June 25, 2019 at 4:34 pm #1202951743
I watched the sixth sense for the first time in forever and I forgot how great of an actress Toni Collette was!!June 26, 2019 at 7:46 am #1202952466
I finally watched The Danish Girl last night and Jesus what a mess lol. The script was just terrible. There were moments which were supposed to be emotional that ended up coming off quite funny because of how cheesy the dialogue was. It’s hard to critique the performances because the writing did the actors zero favors, but Redmayne was just all kinds of wrong here. His idea of how a woman behaves and acts and walks and carries herself was kind of offensive? And I’m not a woman lol. Also, the idea that, in the beginning of the film, Redmayne’s character suddenly realizes he is a woman simply by wearing woman’s clothing was quite odd. Vikander was good in, once again, such a poorly written role. One of the reasons I didn’t like this film and am not enthusiastic at all about its performances is that it felt like every scene, especially in the second half of the film, was this “Oscar clip” type moment. There was crying and arguing and making up and more crying that it kind of just made you feel numb to the emotion it was trying to convey. Vikander’s win definitely won’t age well especially when Rooney Mara was right there (even if Mara was lead – so was Vikander lol), but I do think Vikander is quite talented which is why I pretend she won for Ex Machina instead. But yeah anyway, Hooper just isn’t a good filmmaker lol. I did shamelessly love Les Mis though, but I don’t think I’ll ever get excited about another one of his films after seeing this one.June 26, 2019 at 7:53 am #1202952476
Late Night (2019)- 7 out of 10
I thought the script was sharp and Thompson was great. Thought it was funny enough and I enjoyed how light it felt. Wish there were more good studio comedy movies because sometimes I just want to watch something easy.
John Wick 3: Parabellum (2019) – 3 out of 10
I was really looking forward to this movie, but I came to the conclusion the franchise just isn’t for me. I’ve enjoyed the John Wick films less with each installment. While everything looks great and is really sleek, I was bored throughout the majority of the film (with the exception of two or three scenes). I also abhorred the dialogue and the acting but neither of those things truly matter here. If I want to see stylized action, gorgeous cinematography, and thrilling set pieces I’m going to stick with the Mission Impossible Franchise.June 29, 2019 at 12:52 pm #1202956090
Just watched Sweet Charity (1969) and I enjoyed every single moment. Such a classic</p>
Re-watched it yesterday after finishing Fosse/Verdon a couple of days ago.
I just hated it; when I saw it for the first time, I judged it mediocre but now after so many years, I changed my mind and judge it bad. There’s no story, no charm, and MacLaine is unbearably over-the-top. I wonder whether it’s all about Verdon and without her, it’s just nothing.
Happy to see that you do not consider your time wasted on this junk.June 29, 2019 at 1:32 pm #1202956143
The Truman Show. 10 out of 10!July 2, 2019 at 10:21 pm #1202960307
Directed by Ari Aster, starring Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper, Vilhelm Blomgren, and Will Poulter.
Um, okay, so this movie was definitely a trip. A heavy amount of drugs were taken by Aster to make this that’s for sure lol. The intro was amazing (probably one of my favorite movie openers, even the credits are terrifying), then you’ll have to wait for the next hour for things to start pumping. From that point on, the movie is basically one long, strange trip (stoners will probably get the best out of this lol). My brother swore off from going to anymore of his films because it was too weird lol. This was the unintentional comedy film of the decade for sure and I was living for it. “Think of all the Swedish women you get to impregnate in June” lol.
Florence Pugh is freaking amazing in this. There’s not much in terms of dialogue for her like Colette had, but she absolutely kills it and needs a nomination for this. Definitely my favorite performance this year so far. Aster’s direction is absolutely amazing in this, so is the killer Haxan Cloak soundtrack and cinematography. They all needs noms. Overall, the pagan horror genre just gained another classic, an amazing one at that, and Pugh held this film altogether.
Grade: A-July 7, 2019 at 8:17 pm #1202965324
“Late Night” (2019): This was a highly engaging film with a surprising amount of heart to it. Emma Thompson was absolutely radiant throughout. Mindy Kaling practically wrote a love letter to Thompson with the role, and for that, I’m grateful. Some aspects felt unrealistic and pat to me (let’s get a female late-night talk show host to have even a fraction of Letterman-level longevity in real-life first, mmmkay?), but the characters’ journeys were both enjoyable and predictable. I liked many of the supporting guys here too, like Reid Scott, Hugh Dancy, and especially John Lithgow. A lesser film would have made all the men disposable entities. It’s sad that something this smart and bright didn’t find its audience. I wouldn’t have minded a fall release date to have a genuine Oscar qualifying run, but I can’t continually rail against no serious summer fare and then want a viable candidate to sit it out until November. Oh well. Maybe a more sweet spot release date would have been August? I doubt this goes farther than the Globes, unfortunately, but any mentions for Kaling’s screenplay and Thompson would be great to see happen.July 7, 2019 at 8:30 pm #1202965332
Spider-Man: Far from Home (2 out of 10)
Let’s be real, it wasn’t that bad, but I wanted more teen drama and less superhero… It was a damn better movie when it focused on Peter’s fears and his relationship with Zendaya.
