think there’s like. A gig economy of underpaid millennial assassins in the John Wick universe
    2. How many degrees away is John Wick from Emilio Echevarría in Amores perros? Feel like those dudes would have a lot to talk about
  24. Laura (44, A): Watched Laura with my friend Will tonight and it just struck me this time that the exorbitant loans Judith Anderson gives Vincent Price is maybe about what I make in a month on $10/hr part time. 6/24/19
    1. $1500 a month? Oh, I can make that. I won’t have it, cuz of rent and food and clothes and stuff, but I can make it. Send me back to the 40’s and I hope to have a home exactly like Clifton Webb’s, including that bizarrely placed bathtub.
  25. The Deep End (01, B+): Richer, more insightful take on upper-middle class domestic traumas than In the Bedroom. Marvelously shot. Tilda! 6/24/19
  26. The Devil’s Backbone (01, B): Some notes familiar to del Toro, but darker and nervier than I expected without betraying his sensibilities. 6/28/19
  27. Godzilla: King of the Monsters (19, C+?): I see and agree with the complaints against it but can’t care. Godzilla’s a friend. Monster fights are cool. I see what’s bad and loved the good stuff. 6/31/19
  28. Shin Godzilla (16, B+/A-): My favorite interpretation of Godzilla. Politically sharp, with layers of tone and allegory. Excitingly made. Peak lizard design. Pretty cool humans too, 6/31/19
  29. Donnie Darko (01, A-): Brilliantly nimble with tone. Gives equal attention to its characters and the mysteries of the universe. McDonnell! 6/31/19
    1. That it gets to be so many wonderful things while keeping its core an enigma only makes it richer.
  30. Shadows (19, C+): Ravishing colors and costumes. Great fights. Wish its dramas felt more interesting but I admire its excesses. 6/31/19

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