Tuesday, October 4, 2016

September 2016 Movies

  1. '71 - Solid beginning, but then just becomes a painfully predictable chase movie. Unoriginal!
  2. Stranger Things - Far from perfect, but one of the more fun series' I've watched in a while.
  3. Detour - 40's B-movie noir. Just over an hour and I loved it. Needs a big time remake.
  4. The Adventures of Prince Achmed - First animated film f0m 1926. Pretty, a little too rapey.
  5. I Killed My Mother - Xavier Dolan writing this at 16, is almost as amazing as the film itself.
  6. The Road - Cormac McCarthy adaptation has me wondering why I bother. Why Viggo, Why?
  7. The Square - Tense documentary. Limited in its focus, but powerful message.
  8. Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon - Brilliant idea, unravels after 30 minutes.
  9. Money Monster - Much better than I anticipated. McConnell was the standout in exciting film.
  10. Broken - Roth is great, but newcomer Eloise Laurence is the star. One of the 10 best of last 5!
  11. Exit To Hell - Kane Hodder Grindhouse film. Easily one of the worst movies ever made. 
  12. 4 Months 3 Weeks And 2 Days - Haunting, tense and remarkable. Simply, yet powerful.
  13. Bait - Shark in a grocery store. Pretty ladies, tough men and sharks. A "so bad" it's good film.
  14. Waltz With Bashir - Powerful adult animation. Beautiful score pushes it into a special category.
  15. Spider Forest - Complex story with one too many twists and way too many lulls. 
  16. A Man Escaped - Bresson's film feels drawn out, but makes Shawshank feel like Prison Break.
  17. Captain America; Civil War - Nothing new. Action action action! No real plot. 
  18. Tabu - Critically acclaimed film that put me to sleep twice. Good or bad? I can't tell you.
  19. Tim's Vermeer - Some minor flaws, but fascinating documentary about the science of painting.
  20. Everybody Street - Street photographers pictures are far more interesting than their words.
  21. 12 - Nikita Mikhalkov's adaptation of 12 Angry Men. Despite a short lull, it is magnificent.
  22. This Is Not A Film - Iranian documentary-style film about censorship. Works in an odd way.
  23. Mouchette - Cinephile card revoked. Completely unaffected by Bresson's highly revered film.
  24. Vagabond - Agnes Varda's masterpiece about the loneliness of freedom and much much more.
  25. The Neon Demon - Is it horror or an 80's video in 2016? It's greatest power is it stays with you.
  26. Les Innocents - Like a stroll through a museum, but can only be described as beautifully sad.
  27. Here Comes the Devil - Spanish Horror film that tries to encompass every genre. Odd? Good?
Top Three: I Killed My Mother, Broken, Vagabond
Bottom Three: The Road, Tabu, Exit to Hell
Biggest Surprise: Money Monster
Biggest Letdown: Mouchette 

A pretty solid month, despite two films I am shocked I hated. Bresson's Mouchette and Tabu. Choosing the top three was very difficult this month, with the three I chose barely edging out 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Waltz with Bashir, A Man Escaped, 12 and Les Innocents. This may change as I have not been able to shake Anne Fontaine's Les Innocents. It's so beautifully shot and their are scenes that remind me of painting from the Renaissance and others resemble Edward Hopper's classics. My top 3 and actually, my top eight films this month are truly difficult to endure. All deal with serious conflicts, even death and moral decisions you feel you must make as a viewer. Powerful stuff this month. 

P.S. If you're an 80's kid and haven't checked out Stranger Things yet, it's a must!

Friday, September 9, 2016

2016 NFL Predictions

I skipped this last year, but will fully admit, I'd never have guessed my Broncos would be in the Super Bowl. This year, I had two clear cut favorites (Colts and Cardinals) a month ago, but things might have changed. As usual, I go through each game....yes, I predict all 256 games to come up with this. I know, pathetic, but I enjoy it and I've had some success in the past. So here it is. The seed of the playoff teams is in parenthesis

New England Patriots* (2) 12-4
New York Jets 7-7
Buffalo Bills 7-7
Miami Dolphins 4-12

