Week 1

the drop

The Drop-This was underwhelming considering the talent involved. Hardy and Schoenaerts both play their odd roles well but Rapace seems lost in an American story. Actually, none of them are American, huh? Hmmm. I don’t know it just didn’t gel with me.  Some things just look good on paper and then don’t translate to the screen. It’s not usually obvious to cast and crew whether the movie they’re making is good.

This has a Killing Them Softly vibe to it without all the political allegory that that movie tried to shove down your throat.   The dog from this film was brought to the red carpet if that indicates anything. I don’t know if it does. Hardy likes dogs. C5 A3




Ghost in the Shell-Great soundtrack, incredible art. There are concepts and visuals here years ahead of their time and it still feels fresh. It’s so forward thinking and innovative even though I will never really get used to Manga and Japanese animation. It’s a cultural thing that I lack.  Writing this now, I’m aware that I will have to describe the live action remake down the line. Let’s enjoy this moment. C9 A6




Five Easy Pieces-Nicholson is a straight asshole in this. I guess his career was built and has thrived on the premise that he is horrible and lovable at the same time. Here he embodies the “negging” technique in hitting on women by making them feel inferior or flawed.  He’s an unlovable antagonist who reminds me of Sean Bateman in Rules of Attraction. He eschews a snobby upbringing because at heart he’s just a down-to-earth jerk.  Movies like this make we wish they didn’t give you a synopsis. The tone shift would have been better as a surprise but there is still an interesting story here with a quirky cast. You never really know the direction this is gonna go. C7 A5



fistful of dollars

A Fistful of Dollars Is this the one where he pits two factions against each other? The thing I noticed most was that blood looks more real in movies now. It looked bright orange back in the 60s. Also, Clint Eastwood, and westerns in general, have a thing where the main character just gets demolished only to come back stronger and deadlier.  It defies logic but this is as close as we get to superhero back then. Shout out to the extremely long massacre that happens 3/4s into this movie. “No animals were harmed in this film” except the horses that fell very unnaturally to the ground and were put down after the film. C7 A5




The Handmaiden-#OscarsSoNotAsian  I don’t understand how this was overlooked. Most likely because the Oscars are about money and I will never put my faith or stock in them again.  This is a master director with his long time cinematographer just going to town on this wonderful story of love, betrayal and the long con. Best Picture just isn’t the place for subtitles I suppose unless you have sword fighting and flying through trees. Everything about this is perfect in tone, style and technique. I developed a love for Park and Chung in Oldboy and their skill (plus my affection) has only grown. The methods Park uses to inject humor and passion into grim situations makes every experience unique and I can’t recommend his work enough. C10 A7



all the real girls


All the Real Girls-All the Boring Stories. Remember in Season 1 and 2 of Parks and Rec when  Leslie Knope had a boyfriend that wasn’t Adam Scott? This is that guy! My main problem with this movie is it’s overlong for the subject matter with not much to say. This features a young Danny McBride and you can see that he has been McBriding since day one. The only good thing in it unfortunately. Watch Instead: Joe (same director, very different film) C3 A2




Father of Invention-Oh, Spacey. Noxious. One Good Thing: I have nothing redeemable to say about it. Spacey is typically great in everything so the fact he’s here is good but it can’t overcome the lack of chemistry or good dialogue. Watch Instead: Joy. Paint drying. C1 A4

Update: Since I watched this, the revelations about Spacey’s harassment and abuse have come to light. I don’t know that it’s possible to separate the man from his roles (Se7en , American Beauty and The Usual Suspects are all- time favorites) but it’s infinitely more important that there is justice for those that suffered at his hands. My desire to watch Mel Gibson’s films since his turn as an abusive racist have diminished greatly, no matter my previous Lethal Weapon affections. There’ s enough actors and movies in the world that I can stand to lose a few. Not to mention my personal, simpering loss of favorite actors is nothing compared to the victims of these men. Good riddance. That the last Kevin Spacey movie I see is garbage is probably fitting.




Stalker-I really wanted to love this the way it’s beloved by critics but I didn’t. They spend a lot of time describing what is happening in a situation without the situation showing evidence of it. Maybe that’s why it’s considered brilliant? Still, it is atmospheric and has great music. When Annihilation with Natalie Portman comes out this year, you will probably read a lot of connections to thie film. Also, it was featured heavily in one scene of Atomic Blonde.

This has nothing to do with this film but thinking about this film made me think of Come and See by Elem Klimov which is possibly the best war film I have ever seen. Unrelenting brutality and honesty.  Watch both. C8 A3



Pride-Great story with colorful characters. Feel good. It is hard for me to turn off the reality switch when I watch movies but it’s nice sometimes. I will watch a movie with aliens or ghosts (which I accept) yet in the same movie criticize a character’s illogical choices (which I don’t). Pride somehow manages to create a fun environment of eventual inclusion where in reality there was a lot of suffering and hardships. It’s a skill to apply that kind of gloss to something without obscuring the actual events. C6 A7





afternoon delightAfternoon Delight-At its core, Afternoon is more about accepting and believing in your choices than redeeming past mistakes. We follow Katherine Hahn the mother but Juno Temple the stripper is our hero. That guy from How I Met Your Mother plays great at disinterested or illustrating the dichotomy of working to support a family while also attempting to spend meaningful time with them. All of that being said, Katherine Hahn can do no wrong and she is why this is worth a watch. There’s something about her face (and her acting of course) that just allows for complex emotion with minimal effort.   C5 A6


Mistress_AmericaMistress America-Greta Gerwig’s characters can’t be played by anyone but her. If it sounds like I’m saying  maybe it’s the actress’ choices creating the character that would be inaccurate. If they had cast Will Smith in the role of Neo as originally intended, The Matrix would still have existed just with more yelling. And funnier probably. Noah Baumbach, with help from Gerwig, has created a string of characters (see also: Frances Ha and Greenberg) that are entirely embodied by Gerwig from appearance to cadence. I could be overthinking it but she’s so unique it’s shameful. C7 A5




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