I serve the tea (politely)July 11, 2019 at 8:02 pm #1202971624
Side Effects (2013):
Directed by Steven Soderbergh, starring Rooney Mara, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Anne Dowd.
It’s been awhile since I last saw this so I forgot how much I loved it. Mara and Law are pretty great, they both should’ve gotten Oscar noms. The constant feeling of dread and depression keeps the film grounded (as does the performances and screenplay), going well with the movie’s subject, and it’s all because of Soderbergh’s direction. A key moment that highlighted this was when Mara was looking in a mirror and you see that one side of her face is distorted or disassociated from the rest of herself, like how depression isolates and alters the view of oneself. In a perfect world, this would’ve received noms for BP, Director, Actress, Actor/Supporting Actor (can’t tell which category Law would go in), and Screenplay. But, like Prisoners, it was pretty much ignored. Ugh, 2013 was such a good year for films.
Overall, a pretty good mystery/medical thriller with a great and unapologetically depressing Rooney Mara keeping it grounded with help from the screenplay and Soderbergh. Definite recommend.
Grade: B+/A-July 13, 2019 at 2:07 am #1202973438
Two films from my local French film festival and a documentary on TCM.
The Competition (2018; directed by Claire Simon) is a documentary about students trying to get into La Femis, a Parisian film school. The film is really strange in that we never really get to know any of the students well – yet the film has a strange power of accumulation. The arguments, often petty and childish, between the faculty members who are passing judgment on the prospective students, makes up the bulk of the movie. I would have preferred a longer format television series in which we could follow some of the students throughout the process and understood the faculty members motivations better. However, I found the arguments and counter-arguments endlessly fascinating, particularly one faculty member’s passionate defense of a prospective student that the other faculty members hadn’t liked.
I also found it strange that the expectation seemed to be that the students would be fully formed and ready for their careers rather than students needing to learn their craft. I felt the teachers were expecting too much of these young people. I would have liked to have seen more of the students proposals and work (we do get to see a few of the director students working with actors but it’s very brief).
At the end during the class picture with all of the accepted students I caught glimpses of some of the students I had seen earlier but since we didn’t get to know anyone well enough it was hard to connect them up to their stories. Even with all of the things I didn’t like I found this film endlessly fascinating and really just wished for more.
Amanda (2018) is a terrific unusual film about a 24 year old uncle who winds up as the guardian of his 7 year old niece. The film is very sweet and is unexpected – things that would usually happen if this were an American film don’t happen. The little girl is fantastic and Vincent Lacoste once again delivers a terrific central performance as the uncle. Greta Scaachi unexpectedly shows up for one scene that was very memorable. The real star of this movie however is Paris – the cinematographer really captures Parisian streets and neighborhoods brilliantly. The film is exceptionally well written, directed and acted.
Tab Hunter Confidential (2015) is a fascinating portrait of a closeted actor who was enormously popular for about 5 years in the late 1950’s. Tab Hunter’s story is fascinating and his narration of his own story is highly effective. His 30 year relationship with a man 30 years younger than himself is endearingly caught in the later moments of the documentary. The use of clips is unusually strong and compelling.
