Movie Round-Up 2021
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As I have done for the past two years on here, I culled through my voluminous and scandalous multi-media diary for movies I watched. Each time I watch a movie I write a little capsule review in my diary, or sometimes just some thoughts on the subject. I mean that's how a diary works, you write little things about something that you experienced or thought about. This year, as with last year, I rewatched a lot of movies I've already seen, because sometimes at movie time I don't want a tense hellride, I want a nice warm blanket, and it's been blanket weather for two straight years now.
OK here's the movie list. There are no purposeful omissions and they are roughly in order. Movies I rewatched are notated with a ⟲
🎭 Departures (2008) --- Heartwarming movie about a guy who quits his try at city life, moves back to his hometown, and inadvertantly becomes a traditional Japanese mortician (which is sort of a mortuary aesthetician-- no embalming or anything). I liked it. The main guy was kind of a clam and in a lot of sequences I was like "tell her how you feel!" but that's how a movie works sometimes. His boss is played by Tsutomu Yamazaki, the magnificent cowboy from Tampopo (1985).
🎭 Drop City (2012) --- Good documentary about the legendary dome commune Drop City. Drop City has a bad rap as like a nightmare hippie zone, and that's what it turned into, but the early days seem full of the magic of Building A Wild House, which is absolutely extremely fun. They didn't even do drugs! They just grooved on the horizon. Unfortunately when the excitement of building something new fades away you're just like "damn, this dome is cold as shit" and you're surrounded by dickhead wastoid egomaniacs telling you what your vibe is because they read an article in Rolling Stone.
🎭 Tokyo Story (1953) --- Another delightful Ozu movie. The starring role goes to Chishū Ryū (the high priest from Tora-san), who plays the husband in an older couple from Hiroshima who go to visit their kids in Tokyo but the kids are kind of too busy to make time for them. Setsuko Hara plays their widowed daughter-in-law, who's nicer to the couple than their own kids. As with Late Spring, characters talk directly to the camera and it's intoxicating. At one point Chishū Ryū gets shitfaced and does a small and understated comedy drunk routine that I loved.
⟲ My Neighbor Totoro (1988) --- Comforting rewatch of this basically perfect movie. Kept thinking about how the little girl, Mei, was Ponyo, and the main girl, Satsuki, was the boy's mom in Ponyo. Here's Miyazaki talking about Totoro (the character), quoted on wikipedia: "[Totoro is] not a spirit: he's only an animal. I believe he lives on acorns. He's supposedly the forest keeper, but that's only a half-baked idea, a rough approximation.".
🎭 King Kong (1976) --- Kong looks crazy in this and there are definitely fun moments but I kept thinking about 1. racism, and 2. imagining an unpleasant scenario where a young stoned Jeff Bridges tells a 1977 cocktail party that "actually it's really smart, and about media narratives" or whatever. Once they capture Kong, the oil guy pivots to being a Hollywood guy, and there's almost a meta-narrative where Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange are like "we don't want to be in this movie anymore" but they do it anyway and their hand-wringing accomplishes nothing. I mean I don't think this was intended to be "a critique", and it doesn't work as such, these are just things I was thinking about while watching this white anxiety movie where the special effects are enjoyable.
🎭 King Kong (1935) --- More fun than the Jessica Lange one, and maybe because it was less smart and less willfully campy, it felt more innocent. Like the 70s Kong is racist, but the 30s Kong has racism. Kong himself looks great, if a little goofy, and all the dinosaurs on the island look wonderful. The part where Kong fights a T Rex is superb-- because they can't really do jumping with the stop motion animation, it's a real and surprisingly engaging grapple.
🎭 Sunset Boulevard (1950) --- Damn I can't believe I hadn't seen this already, this is like a Dracula movie! Great castle, incredible hyperbolic performance from Gloria Swanson, I loved it. You can really see the emotions pace through her mind like a jaguar in a golden cage. Really magnificent.
⟲ Police Story 4 - First Strike (1996) --- Action-packed Jackie Chan movie, this is the one with the snowmobiles, sharks, and he fights the guy with the ladder. Good mix of delerious close-quarters fighting, and stunts, with none of the huge tedious epic explosion stuff.
⟲ Snake In Eagle's Shadow (1978) --- Jackie Chan's breakthrough movie, made just before Drunken Master, with the same cast, but everyone's even better in this one and everyone's character is more friendly. The magnificent and childlike Yuen Siu Tien co-stars and his IRL son Yuen Woo-ping directs. Yuen Siu Tien was the inspiration for Ol' Dirty Bastard (via 1981's "Ol' Dirty & The Bastard") and he is dynamite, a real rosy cheeked li'l devil.