Pittsburgh Steelers* (3) 11-5
Cincinnati Bengals* (5) 11-5
Baltimore Ravens 9-7
Cleveland Browns 3-13

Indianapolis Colts* (1) 15-1
Houston Texans 9-7
Tennessee Titans 6-10
Jacksonville Jaguars 4-12

Kansas City Chiefs* (4) 10-6
Denver Broncos* (6) 10-6
Oakland Raiders 8-8
San Diego Chargers 7-9

New York Giants* (4) 9-7
Dallas Cowboys 8-8
Washington 6-10
Philadelphia Eagles 5-11

Green Bay Packers* (1) 13-3
Chicago Bears 7-9
Detroit Lions 5-11
Minnesota Vikings 4-12

Carolina Panthers* (3) 11-5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers* (6) 9-7
Atlanta Falcons 8-8
New Orleans Saints 7-9

Arizona Cardinals* (2) 13-3
Seattle Seahawks* (5) 12-14
San Francisco 49ers 3 -13
St. Louis Rams 3-13

Wild Card Playoffs
Pittsburgh over Denver
Kansas City over Cincinnati
Carolina over Tampa Bay
New York over Seattle

Divisional Playoffs
Indianapolis over Kansas City
Pittsburgh over New England
Green Bay over New York
Arizona over Carolina

Conference Championships
Indianapolis over Pittsburgh
Green Bay over Arizona

Super Bowl 
Indianapolis over Green Bay

Thursday, September 1, 2016

August 2016 Movies

  1. The Lobster - Typical Lanthimos...is it good or bad? Does it matter? You can't stop thinking.
  2. The Wave - Norwegian disaster film goes the way of 70's TV movie of the week.
  3. Amer - Modern day giallo. Sensual, visually stimulating, but a bit of a snooze. Worth a look.
  4. The Hunger - 1983 Vampire flick with beautiful people, being beautiful. So wonderfully 80's.
  5. Songs My Brother Taught Me - Scenic, well-intentioned, but needed more feeling.
  6. The Terminator - Still holds up, but so many flaws, especially that synthesized score.
  7. Purple Noon - The original Mr. Ripley shines with Delon in the lead. Great fun.
  8. High-Rise - The most literal allegory ever made. Absolute rubbish, especially Evans and Irons.
  9. The Prowler - Good movie? Not really! Amazing Tom Savini SFX kills? Absolutely!
  10. A Monster With A Thousand Heads - Tense crime drama that makes it point in 70 minutes.
  11. Baskin - From Turkey, the scariest and complex horror film I've seen in quite some time.
  12. Viridiana - Bunuel's tale of a conflicted nun. The film is as subtle as a stampeding elephant.
  13. R-Point - Highly acclaimed Korean ghost story has great concept, but fails on every level.
  14. A Matter Of Life And Death - Amazing in every way. Another...how'd I never hear of this?
  15. Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice - Arguably the worst superhero movie ever made.
  16. 9 - Shane Acker turned his Oscar nominated adult animation short into a great feature
  17. 9 (Short) - Packs a little less power than the feature, but the ending gives a different feel.
  18. Sightseers - British black comedy has peaks and valleys, but early Wheatley film is good fun.
  19. Nothing Personal - A nearly perfect "love" story, with stellar Rea and Verbeek. Visuals too!
  20. Chernobyl Diaries - Fun, but vastly overrated. One scare, beautiful cast, but lacked depth.
  21. The Lost Boys - Re-watched a favorite from my youth. Still holds up for what it is. Fun 80's.
  22. The Color of Pomegranates - Visual feast, that is indescribable. Does it work as a film though?
  23. Counter Investigation - Dejardin stars in French crime thriller. Predictable, but well done.
  24. Anarchy Parlor - Decent premise lost on bad acting and silliness, but one brutal scene. 
  25. Don't Look Now - Not nearly as effective second time around, but Julie Christie was gorgeous.
  26. The Finest Hours - Makes The Perfect Storm look like Citizen Kane. Truly dreadful.
  27. Ali: Fear Eats The Soul - Filmed nicely, but not my cup of tea. Bad acting and painfully boring.
  28. Sunset Song - Best movie of 2016 so far. Agyness Deyn is mesmerizing as are her co-stars.
  29. John Dies At The End - Easily one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Dreadful!
  30. Keanu - Key and Peele's very funny, shockingly good feature length film. 
  31. Bob Ross: Beauty Is Everywhere - The Netflix version of a sedative....ahhh
  32. Yi Yi - Not as a pleasant visually, but a better than A Brighter Summer Day. The kid is tops.
  33. The Happening - Easily Shyamalan's worst. Disjointed from the opening scene and gets worse.
Top Three:  A Matter of Life and Death, Nothing Personal, Sunset Song 
Bottom Three: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Happening, John Dies at the End
Biggest Surprise: Baskin
Biggest Letdown: High-Rise

