Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review: White God

White God is a movie like no other I've seen. It's being compared to everything from Lassie to The Birds, but in my eyes, it's much more similar to Bresson's Au Hasard Balthazar, a movie I just saw for the first time recently. A young girl and her pet are separated and their lives take turns that cause them to grow, in ways that are and aren't expected. Where White God separates itself, is that it's brutality seems to reflect no on Eastern Europe, but humanity itself. The metaphors are obvious, yet after reviewing some articles and message boards, it's clear they were missed on most Americans and maybe that is the point. It's so obvious, so laid out, that to have some visceral reaction, would be to admit ones naivety. I think this is the only area the film fails and not something I would have known, had I not researched the reactions post-viewing.

One thing that I was so happy I noticed early on and something I will share with everyone who has not seen the film, was the tails of the dogs in the earlier scenes. They were upright, even in some of the more painful scenes. This, gave me relief, because I knew the dogs were happy. The extras on the DVD go into great detail of how the dogs were trained, that will give most reviewers great relief and here's why. The movie is terribly upsetting. It's frighteningly so for animal lovers. I happened to watch the same day the Internet was abuzz with the death of Cecil the Lion. To say it didn't tear me apart would be a lie. I cried at three, maybe four different scenes and the ending nearly destroyed me.

I hate telling what films are about, so I'll leave it at this. Children look at their parents with respect, admiration and maybe even awe and dogs look at humans that same way, but there comes a point, where when nature's creatures are taken for granted, even abused, where they fight back. This is true with animals, with children and with all minority groups who grow tired of being neglected. There's a quote at the beginning that we should keep in our minds throughout the film and better yet, after it's over. We'll all be better for it, as will those who let themselves be taken by this film.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Likes

The past two days, social media has really killed my opinion of people. People with good jobs, wonderful families, newborn babies or those soon on the way, are just tiny lonely people, looking for some sort of odd acceptance. How can people use the death of a lion to pander for likes. I'm not talking about those asking for justice or those commenting on how sad they are, but those who have twisted it to mean something else...to essentially, make it about themselves and their warped values. Ten, twenty, fifty likes. The more Trumpesque the better. The more hate in their words, the greater the count, feeding the frenzy until the comments filled with rage come out, about a completely irrelevant topic. Words like extinguish, kill and purge are used. I imagine the grin on the writer, as his pride beams. He sits back in the comfort of his home, basking in the glow of the computer or phone, feeling good about himself. Little does he realize, he's just made himself even smaller. He doesn't care, because the like counter grows, as does his imagined power; much like the hunter, his kill list nearing 50.

I sit back and I write something from the heart. For me and me only. Friends of course, welcome to share in it, because for me, I want to know of their thoughts and (maybe foolishly) believe they care of mine. Someone else writes of their experience abroad and how they found something they'd been lacking. Two, three likes, a comment or emoji, to let them know we saw it. While others fawn over the dead daily, despite the death being years ago. Twenty, thirty likes within an hour. The "thinking of yous" pour in. "I'm here" they exclaim....and they are, right in your likes list. Mission accomplished, as their existence is giving some minuscule meaning.  The twisted ankles, the scraped knees, the ridiculous amounts of doctor's visits for the common cold, all like heavy, while a friend's heart pours out about something dear and goes unnoticed and she needs the likes. Not for her self worth, but because it's important that when people take the world into consideration, it's recognized. She benefits nothing from her post, but to let others know she shares in their struggle. Seven likes, while the post demeaning an entire race gets seventy. Maybe it's time I stop liking posts of other's happiness and start posting that I wish they could experience the hate they dole out. I wonder, how many likes that would get?


Monday, July 27, 2015

Three Years Ago

Three summers ago, my life was a lot different. I was in an awkward position financially and I'd really come to grips with the fact that a lot of the summer was going to be spent on my own. I got into a habit, almost every night of taking walks. Some short, some long, some with a destination in mind, some without, but almost every night, rain of shine, I walked. The cooler temperatures allowed me to enjoy it, although I can remember evenings, drenched in sweat or frozen solid, depending on the season. I was in pain, because of my knees, but these walks cleared my mind, my lungs and whatever else seemed to ail me. I don't know exactly when my hip issue started, but unlike my knees, the hip was a mystery. I woke up one morning, my hip was stiff and when I left the house, I was in agony. I assumed I slept wrong and it would right itself once I stretched it out. Three years later, that isn't the case. I've learned to live with not just pain, but agony. The limited range of motion is actually more of a hindrance than the pain and has affected more than just walking, but that's not really what I'm thinking about now. I'm thinking about those walks. So often, on rainy evenings, thinking about nothing at all, but the moon, the stars and all I had to enjoy in life. I'd then come home, be quickly reminded of my awful apartment, but I'd fight it. I'd let those walks carry me through until the next. I'd give anything for one of those walks right now, but I don't think I'd return.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

