20 September 2015

In Movie Lines: August 23 - September 19

August 23 - September 19, 2015


Dir. Greg Mottola, 2007

"I gotta catch a glimpse of these warlocks. Let's make a move." - Seth

The Outsiders
Dir. Francis Ford Coppola, 1983

Since we have our 8th graders read the classic S.E. Hinton novel to start each school year, we also do an in-depth film study. For most of our students, this is the first time watching a film as a piece of literature, studying it for tone and mood and theme, catching motifs, nuances, choices made by the filmmakers and actors. They love it. I love it. It is a masterclass in tone and production design with some killer cinematography and a classic score, even if it isn't perfect as a film or an adaptation.

"Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay....gold." - Johnny Cade

Road House
Dir. Rowdy Harrington, 1989

Watching The Outsiders with my students, I came to the realization that Patrick Swayze passed away six years ago last week. Such a sad loss from an iconic movie star. Road House for me is the best "so bad it's good" action movie ever made.

"Nobody ever wins a fight." - Dalton

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Dir. Andrew Dominik, 2007

One of the most glorious films I ever had the pleasure to see on a big screen. Pure cinematic beauty. And Casey Affleck didn't get near enough praise, despite his Oscar nomination. His is one of the finest screen performances of my lifetime. Period. No hyperbole.

"By his own approximation, Bob assassinated Jesse over 800 times. He suspected no one in history had ever so often or so publicly recapitulated an act of betrayal." - Narrator


Waltz with Bashir
Dir. Ari Folman, 2008

Finally got to catch up with this one after years. Great in its inventiveness in narrative technique. Love the animation. Love the sound design and soundtrack. All of which really adds layers to the truth vs. memory game this movie plays. It dragged a bit, even at 90 minutes. Too many digressions. 

Celeste and Jesse Forever
Dir. Lee Toland Kreiger, 2012

My little sister recommended this little gem to me a couple years ago, and I just now remembered it. Really as pleasant a surprise as everyone said. Going places no romantic comedy has dared to go before, while maintaining a nice blend of comedy and drama. Rashida Jones can apparently write really good screenplays. 

Alien 3
Dir. David Fincher, 1992

Why do people hate this movie so much? It's not as good as the first two, but it still kicks large amounts of ass. And, like its predecessors, it features the unique talents of a highly skilled filmmaker. This time...David Fincher with the film that marked his first outing as a feature film director. He has since disowned the film, which was doomed from the get-go. The script wasn't finished when they started shooting, then the studio cut it into the shitter. Fincher didn't even go back to work on the special edition, he hates it so much. Either way, his style is there. It's entertaining, and it has slo-mo shots like that above. 

Also, I'm working my way through Fincher one more time. He and his work will be featured on my next Directed by post...

The Divergent Series: Insurgent
Dir. Robert Schwentke, 2015

Worse than meh. Though entertaining, I suppose. Click here for my full review.

While We're Young
Dir. Noah Baumbach, 2015

Pretty good. I just wish it had panned out as a full story. I just didn't like where this went in the end. It's fucking hilarious though. Click here for my full review. 

Dir. Denis Villeneuve, 2013

I loved this film. It is exactly the kind of ballsy weirdness we need every once in awhile. There is no better actor right now than Jake Gyllenhaal. This is a performance in a ever-lengthening line of performances that just screams nuance and subtlety...and incredible amounts of power. Like all of Villeneuve's films, Enemy, too, asks the audience to really suspend disbelief and just go with it. It worked here for me way better than it did with Incendies or Prisoners. I am primed and ready for Sicario now. 

Hiroshima Mon Amour
Dir. Alain Resnais, 1959

He: When you speak I wonder if you lie or tell the truth?

She: I lie...and I tell the truth.

I kept seeing this title pop up among the Criterion Collection enthusiasts I follow on Instagram and thought I'd try it out. It had been awhile since I did something of the French New Wave, and I have wanted to see a Resnais film anyway. It's lovely. I truly admire this work and its complete uniqueness from others of the period, including the equally unique Godard and Truffaut. Hiroshima Mon Amour (such a great title) worked best for me in the first 45 minutes or so. The end of the picture seemed to jumble everything up a bit, which may have been deliberate, but it became increasingly repetitive and I zoned out. I loved the repetition of the opening dialogue with the images of the devastation of the Japanese city. So shocking and beautiful. And Emmanuelle Riva. Just wow. 

