Monday, January 22, 2018

Starbucks vs Childcare

"I'll have a venti mocha soy skim latte and a buttered bagel. Oh yeah, and a bottled water." She asks him if that will be all, he confirms and follows her instructions to pull up to the next window. He hands her a $10 bill and she gives him his change. A single dollar and some coins. He places them in the car's compartments and drives off.

He gets home that evening and he and his wife argue about the cost of their child's after-school program. He calls it outrageous. The $200 for 17 1/2 hours a week bothers him. The $40 a day for 3 1/2 hours bothers him. The $11.43 per hour bothers him.

He leaves for work the following morning. Opens the door, grabs the quarter full cold coffee cup and throws it in the trash, sprinkles the plants with the remainder of the bottled water and places it in the recycling. Straps his child into the child safety, looks back and smiles. "If you only knew how much money I spend on you."

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Sometimes The Message Is Lost On White People

Recently, I was at an MLK Day luncheon in Ithaca and the lunch itself was to raise money, awareness and activism in honor of the man many believe to be one of America's greatest, if not the greatest, activists. The room was filled with people of various racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds, but the majority, a far greater majority than which represents the country, was white.

There were folks singers, singing Arlo Guthrie's response to Francis Scott Keys' Star-Spangled Banner, the folk classic, This Land is Our Land to start it off. Then there was a Native American couple, speaking in their tribe's native language, telling us about their land and immigration. Then a group of angry high school kids, screaming about not getting parts, because of the lack of diversity. This all ended with different groups, all of different backgrounds, introducing their workshop programs, all to follow the luncheon. Very few people listen, as they ate their free food. Privileged people, listening to those on the "stage," speak of poverty, oppression and civil rights. They clapped furiously at first, then a little softer, their muttering soon matching the volume of those with the microphone. Then we took our kids and left, off to another center, where a choice of activities was given, ours choosing play, although it did consist of an urban game.

It dawned on me, especially after living in Ithaca for a few years, that white people, especially white liberals, love being connected to activism and what they feel is action directed at important social issues, but how much they hear, from those who are actually affected by the topics they choose to champion, is very little. Sympathy is not empathy, and old adages aside, most of these people, despite dressing in homeless-chic, are walking in their own designer shoes and always have. Poverty may inflict itself upon them, but there was no life of sorrow on their faces. Then again, those who have endured it, persevere, so they hide it from their white counterparts. Many of the speakers, especially the younger ones, had anger in their voices, apparently missing the point and the message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Many quoted others, seemingly forgetting his words. At one point yesterday, I asked my boss, who was there, "Did they even mention MLK?" She paused, though, then looked up, "NO!"

As I've said before, one of the reason many whites have a hard time embracing Dr. King's philosophy, is that it's so similar to that of Jesus. In The Bible, Jesus is a very different man, than those who follow are taught about in church and if one were to believe what is taught in out culture, Jesus is even further removed from how he's depicted in The Bible. Dr. King, like Jesus, wanted those to do for others, before themselves. To do for the cause, understanding they may never see the fruits of their labor in life. To understand that their children and grandchildren, and those of their neighbors, would prosper from their work. It's a tough pill to swallow for many and as someone who has seen the struggle of whites and blacks, who do, not for them, but for their children and their children's children, it's done similarly, but with a completely different understanding of why and why it matters.

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

"Happy" Anniversary

Today, well today at around 6pm, it will mark one year since I've lived where I am currently living. To say it's a happy anniversary would be a lie, but it wouldn't be a stretch to say it's a happier anniversary.

Living in another person's home, especially a couple, is an odd situation and it's taken me a long time to get comfortable. OK, that is a lie. It's still uncomfortable. Not feeling as if the space is mine, is at times, depressing, but at others, just plain lonely. One of the hardest parts of being part of another's life is failed expectations. If there has been any lesson taken, it's that family dynamics are not universal. The things one person covets, another takes for granted. Some families crave material items, while others simply enjoy time. Without dissecting my entire existence, and that of my landlords, let's just say, if I had tried to chose two people less like me, with less in common and views on day-to-day life more opposing than mine, I would have failed. That being said, I've learned a lot about myself, and of others. To say I understand it, would be a lie.

