08 January 2017

In Movie Lines (with Half a Star War and All That Jazz...and Links)

What I Watched
January 1st - January 7th, 2017

At the Theater


La La Land
Dir. Damien Chazelle, 2016

Not an accident that this is here two weeks in a row. I went back to see it for a second time on New Year's Day. Loved it even more the second time. In fact, it's now in my top few of 2016 and in the running for my list of all-time favorites. Full review ass-kissing session here.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
dir. Gareth Edwards, 2016

I found this one, though fun, to be incredibly uneven, even boring in the first hour. I was nearly asleep in the theater. The final act, a massive chase/battle sequence is a blast, though, and I ended up digging the end.

On Home Video

Born to be Blue
dir. Robert Budreau, 2016

Chet Baker is a fascinating figure. Ethan Hawke's portrayal of him in this highly fictionalized rendition of his late-60s comeback is likewise and Oscar-worthy (too bad he's nowhere to be seen in the awards conversation...). Anyway, he works, and a nice mixture of visual styles mostly work as well. But the movie loses track of its early, highly-engaging film-within-a-film structure and Jazz-infused pacing too often, sometimes slowing to the level of a standard biopic. It's as if writer-director Robert Budreau put together a Jazz ensemble of narratives but only one or two of the players is any good.

(FT) = First Time
(RW) = Re-Watch

TV Binge

Show Runners: Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof (2004-2010)

Re-watched Season 1, started season 2. It's so comforting. My wife and sister-in-law and I are doing the whole thing. Sister-in-law for the first time. I'm so jealous of her.

Breaking Bad 
Show Runner: Vince Gilligan (2008-2014)

This show puts you through the ringer. The wife and I have slowly been working through it. On the back end of season 4 right now. Such a masterfully written, directed, and acted piece of television. Nothing else like it. Nothing every will be.


Sonia at A Film a Day has a solid 2016 recap.

Erin at Cinematic Scribblings caught Resnais' Last Year at Marienbad in her Blind Spot. I hate it. She sort of dug it. 

Brittany at Rambling Film reviews Fences, which I still need to see. 

Scottie at All the Hits So Far makes Golden Globe Predictions. 

The Numbers

I have watched 3 movies in 2017, so far.  

Re-Watched - 1

First-Timers - 2

2016 Releases - 45

2017 Releases - 0


  1. Aww I'm sorry you didn't like Rogue One more :(

    I was watching the Breaking Bad marathon over New Years. I love that show so much, the early episodes are so poignant now that you know how it ends. Gilligan is brilliant.

    Face Off in particular is such a special episode for me, seeing it again was a treat.

    1. Yeah. Not horrible. Just not enough into the Star Wars mythology to keep up early on. I am so loving Breaking Bad and Face Off is a badass episode. Just watched it.

  2. I am so with you with Rogue One! I've seen it twice now, and I had very different experiences. The first time I quite enjoyed it all, and the second time, the first hour dragged like hell, and everything after Vader's first appearance was crazy amazing!

  3. I really like Rogue One. Sorry it did not work for you. I need to see La La Land. Never heard of Born to Be Blue. Sounds interesting, though.

    1. It worked enough I guess. I'm not a huge Star Wars guy as it is. I just really like Ethan Hawke and heard a lot about his work in it during his interview with Marc Maron. The guys on the Filmspotting podcast also championed it and Hawke's work in it all year.

      Try to go to La La Land at a theater, man. I'm telling you.

  4. I really liked Rogue One. I'm sorry you didn't. I'll see La La Land at the end of this month and my excitement is over the roof. I've been meaning to watch Born to Be Blue for Hawke, but it sounds good. I'll try to watch it soon.

    I need to re-watch Breaking Bad. That show is so brilliant. And I'm so jealous of your sister-in-law right now :(

    Oh, and thank you for the mention :)

    1. Can't wait for you to see La La Land. And Borne to be Blue is definitely worth checking out. Loving Breaking Bad. No problem.

  5. I've said it before, & I'll say it again: LA LA LAND WAS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. IT'S THE BEST MOVIE I'VE EVER SEEN. I WILL DEFEND THE HELL OUT OF THAT MOVIE UNTIL I DIE. (My review of La La Land was a total ass-kissing session as well).

    I liked Rogue One a lot more than you did. I get what you mean about the first hour of it, but I actually really dug it.

    I have never heard of Born to be Blue. You've piqued my interest here, though. I'll watch anything with Ethan Hawke in it. (Speaking of Ethan Hawke, I really need to re-watch the Before Trilogy. Speaking of the Before Trilogy, I'm so glad it's being released in The Criterion Collection on February 28. But I digress…)

    The day after New Year's Day, I saw Manchester by the Sea a second time. It was just as amazing & emotionally devestating as it was the first time.

    On Friday, I re-watched Sully. I still think it was really good.

    On Saturday, I saw Hidden Figures. I thought it was excellent. My review of the film will be coming soon.

    This upcoming weekend, I will be seeing Patriots Day, Live by Night, & Silence, & I may be seeing La La Land for a second time.

    1. I may try to see Hidden Figures myself. Not sure. Silence is a must. Probably going tomorrow. Live by Night seems to have turned out about like I initially thought. It looks good, but the reviews are pretty rough. Patriots Day is a maybe for me.