Faith of Our Fathers (2015; d. Carey Scott).
A poorly done Christian movie. My review at Rogerebert.com.
In Stereo (2015; d. Mel Rodriguez III).
The second terrible movie I’ve had to see and review in June. My review at Rogerebert.com.
Red River (1948; d. Howard Hawks).
I had to watch a great film in order to cleanse my mind of the bullshit I was forced (well, I was paid, so there’s that) to watch. I love Red River so much. Montgomery Clift in his debut, holding his own with John Wayne, not an easy feat. Gorgeous cinematography. Great film.
Berlin Alexanderplatz, Part I (1980; d. Rainer Werner Fassbinder).
I went through a huge Fassbinder phase about 15, 20 years ago. I saw everything he did. (Which is quite a feat: in his short life, his output was prolific. It’s like he knew he wouldn’t live long.) I love Querelle and Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, and the television series Berlin Alexanderplatz. It’s really not like anything else. I didn’t watch the whole series this time around. I mean, who has the time, really. I love his style, though.
They Were Expendable (1945; d. John Ford).
You’ll see a lot of Wayne in this list. Seeing Hondo brought the obsession to the fore. They Were Expendable is a devastating and dark picture about a group of men left behind during a particularly fraught battle in WWII. There aren’t planes enough to come and get everybody out. Ford films it with gloom and despair: there are many GORGEOUS shots of the men walking through a particular tunnel, their figures turned into stark silhouettes of grief. John Wayne is wonderful but he plays support staff to the great Robert Montgomery. There’s a beautiful romance as well with Donna Reed: I love John Wayne pacing near the phone, waiting for her to call. Like an eager teenager. Beautiful film.
Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933; d. Busby Berkeley, Mervyn LeRoy).
A favorite. I have something I want to write about it, and I am putting it off because I can sense it will be huge and take over my life. Why do I do this to myself? A great film: gritty and fantastical and bizarre. Both a fantasy and an expression of the harrowing reality of 1933. Ending with one of my favorite musical numbers of all time. Wrote about it – and Joan Blondell – here.
Tree of Life (2011; d. Terrence Malick).
It’s been a while. I reviewed for Capital New York, right after seeing it for the first time, and you can hear my initial response to the film in my writing. It holds up. (I’ve seen it about 4 times.) Brad Pitt’s performance gets better and better. His HANDS. The whole performance is about his HANDS.
Tap World (2015; d. Dean Hargrove).
My review of this wonderful documentary about tap dancers around the world was slated to go up on The Dissolve the week it closed its doors. WHAT A LOSS. Not just personally, although I loved writing for them, and loved their comments section, but for the world of serious enthusiastic film fans everywhere. I put up the review on my own site, but almost hated pressing “Publish.”
The X-Files, Season 7, Episode 20, “Fight Club” (2000; d. Paul Shapiro)
Back to the X-Files! Kathy Griffin in a dual role. Super stupid!
The X-Files, Season 7, Episode 21, “Je Souhaite” (2000; d. Vince Gilligan).
An episode about a genie, and be careful what you wish for. It’s wonderful, especially that last scene which is KILLER. However, I can’t help but compare it to the genie episode in Season 2 of Supernatural, which is one of my favorite episodes of television ever made. Unfair comparison. Still: when you see what Mulder wished for … Heart-crack.
The X-Files, Season 7, Episode 22, “Requiem” (2000; d. Kim Manners).
The season finale. Mulder is sucked up into a UFO with a group of other freaks. And scene.
The X-Files, Season 8, Episode 1, “Within” (2000; d. Kim Manners).
I come to the series fresh, having no idea of the fan-consensus (such as there may be) about certain aspects of the show. I am also (clearly) binge-watching which is its own animal and very different from watching it in real-time. Mulder is gone for the majority of Season 8, and replaced by Agent Doggett (played by Robert Patrick, who was T-1000). I LOVE Agent Doggett. At a certain point in a long-running series, you have to shake things up – either because you are forced to (Duchovny didn’t want to come back full-time), or because you want the show to survive and not spin its wheels. Introducing a new agent into the mix, thereby putting the skeptical Scully in the position of being the “Mulder” in the new partnership, was wonderful. What ends up happening with Mulder’s disappearance, is we start to see what he meant to Scully, and her desperation to get him back. That’s what it’s all about. I’m in this thing for the emotions. The mythology is often beyond me.
The Third Man (1949; d. Carol Reed).
Charlie and I went to go see the new restoration playing at the Film Forum. I have seen the film many times, but never in a theatre. Those images. Those shadows. The tilted camera angles. The glowing mischievous face of Orson Welles peeking out of the shadows, one of the most famous entrances in cinema history. Charlie and I had a great time.
The X-Files, Season 8, Episode 2, “Without” (2000; d. Kim Manners).