This year has been a trying one. In many ways, more trying than others, but in some ways more relaxed. I'm reading more. Having a few cocktails when I want, cooking and laughing more, and despite it being only slight, thinking less. This is a good thing.

I'll cut this short, because of the last point in the last paragraph, but just want those who have assisted during this journey, you are not and will not be forgotten. You held my hand, hugged me and kissed my forehead, even if through a screen. You were the rocks I needed, when I needed it most. You made me laugh, when I wanted to cry and you gave me that flicker, when it was pretty dark in here. But most of all, you were present. If I am able to be there this year, and years to come, even a fraction as much as you've been there for me, I will.

Thank You!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Initiative

I have rallied for and against this whole concept of Millennials. I hate the thought that an entire generation is being labeled for the actions, or better yet, the inaction of the majority. Yes, this is how stereotypes work, but in a country where someone can be elected to represent the masses, while only appealing to 45-46 percent of the people, it's unfair. Hashtag Resist Millennial Labeling.

When does this tag begin and end? Every generation has their go-getters and their slackers. Many times, both are wrapped into one person. Yet, we always assume that the younger generation will fight to undo the perception they are lazy. Not this new generation. The new crop of 18-25 year old "kids," on the whole, are some of the laziest people I've ever seen and please, don't believe simply going to school and/or having a job is an accomplishment. They're supposed to do both and if they are only doing one, do that one to not only the best of their abilities, but better. 

And here we are. People taking off work to study, as if that's a real life scenario. Can you imagine telling your boss at 35-65, you need to take off of work, because you have something important to do, with the expectation you'll be leaving this job for greener pastures? You'd be laughed at mightily, as your desk was being cleaned out. Can you imagine coming into work and playing with your hair or discussing your hard life to your boss, as your coworkers worked ten feet away? Can you imagine routinely coming in two, maybe three minutes, knowing that the most strenuous part of the day is the first ten minutes and the last twenty? Can you imagine watching coworkers sweep, lift boxes, tables, and monitor theirs and your station, while you get your winter clothing on early, as not to make your ride home wait? I could go on, but you get the picture.

Here is where it all gets so maddening. These "kids," don't even know it's wrong. They aren't scolded and told to shut up and do their job. The expectations aren't as high, because of their generation. They have a lot on their plate. They're stressed. They didn't get enough sleep. They are going through a transition. The list goes on, not of why they can't simply do as much as the rest, but why we can't confront them, but here is where it borders on insanity. The same generation who condemns them lackadaisical work ethic, their excuses and their overall malaise; yes, the same damn group that named them, are not only the ones who created them, but, and here's where my blood boils, have decided that they should get paid as much as those with five, ten, twenty and even thirty years experience, simply because they've somehow grown up in a time of blanket equality, as long as your young and white and have a college degree or are trying to achieve one. 

I walked into a situation a few months ago, where I was the new guy. Twenty plus years of experience and every day I asked what to do, if I was doing it correctly, and offered to stay late. I've been on time twice, late once, early over fifty times. I do as much of the physical work as possible, so those who are much better at the details can do their job. They too are younger, but I realized, by putting forth a certain amount of effort, they, most already very good at what they do, started picking up their pace, which made me pick up mine. We now, all of us, but two, do in ten minutes, what used to take twenty and now we do more. At the end of the day, when we're all tired, we do our work, plus the work of two others and we do it in half the time. Some want to call them millennials, but maybe, they're just the kids of the same lazy kids who were Gen X'ers, baby boomers and whatever came before. Heaven help their offspring, because getting out of bed my be considered a sacrifice and their parents may choose to protect them from such demands. 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Not Resolutions

I don't believe in resolutions, because the idea that giving up what makes you happy, is a positive, is ludicrous to me. The idea to set a goal, means that goal wasn't something you desire to achieve, but simply something you feel you should. The idea to make a bucket list, means you have an emptiness, one that could, most likely, be filled with something small. The idea we need stuff, need events, need to rid ourselves of indulgence is silly to me.