White Privilege

This was a post I wrote on Facebook after surprisingly not seeing any moaning about the Documentary by Jose Antonio Vargas, titled White People

Dayyum! I just scrolled my timeline and not a single white person got their feelings hurt by White People. I unfortunately haven't seen it, but the number of fake accounts that popped up on twitter, tells me it was a damn good show.

Here's the thing. If someone of color aka non-white says "White Privilege," are you offended? If you said yes, then you are exhibiting white privilege. It has nothing to do with how hard you work or study, how you stayed out of trouble, because here's the thing, that is entirely the point. Somewhere out there, there are 100 Black, Spanish, Native American, Arab, Asian, who worked and studied as hard as you and never got in trouble, but they don't have what you "earned" or achieved. Stop looking at the one person you know who isn't white that achieved as your benchmark. Look at every one you do know and how they fare compared to others. If all you know are successful people of different colors, then guess what "that's white privilege too."

Have you ever been followed by security, because you're white? Have you ever had someone cross the street, because of your skin color? Have you ever has someone assume, you can play a sport, cook something or excel at a certain subject, because of your appearance? That is white privilege.

Take a long hard look at the demographics of this country over the last 250 years. Now take a good hard look at the political leaders who "represent" them. That my friends, is White Privilege.

Think of your news and who brings it to you, regardless of political affiliation. How white is that? Do you know that whites commit almost 68% of all crimes in the US and 62% of all violent crimes? They also represent 62% of the population. Isn't it odd that despite the amount of crime being proportionate to the population, our news doesn't show this? That is white privilege. When you take into account that white, on average make 12x the amount of money that blacks make, doesn't it seem like that there is some privilege. Inheritance, social status and general family legacies also are examples of white privilege.

Like I said, I'm happy that I scrolled down my time line and didn't see a single complaint. I expected to see a ton of it, but maybe all my ranting and raving and that of a few others are making people realize, it's not about you and your specific situation. It's not about hard work or study. It's about playing the hand your dealt, but having all the cards at your disposal. I can't make it any more simple than this...

Would you trade places with a person of color, because of the benefits in achieving equality, in terms of wealth, opportunity and representation?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Ebert Questionnaire

Before reading this, please understand, I do not consider myself to have ever written a serious review of a film. I title some quickie reviews or reviews, but I do not go into them telling much, if anything about the plot, the actors or any other major aspects that would qualify them as real reviews. I despise reviews to be honest, because they are so often wrong and, if read before viewing a film, will lean the viewer towards that line of thought. I see it every single week with someone who always agrees with what they read or were told about the movie. For me, I enjoy the blind exploration. As for this, I just found it interesting.

QUESTIONNAIRE:
1. Where did you grow up, and what was it like? Brooklyn, New York from 1970-1985. It was a mixed bag of cultures and ethnicity and it taught me to look for the beauty in what was different about people, but also how much we're all the same, despite the appearance of being so very different. I think, later in life, when I delved into foreign films, this was a huge advantage, despite never having traveled outside of the country. 

2. Was anyone else in your family into movies? Yes, my parents and both sets of grandparents were very fond and the bulk of the movies I saw growing up were black and white; many considered classics. If so, what effect did they have on your moviegoing tastes? I think it made me comfortable with black and white, silent and subtitles, which is something most of my friends, who grew up in Westchester, don't seem to have much patience for.

3. What's the first movie you remember seeing, and what impression did it make on you? The King Kong remake in 1976, was the first I saw in the theatre. I was only six years old, but I remember being amazed at the enormity of the beast. I also couldn't understand why he kept trying to take Jessica Lange's blouse off. I definitely understand now.

4. What's the first movie that made you think, "Hey, some people made this. It didn't just exist. There's a human personality behind it." The African Queen. I remember thinking the actors were suffering, all to entertain us. I remember loving the movie, but thinking that it was such a hard job. Years later, after reading of the woes that went on while filming, it really occurred to me how much work goes into the acting alone. Then of course, the other aspects that makes movies, such as that one, incredible. 