Some really good, maybe even great films, didn't crack the top three, with Edward Yang's Yi Yi topping the list, but followed the adult animation film 9 and Purple Noon surprising me, only in that it's probably a better film than The Talented Mr. Ripley. There were tons of duds, many in the horror genre, with R-Point and The Wave (more thriller) really falling flat. The one movie that somewhat hovered towards the top, but I just can't see watching it again any time soon was Lanthimos' The Lobster. It may very well end up being a great movie, but it lacked the tension that Alps and Dogtooth had. A better movie, but so purposely quirky with well known actors, it felt forced. Next up '71

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Been Forever

I've been meaning to write a blog for a while now, but didn't want one filled with emotion. Been a rough month for me personally and going it alone has been tough. The usual suspects have been absent from my life, but most of all people have just been busy. Sure, I could quote some internet meme about how if people care they'd make time for me, but that's not always true. I've been there. I've had work, little league, personal relationships, my family commitments and I was young. I woke up at 6:30 and went to bed at 1:30 and not once did I have a minute to step back and say "this isn't living." Did I have fun? Of course, but for four years, I essentially became a slave to routine. I didn't go out with friends, didn't drink, didn't even really know what I was doing when I relaxed. I stared at screens, playing games or watching the same movies I'd seen before or ones that looked just like it.

But wait, this isn't a cry for help. The tough spot is over and with it, new leaves are being turned. Those who were busy have found a little time for me and I have to remember, they owe me nothing. Facebook makes us forget that. Someone or some thing dies and we post. We are inundated with compassion and sympathy and then it stops, unless we feed it. Are we still grieving or have we turned it into something else? I was grieving two weeks ago and I did it alone, as I always do. Even in the midst of the turmoil, I turned loved ones away, even shunning the very thought that they were; loved ones. It's over now and while this year, memories hit harder, I combated it with the things I've now embraced. Moments with my cat, sharing glances with a deer or simply listening to the leaves, amidst the daily pollution of car alarms, power tools and people talking to themselves or are they tiny people in an earpiece?

I used to use this blog to combat my inner battles, but realized too many people heard about, not even read, my blog, and felt they knew me. I'm approaching an anniversary of sorts. A friend from the past read one of them and reached out. That person and I shared one silly connection and from it grew a friendship like none I've had before. We're both in different places, but in some ways, we've seen the abyss and decided to hightail it out of there...but we don't forget it. Sometimes, when we know we shouldn't, we stare into it and guess what, it never really stares back, it just invites us in. Many days we wonder, should I have turned and run from it or embraced it. The unknown of every decision is something many of us struggle with every day. At times, without a sole understanding, we do what is best for the moment and we shield others from unnecessary pain, by choosing the wrong path and then we spend the rest of our lives wondering if it really wasn't the right one.

It's been 12 years, since my mother passed and while her illness took her life, her wisdom and her compassion, it's slowly crept into me. I'm not the person I was when she passed, for better and for worse, but I think she'd be proud of the way I stand up for myself and even more so, of how I stand up for others, sometimes simply by saying "Good Morning."

