October 2019 Viewing Diary

Semper Fi (2019; d. Henry-Alex Rubin)
Reviewed for Ebert.

Metropolitan (1990; d. Whit Stillman)
God, I love this movie. It’s so so strange. It weaves a spell. I love Whit Stillman. He’s a modern-day drawing-room-comedy guy, and it’s the 21st century, nobody has drawing rooms anymore. But it doesn’t matter. And his WRITING.

Mary (2019; d. Michael Goi)
Reviewed for Ebert.

You Only Live Once (1937; d. Fritz Lang)
This is some bleak hard-hitting shit. A man (Henry Fonda) gets out of prison and finds it impossible to escape his past. His wife – the phenomenal Sylvia Sidney – stands by him, and “standing by him” is increasingly difficult and challenging.

Supernatural, Season 15, episode 1 “Back and to the Future” (2019; d. John F. Showalter)
Daytime ghosts. Too many people onscreen. Sam’s shoulder hurts.

Greener Grass (2019; d. Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe)
Reviewed for Ebert.

I Am the Night (2019; d. Carl Franklin, Patty Jenkins, Victoria Mahoney)
I got sucked into the podcast, which led me to the series, which is EXCELLENT. Chris Pine, man. I need to write something on him and what he is doing and how good he is. He’s old-school, and you know how I feel about old-school.

Black Dahlia (2006; d. Brian de Palma)
I was so into the Black Dahlia once upon a time that I had to take a step back. It was overrunning my life. But then I listened to the podcast (see above entry), watched the series, and then thought, Oh fuck it, let’s watch the movie. It’s not a particularly good movie – Aaron Eckhart’s growing obsession just doesn’t really play – and it feels like THAT’S the real story. But it is gorgeously filmed (of course).

Parasite (2019; d. Bong Joon-ho)
In my Top 10 of the year. WOW.

Supernatural, Season 15, episode 2 “Raising Hell” (2019; d. Robert Singer)
Still with the daytime ghosts in the ghost neighborhood?

Roll Red Roll (2019; d. Nancy Schwartzman)
Very disturbing documentary about the Steubenville rape case.

The Edge of Democracy (2019; d. Petra Costa)
So far, this is one of the best documentaries of the year for me.

Marriage Story (2019; d. Noah Baumbach)
It’s not out yet. I reviewed for Film Comment. It’s fantastic. Very upsetting in a quiet way. Devastating, but real.

The Irishman (2019; d. Martin Scorsese)
So good. Joe Pesci. Al Pacino as Hoffa. Robert De Niro and Al Pacino finally REALLY working together (Heat doesn’t exactly count). Harvey Keitel. It’s masterful, and beautiful, and mournful.

Angel Baby (1995; d. Michael Rymer)
A favorite which I saw on its initial release. An Australian film about two mentally ill people who fall in love. It has since become damn near impossible to find. But I found it (heh heh).

The Load (2019; d. Ognjen Glavonić)
This is also now in my Top 10. I still have a month of watching to go, but it doesn’t matter, not really. This is a brilliant (and gorgeously shot) film from Serbia, haunted, haunting, powerful.

Honey Boy (2019; d. Alma Har’el)
With screenplay by Shia LaBeouf, about his childhood. I had no idea. I will be reviewing for Ebert. It’s very good.

Supernatural, Season 15, episode 3 “The Rupture” (2019; d. Charles Beeson)
Bye, Ketch. Bye, Rowena. Bye, Belphebel or whatever your name is. Sam’s shoulder still hurts, breaking news.

Adopt a Highway (2019; d. Logan Marshall-Green)
I reviewed for Ebert.

Black Mother (2019; d. Khalik Allah)
What an extraordinary film. A documentary … sort of … about Jamaica, and the people therein. But it’s not really like anything else. I see a lot of movies and I haven’t seen anything like this. My favorite documentary this year.

Borderline (1930; d. Kenneth Macpherson)
A wild silent film starring Paul Robeson, and a host of other fascinating people – like H.D., the Modernist poet. It’s about racism in a small town in France. Macpherson used experimental styles, very ahead of his time in regards to montage and editing – lots of quick cuts – and it’s fantastic. It’s on Youtube.

Wolf of Wall Street (2013; d. Martin Scorsese)
I think it’s been long enough that I can safely say: This is a masterpiece.

Defending Your Life (1991; d. Albert Brooks)
I haven’t seen this in so long. It’s adorable. Rip Torn! Lee Grant!

Rumble Fish (1993; d. Francis Ford Coppola)
I say this with no irony, and no sense of exaggeration: this is a masterpiece. An art film for kids. With Mickey Rourke at his whispery scene-stealing best. A haunted Dennis Hopper. Matt Dillon scowling and skulking and gorgeous. Weaves a spell.

Dolemite Is My Name (2019; d. Craig Brewer)
It’s SO GOOD. I saw it last night and it filled me with joy. SEE IT.

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8 Responses to October 2019 Viewing Diary

  1. Have you ever watched The Old Dark House (1932)? Got around to it for Halloween. It’s fabulously unclassifiable. James Whale was a genius.

  2. Bill Wolfe says:

    Carl Franklin directed “One False Move,” one of my three favorite movies of the 1990s, and the excellent “Devil in a Blue Dress,” which ought to have led to a series of Easy Rawlins starring Denzel Washington, but didn’t. Since then, I don’t know what he’s done. It’s nice to see his name connected with a good piece of work.