Grade: A+July 13, 2019 at 8:46 am #1202973708
Midsommar (2019): Creepy, disturbing, surreal, anxiety inducing, and also very funny. It’s the most beautiful film, visually, that I’ve seen in recent years. It’s got a fantastic score as well. Florence Pugh is a revelation and the screenplay is phenomenal. The level of detail in the writing is surprising. It’s one that will grow in meaning with additional watches. 10/10
The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019): I thought I was going to love this one, but found it to be extremely bland. The trailer is certainly better than the movie. It’s a movie that never really goes anywhere and while it’s themes are strong, their approach to confronting the themes feels far too passive. It just becomes a film of monotonous droning for over two hours. The ending feels almost like a punchline after an extremely uneventful film, and it’s not particularly funny or sad or really anything. The movie ends up feeling like a parody. Like it’s what people joke about indie films being. I mean, half the film is made up of slowmotion, random closeups of just random sh*t. 4/10
The Hours (2002): I’ve been waiting forever to see this one, but never really found myself in the mood to watch it. I finally watched it, and I absolutely loved it. First of all, the film is a parade of some of my favorite actors and actresses. Second of all, the script is beautiful and the actors reallys sink their teeth into it. Julianne Moore is an actress that I always seem to forget about, but she is just so phenomenal in everything. Meryl Streep is a treat in a restrained role and it was nice to see her play just a normal woman. Nicole Kidman is absolutely career best here and is entirely unrecognizable. Ed Harris is also sublime and I was truly shocked to see that he didn’t win the Oscar for that performance. Overall, it’s a great film. 10/10
Do the Right Thing (1989): Just a masterpiece. Spike Lee has created what feels on one hand to be the most realistic portrayal of Brooklyn that I have ever seen and yet on the other hand has created a brilliantly heightened, cartoon world. The colors, the characters. They’re larger than life, but also deeply truthful. It was a film that was before it’s time and discusses the still relevant and probably always relevant topic of race in America. It’s just a great film and a true masterpiece. The question of “did Mookie do the right thing?” sparked tons of debates in my house. 10/10July 14, 2019 at 1:06 am #1202974294
The Trouble With You (2018; directed by Pierre Salvadori)
This French film is a mixed blessing: saved by it’s great cast, tremendous chemistry between Adele Haenel and Pio Marmoi; Adele Haenel and Damien Bonnard; and Pio Marmoi and Audrey Tautou, and wonderful editing, cinematography and design elements. But it’s black humor is hit or miss too often, and the film is too violent and crude far too often. Worth seeing for the performances.
I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978; directed by Robert Zemeckis)
This wonderful comedy was the directorial feature film debut of Robert Zemeckis. The film is loose, funny, has a wonderful cast who all have tremendous chemistry, and a wonderful feeling of period detail of February 1964, The Ed Sullivan Show, Beatlemania, and surprisingly has female protagonists who lead the action. The ensemble (Nancy Allen, Susan Kendall Newman (Paul Newman’s daughter), Theresa Saldana, Wendie Jo Sperber, bobby Di Cicco, and Marc McClure) is simply wonderful! Surprised none of these 6 became huge stars. The slapstick is leavened with human foibles within a wonderful screenplay. This one is a gem!
Us (2019; directed by Jordan Peele)
I had extremely mixed feelings abuot this uneven film. The standout is the central performance from Lupita Ny’ongo, who gives a rich fully nuanced performance. While there are certain sequences that are very well directed, too many sequences wobble and don’t resonate with a lack of connection to anything meaningful.
Grade: CJuly 14, 2019 at 2:56 pm #1202974901
An Impossible Love (2018; directed by Catherine Corsini)
A superb central performance – with the best use of aging makeup for when her character is in her sixties – is delivered by Virginie Efira in this movie about a single mother raising her hurt by her missing father daughter. The film delves into the complex motives of a woman who loves unwisely and a daughter who may very well duplicate her mother’s trajectory in the area of love and men. Niels Schneider is very effective as the arrogant father and all of the actresses who play Chantal, the daughter, are excellent. The film is set between the 1950’s and the 1990’s and uses it’s time-frame extremely effectively. While the movie isn’t perfect – it gets slow at times – it’s fascinating.
Grade: A-July 19, 2019 at 4:36 am #1202984853
The Freshmen (2018; directed by Thomas Lilti)
Lilti’s follow up to his wonderful Hippocrates, a film about a first year intern, is this film about two first year medical students. Vincent Lacoste plays the “repeater” (someone who didn’t place high enough the first time trying again) and William Lebghil plays a Doctor’s son who is not as sure he wants to be a Doctor. The film is a fascinating look at university life in France, which seems quite different from the United States. Their friendship is a fascinating one with lots of ups and downs. I felt as though I was in med school just watching the film! The movie is so well directed, acted, edited, photographed – truly original and surprising! The scene where one is jealous of the others ranking in the final exam is the highlight of the film and the ending is both surprising and satisfying (:
Sauvage/Wild (2018; directed Camille Nadal-Vidaut)
Two words: FELIX MARITAUD! (: He gives a superb performance in this weird film about a 22 year old gay male prostitute who does tons of drugs, takes too many risks, and despite poor decision-making has a core of decency underneath it all. The film is un-erotic despite a great deal of sex. The ending is to be expected but felt like a let down: I wound up caring for his character a great deal, mostly due to the acting skills of Felix Maritaud, who I regard as one of the very best of the younger French actors of this generation. I hope he gets many more strong roles in the future. This film is fascinating and it is worth seeing for the superb central performance.
Grade: BJuly 19, 2019 at 12:30 pm #1202985498
I just finished watching Scorsese’s “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.” I watched it many years ago and was reminded how much I liked this movie, especially Ellen Burstyn and Diane Ladd’s performance. I like early Scorsese.
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