🎭 The Accidental Spy (2001) --- Fun but confusing Jackie Chan spy movie with a lot of great fight sequences. I just hit wikipedia to check on something and learned that the version I saw was re-cut by Dimension Films (then a sub-set of Miramax, owned by Disney). In the original version the vials they're fighting over are Anthrax 2, in the Disney version it's like Super Heroin, which I guess makes it less of a moral issue when Jackie eventually hands it over to the bad guys. Also some scenes were completely re-edited and some scenes where people were talking in English were dubbed over with Turkish (for a mainly non-Turkish audience), and Jackie's responses were dubbed over with "I don't understand what you're saying". I guess that makes the story cleaner but dubbing into a foreign language seems rare.
🎭 Monster Hunter (2020) --- A pitiful movie with no story and uninspiring design. A total piece of shit. I guess I was excited because it's the lady from Fifth Element and the guy from City of Lost Children but really the key players in this fable are a video game company and a guy who makes movies based on video games. There's an Alien part that will make you say "I wish I was watching Alien" and a Tremors part where you'll say "ah, Tremors, now that was a really fun movie".
🎭 Tora San's Lullaby (1974) --- Somewhat unremarkable entry in this reliably pleasant series. Sometimes in this series you really see that Tora loves love more than he loves his own love, his own happiness. This is one of those instances. This is also the first movie with the third uncle, Masami Shimojō. He's not the best but he does OK. There's a passionate moment in this that either of the previous uncles would've really eaten up, and you can tell he really worked himself up about it but he just doesn't have the same fire. One of the characters is supposed to be ugly but he's just a handsome guy with glasses on-- first time I've seen that trope on a man.
🎭 Godzilla vs King Kong (2021) --- Fun movie where unfortunately you kind of have to watch the previous Godzilla movie to start to make sense of it. Central to the concept is this idea that Godzilla doesn't want to kill all the other monsters, he just wants them to bow to him as the king of the monsters. If they do that, then whatever. It's a sort of modern media problem where they want every character to be a cool tough bad boy with a good heart. I can understand that. Anyway that wasn't really explained and then on top of that there were a fair amount of infodumps. In order to display plot points the filmmakers utilized a conspiracy guy as a secondary (or maybe tertiary) character, which I thought was irresponsible for the world we live in. He bathed in bleach??? Is that a dogwhistle???? Anyway all the parts with Godzilla or King Kong were great, and like I said I had fun. Though I found myself wishing I was watching a French dub with no subtitles, that way I'd have a reason to not understand anything and I could just let the mayhem wash over me like I was in a jacuzzi.
⟲ Ponyo (2008) --- Rewatch of this dynamite flick. So refreshing to see a great movie with a cool weird rich world, in which no one ever tells you details and you simply do not require them. Of course there are a million questions you could ask, from "who's that guy" to "why is this happening" but we don't ask those questions because we're not nerds, we're people enjoying a beautiful moment. Even the people in the movie don't know what's going on! That's really inspiring-- everyone just rolls with it. If this movie was made by a committee like most modern movies they'd insist that audiences need a stand-in character to constantly ask questions and be perplexed. Luckily this particular movie was made by a tyrant.
🎭 I Am Bruce Lee (2011) --- Made for TV documentary about Bruce Lee with a lot of talking heads, some of them wisely chosen (his wife, kids, partners, etc.), some of them not (miscellaneous whoevers including someone from Black Eyed Peas and Ed Bundy).
🎭 Walk With Me (2017) --- Good doc about Thich Nhat Hanh that does a great job of "show, don't tell"-- there's no "now they're doing this" narration, you just figure it out. Maybe the filmmakers were like "we're doing it like this as a statement about zen", but really everyone should be shooting for this kind of filmmaking, it's a great way to go. The doc was cool and it was a lot like a punk movie- a tight crew of people all shave their heads and go on tour, having small but meaningful interactions with some people that know who they are and some people that are just there at that time.
🎭 Tenet (2020) --- I started to watch this while doing a task and then I stopped because I was missing too much. Watched it with attention the next day and yes, it's confusing and doesn't ultimately "make sense" but it's basically a time travel action movie with a novel aspect, which is that you can't "hop" backwards but you can (via some gateway) invert your timeflow or whatever and start going the other way, with people moving both ways in time able to share space. Reverse guns from the opposite timeflow suck bullets out of the wall, etc.. I wouldn't call this an important movie but I liked the way it brought up fatalistic time in a fun way. Spent half the movie thinking the bad guy was Kenneth Braunaugh, then the other half thinking it was the EPA guy from Ghostbusters. Gonna look it up now... ahhh I was right the first time, KB. I quickly (but not immediately) realized that "tenet" is part of the famous palindrome / magic square "sator arepo tenet opera rotas" and sure enough, all those other words appear as characters or locations throughout the movie. This is a real "neat little package" movie.
