Supernatural, Season 3, Episode 5, “Bedtime Stories” (2007; d. Mike Rohl)
Supernatural, Season 3, Episode 6, “Red Sky at Morning” (2007; d. Cliff Bole)
I like this episode a lot. I don’t care that the SPN writers threw this one under the bus. The SPN writers are not the boss of me.
The Lobster (2016; d. Yorgos Lanthimos)
Love this movie and can’t stop thinking about it. My review for Rogerebert.com.
Sin Alas (2016; d. Ben Chace)
The first American film to be shot in Cuba since 1959. Extremely interesting, gorgeous film-making. Definitely check it out. Strong visuals. I reviewed for Rogerebert.com.
Dheepan (2016;d. Jacques Audiard)
Based on Rust and Bone alone, I am a huge fan of Audiard’s work. I thought Rust and Bone was one of the best films of 2012, and somehow … critically misunderstood or neglected. Every criticism I saw of it was a total nitpick, especially in the face of the primal power of that movie. Dheepan is not as good, but still, he’s an extremely interesting filmmaker, homed in on the marginalized/ignored/invisible. My review at Rogerebert.com.
Spotlight (2015; d. Tom McCarthy)
A re-watch. Yes, it’s a good story, an important story. But best movie of the year? Are you fucking kidding me? The Oscars always get it wrong. Always. Why people value them so highly – outside of their entertainment value – I will never know.
Force of Evil (1948; d. Abraham Polonsky)
A great film with a GREAT central performance by John Garfield. One of the most cynical American movies ever made. All of these people were blacklisted, which is a disgrace.
Supernatural, Season 3, Episode 9, “Malleus Malificarum” (2008; d. Robert Singer)
Clearly, I was starting up a Season 3 re-watch.
Supernatural, Season 3, Episode 10, “Dream a Little Dream of Me” (2008; d. Steve Boyum)
Heart-crack. Works every time. On every level. The production design alone!!
L’Eclisse (1962; d. Michelangelo Antonioni)
I came to Antonioni late. I saw Blow-Up and then nothing else for a long time. But then you get sick of hearing about him, especially if you haven’t seen his stuff. Antonioni Antonioni Antonioni … All RIGHT already, I’ll play some catch up! I saw most of his stuff in the 90s, early 2000s. I wouldn’t say he is my favorite film-maker, but he has directed not one, not two, but three flat-out masterpieces – undeniable masterpieces, works that LOOM over 20th century cinema – and these films came within a 3-year period, one after the other after the other. Phenomenal. Untouchable. You don’t snuggle up to his work. It does not reach out to you. It does not care about you at all. Antonioni’s eye is ruthless, and this does not seem like a pose, a pose of ennui and disconnection. His work came out of the Cold War and its paranoia. L’Eclisse came out the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The world standing at the edge of its own abyss. To me, L’Eclisse , which ends with a couple – Monica Vitti and Alain Delon – failing to meet at the appointed spot … is his greatest film. It’s DAUNTINGLY great.
Supernatural, Season 11, Episode , “Don’t Call Me Shurley” (2016; d. Robert Singer)
Brian Wilson and the Rolling Stones. Three references to Keith Richards’ memoir. I’m good.
Team Foxcatcher (2016; d. Jon Greenhalgh)
I saw Bennett Miller’s movie and thought it was okay. Not great, but okay. I was extremely intrigued by the story, though, and went on a Google-search to find articles, video clips, of the real people. Finally now: Netflix came out with a documentary detailing what went down. I highly recommend it.
Loving You (1957; d. Hal Kanter)
Elvis’ second movie. It’s extremely fascinating once you start to break it down into its parts, and see it for what it is: a frank attempt to deal with what had happened to the culture since Elvis arrived. It’s not autobiographical. And they get a lot wrong. On purpose. Hollywood turned Elvis into “white bread,” and they do so here too (sort of). Elvis is lovely in it and there are a ton of great songs, and Dolores Hart (who became a nun, and also was his leading lady in King Creole) is in it, plus Lizabeth Scott (who just died last year). The colors are superb and sparkling. And in the final number, you can get a glimpse of Elvis’ mama, sitting in the audience. He could never watch the movie. If it was on TV, he’d turn it off. It was too painful to see her there, onscreen, still alive.
Jailhouse Rock (1957; d. Richard Thorpe)
Talk about a fascinating film. This film is so deep and so strange. With so many great songs, and Elvis’ best line-reading: “That ain’t tactics, honey. It’s just the beast in me.” But still: weird weird movie.