I want to add more reading this year. I read a ton, but mostly on a laptop and my eyesight is starting to go due to it. I want to sit quietly for a few minutes a day, maybe ten, maybe two hours, and read something that isn't news or some research, based on the daily debate. I won't do it every day, just when I feel I'm falling into routine.

I want to try fasting. Not for health reasons necessarily, but to see how I change because of it. Will it make me abstain from snacking on days I'm eating? Will I sleep better? Will I have more energy? I do not know, but when I think about it, I fast, roughly, from 7pm until 5am every day. So why not make it 7pm to 7am every day? Why not make it 7pm to 7pm one day? Why not see how it feels?

I want to watch more movies this year, because they make me happy. It's something I don't share with many. I tried speaking to someone about a movie the other day. One I thought they'd appreciate the art in and they used to so very common response, "Oh it has subtitles? I don't want to read a movie." I'll keep my movies to myself. It'll be my thing.

I want to make a new friend. One who I can trust with the things I need to discuss about people they don't know. I want to hang out again. It's been a while since I've sat at a bar, ignoring the game I just had to see and laughed. I don't want to spend the money, but I need that again.

I want to move. This may not happen this year, but my old bones are tired of the cold. I want to be warm. I want to be outside. This past summer, I spent more time in the sun than in the last ten years combined. It refreshed me. I do not have the funds for travel, but this country should not bind me. I would move anywhere, but I need money. I am terrified of having the same complaints on January 7, 2019, as I have today. Thoughts are always appreciated, but so many take minimal funds for granted. I'm not living paycheck to paycheck, I'm living day to day. I'm out of favors, so the options are limited.

I want to have more days of silence. The hum of lights, computers and the rambling on of someone else's television or phone. It's a stress I never realized before. I go to speak and people look down, a beep is more important than my voice, so maybe not using it is the key. Inspired by someone's retreat, I see their glow. As if they had the best sex ever, yet, they were alone. Silent. Six days. She told of how the sounds all around us are amazing, when they are all we have. Even the scraping of a spoon in a bowl, takes on a pleasant tone. You're eating and that brings happiness without the mental clutter.

I want to be happier. I want those I care about to be happier. I've long cared about their happiness more than my own. Maybe I'll try to fast from that for a bit too. Maybe indulge my own sense of glee, not at their expense, but with full knowledge that a happy me is more beneficial to them. It's been too long since I've felt that overall feeling. I forget it to be honest. I'm not depressed, but happiness is more elusive as we age, than in our youth. It's one thing I will always envy my grandmother for. One hundred years and almost every moment, even when struggling, she embraced each day with the same vigor, because she was happy. Happy to think about the walk she'd take, the drink she'd sip and the story she'd tell. Happy to take that walk, take that sip and tell that story. Happy to remember that walk, savor that sip and smile that someone enjoyed what she shared. Must be nice to live so simple an existence and to do it for so long, but even more so to understand, her happiness was contagious.

Not resolutions, so when one or all fail or succeed, we'll just chalk it up to luck and life.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Movies of 2017


