My Movie Life
November 22nd - December 19th, 2015
From the Barnes & Noble November Criterion Sale, Jean-Luc Godard's Band of Outsiders and Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox are now on my shelf.
Dir. Nicolas Winding Refn, 2011
This damn movie has eluded me for four years now, and I finally saw it. And what a film it is. So full of style and violence and just...cool. It is magnificent to look at. And that Cliff Martinez score though. Seriously, I can't say this film is a major masterpiece, like some have, but it is an interesting character study and throwback to a time when movie audiences could deal with the strong, silent type, a hero, so to speak, who doesn't have to scream and yell and blow shit up. He just wants what he wants and goes after it. ★★★ 1/2
Dir. Lenny Abrahamson, 2015
Both Brie Larson and young Jacob Tremblay are primed for Oscar noms, it seems, and Room is quite an emotional experience, a movie that really works but won't be one I'll re-watch much. Click here for the full review. ★★★ 1/2
Dir. Tom McCarthy, 2015
Not sure if he's much in the conversation, but I'd like to see Ruffalo get nomination here. The dude is proving, year after year, just how good he is. He is great here. And this is one of the year's perfect movies. Click here for the full review. ★★★★
Dir. John Ford, 1956
I thought this would be the one. Alas, I'm still hoping to find a classic Western that really grabs me. Of the few I've watched recently, this one is easily the best, but I just zone out and lose track of the story and end up slogging through. This is a gorgeous movie to look at, the colors so crisp, perfect shot compositions (see above). Maybe I just want more than I'm ever gonna get. ★★★
Picnic at Hanging Rock
Dir. Peter Weir, 1975
OMG!! Not an abbreviation I use, so it is not used lightly here. I absolutely loved this bizarre piece of Australia. I lost track of my Blind Spot series this year, bowing out on even watching my chosen films in September, October, and November. This was my original December Blind Spot pick, and I did it. Full post coming soon... ★★★★
What We Do in the Shadows
Dir. Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, 2015
I've begun my trek back into The Year in Movies, 2015, starting with this absolute gem of a comedy. Taking both the mockumentary form and the vampire film to new heights, Kiwi geniuses Jemaine Clement (of Flight of the Conchords fame) and co-writer/director/star Taika Waititi have really delivered a special film here that many many more people should've seen...er...should still see. I laughed literally non-stop. This movie was made for me...instant quotable classic and will easily make my Top Ten of 2015. ★★★★
Pitch Perfect 2
Dir. Elizabeth Banks, 2015
My comedies of 2015 trek continued with the follow-up to the 2012 smash and willfully admitted guilty pleasure for yours truly, Pitch Perfect. Just the same, I loved this movie. Okay. It's NOT a good movie. In fact, it is preposterous on most every level, but I'm glad to say that there is no puking in this one and the pop song a cappella mash-ups are even better than in the first. Nice addition in Hailee Steinfeld (of True Grit fame) all grown-up and ready to move this franchise forward. Also a great touch of casting is Keegan-Michael Key as Beca's (Anna Kendrick) new boss. Dude is perfect. ★★★
Dir. Paul Feig, 2015
I think it may have been a bad move to cap off my weekend of 2015 comedies with this one. I was on a silly high from Pitch Perfect 2, and this movie just didn't grab me at all. Instead of comedy in the vein of Feig's previous work with Melissa McCarthy, including the brilliant Bridesmaids, we essentially just get a full-on spy movie here. I don't know what I expected, but the tonal shifts, praised by most, didn't work at all for me. I pretty much quit watching and played on my phone about 1/3 of the way in. ★
A League of Their Own
Dir. Penny Marshall, 1992
I have so many fond memories of this movie. My Dad took my sister and I to see it in the theater when I was a little kid. We were raised to love baseball (and softball) and the movies about it. This is one of the best. Hanks is so perfect as the drunken, washed-up slugger Jimmy Dugan, and he found his match in Geena Davis as Queen of Diamonds, Dottie Henson. Just a solid, pleasing movie experience all the way through.
Dir. Richard Curtis, 2003
Holiday Season Tradition #1: Watch Love Actually as background while decorating the house and putting up our Christmas tree. It is "actually" the perfect movie for that. I've now seen this movie exactly eight times. I pretty much know it by heart. And, how sweet and funny and even moving it is, even if all the many plot lines don't exactly work.
Dir. Pete Docter, 2015
So, I bought the Blu-Ray and watched Inside Out twice in the past five days. It is so good every time. Tears...every time. Laughs...every time. This is the truest movie of (in many senses of the word) of 2015 and is growing ever closer to the top of my list of Pixar films and best films this year. Seeing it again with my wife was wonderful. Then, seeing it with a group of 100 8th graders in a school auditorium on the last day before break was just as wonderful. They absolutely loved it. The best things about kids...they clap at the end of great movies. Click here for my full review.
Dir. Chris Columbus, 1990
Holiday Tradition #2: Watch Home Alone while wrapping Christmas presents. I saw this movie at the theater when I was six years old. It scared me when Marv took the hot iron to the face. In time, my fear turned to joy, and I've watched this movie an unhealthy amount of times since. And that John Williams score. It has to be one of his most underrated.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Dir. Chris Columbus, 1992
Holiday Tradition #3: Watch Home Alone 2: Lost in New York immediately after Home Alone. "That would've killed him," my wife says, making clear that Marv really should've died a number of times before the end of the movie. Poor Marv.
I have seen 211 movies this year so far.
Re-Watched - 76
First-Timers - 135
What have you been watching?