Monday, August 1, 2016

July 2016 Movies

  1. Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse - Very funny, but lacks horror feel. Good acting.
  2. Francofonia - On paper, a brilliant docudrama about art preservation during war. On paper!
  3. A Brighter Summer Day - A very simple story, enhanced by it's beauty. Four quick hours.
  4. The Girl In The Photographs - As bad as a horror movie can get. An all-time dud.
  5. I'm A Cyborg, But That's OK - Surreal look at mental illness, is scattered, but works.
  6. Bill Cunningham New York - Funny, touching and possibly even deep. He was NYC fashion!
  7. Hail, Caesar! - Coen Bros. offer an homage to post-war Hollywood and nail it. Casting is A+
  8. Event Horizon - Cult Classic did nothing for me. No twists or turns and silly script. Boo!
  9. Green Room - Run-of-the-mill claustrophobic thriller. Silly script, but solid cast makes it work.
  10. Rams - Icelandic drama about two brothers, their farm and the loss of their rams. That's it. 
  11. Wrestling - Short by director of Rams. Odd homosexual tale that just feels weird.
  12. 3-Iron - A Korean film that says so much without a single word uttered by its lead.
  13. The Chaser - Haunting, depressing Korean crime thriller. Pulls zero punches. 
  14. The Last Picture Show - Either the best bad movie or the worst good movie ever made. Sam!
  15. Midnight Special - Sound and sights add to this epic effort by Nichols. Almost too much!
  16. Elvis and Nixon - Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey do what they do, strong support.
  17. The Enforcer - Re-watched. Eastwood isn't as great as I remember. Almost funny it's so bad.
  18. Sauna - Finnish horror alleged to be deep. Atmospheric, but pretty standard symbolism.
  19. Vivre Sa Vie - The segments vary in their appeal, but the ending came off campy, ruining it.
  20. Kes - Critically acclaimed, but my personal feelings about animals and kids made me hate it.
  21. A Serious Man - Coen Brothers flop! Absolutely horrible, stereotypical crap.
  22. Darling - Repulsion meets The Haunting, without the direction. Lead is excellent though.
  23. True Grit - Coen Bros almost miss with ridiculous finale, but solid acting makes it worthwhile.
  24. Fright Night - Remake doesn't work, but Poots and Collette are sure nice to look at.
  25. Good Bye Lenin! - Painfully slowly and poorly acted, but then magical fine fifteen minutes.
Top Three: Midnight Special, A Brighter Summer Day, 3-Iron
Bottom Three: Francofonia, Event Horizon, The Girl in the Photographs
Biggest Surprise: Bill Cunningham New York
Biggest Letdown: A Serious Man

Pretty weak month of movies. Some "classics" didn't live up to their billing and I might just have to accept that I am not much of a Godard fan. The real trend this month seems to be movies that either fall apart or somehow work at the end. I also wan't to add that Midnight Special is a movie I will return to and will either find it lacked something important or is one of the better films ever made. It left me speechless, but was it a case of overthinking every single scene? 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

June 2016 Movies

  1. Felt - Billed as horror, this sad drama about dealing with rape is odd, but effective.
  2. Beau Travail - This simple story feels like a complex dream in Claire Denis' hands. Brilliant!
  3. Krampus - Silly, funny at times, but definitely a failure as a horror film. 
  4. The Danish Girl - Vikander stands out in a miss-the-mark fictional twist on interesting story.
  5. Extraordinary Tales - Animated Poe Anthology is so good on paper, but never translates.
  6. Deadpool - Overhyped, silly, with some very funny moments, but the film is rather boring.
  7. Emelie - It's not perfect, but it's what horror should be. Tense, uncomfortable and exciting.
  8. Anomalisa - Charlie Kaufman strikes again. The film resonates, but lacks something in the end.
  9. Joy - Arguably the worst script ever written. The movie manages to fail in every way possible. 
  10. The Battle Of Algiers - Content could be debated, but the look and sound is impeccable.
  11. 10 Cloverfield Lane - Obvious, silly and boring, but surprisingly well acted. A waste of time.
  12. 45 Years - Courtnay and Rampling are stellar. A film that you really need to allow to set in.
  13. Welcome to Leith - Disturbing tale of domestic terror in small town USA. 
  14. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - Much better than the title would suggest, with stellar James.
  15. World Of Tomorrow - re-watched. One of the best, most thought provoking short film ever.
  16. Drag Me To Hell - Horribly predictable yarn, with decent lead let down by everything about it.
  17. A War - Strong start turns into boring courtroom drama and loses focus trying to be powerful.
  18. Naked - Brilliant acting enhances dire tale, which goes from typical to brilliant to typical.
  19. Santa Sangre - All style, little substance. Beautifully odd, but so wooden and overly long.
  20. Knight Of Cups - Malick channels Fellini and maybe enhances 8 1/2. Bale and Co shine!
  21. Intolerance - D.W. Griffith's film is 100 years old and it resonates as much now as ever.
  22. Shark Lake - Makes Avalanche Sharks look like Jaws, but hey Dolph Lundgren and Sara Lane.
  23. The Boy - Solid 80 minutes, followed by complete unraveling. Great lead, but little else.
  24. Fastball - Recycled stories leave real fans wanting more. Newcomers and kids will love it.
  25. Death By Hanging - Oshima's use of comedy allows his social commentary to zing, not sting.
Top Three: Beau Travail, The Battle of Algiers, Intolerance
Bottom Three: Drag Me To Hell, Shark Lake, Joy
Biggest Surprise: Felt and Emelie
Biggest Letdown: Deadpool