5. What's the first movie you ever walked out of? I've never walked out of a movie in my life. It's too expensive to do such a thing. I very rarely even turn a movie off, no matter how horrible it might be. Recently, I turned off Mr. Turner, then read it was ranked almost a perfect score by Rotten Tomatoes. I stand by my gut, it's a horrible movie, that one more hour, couldn't possibly have turned around.

6. What's the funniest film you've ever seen? Mel Brook's Young Frankenstein is still, to this day, the funniest movie I've ever seen. Although, the hardest I've ever laughed inside of a theatre, was There's Something About Mary. 

7. What's the saddest film you've ever seen? Dear Zachary was the only movie, I've ever had to pause and compose myself, because I couldn't hear. That being said, it's a documentary, so I'm going to go with Terms of Endearment. That one scene...you all know what I'm talking about, is the most gut wrenching scene in movie history. Even though, most guys would say Brian's Song.

8. What's the scariest film you've ever seen? The only movie to ever give me a nightmare was Hitchcock's Spellbound, but the only movie that I can say scared me, was Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Probably because my lunatic parents let me see it, in the theatre, at age eight.

9. What's the most romantic film you've ever seen? Mine is a tie, between The Artist and Cinema Paradiso. The reason it's a tie, is because both are romantic in completely different ways than people would think. If it was simply, romance between a man and a woman, I'd be hard pressed to come up with one. Possibly one I just watched, Murnau's 1927 gem, Sunrise. Or possibly Amelie, but once again, is it true romance?

10. What's the first television show you ever saw that made you think television could be more than entertainment? All in the Family. Some may laugh, but I remember how much it used racism to mock racism. Showing that racism not only can be spawned from ignorance, but it is primarily spawned by ignorance. Sadly, the same tool I watched, was watched by nearly everyone I know and most of them didn't get it.

11. What book do you think about or revisit the most? Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are, will always be my favorite book, because it represents everything that is important to a child, that nearly every adults loses. That is the magic of it and why, even without reading it in nearly 25 years, it still remains my favorite book.

12. What album or recording artist have you listened to the most, and why? There is no band I've listened to more in my life than The Clash. They captured the angst of being 12-13 in the early 80's and their messages stand true today. The anti-establishment movement that punk music was, was important to that era's kids. They might not have been the first, but they were without a doubt the most influential band for everything that came after. 

13. Is there a movie that you think is great, or powerful, or perfect, but that you never especially want to see again, and why? Boogie Nights. I know this will sound odd, but I thought this was one of the best movies I'd ever seen when it came out, but with each subsequent viewing, I like it less and less. my critical eye starts wandering and I find entire scenes that should have been cut or shortened, but then there is the flow, which I find odd, because when I originally saw it, it seemed so short, but the last viewing, I was praying for it to end. I think it is brilliant, but I doubt I'll go back ever again.

14. What movie have you seen more times than any other? Without a doubt Jaws, but that is simply because it is on television the most. The movie I have gone out of my way to rewatch the most, is Lethal Weapon. While I somewhat shy away from straight action, I adore this movie and have seen it, start to finish, at least 20 times.

15. What was your first R-rated movie, and did you like it? Somehow I got into S.O.B. and was the first time I'd seen nudity on film. I'd seen Playboys before, but I think this was the first experience in the theatre and seeing Julie Andrews, of my beloved The Sound of Music, in her naked glory, was quite a shock.

16. What's the most visually beautiful film you've ever seen? Aronofsky's The Fountain is the first film that comes to mind, the second being anything by Terrence Malick, but the film that blew me away aesthetically was Hero. The use of colors, put even the likes of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to shame. 

17. Who are your favorite leading men, past and present? Just off the top of my head, I'll go with Pacino, Gosling, Oldman, Dean, Von Sydow, Burton, Cobb, Fassbender, Widmark and Hopkins.


18. Who are your favorite leading ladies, past and present? Katherine Hepburn, Streep, Foster, Joan Allen, Blanchett, Swinton, Mirren, Lawrence, Lindblom and Bejo.

19. Who's your favorite modern filmmaker? Paul Thomas Anderson, but this isn't a slam dunk

20. Who's your least favorite modern filmmaker? Christopher Nolan

21. What film do you love that most people seem to hate? Severance is one of my favorite horror/thrillers of all-time and I've yet to meet one person who liked it enough to praise or recommend it. I've seen it three times and I think it's clever, funny and has enough, wow moments to put it over the top. I also adore the Resident Evil series. 