Supernatural, Season 11, Episode 21, “All in the Family” (2016; d. Thomas Wright)
And here’s where it starts to go sour. With ancillary characters just standing around, entities who have long out-stayed their welcome.
Girl Happy (1965; d. Boris Sagal)
For me, this is the high point of the “Elvis Formula” movie. It’s funny, charming, silly, and 100% entertaining.
Homeland Season 1, Episode 1 Pilot (2011; d. Michael Cuesta)
I decided to give it a whirl. 1. I love spies and anything having to do with intelligence operations. My friends call me “Special Ops.” (And then there’s #33 on this list. That really happened.) 2. I “have what she has.” That’s one of the reasons why I HAVEN’T watched it. But enough people have said that they think it’s respectfully handled that I decided to give it a go. I have some thoughts on that. Yes: it is an extremely accurate depiction of the malady. Her flipping out about not having a green pen? I’ve been there. Everyone is excellent. I know everyone goes gaga about Damien Lewis. I think he’s a good actor but I don’t find him sexy and/or attractive. (Listen, men can say that shit about women, so I can too.) I am madly in love with Diego Klattenhoff. Ehmagerd, help me. Not as interested in the Brody-family-soap-opera, although Diego K. is crucial to that plot-line – so he alone makes it interesting. I’m enjoying the series, but at this point (I just started Season 3 yesterday), I might not continue. Like: I get it. It’s good. But now it seems to be spinning its wheels a bit. Not sure. We’ll see.
Homeland Season 1, Episode 2 “Grace” (2011; d. Michael Cuesta)
Cuesta, by the way, directed Roadie around the same time, and it was one of my favorite movies that year (and it was a very strong year). My review and my interview with star Ron Eldard.
Homeland Season 1, Episode 3 “Clean Skin” (2011; d. Daniel Attias)
I am haunted by the character of Reed, the main girlfriend (hired) of the Saudi sheikh. You know such women exist.
Homeland Season 1, Episode 4 “Semper I” (2011; d. Jeffrey Nachmanoff)
I’ll be honest: I am not sure what the connection is between Brody and Carrie. Maybe he’s just a manifestation of her mental illness. I get why he’s drawn to her, eventually. She knows the worst about him, and she doesn’t blink. She’s also a savior, in a way. I don’t know. Maybe the point is that when someone’s in a manic break, they are not the best judge of what is good for them, who likes them, who cares about them.
Homeland Season 1, Episode 5 “Blind Spot” (2011; d. Clark Johnson)
The CIA does not come off well, in general. A bunch of Keystone Cops. Which, according to my source, is pretty accurate.
Homeland Season 1, Episode 6 “The Good Soldier” (2011; d. Brad Turner)
So far, I’ve liked the show best when Brody was a duplicitous lying terrorist. This whole first season was a cliffhanger because Carrie does seem so unstable and you’re not sure if she’s a reliable narrator. The moment that comes at the end of Season 1, when she says, “I was right …” First of all: Hats off, Claire Danes, for the playing of that moment … and it’s also a relief because of the tension of the entire season. Yup: he really is a terrorist douche-bag.
Homeland Season 1, Episode 7 “The Weekend” (2011; d. Michael Cuesta)
The lovey-dovey stuff doesn’t work as well for me as the confrontation on the porch when they put all their cards on the table. GREAT scene.
Supernatural, Season 11, Episode 22, “We Happy Few” (2016; d. John Balham)
The whole episode was blocked like a game of statues. Me no understand.
Homeland Season 1, Episode 8 “Achilles Heel” (2011; d. Tucker Gates)
Walker’s alive, alive, alive (“Flash Gordon’s alive, alive, alive …”)
Homeland Season 1, Episode 9 “Crossfire” (2011; d. Jeffrey Nachmanoff)
LOVED the scene with the Imam’s wife in the shoe store.
Purple Noon (1960; d. René Clément)
Alain Delon is the best Tom Ripley ever put onscreen. I love this movie so much. Released by Criterion, by the way. You should get it. And if you haven’t seen it, you should see it. Patricia Highsmith said once that she did not recommend that any of her books be stocked in prison libraries. You can see why.
Homeland Season 1, Episode 10 “Representative Brody” (2011; d Guy Ferland)
Brody as political candidate doesn’t really work for me. He seems so OFF. Like: nobody notices how OFF this guy is whenever he speaks to ANYone?
La Piscine (1969; d. Jacques Deray)
Alain Delon: Pouty superstar. Co-starring with the gorgeous and excellent Romy Schneider (they had been a couple, although I think they had broken up at this point. He went off and had a child with Nico. Alain Delon impregnated NICO. This is how icy-cool this dude was.) I love this film.