While the top three for this month are all members of Sight and Sound's top 100 decided by critics, I should note that Knight of Cups and 45 Years are extraordinary. While Algiers and Intolerance are truly epic, Beau Travail mesmerized me. That finale will stick with anyone who sees it, for a long time. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

May 2016 Movies

By far, the least number of movies I've watched in a month in almost two years (since I've been keeping track).

  1. Tiny Homes House Hunters - Silly, but some cool houses. 
  2. Son Of Saul - Auschwitz from almost a found footage style. Cinematic Masterpiece.
  3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Truly horrible in every way, but script and acting is atrocious.
  4. Philomena - Dench and Coogan's chemistry shines in this hilariously poignant film. 
  5. The Club - Poorly shot and directed film about repenting priests (or not). Didn't work for me.
  6. The Girl In The Car With The Glasses And A Gun - Stylish. Hard to like; impossible to hate.
  7. Close-up - Abbas Kiarostami's masterpiece is what docufiction should be. Left me speechless.
  8. The Traveler - Kiarostami's first. A boy experiences life. Surpasses 400 Blows in my opinion.
  9. The Lady In The Van - Despite Maggie Smith's presence, you never feel it. Awful last half.
  10. L'Eclisse - Antonioni's third part of "Trilogy," doesn't work at all, yet is revered as a top film.
  11. A Day In The Country - Renoir's 40 minute short is almost perfect, but feels like a feature.
  12. Ugetsu - Mizoguchi's feels as if the ending was made for the West at end, despite beauty.
  13. Taste of Cherry - Kiarostami's Cannes success is wonderfully simple, until that ending.
  14. They Look Like People - Microbudget horror, offensive in its depiction of mental illness.
  15. Zoombies - Zombie zoo, but these are endangered species. It's as bad as it sounds.
  16. The Revenant - Absolutely awful. Iranittu's ego is all we feel. The visuals, we've seen before.
  17. The Witch - Borders on greatness and rubbish. The final two scenes are unnecessary. 
  18. Mustang - Turkish coming-of-age story about five sisters. Painful at times, but beautiful.
  19. Samsara - Easily one of the greatest documentaries. Beautiful, no dialogue, but says so much.
  20. Beyond The Black Rainbow - Tries so hard to be special, but feels like an 80's gimmick.
  21. Alleluia - French horror love story, delivers with great acting and vicious violence. Very good.
  22. Pickpocket -Bresson's tale of a petty thief is revered for things I don't believe were intended.
  23. Frozen - Disney failure. Feels at times like an anti-feminist film, then bails at the end.
  24. Playtime - Tati's visual feast, left me hungry. Silly monotony, felt like a bad Monty Python skit.
Top Three: Son of Saul, Mustang, Close-Up, Samsara (all perfect 10's)
Bottom Three: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, They Look Like People, Beyond the Black Rainbow
Biggest Surprise: The Witch
Biggest Letdown: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I would also like to add this....if I ever go back to school for film study, my thesis will be on how Frozen is the most anti-feminist, anti-disabilities and most misogynistic movie I've ever seen. I'm still angry about this, but have been told by many to.....Let It Go!