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The last film you saw -- and what would you grade it
A? A+? No, It's An A For Me But Could Be An A+ To Others, Who Can Say For Sure
There's a line in this, one of Reynolds', where he says something like about how other people's observation and expectations are the cause of heartache --- I think this line is sort of the key to the film --- proving him wrong about this is what the film is about about. It's what the film is about, I mean. Anyway, good movie, who would have expected in this The Year Of Your Lord 2018 that Paul Thomas Anderson would make an erotic thriller, of all things, complete with like poison and ghosts and twists and stuff? That's not a rhetorical question, BTW, I am interested in seeing how this ties into his other work, it feels of a piece with Punch-Drunk Love (2002) to me, I really liked this film; this film may be the first film I've ever fallen asleep during that I liked even more because of that, BTW, that's not an exaggeration or a commentary on the film's pacing or something, I capital-L Literally fell asleep in the theatre and it added to my experience of this dream-y picture in a way that was entirely unexpected and I find to be difficult (absent effort) to explain. Vicky Krups (sp?) oh no, it's Vicky Krieps (who I've seen before in A Most Wanted Man (2012) yet did not recognize) was robbed of an Oscar nom, I think, the fuzzy down of her cheeks alone deserves an Oscar nom, she's like some sort of tightlipped Teutonic Julia Roberts who lights up the screen with the un-luminous blackhole of her stellar presence.
Call Me By Your Name
Armie Hammer maintaining his Jon Hamm impression from The Social Network (2010) in the beginning and then dropping it entirely in intimate moments while occasionally allowing it to re-emerge in public or guarded scenes is a choice that was well chosen, I think. Speaking of "chosen" , this is a choice Chosen People movie, in a way that feels a lil' off. What I'm about to type is far more of a received opinion than anything which emerges organically out of my own head (yuck) but, here it goes, why does Hollywood seem to only offer acclaim to Gaaaaay Movies when they portray the Gaaaaay Identity as coterminous with heterosexuality itself and some other semi-to-fully subaltern form? Gay people are gay, Hollywood, you don't have to leaven the Gayness with period-piece cowboyness or poor blackness or foreign Jewishness or, yeah, have your main Gaaaaays be all more than a little bit Straight (Straaaaaight?) too. And, how about another received opinion well here goes nothing, invert the genders of one or both of the Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet characters and I think the plot feels unavoidably predatory and creepy in a way that the film, taken as it is, makes a point of emphasizing that it's not. And, for a third trick, well, for a movie that is v. much this for the main character he sure does mistreat the girl in it! He has more regard for that peach than her! Does her heartbreak matter at all? Does her handshake have the same weight as the one he and Armie have on the beach with the statue thing-y? I think the answer to those two questions is yes, BTW, and I think this element of the film is absolutely intentional (hah hah, but what isn't when it comes to films) but, whatever, still felt off to me --- I think perhaps the way to quote unquote understand how this film sees women is probably best encapsulated in the scene where Armie Hammer dances at night in the street to Psychedelic Furs' Love My Way and also in the lie Michael Stuhlbarg offers to his son about his mother maybe not knowing.
Tom Hanks return to comedy along with an ensemble cast of modern major-to-minor comic greats like the Mr. Show team, Michael Cyril Creighton, Pat Healy, Alison Brie, Zach Woods, Jesse Plemons (actually, looking over the ImdB pages for a lot of these they aren't mostly comic actors, it's an illusion created by the presence of Bob & David and the handful of overly mannered accents that makes their remembered comic handiwork loom larger than their dramatic roles) etcetera. What even was this movie? Why is what feels like everybody either growling or talking like old-time-y people? I don't know. S. Spielberg can still shoot a p. good picture, though, and M. Streep and C. Coons both brought a lump to my throat at the end. Shouldhavemaybe skipped this, just like War Horse (2007? hah hah, 2011, feels like it came out even longer ago). (P.S. There's a tiny bit where a day player does the Mario Savio / Chief Tyrol speech and I liked that tiny bit a lot.)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Sam Rockwell character has just about the strangest mismatch between his taste in comics (and music!) and his general vibe of who he is and how he seems, but, other than that, this is yet another good entry in the McDonaghvelt, the McDonaghverse, the McDonaghetto, the McDonaghibelline.
Thor Ragnarok: B+ really enjoyed it, though it was absolutely ridiculous as well. Probably gets the highest mark a superhero film can get from me. Recognised a lot of New Zealand faces in the film. Humour was very well executed!
Currently I am watching some Russian cop drama on Netflix that is pretty good called The Method. While it is all subtitles and there is some poetic license I really kind of like this serial killer formula show from Russia. Check it OUT!
There are four movies a'bipping and a'bopping around here and they don't ever really all intertwine together in a way that feels right. It's a little like that logic problem with the hen and the fox and the bag of feed and you're in a rowboat and you've gotta get all three across to the other side of the river but instead of it being, like, barnyard creatures and grain it's more, like, the exact same kinda movie they've been making now for years and years and instead of it being, like, you, it's a team of practiced professionals all of whom earn a minimum of a six-figure salary doing this kind of thing for a living. So who's to blame? I don't know. I paid for my ticket (well, actually, I saw this'n for free : thanks, Scene card!) so it's not my fault.
Movie 1 is cosmic outerspace adventure transitioning into fish'out'of'water comedy of errors / superspy shenanigans. It's good!
