Last movie you watched

  • I've been watching a lot of good movies in the past few days, particularly Dunkirk, Brick and Baby Driver. Loved all of them. Anyway, I've been started using Letterboxd recently, I would love to follow anyone who also use that here. Here's mine!

  • Just saw Uncut Gems. I expected to like it. Hell, I even expected to love it, but I was not prepared for just much I would fucking love it. Uncut Gems is one of the most well put together films I have ever seen. The cinematography is simple yet extremely effective at setting a tone, the sound design is some of the best I've heard, and the score is simply phenomenal, creating a feeling of both familiarity and alienation.

    Sandler is an absolute phenom in this film, and I can say with confidence that nobody else would have been able to do a better job in this role than him. This is without a doubt the best role he has ever played. This is one of those movies that gives you a feeling of raw adrenalin, and even though I got the ending spoiled for me, there were a number of times when I felt genuinely nervous for him.

    I truly believe that this film is as close to perfect as a film can get, and proves that the Safdie brothers are two of the most competent filmmakers around. I give it a 10.

  • Some quick hits from the last few weeks:

    Marriage Story
    Really moving and personal story about how and why marriages end anchored by career-best performances from Driver and Johansson. I know it hasn't landed the same way for everybody, but I thought this movie was beautiful. It felt real and earnest in a way that few movies do, and even though it was emotionally devastating for me, it never really felt like it was explicitly going for gut-punches. Contrary to what I've heard many people say about this movie, it really isn't just another "divorce movie." I think the title is very intentional and very appropriate. While a little scattershot and slow at times, I think everyone should at least give it a shot. A-

    Alita Battle Angel
    Dumb and corny with some questionable acting and a script that is about 90% exposition, there is no reason for me to enjoy this movie as much as I did. I think it's objectively bad, but there's some real heart here. I hope it gets a sequel, since I think they're really onto something. B-

    Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood
    A movie I was actively dreading seeing has ended up being one of my favorite Tarantino films. He might be the best director of actors working today, and the script manages to play to his strengths while avoiding the trappings of some of his more recent work. DiCaprio and Pitt are stellar, and their chemistry kept me invested even during the slower parts of the film. I'll be the first to admit I've gotten soft lately, but the ending moved me in a way I wasn't expecting; this is very clearly a love letter to the magic of movies, allowing us to tell stories the way we wish they happened. A-

    The Accountant
    A movie so preposterously bad it was almost insulting. This movie is problematic for so many reasons, but the biggest issue is that it's just boring. It wants to be a mind-bending thriller. It wants to put a new twist on vigilante justice. It's just so, so bad. At least it gave me something to laugh about with my friend after the fact. D

    The Hateful Eight: Extended Cut
    Technically a miniseries and not a movie, this is still very clearly meant to be watched in one sitting so I'm counting it. The first 3/4 of this movie are classic Tarantino, and largely echo the opening scene of Inglorious Basterds (which I consider to be one of the best openings in film history). Then the brains and blood start flying and it completely loses me. I don't know why it bothers me so much more in this movie than all the others - the violence here just feels so incongruous with the tone of the story that was being told. It went from being the best parts of Tarantino to the worst parts of Tarantino in about an instant, and that's a real shame. B-

    Knives Out
    A sharp script and brilliant performances in a fresh take on one of my favorite genres. I was always going to love this movie. A

    A dumbed-down rendition of one of the more important stories to come from the past few years, I found this movie incredibly frustrating. Admittedly, it's difficult for me to separate my politics from my experience watching this movie, so it's hard for me to judge this clearly. I will say that even despite all of that, I found the script to be fairly weak and tonally inconsistent, and the casting for the smaller roles was more distracting than anything else. The acting from the central trio was fine, but the main highlight of the movie was the makeup team. Seriously, it's incredible how they made Theron look so much like Kelly. Overall I was entertained, but I found myself more frustrated with this movie as time has passed. C

    Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
    I don't think anyone will deny that this movie is a mess. The pacing is all over the place, the script is shoddy, the chemistry between the cast felt forced, and I disagree with many of the decisions Abrams et al. made concerning their arcs. The story felt like it lacked the conviction to make any meaningful choices, and as a result the stakes felt lower than ever. This is pretty much in line with all the hot takes I've seen over the internet the past few days. So why don't I hate this movie? I'm genuinely asking that. I love the art direction, set design, and costume design, but that shouldn't balance out all the negatives. Kylo is one of the all-time great Star Wars characters in my book, but I was somewhat frustrated by the end of his and Rey's arcs. I think I just love the vibes of this universe too much to hate this movie. I'd still take the Sequels over the Prequels any day of the week. B-

    One of the most technically impressive movies I've ever seen, I think this will go down as one of the all-time great war movies. If you haven't heard anything of this movie, the central conceit is that it is a war movie

    presented as a single take.

    While some might write this off as a gimmick, I'd argue that this is one of the few movies where it actually serves to highlight the stakes of the story. Time is ticking down, and because of the presentation, you feel every second slipping away as the story hurtles towards its endgame. Deakins will rightfully garner accolades for his cinematography here, and Mendes will hopefully be a frontrunner for best director as well. The blocking is among the best that I've ever seen in a movie, allowing you to follow the action and emotion of the characters without being distracted by the almost showboating technique on display. Plenty of films have given me claustrophobia, but few have given me agoraphobia like this movie. The whole film serves to highlight the devastation of war, and it showcases this in both large-scale battles and smaller, more intimate moments. A moment near the end is so wracked with desperation that I didn't even notice I was crying until it was done. While I think the movie struggled occasionally to pull off some of the more subtle character work, I still felt wholly invested in these characters. Please see this in theaters if you get the chance. A

  • My top 10 for the year.. I'm sure 1917 will end up in there when I get to see it but otherwise I think its pretty final.

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  • Man, everybody liked Marriage Story more than me. lol

  • I don't feel comfortable making my end of the year list until I see Parasite, but I can guarantee you Marriage Story is not on there.

  • Global Moderator

    I saw Uncut Gens at TiFF and I actually hated it because the movie made me feel so frustrated and uncomfortable but as I left the cinema I did keep saying "I think this is exactly how the movie wants me to feel" but ya... I don't think I could watch that movie again.

    Just very quick top 3. Probably The Farewell, Parasite and Knives Out for me. Maybe The Lighthouse but I feel like I still need to digest.

  • I listened to the people leaving the theater and my favorite review comes from a 60ish year old group of Korean ladies:

    "Man so loud! Always yelling. At least I did not fall asleep!"

    I think that's a masterful summary, actually.

  • @tokyoslim I feel personally attacked by this review

  • Uncut Gems
    I think this is a good movie that I just didn't resonate with. I can appreciate the craft on display and I thought the cast was incredible, but I couldn't get emotionally invested in anything because I just hated everybody so much. Too many stretches of people yelling over each other and just generally being terrible human beings. I felt exhausted by the end, but more in the "I just had to sit through Thanksgiving with family and friends" way than the "I just went on an intense emotional journey" way. I don't know. It's hard to explain. Still would give it a solid B.

  • @naltmank Would you say "Man so loud! Always yelling. At least you didn't fall asleep?"

  • Out of that list, I have not been able to rewatch Banana Split, because as far as I know it was not picked up for distro by anybody and therefore just remains one of the many films I see every year that just get put on a shelf in a warehouse and nobody ever sees again. A super sad way for a film, and the efforts and dreams of hundreds of people who worked very hard to make it, to die.

  • @tokyoslim I'm not as eloquent as those Korean Ladies, but yes.

  • I've decided to watch at least one movie every single day this year and to catalogue the days of each.