⟲ King Kong (2005) --- Watched this over 2 nights because it's 3.5 hours long, which is quite frankly too long. How did they get away with this? For the first hour I wasn't into it but after a while I got really into it. Naomi Watts is great, she really pops off the screen, and at the end they do this weird trick where in different ways and different scenarios you're shown fake Naomi Wattses and it's so dissatisfying and then you see the real Naomi Watts and you're like ahhhhhhh there she is. The turning point of the movie for me was when she flabbergasts the beast with vaudeville pratfalls-- a really really weird move, for her and for the movie, but I loved it. There's a few disgusting parts, all the "other guys" are great, and Kong looks pretty good-- way more like an actual gorilla than any other Kongs, with a face that was really afire with emotion but quite distinctly not human emotion. I didn't think about special effects very much, which is how I judge special effects movies now.
⟲ Enter The Dragon (1973) --- Rewatch of this perfect movie. Bruce fought for the spiritual stuff in this and it's great. I remember seeing this as a kid and when he says "the art of fighting without fighting" it was like an enourmous gong sound rattling my small frame. This time around I got really into the Jim Kelly / John Saxon relationship, they're 'nam buddies, they place bets on each other, they compliment each other, it's great. Good storytelling. "Emotional content". The mirror scene at the end is magnificent- a cool idea we've seen before that they really ratcheted up.
🎭 The Young Master (1980) --- Early Jackie Chan movie that has the most rapid-fire hand to hand stuff of any of his other movies. I liked it a lot but it's more like watching a ballet than watching a movie.
🎭 20 Feet From Stardom (2013) --- Great music documentary about back up singers from the 60s to the 80s. There are a lot of different stories here but one that really affected me is that some people just don't want to be a star. Everyone here loves singing, and singing with others, and music. I cried.
🎭 Tina (2021) --- Great documentary about Tina, executive-produced by Tina's husband. Tina is an absolute powerhouse and everyone wants to ask her about the abuse she suffered from Ike, causing her to constantly relive it. Towards the end of the doc Mr Tina says something like "that's why we're making this movie, so she doesn't have to talk about this ever again". Tina is incredible. I cried.
🎭 The Go-Go's (2020)Good documentary about the Go-Go's- their rise from the LA punk scene, their successes, their infighting. I had two main takeaways- 1., this movie really makes it seem like they had two huge songs, We Got The Beat, and Our Lips Are Sealed, and that's it. That's extraordinary but that's pop I guess. I guess I post a lot so I'm amazed by people that have like, two posts. 2., they goofed off a lot, that seemed like an essential part of the mix. I didn't cry during this but I liked it.
⟲ Alien vs Predator (2004) --- I remembered this being "kinda good" but really I think that when it came out it had just been a while since the last Alien or Predator movie. There's no passion here, no joy. Every other installment in either of these franchises has passion for weird goo and strange times. This is strictly a movie based on a video game. It doesn't even have the desperation that can make a bad movie fun. This is just someone's job.
⟲ The Big Boss (1971) --- Bruce Lee movie about the workers, it's great. At first we were watching it with the subs, but then I realized that the subs were missing a lot, so we switched to the dub and were able to get more context. Generally I think of the dubs as being a dumb version (made by a studio) and the subs allowing for a closer translation (made by fans) but maybe there's a point in time before which these standings were inverted.
⟲ Fast & Furious (2009), Fast Five (2011), The Fast and the Furious (2001) --- Rewatching these in anticipation of the new one. I don't like fast cars, in fact you could even say that I hate fast cars, but I like these movies. There's a great team that's actually not really a great team, just "some people I know that wanted to be here", and they get into slightly different problems and for every single problem, the solution is precision driving. It's like instead of making a well rounded team that has a master of disguise and a demolition expert and a ninja and a car guy, it's "Oops All Car Guys". It's preposterous for sure but it lets you get into a little more of the finesse of car-guy-ism than if the team's portfolio of expertise were more sensibly diversified. I feel like you could roll a very similar scenario with basically any skill set, and I would enjoy it. Like the team is all marine biologists and every drug cabal they encounter has an undersea hideout protected by sea snakes but only some of them are poisonous. Or it's all restoration cabinetmakers and they have to replicate an ornate mechanical clock to make a switcheroo with a diabolical mercenary who keeps a computer chip hidden inside an original Roentgens secretary desk. Tyrese says "look at that marquetry, it's gotta be mid 18th century" and then Ludacris rolls his eyes and says "late 18th actually. See the precise dogwood inlay? That was at the bequest of King Frederick William II". Well obviously these other movies don't exist, only the ones where eveyone's a car person. So that's what we got, and there's no use crying over milk that doesn't even exist on this timeline. The milk we have is good, and it's served up cold in tall glasses.
