03/19 Movies

They Shall Not Grow Old — Really not sure what to do with this one. It has a natural home in a museum, and the colorization and foley work was effective, if supremely hackey. Also, what gives w/ the amateurish picture in picture stuff at the open. I happened to see a clip from Return of the King at a museum the other day and it reminded me what an artless director Peter Jackson is. All that said, I learned a good bit about life in the trenches, and I think that was the point.

Blue Ruin — Closing out the Crime Tragedy trio, Blue Ruin. I’d been meaning to watch it for years, and it wasn’t really what I expected. I prefer Green Room, which was more cohesive, but this was good.

Widows — Cynical and stupid, which I should have known. I do not understand the Hollywood love affair with Gillian Flynn, but she is a terrible writer of dialog and overly reliant on preposterous second act reveals. Total garbage, not sure why it is regarded as well as it is.

Triple Frontier — On two flights to Barcelona this kicked off a trio of American Crime Tragedies. Recently I’d been a bit down on Netflix original content, but in the hands of a talented director it turns out not to be a factor. There are a few Hollywood convention notes here (beautiful accountant, guy who counts everything, disappointing dad), but Triple Frontier transcends those and makes you feel the weight of their haul grow with each passing scene. I love a good logistics story, and that is what we’ve got here.

Us — Not quite as strong as Get Out, but it lingers with you longer. Nothing more to say to those who haven’t seen it.

The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley — Alex Gibney has found his place on television, and I don’t mean that as a compliment. I don’t see all of his movies, but he is so trapped in the conventions and hacky techniques of bad documentary that his subjects have to work to escape. And this is frustrating because he has access to interesting stories. All of the 3D and Edison stuff here is a distraction, but the film does manage to credibly tell the story of Theranos, which is all any of us actually wanted. And, as a bonus, we get to see Errol Moriss reveal himself as the hack he always has been.

Hereditary — I’d held off on watching this for quite a while. Pretty good, pretty creepy. Enjoyably ridiculous.

Captain Marvel Pretty fine. Brie Larson was good, but the plot was forgettable. Nice to see Lee Pace though?

Generation Wealth — As insightful and interesting as any of this films subjects, which is to say not at all.

Graphic Means — Really effective as a process film, but few of the interviews get much deeper than reflecting on the tedium and complexity of legacy methods of graphic production. That said, I wish there were more films that so simply spent time explaining how things work(ed). It is a gift to pull back curtains and share a private view of how some part of the world works.

High Flying Bird — Pretty great. A Small scale, but personal and engaging. This is the kind of movie that digital distribution seems well suited for. I don’t think we need the Hollywood knock-offs like Bright as much as a places to tell stories like this that don’t have a great home in the theatrical model. I love the look and feel as well. The iPhone form factor creates so much freedom of movement and HFB takes advantage of it. The result is shots I realized I’d never quite seen before. I watched the first half on my phone and the second on my TV. The look transferred very differently on both and felt a bit more natural on the phone.

02/19 Movies


The Lego Movie 2: The Second part — Feels derivative until it doesn’t, but unfortunately that change doesn’t happen until more than halfway through. I ended up liking it, but it was not as strong as I was hoping for.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor — I generally agreed with what others had said about this movie, but strongly felt it was missing some deeper insight into the man and his immediate world. None of the interviewees were willing to go deeper than the bland ‘he was as he appeared’. I believe them when they say that, but can’t help feeling like there is another story about him, his kids and his crew that didn’t find its way into this movie.

I deeply agree with Rogers that the vast majority of content for kids is degrading, violent and stupid. It was humbling to see how immediately and powerfully he acted upon that observation to actually try and change things, however impermanently.

01/19 Movies

This ongoing entry tracks the movies I’ve watched this year. I have slowed down on movies, and would kind of like to pick up the pace again.

The Favourite — Not quite sure what the point of this movie was. Increasingly, I’m not interested in overly pessimistic movies, and The Favourite’s view of relationship power dynamics doesn’t leave much room for anything other than striving and subservience. Furthermore, the transformation of Emma Stone into kniving villainy is rushed and didn’t quite feel earned.

Isle of Dogs — I didn’t like the looks of this from the trailer, but it turned out to be among my favorites of his recent movies.

Glass — Let’s all pretend this never happened. Would it be cheating if I deleted it from this list? I went to see it because I was taking Katie’s car in for service and this was showing nice and early. Not sure why I thought that they would finish up quickly. Car took forever, and I could have seen something else. What is wrong with me?

Solo: A Star Wars Story —Idiotic retcon. I don’t care about Star Wars, so it is perhaps unsurprising that I don’t care about how Han Solo got his name. Or his gun. Or literally anything else in his backstory.