Homeland Season 1, Episode 11 “The Vest” (2011; d. Clark Johnson)
So stressful I could barely get through it.
Homeland Season 1, Episode 12 “Marine One” (2011; d. Michael Cuesta)
Mental illness narrative. Methinks that the writers have studied Kay Jamison’s Touched with Fire. (Wrote about that movie here.) Homeland understands the siren song and how it operates. So does Claire Danes.
Homeland Season 2, Episode 1 “The Smile” (2012; d. Michael Cuesta)
It took me a second to understand what the title referred to. Once I figured it out, the episode cracked open for me. This is the siren song thing, again.
Homeland Season 2, Episode 2 “Beirut is Back” (2012; d. Michael Cuesta)
I love the “tradecraft” aspect of the show and of any story having to do with intelligence operations. This – plus the bipolar – is why I am enjoying the show. There’s a lot of silliness here, too, though. How can it be sustained? I can’t imagine that this has gone on into Season 5.
Homeland Season 2, Episode 3 “State of Independence” (2012; d. Lodge Kerrigan)
This episode is fucking insane. And I can’t believe I laughed when someone died, but I did. It was just so absurd!
Homeland Season 2, Episode 4 “New Car Smell” (2012; d. David Semel)
I love Virgil and Max. They are two of my favorite characters.
Homeland Season 2, Episode 5 “Q&A” (2012; d. Lesli Linka Glatter)
Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) is fascinating. He brings something really interesting to the show. I want him and Carrie to hook up. Much better match than Carrie and Brody.
Rififi (1955; d. Jules Dassin)
I love this movie so much. One of my favorite sequences in movies EVER is the 30-minute jewel heist scene done with no dialogue AND no underlying music. Just silence and activity. A masterpiece.
Homeland Season 2, Episode 6 “A Gettysburg Address” (2012; d. Guy Ferland)
I want Roya to be taken down. For that smirk to be wiped off her face for all time. I’m sorry but this one struck me as a little bit silly. The ambush in the tailor’s shop. I mean, I get it. But come on.
Homeland Season 2, Episode 7 “The Clearing” (2012; d. John Dahl)
The character of Aileen (Marin Ireland) is so interesting. A Patty Hearst type. Lost to the world. In a cult of her own beliefs. Unreachable. The scene between her and Mandy Patinkin in the prison was a FEAST of good acting. I’m also happy to see Talia Balsam.
Running on Empty (1988; d. Sidney Lumet)
A fave. As a matter of fact, it’s in my Top 5 of all time. The editor of Bright Wall Dark Room and I had an online discussion about the film for their upcoming issue. Theme of issue = Identity.
The Nice Guys (2016; d. Shane Black)
Fantastic. Loved every second of it.
Seed (1931; d. John Stahl)
A lost film, really. Bette Davis’ second film. John Stahl was an excellent director of melodramas (and he also directed Leave Her to Heaven, a creepy psychological favorite). Seed is really good and I hope that it will be made available soon so everyone can see it. It was never released on DVD. It’s never screened. It was playing at MoMA and I went with a gaggle of film-fan friends. The place was packed with 1. people who were probably alive when it was originally released and 2. film critics, none of whom had seen it. It does my heart good to live in New York in such moments. To show up at a huge theatre screening a movie from 1931, and there’s a line out the door.
The Meddler (2016; d. Lorene Scafaria)
As per usual, the movie was marketed wrong. And the poster is terrible. This is actually a poignant, well-written, and deeply satisfying film that is really really smart about grief and how it operates. I LOVED IT. See it before it leaves the theatre. You want to support “female filmmakers”? Sick of empty blockbusters? Sick of “big” summer-tentpole movies? Put your money where your mouth is and go seek out these smaller films. Or stop complaining because I don’t want to hear it. This is an excellent film.
Blast of Silence (1961; d. Allen Baron)
WHAT a film. The real-life New York locations are part of its sleazy and existential malaise. The film is a noir, of the most relentless kind. Gorgeous.
Homeland Season 2, Episode 8 I’ll Fly Away” (2012; d. Michael Cuesta)
As long as I get periodic glimpses of Diego, I’m good.
Homeland Season 2, Episode 9 “Two Hats” (2012; d. Daniel Attias)
Peter Quinn rising in interest. I really like where this aspect of the show is going. I’m sick of the Brodys.
Homeland Season 2, Episode 10 “Broken Hearts” (2012; d. Guy Ferland)
How the fuck did Abu Nazir get back into the United States? Come on. And he somehow engineers a car crash, and then pulls Carrie out of it, without anyone noticing/knowing, moving her to an abandoned warehouse nearby where he has holed up, making bombs? Come on. Stop it. And then he holds her hostage. And then blackmails Brody with that information. And there’s a pacemaker connected to Wifi. And … Come on. No.