⟲ Fast and Furious 3: Tokyo Drift (2006) --- We watched this last on this recent rewatch of the series, it was sort of hard to motivate towards this one because with the exception of Han, the "family" isn't in it, it's mostly about a 35 year old man playing a 17 year old. Buuuuut it's pretty good. This one has the best music of the franchise, with DJ Shadow, Atari Teenage Riot (!), and the 5 6 7 8's. No one has ever succeeded in making a franchise that's based on an idea rather than a set of characters-- they tried it with both Halloween and the Exorcist, both of which experimented with sequels absent of any characters from the original, and in both cases it just didn't take. Audiences want to see the guy they know. But I like a weird entry. I liked Halloween 3, Exorcist 3, and Tokyo Drift. They came up with a really elegant way to do a fast cars movie in a place with very little open space. Han dies at the end but a few movies later he shows up again, and you get the feeling like Tokyo Drift isn't canon-- that for continuity reasons Tokyo Drift should be considered a simple fantasia. That's the right of the filmmakers and it suits me fine-- Han rules and it's great to have him back onscreen. But then there's a callback to Tokyo Drift at the end of 6 and your brain spins out for a sec to try and work out the chronology. In the logic of the movies, Tokyo Drift happens between Fast & Furious 6 and Furious 7. Why not.
⟲ Hot Fuzz (2007) --- Extremely fun buddy cop comedy, one of a two movies by the same team (see also "World's End") that do a sort of mid movie pivot where something new about the world is revealed, or you think you're watching one genre of movie but then its something else. I love this sort of thing, it feels exciting. Great chemistry between the two mains and some extremely British characters that I really enjoyed.
⟲ Point Break (1991) --- They show a clip of this during World's End and so we went forth and rewatched this too. Great movie up to the last robbery, which straight up doesn't make sense. If I was the surfers, I would simply get in my van and peel out, then just surf into a new day. Is this what happens in the remake??
🎭 Gretel & Hansel (2020) --- This horror movie hit the sweet spot for me-- spooky but not gory or jumpy, lots of great shots, great atmosphere, and you get just enough information about everyone. Things stay mysterious but you still feel a sense of closure. It's set in a vaguely European fantasy world and fantasy time (pre-industrial revolution) but only one person has a British accent. Usually in these things they give the fairy tale residents these dumbass British accents, this time they decided "let them talk how they talk". Gretel is great, with a Vidal Sassoon haircut. Hansel is a loveable dummy. The witch is dynamite, perfect casting. The costumes were great and even the witch hats seems totally natural in that world. "Witches Hut" is a spooky location I haven't really given much thought to before but the hut in this one is superb, almost a Tadao Ando feeling-- big shapes intersecting, and a huge subterranean concrete room with a thick frosted glass roof at ground level. An absolutely superb hut.
🎭 Nashville (1975) --- This was cool, I didn't love it, didn't hate it. This kind of felt like premier television, where you have a bunch of cool characters and they sort of interact for no reason, having fun little episodes, and then it seems like everything's spriraling in to one fatal finale in which all is revealed, but really it's just "a bunch of characters all in the same place at the same time". I guess maybe this movie is the first one of these?
⟲ The World's End (2013) --- Another Edgar Wright late-grab genre reveal with Simon Pegg and Nicholas Frost, this one a sci fi action comedy (or really a comedy sci-fi action) about corporate chains and old friendships. All the performances are great, lots of great little jokes at a fever pitch, I loved it. Great soundtrack too. The movie hangs on the party feeling of being in an excited state and doing something crazy just because "that's what we're doing", which is irrational but very real and they sold it well. I think I love an action movie where everyone's drunk? I loved this, Drunken Master, and that Irish horror movie they showed at the Sci Fi Marathon a few years back, where aliens won't eat you if your blood alcohol level is high enough. Are there more like this?
🎭 Lovers Rock (2020) --- I've never seen a movie that describes a great party better than this one. The whole movie is the party, and there isn't really a huge plot, just some stuff that happens. It's not like an 80s rager with 1000 people and a rock band and a swimming pool, it's just in a house with like, 50 people? Maybe less. There are 2 lonnnnng sequences where everyone on the dance floor loses it to a song, both are transcendent and very different from each other. The whole movie I was waiting for something really bad to happen, and I cried at the end when (spoiler) everyone gets home safe and sound. It's like the first part of a horror movie where everyone's hanging out and having fun, but then no killer ever arrives. The music is all reggae and everyone speaks in a heavy West Indies British dialect that I couldn't always figure out, but for me it was like being at a loud party and only understanding 1 out of ever 4 words people are saying. I loved it. Probably the best movie I've seen all year. Flan wrote a great review of this where she said "not since Terminator 2 have a watched a movie and wondered 'how did they do this?'". Not only are the performances incredible but the movie itself is incredible-- it's hard to believe that they were able to raise funding for a movie that's just a really great party, not punctuated by some tense event. I guess because it's part of a series of movies by the same director, and the other ones have more conventional stories. Anyway, great parties are transformative by themselves, that's enough of a story event. I loved this movie!!!