Movie 2 is just a full on 'The Magician's Nephew' style explainasaurus. It's a different dinosaur entirely from Movies 1, 3, and 4. This movie is functioning as a prequel to other movies you may or may not have seen, or may or may or not have retained details of in your memory sufficient enough to understand why they're being referenced in the movie before you, and is also working as a sequel to other movies you may or may or may not have seen and/or likewise may no longer quite remember, and is teasing an upcoming movie you or may not have decided regarding whether or not you're going to see (me? I'm out. I have internal organs, I, uh, can't go three hours sitting in one seat - movie theatres in general bring out a lot of anxieties in me, I can't even watch movies on a plane for related reasons, really). I don't know if this movie is good or not any more. I used to love this kind of movie! Maybe if this movie came w/freezeframes and lil' asterisked panels stating "Hey, true believers, sweating through your skulls trying to cognify where you heard that cognomen before? No worries, Sesquiecentenarian Stan has your back from beyond the icy cold grip of death! Who could it be but none other than Ol' Blueblooded Ronan the Accuser that your pal (and mine!) Jodhpurred Jude is referring to? See the pulse-pounding showstopping conclusion to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 from way back in '14 for more, more, more! Buy it now for friends or family so, I, Stanley Lieber can rest easy in this undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns!" like in the comics, maybe then I'd like it more.
Movie 3 is kind of a sweet little semi-AAish near-metaphor in which a traumatized soldier confronts those who she's hurt, those whose she's left behind, her sins of the past, gains true knowledge of herself and commits to a course of action that will be better for all in the future. She unleashes her inner light upon her true enemy, the foes she once believed were her friends (even as the people she once thought were just out to get her, the guys she assumed were just awful frauds, are revealed to be more like her and more likeable than she had assumed : that which was once alien to her is now seen to be close and all that she once held dear is revealed as a lie), confronts her false beliefs about work, family, and God, you know, etcetera. Also, a new black friend helps her be less racist! It's kind of heavy stuff sometimes, actually, and probably the last time the, uh, cough, spit, Marvel Cinematic Universe, yuck, tried to tackle this kind of thing was maybe Iron Man III and that had equally splitting results on the end product. I usually hate the jokes in these things, but, who knows, maybe the jokes do more than I thought. Maybe this could have done with more jokes. Maybe Jude Law was wrong, like I was wrong, maybe the humour isn't a distraction.
Movie 4 is a full-on literalized commercial for flying a death machine for the largest air force in all of recorded human history, or, in a pinch, why not settle for the second-largest air force in all of recorded human history? YVAN EHT NIOJ, children!
Don't get me wrong. So much of this movie works. Brie Larson works (when the Skrull roars "raaargh" at her and she just roars back!! Yes!). Samuel L. Jackson's pixelated face works (Clark Gregg's doesn't though!? Why is that? I know what Samuel L. Jackson looked like in the early nineties and I don't know what Clark Gregg looked like then and yet, and still, despite all that, I believed the Fauxmuel CGI. Fakeson's performance and didn't believe Agent Coulson's one bitty bit). Annette Bening, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, they all work, each in their turn, for both of their respective role(s) in the story. Each one among them has to alternate between being a good guy and a bad guy and each one of them accomplishes this with aplomb! This is even a superhero movie w/out a love interest, something that seems real scarce on the ground and I thought was once a near-impossibility for the genre (quick, name one ongoing superhero narrative where that's the case - I can only think of maybe one at most and that's Joe Casey and Tom Scioli's GØDLAND), but this movie does that!
But every time I settled down in Movie 1 groove Movie 2 or Movie 4 would intrude, and any time Movie 3 would get going Movies 1, 2, & 4 would gang-up on it and beat it with claw hammers. Stop! Enough of this violence! Can't you see, Skrull or Kree or C-53, you are all the saaaaaaame!???
Captain Marvel! (2019)
Well, I had a not too bad time. It feels like they rushed the CGI a bit on this'n (appropriately enough, I think; I'm not sure it would have benefited from an extra sheen of realism - the goofy tone helped sell a lot of the deficits of the greenscreening and whatnot - still, one does wonder what it might have been like if they'd kept it on the shelf until Christmas and fixed it up proper in the interim) and the script is sloppy (Billy Batson goes to the Rock of Eternity for his first time but it's the audience's third time so we don't feel what he feels; I think we end up going to the Rock of Eternity like five times throughout, something like what feels up to half the movie is spent there and only once or twice does it really hit home for me - there's a sequence where the kids are opening doors to goofy eldritch horrors that was très bien but nearly everything else there was a snoozefest) and for a kids' movie it felt super sweary.
Still, okay. Enough of the gags landed. Unsettling to watch a nearly completely undisguised Toronto substitute for an American city but these days that's kind of par for the course.
Just to clarify, this is the recently released superhero movie featuring Captain Marvel in the title role and Djimon Hounsou as a supporting character - you know, the one that
(1) hearkens backs to an earlier era
(2) has an alien monster in it disguised as a common everyday creature familiar to children
(3) features mysterious glowing objects of supranormal power & references in the names of characters to a mixture of Greek and Roman mythology
(4) co-stars a balding British actor playing a villain whose character is initially introduced to the audience in a way that makes us believe he may be heroic
(5) has a cameo appearance from an actor who slummed a little in Yoga Hosers (2016)
(6) cuts to final credits w/a tone-breaking reference to another superhero narrative