  3. Myrtle says:

    I’m so fascinated by “old-school actors”. Totally agree about Chris Pine! IMO his breakout role in his first Star Trek is such a great Leading Man performance, – from someone who wasn’t yet a star! I love his intelligence. Many of his characters are supposed to be so much better at [insert topic of movie] than those around him, & w/ him I always buy it.

    I think he would fit into any era. But the 30s & 40s would probably have given him more variety of roles. There’s an actor – Henry Cavill- who fascinates me bc I think he’s very old-school, & actually seems ill at ease sometimes in contemporary stuff. Many modern “types” don’t suit what he’s good at. I keep thinking “The directors from the 30’s-60s would have known what to do with him.” He often gives very good, natural performances in period work. I think he’s a very physical actor; if one pressed mute you’d still understand exactly who the character is. When he doesn’t get a chance to establish how his character moves & interacts with his physical space, he kind of disappears.

    I LOVE his work in The Man From Uncle (the Guy Ritchie one). It’s this arch, camp performance with a mid century flavour. Something in the spoken cadence, I think. I don’t know if everyone would like it, but it’s specific work, relaxed, not anonymous like I mentioned above.

    And it has Armie Hammer doing what he excels at- playing a huge handsome guy who feels really awkward inside. Another actor people tried to cast in these millennial confident alpha male roles, and it just didn’t click.

    How many films these days allow two alpha male dudes to have a deadly serious hissing match over women’s fashion? “It. Doesn’t. Have. To. Match!!”, said with absolute murder in his eyes. Glorious.

    • carolyn clarke says:

      Totally agree with re Cavill. I loved The Man from Uncle and both he and Hammer did a great job maintaining the tone of the movie. Definitely camp but not too much. I think Hugh Grant was also so much fun. Their clothes were gorgeous.

    • Jessie says:

      Count me in as another Man From UNCLE devotee! I put it in that The Sting class of movies: witty, snappy, could coast on sheer charm and chemistry but takes its confectionary pleasures seriously enough to be as stylish and gorgeous as it possibly can be. Total crowd-pleaser.

  4. Carolyn Clarke says:

    Wow, a light month for you. You’re slacking off, Sheila.

    Agree with your comment re Chris Pine. When he can avoid the trap of being only seen as either James T. Kirk or one of the other four Chris(es), he’s fun to watch. He attracts us. I saw him in A Winkle in Time (meh!) and Hell or High Water (loved it). He seems to have the sense to seek out roles that are interesting to him and us.

    Re the current version of Supernatural, which I deem Supernatural Lite since season 13 because A. Dabb and company don’t seem to want to work very hard at maintaining its quality, I watch the episodes in blocks of three and fast forward past the boring parts in order to get the same emotional impact. It doesn’t always work but it works for me. So I watched Ep 1, 2 and 3 together. Some observations: (a) I think Sam is fully equal to Dean. He’s been allowed to grow up and not be just Dean’s second in command. (I’m not sure we can say that about Jared but that’s none of my business.) My problem is that when one person evolves into another aspect of his personality, other people have to change, too and I’m not convinced that the writers have fully figured out how to reflect this evolving relationship between them. They are clearly still co-dependent but in a different way and even this early in the season, I get the impression that it may not be both of them against the world at the end. (b) The rotation of fan favorites – Kevin and Rowena and Ketch, etc., etc., Are they advancing the story or is this just trying to give the fans what the writers think the fans want? The death of Rowena was effective, but only (imo) because of the effect on Sam. Why was Dean regulated to waiting outside the action with a hot rock? Is this supposed to be a reflection of Crowley’s sacrifice of two years ago? What happened to the evil characters of SPN? Does the mere presence of the Winchesters bring out the good in these people? I think it was Hitchcock who said that you need a good villain (a la James Mason) for a good story. Chuck/God is simply not nasty enough or to be honest, powerful enough to be scary. I’m not even going to talk about Belpheghor’s arc because everyone know that Jack and Death are cooking something up or have the writers conveniently forgot about that, also?

    To summarize, despite all the deaths and murders and killings, I still see a lot of loose ends and unless they plan to bring back Edlund to wrap it all up, I don’t have a really optimistic feeling right now. I watch SPN now because I remember how good it used to be and I look for those glimmers of depth that used to be routine. I’m going to watch until the bitter end and probably buy the DVD set when it comes on sale next year, but I don’t have my hopes up.

  5. Todd Restler says:

    Parasite was amazing. Actually lived up to the insanely positive reviews. Reminded me of Audition, sucking us into a fun “slice of life” story, and then BAM! The set piece with the kid sleeping outside in the tent was amazing, you could have heard a pin drop in the theater. That house was a character in itself. This and Snowpiercer are two of my favorite movies of the past 10 years. What a great Director.

    Defending Your Life is a favorite of mine, Streep doing “nice and normal “, it’s one of my favorite performances of hers because she doesn’t seem to be “doing anything “, just existing, yet she’s so lovable.

    Brooks has always had a direct line to my brainwaves, he’s me but funnier (at least that’s how he makes me feel!). The highlight reel of his screwups cracks me up every single time. (The sports car purchase!)

    Love that movie.

  6. Bethany says:

    I finally saw Parasite. A big part of me is still processing…in the “What did I just watch?” phase. But without spoiling anything, I wanted to say that one thing that really stuck with me was the body language and physicality of those actors. The way they skittered out from under the table like silent insects…or dragged themselves with belly literally to the floor. It could be construed as heavy handed, as far as the metaphor goes, but it was so artfully filmed that it didn’t register that way with me. The toilet scene was fantastic. So many cinematic, haunting moments.

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