⟲ After The Thin Man (1936) --- Rewatch of this enjoyable whodunnit. Other whodunnits rely on a smart investigator at the center, the Thin Man series has a smart guy too but he never really "figures it out" until the very end, when the entire cast gets together in a room and someone inevitably makes a fatal error. This movie's kind of a lesson in branding too- the first one, "The Thin Man" was about a thin man. After The Thin Man has no thin man in it, but they needed to tie it in. Then there's "Another Thin Man" which is like "another one of these movies". They should've done a Fritzi Ritz and called the second movie "Nick and Nora" (after the characters that everyone loved and remembered), but they blew it. But on the other hand, it seems like no one cared and it's better to be clear ("here's another movie you like") than pedantic. Nick and Nora are a great team, they love each other, they make fun of each other, and they love love love to get drunk.
🎭 Tora-San The Intellectual (1975) --- Tora falls for an archeologist. There's a nice twisteroo at the end where the madonna du jour reveals that she isn't going to marry the other guy-- she isn't going to marry anyone! Then Tora and the other guy meet each other on a trip and have a great time. The 16th in the series.
🎭 Tora's Pure Love (1976) --- One of the rare Tora San movies where Tora's love is reciprocated, very touching. All the Tora San movies last for a little longer than you'd think, it's very nice. Like the story wraps up and then there's 10 or 20 minutes more where people are just living their lives in the wake, reflecting and moving on. Fumi Dan is the love interest for a brief section of the beginning, then everyone says "she's too young for you, you could be her father", and then he falls for her mother This one is the 18th in the series.
🎭 Tora San My Uncle (1989) --- Later Tora San movie about floppy teenage Mitsuo falling in love. The kid who plays Mitsuo is so good and this feeling of being mean to your parents because you're confused and in love is very real. There's one regrettable part with a predatory homosexual biker, other than that this was a great one. The biker was played by a character actor who had bit parts in hundreds of Japanese movies, a real "one of those guys" guys. If I was one of those guys in Japan in the late 20th century I'd be chomping at the bit to get into a Tora San movie. Fumi Dan is in this one too, again as a nice lady, but a different character.
🎭 The Transporter (2002) --- We were in the mood for a Fast and Furious movie so we looked up "movies similar to", and this came up. With Jason Statham and the guy who plays Vince in FF. This had some inventive fighting sequences that gave me a Jackie Chan feeling, but it was edited way too fast, so it didn't communicate very well what was happening. There's no sense in being clever if people can't hear what you're saying. Stanley "Return To Forever" Clarke did the music, but it just sounded like Toejam & Earl to me- like a keyboard rhythm and some record scratching over it. That said it was enjoyable and I'm definitely going to watch the sequels.
🎭 The Transporter 2 (2005) --- As with the first one, this had a lot of inventive fighting. I had hoped they'd figure out how to shoot it this time, but they didn't, the cuts are still too fast and the visual storytelling is lacking-- there's a part where someone gets impaled on like a decorative wall of knives, and you only see the wall for a sec and only after the guy's already there. I'd believe it if you told me that this guy has a wall of knives as a decorative element in his villainous villa, but I need a taste of if before it comes into play. It's like an inverse Chekov- a gun that goes off in the fifth act should be shown in the third act, at the latest.
🎭 Transporter 3 (2008) --- More innovative fighting stuff but this time it was edited even faster, with even jumpier cuts! Still, I had fun. Great stunts even if they were hard to see. And I was delighted that the soundtrack had Tricky (from my favorite record of his, Maxinquaye).
🎭 Death Race 2000 (2008) --- Nearly unenjoyable remake of what I remember being a pretty fun (or at least crazy) Roger Corman original. In the original they race across the country- in this one they're just on a track inside the prison. More than any movie I can think of, this was like watching someone play a video game. But unlike a video game the entire production was slate gray, and the camera constantly shook or zoomed to make up for lack of visual interest. All together it was like staring into a concrete mixer. For some reason I watched a bunch of movies written and directed by Paul WS Anderson recently and they are all abysmal. It's almost inspiring that he continues to get work, I guess he makes a lot of calls.
⟲ Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) --- Another great FF movie that wikipedia calls "an unlikely pairing of titular characters" and I couldn't agree more. It was a balm to watch this after watching all those Transporter movies-- in this one the camera moves to slo mo in the cool parts of the fight, for which I am grateful. From the few that I've seen at this point, it seems that Jason Statham movies tend to show him preparing and enjoying a nice meal. it's a nice part of his character as an actor-- precise but also passionate. In this one he makes a nice well-seasoned omelette right at the beginning, that's how he gets the energy for the rest of the movie.
⟲ the Meg (2018) --- Shark movie with Jason Statham, sadly his character did not have time to prepare and enjoy a meal in this one, maybe that's why he's appears to be so frazzled. Sakiko stopped watching shark movies when she started getting into surfing, but this one is crazy enough that it's nothing to really worry about. I liked it.