22. What film do you hate that most people love? Shawshank Redemption & Citizen Kane. Yes, I know.

23. Tell me about a moviegoing experience you will never forget—not just because of the movie, but because of the circumstances in which you saw it.  Going to see The Seven Samurai at a revival house in NYC called The Thalia. It changed my view of films, because I realized language didn't always matter.

24. What aspect of modern theatrical moviegoing do you like least? I do not go to the movies anymore, because aside from people having no courtesy, I despise surround sound. 

25. What aspect of moviegoing during your childhood do you miss the most? There is nothing I loved more than going into the theatre when it was light out and coming out to darkness. It's as if you're transported and I'll always enjoy that. 

26. Have you ever damaged a friendship, or thought twice about a relationship, because you disagreed about whether a movie was good or bad? I'd never take it that far, but I am shocked by how angry people get when I say I thought Whiplash was one of the ten to fifteen worst films I've ever sat through. I've lost some Twitter followers over it. 

27. What movies have you dreamed about? Spellbound and Houseboat....falling on a spike and Sophia Loren. One was slightly better than the other.

28. What concession stand item can you not live without? If I'm at the theatre, I need popcorn. Anything else is just a distraction.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Free Writing - Take 91

Yell! Scream! Hit inanimate objects! This is what we do when we're mad. It's been years since it's gotten to this, but it does happen. It used to happen more and at the end of the day, it's more frustration than anger. Sadly, it seems that my life has been filled this frustration and this is generally my release. Did it feel good? Not particularly when it happened, but afterwards, when I calmed down, stopped sweating and someone made me laugh; yes it did. It didn't matter that the object of my frustration won't change and probably didn't hear one word, because why would anyone change after 45 years (the span of my life) of selfishness. When someone expends so much energy making stories about one person, to make themselves feel better about their own inadequacies, there is not changing that person. I've been told I think I'm always right, but I actually don't. I just need someone to explain what is wrong and believe it or not, I say sorry and you're right a lot more than people think. I've apologized to people out of the blue in the past year, for things they weren't even really angry about and it's not to toot my own horn, but to let people know it's OK to be wrong, but when you're so wrong, you've changed your life, in a very short period of time, and that change has caused others misery, it's time to take stock. The worst part of this anger and frustration is it was foretold by someone who had to deal with it as long as I did and right down to what it was over about. Picking someone relatively insignificant to fawn over. It was a pattern, that apparently has been going on since childhood and I was warned again more recently, another deathbed confession of sorts. So today, one might think I would apologize for my actions; hell, I always have, but no, today, I'm going to stand firm and there is not a single regret and there won't be. Ever!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Quickie Review -The Salt of The Earth

I realize that we all view the world very differently and that art, in all of its many forms is subjective, but there is something about art that we own. We can view a film, a painting, a sculpture or music and writing in any way we see fit, and yes, we can own it. Not in the literal sense, but we can insert our own values, our own experiences and our own heart into it and make it mean anything we want. This, and only this, is why photography is different. We can relate a memory of a tree, a bridge or a cloud and possibly, just possibly we can own the same feeling as the person who stood on a hilltop and snapped that picture, but we can not, ever, own a portrait or a photograph of a person. Their entire life (or death) might be represented in that photograph and it is theirs. To believe that someone could take this, in their lowest moment, in their final breath, or even after and succeed, because of it, is disheartening. Don't you think?

In Wim Wenders' documentary on the life of Sebastio Selgado, we are introduced to one of the most famous living professional photographers. It is very important that we understand, that this man does not have a love of photography, this is never even roughly intimated in the film, he has a love for success. A burning desire to achieve, the perfect shot. He doesn't come about these pics by chance, but they are carefully constructed and framed, something we are shown in a ridiculous attempt to avert the attention of a polar bear. The movie starts with magnificent shots of gold mines in South America and we learn what these men have to endure...right after we hear what our brave subject had to endure. We learn of his not eating, because he was naive, with a pocket full of money. We learn his wife bought a camera and he took it and snapped photos all day. We learn his wife gave birth and he took off for months at a time, missing his child's youth. We learn about his second child's defect and how it affected he and his son. Then we learn about the camps in Rwanda and how these people fled their country....and then we learn "I went back." As if his business there were permanent. The entire movie is about the plight of humanity and not a single sentence starts with anything, but the word I.