  1. Dog Eat Dog - Nic Cage in the most Nic Cage-y movie ever. Dafoe too. So bad it's good!
  2. The Measure Of A Man - Dignity and principles challenged. The acting is mesmerizing.
  3. Real Genius (re-watched) - Silly, possibly bad, but so damn likable. So 80's!
  4. Little Sister - Simple, yet complex story about surviving...life. Addison Timlin dazzles.
  5. Under The Shadow - Iranian horror blends reality, delusion and metaphors almost perfectly.
  6. The Rezort - Jurassic World meets The Walking Dead, written by the folks at Grey's Anatomy.
  7. Mea Culpa - French thriller, uses a cliche premise, but makes it work wonderfully. 
  8. Carnage Park - Solid first hour, then falters in finale. Wonderful performance by lead Bell.
  9. Victim - Short film based on Slenderman story. Felt like a live-action version of online game.
  10. Shorts: 3;07AM, JPGs, Fathom, HAM, Snap - Ham was best of bunch, with John C Reilly.
  11. Queen of Earth - Elisabeth Moss in award worthy role about woman's descent into depression.
  12. Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things - Awful, but somehow it's pure 70's fun.
  13. The Monster - Openly metaphoric tale of mother's struggle and its affect on her daughter. A+!
  14. Grizzly - 70's animal attack video. Fun, but silly. Jaws with Claws tagline is a hint.
  15. POD - Mickey Keating strikes again, Decent idea, but poorly though out with awful ending.
  16. Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter - Photography helps, but film fails on too many levels. 
  17. Bill Burr: Walk Your Way Out - Strong start, but falters, when audience doesn't respond.
  18. Shorts:  Zero - Decent, but silly ending. Puzzle - Fun, but predictable.
  19. The Collector - Nice premise ruined by repetitive scenes. Silly throw-ins mean nothing.
  20. The Iron Giant - I'm late to this wonderful animated film about friendship and much more.
  21. Ataud Blanco (White Coffin) - Argentinian horror. One of the most unsettling films ever made.
  22. Stutterer - Oscar winning short. A man trapped within himself. Difficult, sad, beautiful.
  23. Shorts: Das Rad - Rocks talking and observing. Edward - Man collects what falls underground.
  24. Howl - Silly werewolf tale, that fails to grab and plays into every cliche, with no message.
  25. Short: Mr. Hublot - Brilliant film about a recluse with OCD and what makes him break.
  26. Sing Street - While not as deep as similar films, it hits every mark it aims for. Pure fun!
  27. Voice Without A Shadow - Early Seijun Suzuki. This noir, shows his style and early promise.
  28. The Handmaiden - Chan-wook Park's beautifully, bold tale excels. Chemistry is amazing.
  29. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Re-watched) - Still one of the greatest of all-time.
  30. Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre - It was that kind of night. Funny, but not that funny!
  31. American Experience: Leopold and Loeb - Well done, but nothing new.
  32. Jim Norton: Mouthful of Shame - Norton takes taboo subjects and makes them funny.
  33. The Warlords - Epic tale starring Jet Li. Starts strong, but becomes repetitive and cliche.
  34. Ten - Abbas Kiarostami allows Mania Akbari to define being a woman in modern day Iran. 
  35. Train to Busan - Rarely does a horror film surpass the hype. Nothing new, but excels.
  36. The Invitation - Interesting premise plays out almost exactly as predicted. Silly "twist."
  37. Dave Chappelle Netflix - Two parts, each perfectly crafted and somehow allowably offensive.
  38. The Phoenix Tapes '97 - Found footage stays true to footage, but boring, silly finale.
  39. Frailty (Re-watched) - A nearly perfect little thriller. Paxton also directed. He is sorely missed.
  40. Phantom Of The Theatre - Beautifully to look at, but I lost interest quickly. Just misses mark.
  41. Eat - Psychological horror that is pretty gross, but is just witty enough to work.
  42. Shorts: In This House - Demonic possession with a twist. Baby Monitor - Silly Scenarios
  43. Ghost In The Shell (1995) - The most complex "cartoon" ever made? Amazing in every way.
  44. The Eyes Of My Mother - Artsy but, can't hide the torture porn simplicity. Dull and uninspired.
  45. Destiny - Fritz Lang's classic, may not be his best, but the impact on the craft is evident.
  46. The Third Man - More style than substance, with humor pushing it along. That ending though!