⟲ The Muppet Movie (1979) --- I don't have a thesis on this or anything but this movie does a great job of bringing you into their world- it starts with all the Muppets in the movie theatre getting ready to see the movie, and it ends with them in the studio making a version of the movie itself, and in that movie there's a surprising explosion that topples a papier mache rainbow and results in a real rainbow streaming in. All the while there's a lot of fourth wall breaks, or moments when the characters read the screen play... it really reinforces the idea that the Muppets are actors in the movie but also just like that in real life. Incredible.
⟲ North Shore (1987) --- One millionth rewatch of this, our most-rewatched movie.
🎭 Stargate (1994) --- James Spader and Kurt Russell star in this Egypt / ancient aliens movie that isn't very good but has some cool looks in it. Anytime the Earth guys do something I thought "wrong move". I realize that you can't make a movie without some cavalier protagonists but damn, just charge right through the stargate, huh?
🎭 Fast and Furious 9 Whatever It's Called (2021) --- Pretty much everyone that was in more than one of these movies shows up at some point and it's fun. I think the only recurring character they missed was Hobbs-- even Hector and Vince were there, in the background of a flashback. Thankfully they didn't shemp Brian in but they did talk about him as a living chararcter and they show his car driving up to the barbeque at the end. The most noteable comeback was Han, who comes back from the dead, or rather, it was revealed that he didn't really die. That's something the fans were asking for and the writers capitulated. I sort of hope this is the last one of these because I think this is just about as crazy as I want these movies to get- they go to space, and they start to toy with idea "do we have mutant powers?". If they do another one there's going to be a time machine, dinosaurs, cyborgs, aliens... it's going to be a shit show.
🎭 Space Jam Revisited Or Whatever (2021) --- Really weird modern movie. The basic idea of the movie is that a sentient computer program created by Warner Brothers wants to "scan in" Lebron James so he can "star in" aka be shemped in to new media for all eternity.*
*Shemping is when a filmmaker uses a stand-in instead of the original actor. Named after Shemp Howard, who passed away in the middle of a Three Stooges shoot and was replaced by an unconvincing stand-in. Bela Lugosi famously got shemped in Plan Nine From Outer Space, and Crispin Glover won a huge lawsuit when they shemped him for Back To The Future 2.
He rejects the idea as "the stupidest thing he's ever heard", which makes the program mad, resulting in the program pulling Lebron and his kid, Tron-like, into the computer, where he has to play a high-stakes basketball game against the program. the game is live-streamed. For his team he's allowed to choose from anyone in the Warner Serververse, basically any property they control, but he randomly links up with Bugs Bunny first, who steers the team into being just Looney Tunes, when it could've been Superman, the Flash, etc.. There are a TONNNN of crossovers, and half the crowd was just easter eggs for the parents: Danny Devito's Penguin from Batman Forever, King Kong, Clockwork Orange guys (???), Jabber Jaw, Herculoids... A record-breaking amount of shemps for a movie where the main character's main fight is "don't get shemped". Although at one point Lebron is flying a spaceship through the Serververse in wonder of how many incredible things there are in there-- making the whole movie seem like a flex, against Disney I guess. At one point the evil AI turns the traditionally animated Looney Tunes into modern CGI versions and they all hate it. I don't understand how you could make this movie without realizing that the villains in the movie are the people that made the movie.
🎭 Old (2021) --- This movie is so bad I thought that the movie being bad was part of the movie- I mean at first I thought the spooky reveal was going to explain why everyone had completely no depth. Almost very character formally announces their name and occupation to every other character, and for situations where that wasn't viable, they had a little kid whose quirky thing was saying "what's your name and what do you do for a job?". it's like the weakest scriptwriting you could possibly imagine. The twister at the end was completely insipid and then it cuts to the two main people in a helicopter talking to a cop who says "well, we arrested everyone down there". Thanks man, I would've gone nuts without that closure. I saw this (double feature with Space Jam) with a crew at the drive in, my first theatre experience since March 2020. Both movies sucked but it was so nice to go to the drive in. The car next to us was an 8 year old's birthday party and when they started singing happy birthday my crew joined in too. Then the birthday girl and her mom came over and gave us cupcakes. They were both smiling so big, it was really sweet. Yellow cake, fudge frosting, rainbow sprinkles.
🎭 the Mandalorian (2021) --- OK this is a tv show but I'm counting it as a movie. For most of this it's a picaresque adventure where the guy is protecting a baby yoda for no reason other than emotional connection, and each episode is like, the guy needs to get off some planet, and someone will help him if he does some sidequest.... Right at the last episode, or maybe the last 2, things come to a head and it's an epic narrative all of a sudden. Come on guy. And they shemp in a young CGI Luke Skywalker for the last 10 minutes, which is corny, and honestly it looks like shit. I was psyched to see something happening in Star Wars world that was non-epic, or epic at a personal level but not on a universe level. But then they pivoted. Something I liked is that it takes place kind of far from the main Star Wars stuff, and almost no one really knows what a Jedi is. That's cool. Werner Herzog has a small role as a bad guy, great choice.
