24 January 2016

In Movie Lines (with Snow Days, 2015 Movies, and Spielberg): January 17 - January 23

Movies I've Watched

Week of January 17th, 2016


The UPS man don't care to deliver in the seven inches of cold powder we got on Wednesday. It was enough to give me a few extra days off work though. I love being a teacher in the South. Plus, I needed it. Got the usual cold and sore throat by way of seasonal depression just before the storm. Nothing else to do but sit inside and stay warm and watch a shit ton of movies. 

Here we go! 

2015 Movies

Ted 2
Dir. Seth MacFarlane

Funny. Very funny. Not as funny as the first, but I really dig Seth MacFarlane's approach to comedy and have since I started watching Family Guy in college. The whole just-throw-em-out-there-and-see-if-they-stick approach. It works for me more than it doesn't. The sequel finds the titular foul-mouthed Teddy (Seth MacFarlane) working alongside his best friend John (Mark Wahlberg) and new acquaintance Samantha (Amanda Seyfried) to earn his rights as a "person" to marry his sweetheart Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). ★★★

Bone Tomahawk
Dir. S. Craig Zahler

Now, here is a revisionist Western that plays more like a traditional. Temporarily disabled, with a broken leg, Arthur (Patrick Wilson) finds his wife Samantha (Lili Simmons) has gone missing, presumably kidnapped by cave-dwelling savages (for real), and heads out alongside Sheriff Hunt (Kurt Russell), his deputy Chicory (Richard Jenkins), and armed gentleman Brooder (Matthew Fox) to find her. It employs a standard journey and its pitfalls in grand fashion until it turns around into a shockingly violent final act. It's a strange one. Definitely worth a watch. And I'm so glad to see Matthew Fox alive and well. I've missed him. ★★★ 1/2

Dir. Joel Potrykus

If you listen to the Filmspotting podcast, you've probably heard of this one. Adam and Josh raved about this one, an ultra-low budget super dark comedy about a small time con artist (if you can even call him that) and his tragically comic descent into paranoia. It didn't hold me enough to recommend, but it has something going on for sure. And is quite an assured debut from director Joel Potrykus and star Joshua Burge, whose Marty Jackitansky is surely one of the most interesting movie characters in a long time. ★★ 1/2 

World of Tomorrow
Dir. Don Hertzfeldt

Goodness gracious. This is a mind-bending 16 minutes well spent. It's on Vimeo (for $5) and now Netflix. You have no reason not to watch this film. It is a quick, but powerful, breath of life that follows a toddler (voiced by Winona Mae) taken on a journey 277 years into the future. It accomplishes more with little stick figures in such a short time than most movies ever dream of. ★★★

Maze Runner: Scorch Trials
Dir. Wes Ball

Ugh. When will it end!!!?? This is THE WORST of the YA sci-fi dystopian future blah blah blah crap I've seen yet. The first one was okay just as the first book is just okay. I wasn't compelled to finish the book series, and I am wholly disappointed in this as a film. It is nothing but run, run, shoot, scream, run, scream, run, run, run, run, shoot, explode, explode, cliffhanger. The end. There I saved you 135 minutes of your life. 1/2 

Queen of Earth
Dir. Alex Ross Perry

To watch this film is to watch two actresses reach depths of emotion rarely seen. It's a challenging film as much as it a challenge for its stars. Elisabeth Moss stars as Catherine, a wealthy twenty-something in the midst of several life tragedies, well on her way to a complete and total nervous breakdown. Luckily(?), it's time for her yearly R&R at her best friend Virginia's (Katherine Waterston) lake house. Through mostly close-ups of faces, writer/director Alex Ross Perry has made a film of strange power that is equal parts maddening, terrifying, and disarming. I HATED these characters with a passion, but I couldn't look away. It is a unique movie experience that has been on Netflix most of the year. Glad I finally got to it. ★★★ 1/2 


Big Daddy
Dir. Dennis Dugan, 1998

"What's rum? Rumplestiltskin?"

Ex Machina
Dir. Alex Garland, 2015

"I'm gonna tear up the fuckin' dance floor, dude. Check it out."

Finishing the Tarantino Retrospective

If you haven't already, I've finished my Tarantino retrospective as part of my Directed by... series. Please check out QT's entry

The Spielberg Unseen

For Christmas, my wife pulled all our family together to help me complete my Spielberg Blu-Ray library. It is nearly complete. In 2016, I will finish watching all of Spielberg with the goal, the cherry-on-top, if you will, of an epic three-part Directed by...post. Oh, and I'm going as chronologically as possible, including his TV movies and episodes (that I can easily find). I hope to find most of his short films and include those as well. 

Columbo (Season 1, Episode 1)
"Murder by the Book", 1971

Spielberg's earliest work was as a hired gun for TV episodes and movies. He got the gig for the first episode of Columbo at age 25 and already was showing signs of his flare for creating lasting images. There are some superb shots in this thing, and it's a great tone setter for the series, which I remember watching with my Dad as a kid. 

Duel (TV Movie), 1971

That same year, Spielberg showed what he could do as the head of a feature length film. This thing could be a multiplex hit today. What a breathless, non-stop ride! It is filled with great visual techniques and practical effects and works as a terrifying thrilling entertainment. 

The Numbers

I've watched 25 movies this year, so far.

2016 Releases - 0

Re-Watched - 7

First-Timers - 18

What have you been watching?


  1. So glad you liked Bone Tomahawk. Fox was shockingly good in it, I didn't know he had this in him

  2. Watched Ted 2 a couple days ago, myself. For now, I'll just say you liked it far more than I.

    Duel is a lot of fun. Glad you like it. Looking forward to your Spielberg posts.

    Sounds like I need to see World of Tomorrow. Great post.