The Numbers

I have seen 163 movies this year so far. 

Re-Watched - 59

First-Timers - 104


  1. Really hated Enemy, mainly because it played on my fear of spiders and NOT in a good way. But my oh my did Villenueve get me back with Sicario. Be sure to see it, it's brilliant.

    1. I'm not particularly scared of spiders myself, but that last shot. Good God, man! Haunting. Can't wait for Sicario. Should be dropping around these parts in the next week or two.

  2. Great crop of movies, here. Road House is definitely so bad it's awesome. Not sure if you've heard, but Ronda Roussey will be starring in the upcoming remake. Glad you enjoyed Waltz with Bashir. I like Enemy, too, but man that's a confounding movie. Celeste and Jesse Forever sounds interesting. Need to check that out. Definitely need to check out The Assassination of JJBTCRF. Been on my watch list for years. Looking forward to your post on Fincher.

    1. I have heard that about Rousey and the Road House reboot. Why the hell not? I just hope they don't bastardize it like the Point Break remake. That trailer is pure shit! Enemy is totally confounding. I had to read some analysis afterwards and was able to sort of make something out of it that way. I really want to watch it again. If for nothing more than Gyllenhaal's unreal great work. Dude. Please let me know the minute after you finish Jesse James. I need more people to talk to about it. It is shaping up as one of my all-times, man.

    2. Jesse James is a movie I really need to see. Nick Cave scored it too I believe

    3. You definitely need to see it. Slow and long and glorious. And, yes, the score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis is the shit!

  3. Hiroshima Mon Amour is one of my all-time favorite films. So, so beautiful. I remember loving it all the way through, but it's been a while since I've seen it. So glad you liked it.

    1. I definitely didn't dislike any of it. I just got a little bogged down with it towards the end. Truly a beautiful film.

  4. I watched Hard Eight last week. Definitely one of Paul Thomas Anderson's best.

    I also watched Secrets & Lies. One of the best films of the 1990's. I'm now torn between this & Fargo as the best films of 1996.

    I re-watched The Sweet Hereafter. It is definitely the greatest Canadian film.

    I watched Billy Elliot today. It was really good, & it really speaks to me.

    And I saw Dope a couple weeks ago. Really good film. Definitely one of the best films of 2015 so far.

    1. You're on it, man. I have actually never seen Secrets & Lies nor have I seen Billy Elliot. Shame on me, I know. Dope is a title that seemed to pop up a lot over the summer, and I just never made it. Need to pick up the Blu.

    2. You've never seen Secrets & Lies? OMG, you really need to. I think Brenda Blethyn really could've given Frances McDormand a run for her money for the Oscar had more people seen Secrets & Lies.

      Billy Elliot is really good. It really speaks to me because I'm (actually) just about to start a dance class (just like the young main character), of course, without the whole UK miners strike, though.

      Dope is really excellent. You need to pick up the Blu-Ray. I saw a bunch of commercials for it when it came out, & I didn't see it, but thankfully, it came back out in theaters (to capitalize off of the success of Straight Outta Compton). The Blu-Ray for Dope comes out October 13, just to let you know.

      Hard Eight was really good, even though my grandpa didn't really care for it though. He said that "nothing was happening in the film."

      The Sweet Hereafter was amazing. I really need to read the book. The film throws you on a emotional roller coaster, filled with great acting from Ian Holm & (my favorite Canadian) Sarah Polley.

    3. The Sweet Hereafter...great book!

  5. OMG, so much awesome here.

    Hiroshima Mon Amour, Celeste and Jesse Forever, CASEY AFFLECK!!!, Enemy, Superbad!!!

    Great batch here, and the ones I havent' seen (including The Outsiders) are high on my list to see.

    1. Thanks, man.

      Loved all of them!

      I would love to know what you think of The Outsiders. I would advise watching the theatrical cut before watching the re-cut "complete novel" version. There is a major difference...major.

  6. Wow I have seen so few of these movies!! Great write ups

    1. Thanks, man. All of these worked for me.

    2. I have seen Superbad... damn it really has been a long time!!!