🎭 Jack Reacher (2012) --- Fun spy movie with Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise really is something else, it's hard to describe. He seems kind of just dumb enough to summon a bizarre sort of personal power. They made 2 of these movies with Cruise and then the writer (it's based on a series of 25 books) said it's actually super important to the character that he's really really tall, which Cruise isn't, so they're going without him for the next one. That's a bonehead move! I saw a trailer for the new thing and it's like, wow, a big guy punches a smaller big guy. Who cares. In this one he uncovers a seedy corruption thing involving an evil construction company run by Werner Herzog. I love Herzog's 3rd act as a movie bad guy! I hope he takes more roles like this. Herzog and Cruise, together at last. What a world!
🎭 Jack Reacher 2 (2016) --- This time Tom Cruise has a lady buddy and the two of them run at full speed with maximum efficiancy, and it's almost like flirting, like they're on a date and one of them learns the other likes to run so they go "let's run" and then they're both just running, and they get to the restaurant and sit down, smiling. The end piece is needlessly set in New Orleans and because "chasing someone through Mardi Gras" has been done already they chase them through a Halloween parade! Which is just Mardi Gras with Dracula heads. No problem here. Unfortunately there's no Herzog in this, and they couldn't get Rainer Werner Fassbinder, because he died in 1982. RIP
⟲ Exorcist 3 (1990) --- Cool sequel to Exorcist that has nothing to do with Exorcist 2, which as I understand it isn't very good. Part of the reason that William Peter Blatty wrote this one is that he learned how much the Zodiac Killer liked the original Exorcist and I guess he wanted to make one that was like, against serial killers? But then this one turned out to be Jeffrey Dahmer's favorite movie... that's gotta be extremely depressing for any artist. This one is good although I guess the studio insisted there be an exorcism in it so they just tacked one on in the end, and it really feels tacked on. George C Scott is great and him and the priest have a great peppy banter relationship. This is a pretty brutal What If, but what if William Peter Blatty stuck to writing peppy comedies?
🎭 The Sentinel (1977) --- I love Burgess Meredith in this! Despite the fact that everyone who lives in this apartment building is (spoiler) actually a murderer who lives in Hell, they all seem... very pleasant! They have a birthday party for a cat, they dance to polka music, it's cute. The main lady is the mom from North Shore, love to see her. Chris Sarandon is great as a greasy dud, that's his primo role.
🎭 Black Widow (2021) --- Fun superhero movie where no one actually has super powers. I liked it EXCEPT that Don McLean's "Bye Bye Miss American Pie" was a plot point and it opened up with a breathy slowed down "epic cinematic" version of Smells Like Teen Spirit, which made me very uncomfortable. I would like to assume that everyone working on the song and its inclusion in the movie thought "wow, Kurt Cobain would absolutely hate this", but it's also possible that their minds were completely warped.
🎭 the Departure (2017) --- Good documentary about a Japanese monk who works with suicidal people. He works too hard but each time the phone rings he's got to pick it up because he doesn't want whoever it is to kill themselves :( The main guy is great. Suicide is a huge problem in Japan, it's the leading cause of death in men aged 20-44.
⟲ Ocean's Eleven (2001) --- Very fun movie with a lot of star power, enough that Eliot Gould is the weakest link. There's a lot about communication in this- George Clooney and Brad Pitt are crime partners with an essentially imperceptable way of communicating and knowing what the other is thinking, there's a lot of impenetable slang, one character speaks only mandarin (no subtitles) and is able to hold conversations with everyone else, and one guy has a ridiculous cockney accent with lots of rhyming slang, the classic theives argot. It's also bizarre for a movie in that they have an elaborate plan and (spoiler) everything works perfectly, no problem. it's like watching a japanese woodworking video-- you see all these odd-looking pieces get carefully constructed, then at the end they all slot together. Great editing, great music, great sets, I loved it.
⟲ Ocean's Twelve (2004) --- Also very fun. Julia Roberts has this bit in this that I've never seen in a movie before, where she plays someone that "looks exactly like Julia Roberts". This isn't breaking the fourth wall, this is like erecting a fifth wall. It's truly brazen to deploy such a bizarre tactic in a movie but I loved it.
⟲ Ocean's Thirteen (2007) --- Another good one! I was happy to see Super Dave Osbourne in a small role. There's a computer guy in this that looks a LOT like Aaron Cometbus, enough that I pondered the possibility. It's a different guy tho (I looked it up). I also looked up Super Dave- he's Albert Brooks' older brother??? Al Pacino is in this as the perfect disgusting kind of guy that Al Pacino always plays. Also the bad guy from O12 comes back as like, kind of a part of the team, same riff as Fast and Furious. I guess when you have a movie franchise with star power, any given star wants to stay onboard if possible.