Tracking down Mulder leads them to the desert, which leads them to the little genius kid from the chess competition. Agent Doggett is now the skeptic, fighting Scully every step of the way, except you can tell he has integrity as a person and wants to do as good a job as possible in an impossible situation. The intermittent shots of Mulder being tortured are both erotic (he’s naked, there’s a cod-piece-ish contraption over his groin) and HORRIBLE (his skin being pulled out from his face.)
The X-Files, Season 8, Episode 3, “Patience” (2000; d. Chris Carter).
Oh boy, Duchovny’s name has disappeared from the opening credits! And Robert Patrick has taken his place. I get why fans resented it. But I fell in love with Agent Doggett.
The X-Files, Season 8, Episode 4, “Roadrunners” (2000; d. Rod Hardy).
My guide through the Files has been Keith Uhlich. He watched in real-time as each episode came out. His is a lifelong obsession. So when we watch together (as we watched this one), he gives me background, on how it was received initially. He said that there was a lot of irritation about this episode, fans did not like Doggett’s He-Man Let-Me-Save-Scully thing. So here’s my take on this one: I LOVED it. And LOVED Doggett in this. Him carrying Scully out to safety provided a sweep of emotion! She was a damsel in distress (as she often has been, against her will – since she is such a strong capable person). But this episode provided the glue between these characters, glue that carried us through the rest of the season.
The X-Files, Season 8, Episode 5, “Invocation” (2000; d. Richard Compton).
A bit of backstory about Agent Doggett and his son who died.
The X-Files, Season 8, Episode 6, “Redrum” (2000; d. Peter Markle).
I fucking love Joe Morton. Always have.
The X-Files, Season 8, Episode 7, “Via Negativa” (2000; d. Tony Wharmby).
Third eye. To be honest, the details of this one are a bit lost to me. That’s what happens when you watch 12 episodes in one day, which is what Keith and I did in June. “You two need help,” said Dan.
The X-Files, Season 8, Episode 8, “Surekill” (2001; d. Terrence O’Hara).
To be honest, my main takeaway from “Surekill” is being a secretary at that particular disgusting company has to be one of the worst jobs in existence.
The X-Files, Season 8, Episode 9, “Salvage” (2001; d. Rod Hardy).
Gulf War Syndrome: you’d have to be a certain age to remember when that condition was in the news all the time. It brought back memories. Mulder is really just GONE now, isn’t he. It was weird.
The X-Files, Season 8, Episode 10, “Badlaa” (2001; d. Tony Wharmby).
Kind of hilarious. Deep Roy is awesome.
The X-Files, Season 8, Episode 11, “The Gift” (2001; d. Kim Manners).
The return of Mulder, whom we have been dying to see, although once he re-appears it is terrifying. Super-gross to see someone vomit that much into a hole.
The X-Files, Season 8, Episode 12, “Medusa” (2001; d. Richard Compton).
Really fabulous. Great set of the Boston subway-system. Interesting ensemble, too, reminiscent of the band of warriors in Aliens.
The X-Files, Season 8, Episode 13, “Per Manum” (2001; d. Kim Manners).
Hey there, Adam Baldwin, how are you? I found this episode, with pregnancy and perhaps false-ultrasounds, and Scully’s panic to be incredibly upsetting. Also the tender flashbacks with Mulder, donating his sperm for her, their heads leaned together in silhouette. Emotional.
The X-Files, Season 8, Episode 14, “This Is Not Happening” (2001; d. Kim Manners).
Fantastic. Scully’s performance is coming into the Epic realm.
Supernatural, Season 2, Episode 17, “Heart” (2007; d. Kim Manners).
I’ve been busy and June was, frankly, wretched. It involved a date I was psyched about ending in weirdness and disappointment, a random sexual assault (not by the guy from the date, but from a guy leaping out of the shadows, literally – I had to punch him.), the start of new meds for my loony-tunes psychology, increasing health issues involving my uterus, and a Satanic doctor who made me feel my body was worthless because I have never had a child. “Your uterus is a piece of meat. I do not understand why you are attached to it.” Uhm, because it’s an important body part and it’s part of me and whatever I decide to do with it is going to be a big deal? June felt like the world was against me. So I have not been in the mood for re-caps. I tried to get in the mood, though, by re-watching “Heart,” an episode I love. I finally got around to the re-cap.
Mad Women (2015; d. Jeff Lipsky).
Terrible movie. I’m sorry I even saw it. My review at Rogerebert.com.
Magic Mike XXL (2015; d. Gregory Jacobs).
My third time seeing it. Can’t get enough. I have written before about how seeing it was actually healing, in the middle of June.
The Last Waltz (1978; d. Martin Scorsese).
A favorite. With such an air of melancholy and exhaustion keening through it.
The X-Files, Season 8, Episode 15, “Deadalive” (2001; d. Tony Wharmby).
Billy Miles Billy Miles Billy Miles. Also Krycek, whom I love, horrible villain that he is. Scully’s future baby is rising in importance. Like, entire government agencies are aware she is giving birth. Ridiculous. But great. The return of Mulder.
The X-Files, Season 8, Episode 16, “Three Words” (2001; d. Tony Wharmby).