If you like this for the aesthetics, I understand. If you're impressed and revere the man, I have as much respect for you, as I do for him. I get we admire what we view as greatness, but how great is asking someone who has slaved, and I do mean slaved, in the hot sun all day, to stand with a church, in the background, so you can post this picture in a book, then write a caption of the people's faith? Very rarely am I so disgusted by another human being, even those who commit atrocities, but this man's gloating, almost poetic recollections of other's plight and how he was there. How he with his camera, captured that moment, framed it just so, that the dying man's face, is perfectly placed, to show the disease he will die that night from, in comparison to his young widow-to-be's. I am still sickened and sadly, couldn't find anything through web searches that praise the man for either his philanthropy or his endeavors to help other than to say "some of the proceeds...."

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review: Ex Machina - Stop Calling It A "Smart" Film

Did this movie follow the sci-fi blueprint a little too closely. Introduce some people who will speak in a foreign tongue about technology, then add the technology to the equation. Have a debate about whether or not the human is leading the computer or vice-versa. Then have the human show compassion and empathy when he/she is tricked into thinking the computer has shown those emotions. Show graphic nudity of women who fit society's view of perfect, then end with the computers turning on the humans and proving that we may just outsmart ourselves. This has been beaten to death, almost as much as zombie movies.

I think the biggest problem I had with this picture, other than Oscar Isaac's always mediocre acting abilities, is that a movie I saw two weeks ago, The Machine was much better. Not only that, but being that it was made two years ago, I can't believe aspects weren't ripped directly off. Down the robots name. I also have an immense gripe with all sci-fi movies and that is, they aren't nearly as complex as they think they are. If you ignore the code lingo, AI keywords and don't get hung up on the beautiful girl (you'll get it, if you've seen this), you'll see they're all very simplistic. This one, is not only simple, it's almost dumb. I don't know how carefully people watched, but there is a major plot hole from the very first moment and the red herrings are everywhere. This film has a fatal flaw, that is becoming all too common in movies. Any knowledge of name meanings, will tell you everything you need to know and what each character's result will be. Even worse, is when the movie's title is a reveal of the ending, in this case, literally and figuratively.

The only positive thing I can say about this (and yes, I know I'm beating this drum to death), but I know just the types of people who will like this. People who are easily persuaded by people they view as authoritative, people who read or hear positive reviews from people they admire, then see the movie in that exact same light and people who are told it's a smart movie and can't wait to tell people who already think they are bright, that it's a good movie. Aside from those types, I can't see an intelligent person coming out of this, not at least somewhat let down by the obvious course, the silly script, the all to obvious symbolism and the dulling pace.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Free Writing - Take 90

I just filled out a questionnaire that I plan to post as a blog. It's about movies and I'd love it if anyone else posted their version. I don't think people understand what it is like not to have anyone to discuss movies with. For me it's like not being able to tell someone how your kids recital went or how your new job is going. It's one of the few things that brings me such incredible joy, but I'm alone with it. I have friend on Twitter I can say a thing or two about a film here or there, but it's not the same. I have one friend I e-mail and one on Facebook, but it's not the same as being in the same room and having the conversation take all kinds of directions, but most likely ending at the beginning, many times, with no resolution and only more questions. I am approaching my 200th movie of the year and it's only mid July. How many will I end up seeing? I've actually slowed down considerably and at one point had seen more than days had past, but then a slow week in March and then another one last month. So now it's time to sleep. I wish I still had dreams, but since I debunked their value, I've not had a single memorable one. Maybe tonight.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Awareness

Maybe it's because I always explore what people mean when they say or write things. Maybe it's my interest in where things come from, thoughts, moods, opinions. I've always been able to sift through the facade people put up and see their true words, sometimes finding that they aren't aware themselves. We love catching people in Freudian slips and oohing to embarrass them, but that isn't what I mean. I mean being aware. I'm painfully aware of my surroundings. I've been so for a long time and maybe it's that I like to cherish the things that might make me remember something, with senses other than just sight.

A few weeks back, I may even have written about it, I smelled a floral bouquet and it reminded me of a scent someone used. It was in a body wash or some other after bath gel, but it was something I became quite fond of, even if I never said. Then the other day I saw a shadow on the wall and it reminded me of a time when my insomnia started. The memory wasn't of a pleasant time, but it took me back to ones that eventually were. I think over the years my awareness has done more harm than good. I've suspected children who were beaten, some worse and I can't always say, because that uncertainty can be costly.  The one thing I have noticed with this acute sense, is how little it affects others. I am absolutely amazed at how unaware people are of what they say and do, even regarding the most seemingly insignificant things.

