Week 34


Colossal- The concept is easy to follow. A woman discovers that her physical actions are directly tied to a kaiju-type monster destroying South Korea. Just to see how that pans out is probably worth the ticket price. What is not advertised, the real reason to see this, is the dynamic atypical relationship that Hathaway and Sudeikis share. This is not Godzilla meets Sweet Home Alabama but rather Pacific Rim by way of Blue Valentine. Just when the monster premise wears thin the real monsters come out and make this more watchable.

C7 A6




Badlands- The more movies you watch, the more you realize films are built on films. Everyone before us has laid the foundations for what’s next but it’s not always separated. Watching Badlands, something starts to seem contemporary about it. It seems…familiar. Then you hear that theme music and it hits you. True Romance.  From there, similarities abound but True Romance never feels derivative or unoriginal which speaks to Tarantino’s abilities to modify and pay homage without feeling like a copy. Based on the exploits of Charles Starkweather and Caril Fugate, Badlands follows two lovers on the run from the law, killing or kidnapping those who get in there way. This was Terence Malick’s first feature and it is just remarkable. That he would go into a sort of seclusion soon after, then reemerge with a totally new style just shows his natural talent and elevation within the visual medium.

C8 A8



Chuck- I feel like I’m over boxing movies. Or maybe I never really loved them to begin with. Good boxing movies like The Fighter or Cinderella Man are more about the lives of the boxer than what happens in the ring. I guess Rocky is kind of that way two but it’s much more interested in Ivan Drago than Uncle Paulie. With that in mind, Chuck is about a boxer whose life was supposedly what Rocky is based on and they use that connection to some good effect. The rest is a bit of a muddy 70s era boxing tale. Mix in a little drugs, crime and Jim Gaffigan and you have another mid-level boxing story in the history of mid-level boxing stories. I mean, Raging Bull is good but do you remember the boxing scene or the kitchen scenes? Diggstown was alright but more and more James Woods just reminds me of his sleazy Casino character but older. This is fine. Liev is always good.

C6 A6



A Quiet Passion- My wife was not impressed with the constant one-liners in the movie.  Sounding for the most part like a Shakespearean play I didn’t really have a problem with the “perfect” style of speech but I could see how it would be grating after a while. This should have been called The Long, Slow Decline of Emily for the passion they reference is overshadowed by her lonely and painful life. She is embittered by the world and her poetry is improved by that bitterness but we are not necessarily entertained. There is a beautiful moment with a floating camera and poetic narration that made it an achievement.

C6 A5


kung fu hustle

Kung Fu Hustle- This film has evaded me all these years and it’s a shame. Maybe I evaded it because of the name? From the opening scene, you can see the confidence and style in the lead actor/director Stephen Chow. One part Shaolin, one part Looney Tunes and one part Seven Samurai this movie is constantly engaging you in some sort of plot or visual to keep you from looking away. The characters evolve in both emotion and physicality and the CGI on display is so effective. It’s actually a natural progression for martial arts movies when their style walks along that edge between technical and mystical. This is a beautiful and funny action movie with the colorful backdrop of 1940s Shanghai.

C8 A7



Close Encounters of the Third Kind- I have probably seen all of this movie in snippets over the years but never from beginning to end in one sitting. Released for the 40th anniversary I also got to enjoy it in theaters which is probably the way all movies should be watched even though I constantly wave off films with less spectacle as “stay at home movies.” The score alone (John Williams!) is enough to enjoy this but everyone involved from the script to the special effects are killing it. Casting Francois Truffaut was probably just Spielberg’s way of throwing some money towards one of his favorites but the effect is something you will never see today. A main character that is foreign for no necessary reason and is hard to understand. He could easily have been British with similar effect but the outcome is realism even if you are thrown by the character being played by one of the most famous directors ever.

C9 A8



Equals- “Mmmmmmm…. wash over me new dystopian movie…..what’s that?….no can have feelings?…..sounds great…..Does everyone dress the same and there’s no litter anywhere?….coool….what’s that?….Guy Pearce, you say? tell me mooooooorrrrree…..”

Seriously though I liked this movie. The technology and UI is very effective and Kristin Stewart’s face was built for this role. The central premise is a bit hard to buy into but there’s always a bit of lead-in to these brave new worlds that we’re not privy to. You want there to be more rebels but they’ve probably been purged before we are introduced to everything. Whenever movies are filmed in the future I always wonder about the architecture and if it’s real. Gattaca seemed futuristic but I learned later that you can go visit those buildings in L.A. right now.

C7 A6


Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode: A Dark Progression- I should probably stop watching or including these music documentaries. For one, they’re not that good and Amazon is just full of them. You have to really dig the band. This doc leans very heavily on the band’s biographer and stays with him for lengthy periods of time but what is most egregious is that they don’t speak to anyone in the band. Ever. I don’t even think they show clips of the band talking. I guess that means it’s unauthorized but the filmmakers certainly have access to all the music. These are informative movies just not that great or current.

One Good Thing: Walking in my Shoes was my 13-year old self’s jam and it was great to see the video again. If you have a Depeche Mode jam you will probably see your respective jam displayed here. Jam

C4 A5



Buster’s Mal Heart- First, I will say that I really liked this director’s last outing, so love for Mr. Robot aside, I was prepared to like this movie. And…I did? I don’t know it’s weird and pretty and chaotic and no one plays confused/possibly psychotic like Rami Malek. There are so many things to unpack and discuss I just wouldn’t know where to start. Sarah Smith has created this generation’s Donnie Darko but in a more crowded field (with less star power) it won’t have the same life which is unfortunate.

C6 A6



My Left Foot- Was Lewis just born amazing at acting or is he just good at picking the right roles? He has less than 30 acting credits on his IMDB page. When you compare that to the similar-aged Tom Hanks (82 credits) or much younger Jesse Eisenberg (42 credits) you have to wonder why he chooses the work he does. It typically ends in critical praise if not Oscars and this was no exception giving Lewis his first Best Actor Oscar. This is a great story about a working class family in 1950s Ireland rife with conflict and love. Lewis is great of course, but the supporting cast (Brenda Ricker especially) create an effective family drama.

C8 A7

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