FIGHT THE FUTURE. Okay, dude, but how? Not really interested in the plot here. More taken with how different Mulder is, how things have changed, and the strange new relationship between the two of them. Mulder is irritated and, if possible, even more paranoid than he was before.
The X-Files, Season 8, Episode 17, “Empedocles” (2001; d. Barry K. Thomas).
Welcome, Annabeth Gish. I like her slightly bizarre character. She doesn’t really fit in, but neither does the character. Scully again is a damsel in distress, hospitalized due to stomach pains. The “pizza man” becomes a running joke, which makes me think that a similar joke in Supernatural (beloved by Destiel fans and, seemingly, despised by the rest of us) has to be a nod to the X-Files. “The pizza man” is the universal code for = Porn Plot.
Samba (2015; d. Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano).
May be offensive to some since it treats the hot-topic of immigration in France with a light slapstick touch. The reason to see it is the charm and star power of Omar Sy. My review at Rogerebert.com.
Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006; d. Justin Lin).
In the midst of a re-watch of the whole series, which I love to death. Also: can someone please teach me how to do the Tokyo Drift? Even though my car is a Hyundai, used as a punchline in the film? I need to know how to do it.
A Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina Profile (2015; d. Sophie Deraspe).
Fascinating documentary about the recent Internet hoax that dominated world news for a week. My review at Rogerebert.com.
Supernatural, Season 2, Episode 17, “Heart” (2007; d. Kim Manners).
I told you June was rough. I needed to watch “Heart” AGAIN in order to get into the re-cap. I was moving in slow motion in June, beat up and upset.
Magic Mike XXL (2015; d. Gregory Jacobs).
Fourth time. My sister and I snuck away on our vacation to see a matinee. We were the only ones in a huge theatre. It was a private screening. We had a BLAST.
I, Confess (1953; d. Alfred Hitchcock).
Montgomery Clift as the priest caught up in a situation beyond his control. Karl Malden as the determined police detective. Beautifully shot, of course. Stunning black-and-white.
The Innocents (1961; d. Jack Clayton).
How had I never seen this unbelievably creepy and upsetting movie, based on Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw? Deborah Kerr always said this was her finest performance, and now I can see why. Gorgeously filmed. Scary as hell. Psychologically unstable.
The X-Files, Season 8, Episode 18, “Vienen” (2001; d. Rod Hardy).
Inquiring minds want to know: Did they really film this on a real oil rig? It looks like they did.
The X-Files, Season 8, Episode 19, “Alone” (2001; d. Frank Spotnitz).
Scully goes on maternity leave. Doggett gets a new partner, who seems pretty meta: a “fan” of Mulder and Scully. It’s weird: Scully and Mulder are exiting the series sort of. I loved the final scene, though, with the two of them bickering about whether or not they saw a spaceship.
The X-Files, Season 8, Episode 20, “Essence” (2001; d. Kim Manners).
Frances Fisher as the creepy baby-nurse! Scully’s due date approaches. And naturally the government is involved.
The X-Files, Season 8, Episode 21, “Existence” (2001; d. Kim Manners)
Scully gives birth in an abandoned town. And holy shit, she and Mulder kiss.
Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015; d. Marielle Heller).
For review at Rogerebert.com. My review will come out next week.
The Quiet Man (1952; d. John Ford).
I love The Quiet Man. My dad loved The Quiet Man: “There is a fight scene in it that is the longest fight scene I’ve ever seen.” John Wayne in the graveyard in the rain, with his shirt see-through – one of his sexiest moments. The Quiet Man always reminds me of a really fun conversation I had with a random guy in Ireland about the movie.
Supernatural, Season 10, Episode 1, “Black” (2014; d. Robert Singer).
The start of my first re-watch of Season 10 in its entirety. I had forgotten how terrible Hannah is. She’s a bad actress, basically, and forgets – always – that her character is an angel, a supernatural being. Compare to how Misha Collins originally played his character in Seasons 4, 5, 6. He did not seem human. I had forgotten how MUCH of her there is. But, and this is a huge but: JP and JA and Mark Sheppard more than make up for it. And Cole. I love Cole. He is my Special Ops doppelgänger. Not that I ever was Special Ops, but that’s one of the nicknames my friends have for me.
Supernatural, Season 10, Episode 2, “Reichenbach” (2014; d. Thomas Wright)
Ackles is superb. What he has created here … I just wish we had more of it, akin to Soulless Sam in Season 6. But c’est la vie.
Supernatural, Season 10, Episode 3, “Soul Survivor” (2014; d. Jensen Ackles)
Quite moving, and beautifully filmed. The other episodes Ackles directed did not have all that much “Dean” in them. This one is heavy on the Dean. And he’s grown as a director and is able to handle switching off roles. In many ways, the close-ups of him in the bunker basement are among the most beautiful shots of him in the entire series. Which just proves my theory that he knows what he has, is not embarrassed about it, and lets it be highlighted to its most baroque level. I also love the derelict old drive-in, created in post-production. A lost world.