    1. I don't know. I laughed my ass off, so I can give it some credit for that alone.

      I'm digging this very early Spielberg.

      Hope you like World of Tomorrow. It's something else.

  3. Oh dear the only one I've seen outside the Spielberg's is Big Daddy which for an Adam Sandler movie is quite endearing. I haven't watched it in years but unlike his recent stuff it is one that I would give another go.

    Both of those Spielberg's are so good. I love Columbo anyway and I saw this episode recently, they run the show in the early weekday mornings on some station or another. I recall vaguely when Duel first ran and everyone was abuzz about how good and tension filled it was with such a basic premise. I was sort of expecting to see Something Evil here when I saw the Spielberg Unseen title but that was the next year so something to look forward to.

    My viewing is down somewhat this week since I spent a couple of days prepping for Snowstorm Jonas (when did we start naming snow storms?) but I was able to squeeze in a few off my list and some that weren't but I took the opportunity to catch when they were shown.

    And as I feared there are more titles that are off my list owing to the fact that the films are lost. The hardest hit was Myrna Loy, not even counting her silents she has five sound films that are gone and three where only a single copy with degraded materials survives and that are kept in an archive in California. Also Joan Bennett has at least two lost films and several that in fragile condition, that's at least another 10 and I'm only half way through the alphabet!!

    But on to happy news these are the films I was actually able to see from my list:

    Special Agent (Bette Davis)
    Tanganyika (Ruth Roman)
    Something to Hide (Shelley Winters)-This had Peter Finch in it too but God it was awful!!
    We Who Are About to Die & Crooner (Ann Dvorak)

    I also saw two Pier Angeli movies, Teresa and The Devil Makes Three-with Gene Kelly, she's not on my list but when opportunity knocks...
    As well as a fun little comedy called No Minor Vices with Dana Andrews and Lilli Palmer and a drama called The Green Years that had a cast of great character actors including Charles Coburn who was nominated for best supporting actor for his role in the film, he deserved it.

    Last thing I pulled together a list of suggested titles of films pre-1960 for you. Just let me know where to send it, if you don't want to post your e-mail drop one to me. Just add @yahoo.com to my signature.

    1. Big Daddy is one of the better ones, for sure. My wife put it on while I was doing a few things around the house, and I got sucked right in. It's a bit ridiculous, especially in the courtroom stuff at the end, but still funny. Worth a watch on a lazy afternoon.

      I can't seem to find Something Evil, except for in really poor quality on YouTube, so I might put it off. But I will get to it. That's about all I can find of his earliest stuff. A couple of his short films are on YouTube, so I plan to watch those as well. I love Columbo. Watching that episode made me want to watch some more for sure.

      Did you get a good snow where you're at? We got a good one, but the second round (the storm that hit up north) missed us.

      I hate that you're viewing keeps getting cut short by those losses. Film preservation is so vital. I guess they all couldn't be saved.... Glad you got to scratch some off your list though.

      My email is kpowers3457@gmail.com. Shoot it on over, man. Can't wait.

    2. I'm in the North so we got the full brunt of the storm, I'm hoping to be able to get out of my driveway by the end of today!

      What makes the film loss so sad is that until recently the industry was so short-sighted and saw no value in maintaining their creations. So much was left to just rot away in its cans and early on the films were purposely destroyed for their silver content. It's too late for so much but hopefully from now forward it will be more aware. Of course materials are more durable now but the older stuff is so vulnerable.

      Keep an eye out I'll be send the info over soon.

  4. I saw Ted 2 the night it came out in theaters. I had never laughed at a movie so hard in a movie theater before.

    Last week, I watched the following movies: The Darjeeling Limited; The Social Network; Wild at Heart; The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo; & the director's cut of Almost Famous. All were excellent, but my favorites were The Social Network, & The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Definitely the two best films of the decade so far. And I consider the director's cut of Almost Famous to be the "real version" of it. This version should've been the theatrical release.

    And I saw Brooklyn (again) on Friday. Just as excellent the second time. Saoirse Ronan is now one of my favorite actresses (of the decade), alongside Brie Larson, Jennifer Lawrence, & Rooney Mara. I hope Saoirse Ronan gets the Oscar.

    And I plan on watching Ex Machina this week.

    1. The first Ted is even funnier. Glad you liked it.

      I didn't care for the Director's Cut version of Almost Famous, at least not as much as the theatrical, but it's been awhile. Fincher's latest stuff has been so great. And I'm a Wes Anderson junkie, so I hope you dug Darjeeling.

      Love all those actresses myself. We have good taste in ladies.

      Ex Machina is great. Enjoy.

    2. Yeah. I liked the first Ted, but I laughed more at Ted 2. Maybe seeing in the theater would've worked better for the first Ted.

      I feel that the director's cut is the real version. This added more into it. It made it even better than the theatrical release, which is saying something, because the theatrical release was excellent enough before.

      Fincher's stuff has been excellent. But I still haven't seen Gone Girl yet. I have it, but I still need to watch it.

      I still have one more Wes Anderson movie left to watch: Bottle Rocket. I have it, but I still haven't seen it.

      And I can't wait to watch Ex Machina tomorrow.

  5. You wusses in the South with your snow. lol

    I'm going to watch The World of Tomorrow as soon as I finish typing this.

    I'm glad you dug Bone Tomahawk, I liked it too.

    1. I know, right? In defense of East Tennessee, we do have some heavily wooded, hilly areas with tiny roads that never see sunlight and we don't have the same equipment as far as dealing with driving on snowy roads. But, yeah, we freak the fuck out when it snows. Every single time. When it only happens once or twice a year, I guess that's just how it is.

      Saw that you liked World of Tomorrow on Twitter. Great stuff.

      And Bone Tomahawk was really cool.