July 2019 Viewing Log

  1. The Sundowners (60, B+): Exceptional storytelling, communicating gorgeously to every family member. Actors especially rewarding. 7/1/19
  2. Psycho (60, A): Drenched in guilt, as two sad and spontaneous crimes, doomed to be found out, barrel towards unexpected and violent conclusions. 7/1/19
  3. Peeping Tom (60, A-): A Freudian wonderland of voyeurism and cameras as tools of murder. Stylish and scary, with real ideas on its mind. 7/2/19
  4. High Flying Bird (19, B+): A better Ocean’s movie than Soderbergh’s made in a while. Savvy, specific, and entertaining. Holland! 7/3/19
  5. The Housemaid (60, B?): Baroque, uneven parable. Lacks Bad Seed’s garishness, for better or worse. Peaks with its last deaths. 7/3/19
  6. Toy Story 4 (19, B-): Fun jokes, zippy pacing, strong voice cast. Forky! But most interesting ideas and familiar actors feel under-utilized. 7/3/19
  7. Midsommar (19, C+): Riveting start and finish. Pugh solid, production values uneven. Prolonged middle and Reynor perf no help. 7/3/19
    1. Is Dani and Christian’s relationship not well threaded in the middle or is Reynor just bad? Is Dani’s grief peripheral or underexplored? Do I need more understanding or enjoy the abstract weirdness of the last celebratory meal?
  8. Hiroshima mon amour (60, A): Astounding to see such personal and geopolitical resonances reverberate through a sad, erotic romance, and a truly singular form. 7/4/19
  9. Apollo 11 (19, A-): A brilliant assembly of footage and sound bites and data, experimentally audacious in its recreation. 7/6/19
  10. Her Smell (19, C+/B-): I admired a lot about it – its construction, its structure and themes, its roughness – but the whole never fully clicked for me, and neither did Moss. 7/7/19
  11. The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (60, C/C+): Clearly interested in its ideas, though style dates it even more than its concepts. Semi-solid cast. 7/11/19
  12. Hell is a City (60, B/B+): Tough, thrilling cat-and-mouse yarn all the more interesting for its sidewinding structure. Baker! 7/12/19
  13. The Bad Sleep Well (60, B): Ambitous story of corporate warfare. Some great sequences. Still, its grand sprawl lacks a real center. 7/12/19
  14. Pollyanna (60, B-/B): Could stand some added layers, but kid-friendly and sincere with its messages. Great party. Moorehead! 7/14/19
  15. Bells Are Ringing (60, B-): Holliday pretty game. Long shots intrigue more than many songs. Surprised it’s not pitched higher. 7/14/19
  16. Black Sunday (60, B+): Awkward dubbing the only technical fault in this expertly shot, scarily grotesque giallo debut. 7/14/19
  17. Wild River (60, B): Politically thoughtful and expertly acted. Surprised it’s not as considerate towards race. Shot for the actors. 7/21/19
  18. Spider-Man: Far From Home (19, C+): Charismatic cast still works amidst a much thinner setup. Too much Iron Man 3 in its DNA. 7/??/19
    1. I thought Jake Gyllenhaal giving sage advice in that Mysterio outfit was so attractive to me in a way I can’t quite place. Shame about his character arc. Shame about that fucking post credits scene.
  19. Fast Color (19, B-): Ambitions in scope, theme, and character that feel radically refreshing for this genre. Not everything works but it’s something. 7/31/19
    1. I’m so delighted to hear it’s being continued as a television series, which feels like a great way to continue this story. Maybe there’s no way it could exist as a cinematic series but at least there’s somewhere it can live on.I’m mad about its shitty release controversies all over again. The already lame excuses just feel even worse, and speaks to a lot of limitations in who and what studio heads consider marketable

My ballot for the 1960 Supporting Actress Smackdown was posted in July, which would be a nice piece of writing to check out if you don’t mind my saying so.

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