Homeland Season 2, Episode 11 “In Memoriam” (2012; d. Jeremy Podeswa)
I do love it when Carrie figures something out. When she realizes … wait. Something is “off” here. This was a very satisfying episode in that regard.
Supernatural, Season 11, Episode 23, “Alpha and Omega” (2016; d. Philip Sgriccia)
A bit sentimental for me, especially the dialogue in the garden-scene at the end, the family therapy session but I actually liked the episode, mainly because it was a risk. Like all risks, it didn’t entirely work, but I appreciate anyone who takes a risk – especially 11 seasons in. That’s where they need to be, that’s the attitude they SHOULD have at this point, as opposed to just repeating themselves. The end of the season has been rocky (understatement, Jeez Louise, wow). And the strong and disturbing currents set up so gorgeously in the first half of the season have failed to really come to a satisfying fruition. However, and this is a big however: This season has been unlike other seasons. There’s been an elegiac mood at times, a nostalgic mood, with old issues arising again, only in a different way because they are older. Their relationship is much more secure. And because of that, other aspects of their lives can now start to take up space. That part of this season has been so beautiful. It proves the point that Sam and Dean don’t have to be in conflict in order for there to be a show. They can be in sync, and the show continues on just fine. Excellent, we’ve needed that. There has been no clear Big Bad in Season 11. From the get-go, I didn’t think of Amara as a Big Bad (I mean, you can’t consider a typhoon to be a “Big Bad” – it’s just doing what a typhoon does). And so this ending fit with that somehow. Yes, awkwardly, and yes, sentimentally, but I liked that they stuck to their guns, that the finale wasn’t, say, “And here is yet another evil entity, OLDER than The Darkness, and oh SHIT HERE COMES SEASON 12.” It was softer. Stranger. And I’m not totally satisfied with it. I would have liked more Billie exploration, more Dean-Amara exploration, definitely more Lucifer exploration. But I would prefer that they take risks, like this one, as opposed to rest on their laurels and play it safe. Season 11 has been VERY bold, radical even. And so in the finale, being bold meant being gentle. Philosophical. There was way too much talk, of course, but that’s typical of Supernatural, there’s always too much talk in the final act. There were scenes that felt “phoned in” (the one with Dean and Cas in the car. Enough with this. Castiel has no use to the story anymore. Just parroting “You’re our brother” – as Dean has been doing for THREE SEASONS NOW – does not help. Time to face the music with Castiel. He’s actually hurting the story now, since so much time is taken away from the brothers in order to follow his adventures with the United Colors of Benetton angels in heaven and nobody cares.) THAT BEING SAID. I didn’t love it, and I am disappointed in a lot of how things went down in the last episodes. But like I said, I felt they were moving into risky territory, anyway, risky EMOTIONAL territory, which is where I want them to be. (It’s been a risky season, in general.) I was happy to see Mary again and am interested in where they want to go with this. I wouldn’t characterize Dean as being a Mama’s Boy or having “oedipal issues”. Unresolved un-managed trauma is the engine on which this show runs, and certainly the structure of his entire life, trauma formed his personality. Dean will never be “over” his childhood or the loss of his mother. I’m happy to see that they might be ready to explore that again, especially since Dean is now almost 40 (oh my God, when did THAT happen?) Like: what will that look like NOW to him? They’ve been building to something like this for some time, in a gentle way. So we’ll see. There were a LOT of dropped balls in Season 11 and I think a lot of that had to do with Showrunner Chaos, which I guessed a couple of weeks ago before I even knew about Robbie Thompson. “We Happy Few” was a series Nadir, in my opinion. It was wrong on a systemic level, and I am trying to just forget that it happened, that they went that far “off,” that they got the EMOTIONS that wrong. “Alpha and Omega”, by comparison, was fine. I don’t have any huge problems with it. I’m looking forward to Season 12, but also slightly wary of all of the shuffling-around happening behind the scenes.
Storytelling (2001; d. Todd Solondz)
Beginning a re-watch of all of Todd Solondz’s films in preparation for Weiner-Dog. This movie is so confrontational. As all of his films are. I’m glad he’s out there, doing whatever the hell he wants to do.
Millennium, Season 2, Episode 14 “The Pest House” (1998; d. Allen Coulter)
It’s good to be back on the binge-watch Millennium train with my friend Keith after two months off! We picked up right where we left off and it’s good to see these characters again. This is some bleak shit, however. Season 2 is extremely strange and I love it, although I understand some fans don’t. This episode is inspired by the urban-legend-“Hook Man”. Hm. Sounds familiar.