    Shadows (1959) - 7/10
    Scanners (1981) - 7/10
    La Notte (1961) - 9/10
    Madonna: Confessions Tour Live from London (2006) - 8/10
    Oldboy (2003) (4K) rewatch - 8/10
    Django (1966) - 8/10
    Days of Heaven (1978) - 9/10

    No idea what I'll watch tonight.

  • @ezekiel lol let me know how that goes. 320 or so is close to my burnout range.

  • 1917

    This is a fantastic yet gimmicky film. It’s funny because it plays out like each scene exists to make you feel tense, scared, sad, but the director has you wrapped around your finger and he gets you feeling the way he’s aiming for every scene.

    They use tried and true techniques to achieve what they’re going for whether it’s horror, action, tension. Nothing is particularly new about this film but it knocks every scene out of the park.

    My main problem with the film is that there is this consistent serendipity that moves the plot forward. The events are just as likely as a bird crapping on your head three times in one day but the bird is an airplane that happens to fall out of the sky right above you.

    There is also a major annoyance I had with this river that gets introduced in the last 20 minutes and the logical side of my brain was trying to figure out how the movie will play out taking this river into account but then the script throws logic out of the window and I wish I knew that sooner.

    It’s a great film. It reminds you that we all have it good and sometimes I need that reminder. From scene to scene everything is working: the set, the action, the horror. Hell, this movie has better horror scenes than most in the genre. That said, the lack of logic in the script at times sort of bothers me and the transitions between scenes are a bit crass.

    7.5-8/10 (can’t decide)

  • Ip Man 4:
    Donnie Yen is a dude that should be in more western movies. Not like, WESTERNS, but maybe also westerns. But like American movies. This movie is about Ip Man's journey to San Francisco to find a school for his headstrong son, not telling anyone he has cancer, visiting his pupil: Bruce Lee, and beating up racist members of the Marine Corps. I'm sure a large portion of this movie is fabricated, but Chinese Kung-Fu films have a long and proud tradition of fictionalizing the exploits of real life heroes like Ip Man and Bruce Lee. Donnie Yen's charisma is undeniable, though. And I think that made this an enjoyable watch. 3.5/5

    Little Women:
    I missed the boat on this one when it came out. I can't watch EVERYTHING. In my defense, I did not particularly like Lady Bird. Little Women, however avoids the entitlement I felt saturated the previous Gerwig written/directed work and produces a fantastic adaptation of Little Women that I thoroughly enjoyed. The family dynamic between the sisters was incredible, and the petty squabbles, and jealousies, and devotion, and love were very realistic and touching. Laura Dern who's getting a lot of awards for Marriage Story this season - may be overlooked as Marmee March in this movie. I feel like her performance is brilliant and understated, but also warm and maternal. There's a talk she has with Jo about halfway through the film that really got to me. Top notch stuff. This would have been in my top 5 of last year had I seen it in time. Also worth noting, Alexandre Desplat remains my favorite film composer and his score is fantastic. 4.5/5

  • Caught up on a couple summer movies I missed on my flight back to the motherland.

    Toy Story 4
    Inessential, but still an overall solid movie. I was surprised at how funny it was at times, and these movies never fail to make me well up a bit. It doesn't have the emotional oomph of 3, but it's still worth a watch. Also the animation was mind blowing. Holy crap. B

    X-Men: Dark Phoenix
    So in theory, this is my definition of an "airplane movie." Dumb and entertaining enough to hold your attention and keep your mind off of how miserable you are on a 13 hour flight. This movie made the flight seem so much longer than it really was. I don't get how this series went so wrong; First Class and Days of Future Past are legitimately great superhero movies in my opinion. This movie was arguably worse than Apocalypse. It lacked any compelling villains or character work, the action was tepid, and the whole movie I was distracted by the fact that Xavier, Hank, Magneto, and Mystique apparently haven't aged since the 60s. Seriously, they're supposed to be almost as old as Mckellen and Stewart were in the original X-Men movie from 2000. God, what a mess. I can't think of any redeeming qualities for this movie except for the fact that it ended. What a waste of a stellar cast. D-