  47. The Windmill - Run-of-the-mill (pun intended) horror with some nice little twists.
  48. Kubo and The Two Strings - One of the greatest animated films ever made! 
  49. Hero (re-watched) - One of the most beautiful movies ever made and a top 10 ending.
  50. The Greasy Strangler = Easily one of the strangest, and worst, movies ever made.
  51. Short: Escape - Very short anime is beautiful, but rather pointless in its short form.
  52. The Childhood Of A Leader - Superb acting and brilliant score overshadows odd, weak ending.
  53. Gozu - Takashi Miike channels his inner David Lynch for this one. Weird. Weird. Weird.
  54. Midnight In Paris - Woody Allen's most beautiful and charming film. Art lover's homage.
  55. Despicable Me - Boring, run of the mill kiddie flick, with nice ending. Minions are annoying.
  56. The Jungle Book - Not as much fun or as uplifting as some remakes, but gritty tale.
  57. Mifune: The Last Samurai - Average documentary, lifted by subject matter and wonderful clips
  58. Over The Garden Wall - Not the best, but fun animated tale with obvious messages. 
  59. Cloverfield - One of the worst horror movies ever made and it's found footage. UGH!
  60. Home - Animated film about girl love, family and friendship. Jim Parsons' voice is grinding.
  61. Delhi Safari - Overly drawn out and unnecessary violence, but a good message,
  62. Zombie Dawn - Awful micro budget horror, with hilariously serious narration.
  63. Manchester by the Sea - Don't believe the hype. Williams is only bright spot. Awful script.
  64. Frozen (again) - Great music, but awful movie with worse message for little girls.
  65. Imprint - Seriously low budget. Native American crime thriller is an absolute bore. 
  66. Bruges La Morte - Attempt to be artsy is more annoying than anything else. Horrible.
  67. Hector - Everything Manchester by the Sea tried to be. Mullan pulls it through it's weaknesses.
  68. Tokyo Tribe - Japanese, Hip-Hop, Gangster film. Somehow it not only works, but well!
  69. Norm McDonald: Hitler's Dog, Gossip and Trickery - Rather steady, but at times, pure gold! 
  70. The Birth of Sake - Documentary tries to romanticize, but there's no history. Odd approach.
  71. Denial - Poor writing, directing and editing, but acting is stellar. Could have been great.
  72. Kill Ugly TV - I may have completely misread this film, but found it extremely deep.
  73. Tag - Insane Japanese film combining over-the-top horror with a strong feminist message.
  74. The Similars - Mexican homage to The Twilight Zone. Too drawn out and never really clicks.
  75. Hunt For The Wilderpeople - Amazing funny, touching story, with some serious cast chemistry.
  76. Jim Gaffigan: Cinco - Not his best, but quite a few laugh out loud moments.
  77. The Kid (Re-watched) - Charlie Chaplin's classic comedy still packs an emotional punch
  78. Monsters - Gareth Edwards low budget monster film attempts to say a lot. Fails miserably.
  79. Sherlock: Season 4 - Possibly the best season in one of the greatest TV series' ever
  80. The Girl With All The Gifts - New take on zombies. Lags often, but ends spectacularly. 
  81. Citizen X (Re-watched) - One one of the most underrated films ever made. Cast shines!
  82. The Blackcoat's Daughter - Atmospheric garbage by Oz Perkins. Oddly, the acting is top notch.
  83. Black Belly Of The Tarantula - Giallo. Beauties and young Gianinni. Works, but a bit boring.
  84. Sarah Silverman: A Speck Of Dust - Her delivery is like no other and it works magnificently. 
  85. Headshot - It's no Raid: Redemption, but unreal action and violence and non-stop energy.
  86. The Image (short) - Young David Bowie as painting comes to life, with It Follows vibe. 
  87. The Keepers (series) - Strong start, but too much staged dramatization, hurts message.
  88. Blondie's New York - Doc about making of Parallel Lines. Very good and personally important.
  89. Dead Silence - Horrible James Wan film about dolls, spirits and bad script writing.
  90. In The Mouth Of Madness - Solid Carpenter, starting to feel dated. Uneven Sam Neill.
  91. I Am Not Your Negro - Powerful! Baldwin's tale is infuriating in that we've not come very far.
  92. Carnival Of Souls - The version I saw was colorized and this film needs to be in B&W!
  93. The Salvation - Fun, if not silly Western, with marvelous and good looking cast.
  94. The Addiction - Abel Ferrara's 90's vampire flick is a metaphor for everything. Lili Taylor A+
