Week 11


The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance- Bit of an unsuspected ending here which I didn’t care for. Jimmy Stewart is a fun actor to watch and Wayne feels wooden in contrast. Maybe the character called for it a little. I’ve seen him be charismatic and endearing before so the stodginess is possibly for the role. So much of this hinges on Stewart being prideful which he doesn’t excel at which is part of why the ending lacked a punch. This is a really good movie I only wish it would have played out a little different. Minor quibble.

C7 A7



The Secret Life of Pets– I don’t know why they made this. Is it because animators are not hard to find, easier to fire and there is no shortage of famous people willing to do 8 hours of vocal work? Yes.  It’s not horrible it just feels like scenes stitched together by a loose thread. To be fair, Zootopia came out last year and it’s hard to beat.

One Good Thing: There’s some funny character work here. Hart puts everything into it.

Watch Instead: Zootopia

C5 A5



i am not your negro

I Am Not Your Negro- Not to diminish his other amazing qualities but I could fall asleep to James Baldwin’s debates his voice is so perfect. His rhythmic cadence hides the sharp edge like a sword cutting you down to the rhythms of a metronome.  I feel bad saying this but his offbeat appearance probably only aids in people underestimating his intelligence and wit. He is unsung among popular civil rights spokespeople the same way Nina Simone is. With white people anyway. Maybe it was just me. Okay I had NO idea who James Baldwin was before watching this and I’m the only one. There. You’re so smart YOU recommend something for once.

C8 A7



Doomed- This is a hidden gem and even more rare because of its quality. It’s not bad by any means but you can put two documentaries next to each other and spot the money by the sheen on them. This one has no gloss but the characters and weird story more than make up for it. It details the first, first Fantastic Four before Marvel was the behemoth that it is now. The movie Marvel doesn’t want you to see is the one I can get behind plus I have a soft spot for the Fantastic Four movies.

C8 A6


patriots day

Patriots Day- See my “review” of Deepwater Horizon. The double-Berg is in effect again. With similar gravitas, Peter Berg introduces us to a whole new cast of characters and locations and then throws in a giant explosion that scatters everybody to the four corners of Boston. Through all this tragedy and confusion, he crafts a focused and heartfelt but not overly sentimental story of the Boston bombing. I can’t really explain it but these movies won’t end up in my top 20 but they are so good and focused. Mark Wahlberg is Peter Berg’s muse and I’ll watch anything with both of them involved.

C8 A7



Personal Shopper- Gives you just enough in every scene to keep you going but without momentous events. Kristen Stewart is damn watchable for some reason given her lack of emotion with most material. It’s rare that a movie can string you along with the unclear thread of multiple plots with little resolution and you’re not mad at the end. At least, I wasn’t mad about it. Some might be.  This is topping a few critics list I’ve seen. I find that suspect it but part of me understands from an unconventional sense.

C7 A5


All or Nothing

All or Nothing- B-Documentary about a one man show that you’ve probably never heard of. Actually, I think that might be the tagline. There’s a lot of wild events in this hyper motivated individual’s life that I didn’t really need to know. Not that it’s bad I just didn’t care at the end. Some movies change you or move the needle towards joy or anger and some are just things for your eyes to look at instead of a wall. Christian film folk might enjoy this. I mean no slight by that.

C4 A6



Born to Be Blue- Like The Founder, this one was overlooked during the awards season. More to the point, the studios chose not to push it for whatever reason. Hawke is having a renaissance of sorts if you could say he ever left. This doesn’t have the grandiosity of Ray but it follows the usual pathways. There’s more nuance to the scenes, more time spent on human connection and scenes than big affairs and events. Its non-conformity is its strength and it plays that tune well.

C8 A6


the big burn

The Big Burn– I honestly only watched this because I thought it was about Montana but turns out it was Idaho which, to most people, is basically the same thing. Can’t say they’re wrong. Informative story about early forest fire fighting before it was truly federally funded. This means that efforts to fight fires were minimal and volunteer if at all. Whole towns disappeared if they were unlucky enough to fall in the path of a blazing forest.

C5 A6



Alien Covenant– Something telling about the last two Alien movies is they’re named after the ship that the crew is on. Ridley Scott is using this as a vehicle (no pun intended) to explain the backstory behind the Xenomorphs. Part of the appeal of Aliens is their mystery and crew members are only important to me as buffers between them and the last surviving characters. I don’t care about any of these crews and the only reason to even tune in is the weird things happening with Michael Fassbender’s android character. The flute scene might be one of the strangest things I’ve seen in a big budget film, let alone in an Alien movie.

C6 A6 

One Good Thing: Fassbender. And whoever is doing the color editing on these films to make them look like Planet Seattle.

Watch Instead: Alien, Aliens

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