An Animated Life- I hate to say this, but a documentary where nothing bad happens is less enjoyable. As an African American, Norman had hard times no doubt but few tragedies to speak of at least not to be found here. It’s a lot like a lazy river ride at a water park. Easy going, little bit of splashing, just going around in circles. Some kid might bounce something off your head. He gets a divorce mid-way through and it’s discussed so little it’s more like they recast his wife in the documentary. This is not a bad movie. I should probably reiterate that, I’m just nitpicking a little. The art is excellent and he is an amicable and innovative man.
The Immigrant- A lot of pomp and not much payout. It shows a turbulent turn of the century immigrant life many might not be familiar with and it does have complex characters. I probably didn’t give it a fair shake now that I think about it but it’s still not for everyone. Think Gangs of New York with less flash and style.
Sing Street- Like Pride, this is an all-around satisfying movie. I think I just like British/Irish stuff that makes it across the pond. I also like movies where they emulate musical styles from an era and nail it e.g. Velvet Goldmine. While not very challenging, there’s great music here and funny, sweet moments from a young, albeit talented cast.
Quintet- Paul Newman is one of the most handsome, charismatic actors who has ever lived and he couldn’t save this movie. This was roooooough. In this cold dystopian future, it’s common to see gangs of rottweilers just feasting on human flesh. Why Rottweilers and not, say, wolves? Who knows. Quintet! Quintet is a game of some sort that is the only thing these people do but I never really understood the rules and wasn’t able to care long enough past two google searches.
One Good Thing: Good doggo!
Watch Instead: The Day After Tomorrow.
Morgan- Paul Giamatti tries to apply the same Samuel Jackson logic from Kong: Skull Island with equally disastrous results. Refuse any outside stimuli or information to adapt to the current situation because your character and the story demands it. This girl just blinded the last lady she got near and you insist on being in the same room with her (unshackled no less) while metaphorically poking her in the chest. You deserved what you got, Paul.
One Good Thing: Kind of a good fight with the two female leads. Some nice DP work.
Watch Instead: Splice
MOVIE OF THE WEEK:
Thirst- This is a great vampire movie from Korea and Chan Wook-Park. From the origin story to the physicality to the sex and humor everything about it is unique. Top 3 Vampire movies. I recognize now that I am a Park fanboy which also makes me a Park apologist (if he ever makes anything bad). We get so caught up in our American vision of a European monster, that when something like Twilight or Blade hits theaters it seems like a revelation but it’s really just a delineation of the original. When A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night or Let the Right One In comes along and you are reminded that the American lens is not superior just familiar and monsters are everywhere not just Transylvania and Los Angeles.
The Wolfpack-Whenever I think I have a grasp on humanity a story like this pops up and I have to redraw everything. All I want to say here is a family of shut-ins reenact movies in their NYC apartment. The rest of the movie should just be experienced. I wouldn’t call it revelatory but it’s one of a kind.
Y Tu Mama Tambien-You can see the birth of Cuaron’s camera movements here. An impromptu road trip between unlikely companions creates a beautiful story with lesser know parts of Mexico as the backdrop. There’s so much to say I don’t know where to even start. It’s a soft classic from a current day master.
The Great Wall– Hypothetical: An executive at Universal Studios has, in a personal safe, a picture of Matt Damon wearing nothing but a swastika bandanna. In that same photo he is simultaneously molesting and murdering Jon Benet Ramsey because of his visible coke-fueled rage. It is the only possible explanation why he’s in this movie with his crazy accent. Willem Dafoe is here because he wanted to be and refuses to apologize for it. I imagine he frames his blackmail photos.
One Good Thing: The costumes of the Chinese soldiers are beautiful. The Asian characters in this film are represented well at least.
Watch Instead: Hero