  95. DePalma - Wonderful doc about the director's life in film, his success and many failures.
  96. The Lodger - Silent Hitchcock didn't work for me, other than in it's use of light.
  97. Little Dieter Needs To Fly - Herzog doc that became Rescue Dawn. Painfully dull.
  98. The Snare - Pretty people lose it. We've seen it before. Tries to be cerebral, but fails.
  99. The Void - Homage to Carpenter, Lovecraft and others, suffers from style over substance.
  100. Human Lanterns - Shaw Bros do a martial arts horror movie. Beautiful, but boring.
  101. The Last Man On Earth - Vincent Price as The Omega Man. Dull, rushed, but effective.
  102. Teheran Taxi - Jafar Panahi's Taxi is a beautiful, funny and powerful look at Iran's daily life.
  103. Master Of The Flying Guillotine - Rewatched one of my all-time favorite Kung Fu films
  104. What the Health - Food Doc. Follow up to Cowspiracy. Much better and scary in many ways.
  105. Julie: Old Time Tales of the Blue Ridge - Short film chronicles woman's life. Wonderfully done
  106. Caged Bird & Airborne - Shorts on Youtube. Del Toro produces beauty and zombie kangaroos.
  107. Antarctica: Ice and Sky - Brutally boring. Sad, because it should be fascinating and important.
  108. Once Upon A Time In Anatolia - Beautifully shot. Powerful. What movies should be!
  109. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - I wanted to like it, but it was bad in every way.
  110. Shame - Being a Bergman classic, I expected more, but Nykvists cinematography is tops.
  111. Here Alone - Zombie movie, but so much more. One of the best horror movies in years.
  112. Rashomon - Re-watched Kurosawa's masterclass in storytelling. A true game changer.
  113. Colours Trilogy: Bleu - Binoche dazzles in visually and musically dazzling Kieslowski film
  114. Colours Trilogy: Blanc - Suffers from dull plot, but makes its point. Just didn't click for me.
  115. Colours Trilogy: Rouge - The best of the three. The clever duality and Irene Jacob shines.
  116. Election - Johnnie To's triad film feels like a weak homage to Goodfellas and alike.
  117. The Spirit Of The Beehive - Second viewing and easily the most complex film I've ever seen.
  118. The Gospel According To St. Matthew - Biblical tour de force from Pasolini. Beautiful.
  119. The Devil's Candy - Solid acting and decent story gives way to horribly silly climax.
  120. Lifeboat - Re-watched. In my opinion, Hitchcock's greatest film.
  121. Strasek, de Vampir - Ode to Dreyer's Vampyr, it looks good in B&W, but fails miserably.
  122. Come and See - Klimov's war film is unlike any other. Viscerally shocking, haunting film.
  123. Gojira (Godzilla) - The original still resonate with it's anti-war message. Maybe more today.
  124. El Topo - The weirdest movie I've ever watched. Jodorowsky is insane.
  125. Ghostbusters (2016) - Exceeded not only expectations, but its predecessor. Yes, I said it!
  126. No Estamos Solos aka We Are Not Alone - Well done, but typical and predictable. Nice finale.
  127. Le Silence de la Mer - Melville's visuals accentuate the silence of all, but one character.
  128. Drunken Angel - It's impossible to believe this was Mifune and Kurosawa's first collaboration.
  129. The Autopsy of Jane Doe - Great cast can't save this. Absolutely awful.
  130. Kanal - Wajda's film develops so many characters, so quickly. Shot beautifully, despite themes.
  131. The Darjeeling Limited - First Wes Anderson film I hated. Truly awful. 
  132. Raw - Average throughout, leading towards boring, but excels in its finale.
  133. Logan - One of the better superhero/comic movies ever. Great action and stands on its own.
  134. Armageddon - Re-watched. So silly, but still a fun movie.
  135. Delta Force - Re-Watched. So campy and very little Chuck during the first half.
  136. Hounds of Love - Good, but disturbing film about domestic violence and kidnapping. 
  137. Don't Breathe - Great idea, fails with lack of tension and ridiculous side story and finale.
  138. Top Of The Lake: China Girl - Impossible to top the original series and doesn't come close.
  139. Split - Shymalan's vision comes to life thanks to McAvoy, Buckley and Taylor-Joy!
  140. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter - More of the same starts to fade, but loved the conclusion.
  141. Woman In The Dunes - Beautiful, haunting and erotic. A film that lingers inside you. 