Maybe it's sheer pettiness or maybe it's an unconscious shout. A written page, masked in an ode to someone gone, but merely a cry for someone much different to return. The inability to check what is needed, even when it stares at you, possibly falling into your hands. Empty containers, not jiggled before a shop, then the incessant whine of how someone forgot. The question isn't how did you forget, but how do you never check? The purposeful waste, because it gets a rise, but is it my disdain for spoiled food or my incredible disdain for passive aggressive behavior that brings this on? Like I've written before, this irony in writing this, but when your words and your feelings are ignored, you're left with little choice.

But then, the real issue. How far are you willing to take it. Choosing the admiration of some sniveling twit over the love of your family is one thing, but to then bring others into it. To have them turn against someone, because you're too weak to admit your failures. That's what bothers me and makes me wonder; how the mere attention of a pet, who simply craves affection and food, can turn someone so cruel.  Or is it something else? Is it simply a lack of any understanding of what is happening? A breakdown of coherent thought? Is it possible, the door left open for the animal to wander off wasn't done on purpose and maybe it's something physiological? It's not the first time doors are left unlocked, lights on, TVs, screens left open with damning verse and romantic overtures that were denied months back. Those usually pair with the stench of some brandy and whatever else was guzzled down to make the distance shrink.

And I am stuck, hobbling around, viewing half of this by mistakes after mistake, but how many mistakes before I start to really wonder, if this is for real or all part of a plan. If turning me away is the desire, it's not only been effective, but it's set in stone. I'm aware now, after months of reflection of how selfish people I've trusted have been. I ended my life, as I knew it, to care for another, while others lead their lives as always. Never once seeing the struggle, consumed with how illness impeded their own comfort. I'd be lying to call it an epiphany, because self-centered behavior doesn't just appear. It's been there since my first memories, but I thought it normal, like so many I know respond to a wooden spoon or leather belt with nostalgia, my beatings were different, merely forsaking my own happiness for someone else's. I'm aware now and just waiting for that door to be left open for me, with no responsibility for another's comfort holding me back. It must be nice to live, never ever being aware of others. I need that, if even just for a bit, but then someone else will call and I won't be able to turn my back and the worst part is, they know it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June Movies

I slowed down quite a bit in June. Lots of reasons, but mostly my mind has been in a negative place and I don't enjoy watching movies when I'm in a bad mood. That being said a few gems this month snapped my out and despite watching three movies that are deemed to be in the top ten off all time (Tokyo Story, Man with a Movie Camera, The Rules of the Game), the best movie I watched all month was A Separation. I'll probably put it in the top 2 of the past five years and definitely in my top 50, maybe even 40, ever.

  1. Warrior - Hardy and Edgerton are sensational as brothers fighting for very different reasons.
  2. Oldboy (Original) - Re-watched. Still one of the greatest films ever made.
  3. John Wick - One of those movies which may be so bad that it's good. Hint: It's not.
  4. Afflicted - Found footage road trip turned vampire tale. If you don't mind the fatal flaw it's fun.
  5. Borgman - Danish psychological "horror" looks at class systems with a devilish twist.
  6. Tokyo Story- Ozu. Family. Simplicity. Brilliance in every facet of film making imaginable.
  7. Hot Girls Wanted - Disgusting, exploitative doc about amateur porn. Praised by Sundance???
  8. Army of Darkness - Campbell is great in over-the-top third part of silly horror trilogy
  9. Wadjda - First female directed Saudi film is beautiful, with incredible acting by young lead.
  10. Willow Creek - Easily one of the 2 or 3 worst movies I've ever watched.
  11. Man with a Movie Camera - Considered one of the greatest of all-time, but the music???
  12. American Sniper - If FOX was in charge of military recruitment videos, this would be it.
  13. The Past - Flawed, but superbly made drama of three lives, hindered from moving on.
  14. Leviathan - Brutally slow Russian tale,  ruined by its simplistic, monotone nature.
  15. Kill, Baby...Kill - Bava's masterpiece is atmospheric, but the acting takes away so much.
  16. The Sunset Limited - Cormac McCarthy's disheveled play, misses on every mark.
  17. Timbuktu - Weak subplots, subtitle alignment and flow, kills beautiful moments. 
  18. The Guest - Awful script, plot and acting equal an all-time worst nominee.
  19. Late Phases - Pulls no punches. Goes from start to finish with just a fun, well acted story.
  20. Deep Blue Sea - Re-watched - One of my ultimate guilty pleasures.
  21. Mother - Korean award winner didn't do it for me. All been done before and better. 
  22. A Separation - Iranian masterpiece. One of the most perfect films ever made. 
  23. The Rules of the Game - Renoir's acclaimed masterpiece inspired the craft, but not this viewer.