Millennium, Season 2, Episode 15 “Owls” (1998; d. Thomas J. Wright)
Okay, so this is now getting into my conspiracy-theory-Illuminati-Templar-Knights-Mary-Magdalene-Gnostic-Gospels wheelhouse. Oh, you didn’t know that that was one of my many wheelhouses? I am large, I contain multitudes. (It was just Walt Whitman’s birthday.)
Millennium, Season 2, Episode 16 “Roosters” (1998; d. Thomas J. Wright)
More of the same: The Millennium Group fracturing into two different theories on what is coming, spiritual or secular. Digging it all.
Millennium, Season 2, Episode 17 “Siren” (1998; d. Allen Coulter)
I love Kristen Cloke so much: wonderful actress, WONDERFUL face.
Millennium, Season 2, Episode 18 “In Arcadia Ego” (1998; d. Thomas J. Wright)
Keith said to me, “I remember crying when this one first aired.” 42 minutes later, I was a wreck with tears streaming down my face. What a phenomenal episode of television. Both actresses were absolutely unbelievable: Missy Crider and Mary-Pat Green. I am welling up with tears all over again.
Millennium, Season 2, Episode 19 “Anamnesis” (1998; d. John Peter Kousakis)
Religious hysteria in a high school. Things are getting distinctly Catholic. Mary Magdalene again. My wheelhouse again. A heretical wheelhouse, but who cares. If you dip your toe into this stuff, you’ll be fully immersed in no time at all. So I’m living this aspect of Season 2.
Millennium, Season 2, Episode 20 “A Room with No View” (1998; d. Thomas J. Wright)
Terrifying. Vaguely homoerotic as well. Plus muzak, muzak so omnipresent you want to go postal.
Millennium, Season 2, Episode 21 “Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me” (1998; d. Darin Morgan)
HILARIOUS. Darin Morgan is out of his MIND. I love his sensibility. It’s not just left of center. It’s off the map entirely. The Christian themes of Season 2 have been present all along. Darin Morgan comes in and goes all Screwtape Letters on these themes. Four devils (literally) sit in a coffee shop and swap stories about how hard it is to make people go evil. They share tips. They disagree on tactics. So entertaining. Ridiculous. But smart, too, really really smart. It’s a philosophical and moral treatise.
Homeland Season 2, Episode 12 “The Choice” (2012; d. Michael Cuesta)
Sometimes things are just too heightened. Yes, I realize it’s the CIA, but come on. Also Carrie should probably be fired. For good. HOWEVER. I am enjoying the series, on the whole. I’m totally into Peter Quinn now. He’s my favorite. Everyone’s acting is amazing. I have a feeling that Mandy Patinkin, as an actor, has a hard time “losing” in any scene. He always has to be high status. Just a sense I get. Even in scenes where he’s supposed to be humiliated or wrong, he seems to resist. It gives a nice tension to his work but it also limits him as an actor. Not in a fatal way, but that sense is still there.
Art Bastard (2016; d. Victor Kanefsky)
Documentary about artist Robert Cenedella. Opening tomorrow. I reviewed for Rogerebert.com. It’ll go up tomorrow.
The Homesman (2014; d. Tommy Lee Jones)
I reviewed this for Rogerebert.com, when it came out. I absolutely love this movie. I stand by that review. It’s even better on a re-watch. Even stranger. Even more feminist and prickly and angry. Great acting. Risky. Gorgeously shot by Tommy Lee Jones. Wonderful wonderful film. I saw a lot in it I didn’t pick up on the first time.
Homeland Season 3, Episode 1 “Tin Man Is Down” (2012; d. Lesli Linka Glatter)
Season 3! Everything blown up! Everyone dead! Brody in the wind.
The Fits (2016; d. Anna Rose Holmer)
Opens tomorrow. Reviewing for Rogerebert.com.
Homeland Season 3, Episode 2 “Uh…Oo…Aw” (2012; d. Lesli Linka Glatter)
The Brody Teen Drama is annoying me now. I tried to be accepting and okay with it. But I’m not. Carrie is sidelined, institutionalized. I am now obsessed with Peter Quinn. Upsetting episode.
Homeland Season 3, Episode 3 “Tower of David” (2012; d. Clark Johnson)
Brody emerges! And boy, he looks like shit. Carrie remains in the hospital. Obviously, the show is still highlighting how the journeys of these two people are mirror-images of one another. It doesn’t entirely work for me, but these actors are both so excellent they make it work.