  142. Peur(s) Du Noir - B&W Animated vignette. Stories are good, but animation is the draw.
  143. Rififi - Sadly, the DVD wouldn't let me finish the movie, but at that point, I stopped caring.
  144. A Dark Song - Nicer to look at than to watch. Worth seeing, but nothing special.
  145. Cria Cuervos - Wonderful acting, but this anti-Franco allegory didn't work for me.
  146. It Comes At Night - Horror fans will hate it, but it's as complex and layered as it gets.
  147. The Babysitter - Samara Weaving is beautiful, but this film struggles with what it wants to be.
  148. Arrival - Amy Adams not being nominated for an Oscar will go down as an all-time snub.
  149. The Steamroller And The Violin - Early Tarkovsky with hints of the classic, The Red Balloon.
  150. Alien: Covenant - It's as bad as you've heard. One of the worst scripts of all-time.
  151. Stranger Things 2 - Worth the binge watch, but pales in comparison to season 1. Still solid.
  152. Letter Never Sent - Surguy Urusevsky's cinematography makes up for dull plot.
  153. Samurai I - Inagaki trilogy begins. Mifune is wonderful, but the story drags.
  154. Samurai II - Slightly better than original, but mostly due to enhanced cinematography.
  155. Samurai III - My favorite of the trilogy. While hardly great, these film's impact is irrefutable.
  156. Patton Oswalt: Annihilation - Tight routine, with poignant and hilarious segment about loss.
  157. Get Out - Starts strong, but disjointed writing, odd shift in tone and horrible ending fails.
  158. War for the Planet of the Apes - The best since the original 1968 film. Sans ending, better.
  159. Capture Kill Release - Decent found footage, completely running on lead actress's insanity.
  160. I Live In Fear - Not one of Kurosawa's best, but timely, then and now. Mifune is stellar.
  161. The Other Side Of The Door - Tension builds and builds...and builds. Ends up being a bore.
  162. One Wonderful Sunday - Early Kurosawa, feels like other's great films. Depressing, but bold.
  163. The Exorcist III: Legion - Re-watched after 27 years. Still better than the original Exorcist.
  164. The Prodigal Son - Martial arts and humor, with more of the latter. A pleasant distraction.
  165. Kristy - Formulaic horror, but is better than average due to realism and strong lead.
  166. Rosa - Strikingly beautiful animated short. Interesting, but needed more. Want more.
  167. Youth of the Beast - Early Seijun Suzuki is more style than substance, but so much style.
  168. Atomic Blonde - Easily Theron and McAvoy's worst roles. So absolutely terrible.
  169. Annabelle Creation - Absolutely terrible. Shockingly bad acting and not a single scare,
  170. Personal Shopper - Assayas almost makes his common mistake, but hands reigns to Stewart!
  171. Bluebeard - Breillat's adaptation worked for me. Loved the simplicity and cinematography.
  172. Eraserhead - Finally saw Lynch's "cult" classic. I wish I hadn't. Dreadful.
  173. Voyage in Time - Documentary with Andrei Tarkovsky and Tonino Guerra. For fans only.
  174. The Orphanage - One of the best and horror movies I've ever seen. So carefully crafted.
  175. Craig Ferguson: Tickle Fight - Amusing, but hardly vintage Ferguson.
  176. The Straight Story - Lynch's simple tale is taken to  unexpected heights, thanks to Farnsworth.
  177. Wonder Woman - Gadot is fun, sexy and committed to the role, but it never clicks.
  178. Loving - Jeff Nichols, once again proves he's one of the best. Ruth Negga is brilliant.
  179. Sisters - Early De Palma stars the stunning Margot Kidder, but comes off as amateurish.
  180. Star Wars: A New Hope - Been almost 30 years since the last time I watched it. Still amazing.
  181. Los Olvidados - My least favorite Bunuel film to date. Grim, with only one likable character.
  182. Bluebeard - Korean psychological thriller that bites off more than it can chew. Rushed ending.
  183. Black Christmas - Cult classic stands up thanks to lovely Hussey and Kidder. Great Saxon!
  184. The Grandmaster - Wong Kar-Wei's film is aesthetically wonderful, but lacked fluidity. 
  185. The Sacrifice - Tarkovsky's finale will leave even his most devout fans, scrambling for words.
  186. The Big Doll House - 70's sexploitation has Pam Grier, a bevvy of beauties and young Sid Haig
  187. Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky - Documentary about making of The Sacrifice. Fascinating


Monday, January 1, 2018

December Movies

The slow year ends with only a handful of movies, but a few true gems. Tomorrow or Wednesday I'll post the complete list and my top and bottom picks and biggest surprises and letdowns. I'm always looking for suggestions and thoughts and comments on movies.

  1. Annabelle Creation - Absolutely terrible. Shockingly bad acting and not a single scare,
  2. Personal Shopper - Assayas almost makes his common mistake, but hands reigns to Stewart!
  3. Bluebeard - Breillat's adaptation worked for me. Loved the simplicity and cinematography.
  4. Eraserhead - Finally saw Lynch's "cult" classic. I wish I hadn't. Dreadful.
  5. Voyage in Time - Documentary with Andrei Tarkovsky and Tonino Guerra. For fans only.
  6. The Orphanage - One of the best and horror movies I've ever seen. So carefully crafted.
  7. Craig Ferguson: Tickle Fight - Amusing, but hardly vintage Ferguson.
  8. The Straight Story - Lynch's simple tale is taken to  unexpected heights, thanks to Farnsworth.
  9. Wonder Woman - Gadot is fun, sexy and committed to the role, but it never clicks.
  10. Loving - Jeff Nichols, once again proves he's one of the best. Ruth Negga is brilliant.
  11. Sisters - Early De Palma stars the stunning Margot Kidder, but comes off as amateurish.
  12. Star Wars: A New Hope - Been almost 30 years since the last time I watched it. Still amazing.
  13. Los Olvidados - My least favorite Bunuel film to date. Grim, with only one likable character.
  14. Bluebeard - Korean psychological thriller that bites off more than it can chew. Rushed ending.
  15. Black Christmas - Cult classic stands up thanks to lovely Hussey and Kidder. Great Saxon!
  16. The Grandmaster - Wong Kar-Wei's film is aesthetically wonderful, but lacked fluidity. 
  17. The Sacrifice - Tarkovsky's finale will leave even his most devout fans, scrambling for words.
  18. The Big Doll House - 70's sexploitation has Pam Grier, a bevvy of beauties and young Sid Haig
  19. Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky - Documentary about making of The Sacrifice. Fascinating
Top Three: Personal Shopper, The Orphanage, The Straight Story
Bottom Three: Annabelle Creation, Eraserhead, The Big Doll House
Biggest Surprise: The Straight Story
Biggest Disappointment  Wonder Woman