🎭 The Ring (2002) --- American remake of the Japanese horror movie of the same name, about a video that if you watch it, you die in 7 days. There's a franchise of these movies, and the last one was in 2017-- that must've been tough because I don't think you can really have a movie like this at the same time as YouTube. I mean the ghost kills you if you don't make a copy of the video but is sharing a link the same as making a copy? I mean, is it the same to the ghost? Mulholland Drive's Naomi Watts stars, which is funny because the video in the movie (the one where if you watch it you die) is like an early David Lynch. And I just learned that the producers offered the script to Lynch, who said no! Anyways, I liked it. No gore or jump scares, just spooky stuff.
🎭 Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019) --- This worked almost like a prequel, in that it was leads up to a huge moment that the audience should be aware of, the murder of Sharon Tate by Mansonites. What I didn't expect is that the script flips at the end and the main guys defeat the "hippy weirdos". If this was when the 60s ended, then I guess this presents the hypothetical "what if the 60s never ended?". The movie only extends a few minutes into this hypothetical timeline but it got me thinking about other movies that could go farther. There are hypothetical works where something bad happened (nuclear war, nazis won WW2), why not a hypothetical where something bad didn't happen? Maybe all "nice" movies are like this, set in a hypothetical world different from our own-- Notting Hill is set in an England without Thatcher, for instance. Well it would be nice if this were clearly elucidated. Anyway this movie was fun to watch but I got too hung up on the period piece aspect of it-- like I could tell they had a lot of fun getting the props but I was thinking about it the whole time, it was kind of distracting.
🎭 Black Sabbath (1963) --- Cool, kind of goofy triad of horror stories hosted by Boris Karloff and directed by Mario Bava. Each story contains a long pan through at least one dense apartment filled to the absolute brim with carved wooden furniture and dingey candelabras. I loved it. The band named themselves after the movie but I don't think they saw it, they just saw the name, and they saw that that teenagers liked it. They could've just as easily named themselves "Driving Irresponsibly" or "Staying Out Late".
⟲ Evil Dead 2 (1987) --- We ate weed gummies and watched this perfect movie and had a great time.
🎭 Love Me Deadly (1972) --- Creepy movie about necrophilia with a few nice "date montage" sequences (among living people). The main lady drives around in a white Rolls Royce and that's really her undoing- having such an unmistakeable car. The second big problem is that this satanic necrophilic sex cult doesn't lock the door when they're doing a thing. This happens twice! If it was me, I'd lock the door. It's a lesson in security culture. This was the first movie of Carlos' yearly horror movie marathon, but I left after this one.
🎭 Shaun Of The Dead (2004) --- This Edgar Wright zombie comedy is like all (?) of his movies- fun, fast-paced, with great editing. I don't know anyone who works the quick rhythmic cuts as well, certainly not in a comedy.
⟲ Beetlejuice (1988) --- Rewatch of this enjoyable Tim Burton film that I've watched a half dozen times. It's a gem.
🎭 Critters (1986) --- A perfect movie for a sleepover, which was the context I watched it in. You'd think this was inspired by Gremlins but the filmmakers vigorously deny it. Sometimes there's just something in the air and people the world over all invent steam engines at the same time or make small voracious monster movies. The monsters in this are able to form a perfect sphere, which is a great design for a small monster, especially in a cheap movie, where you can just roll them around instead of using elaborate puppetry.
🎭 Trick or Treat (1986) --- Fun heavy metal horror movie with backwards masking as a key component. Gene Simmons plays a DJ and Ozzy has a small role as a preacher on TV. Another great movie for a horror movie sleepover. Keep your eyes peeled for the lady who played "Large Marge".
🎭 Ginger Snaps (2000) --- Great werewolf movie, one of my favorites. "Teenage werewolf" is obvious in retrospect, with body changes, hair in new places, surging hormones, etc.. But "teenage girl werewolf" adds a blood / moon aspect, so it's even better. Great casting, great characters, loved the mom in this, it's great.
⟲ Blade (1998) --- This was one of the first Marvel movies, and although it's not really "MCU", it is one of the best ones, maybe the best. Wesley Snipes is great, Kris Kristofferson is a weird choice but he's great, and Udo Kier once again plays an aristocratic vampire to much acclaim (see also "Andy Warhol's Dracula"). Great action sequences, great soundtrack. Why did they stop using jungle for action movies? There are two soundtrack albums for this, one of which is "music inspired by", neither of which really represent the music of the movie, which included Aphex Twin, New Order, Shonen Knife, Photek, Onyx, and more.
⟲ Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) --- This movie blew me away when it first came out. The special effects were so good, the main kid was about my age, and it was the strongest entry in the era of "morphing"- a new kind of special effect / movie monster that changes shape dramatically and resolves to a "liquid metal" state. see also Michael Jackson "Black or White" video (1991), Lawnmower Man (1992), Deep Space Nine (1995), and I guess Animorphs (1996 - 2001). I bet someone could (or already did) write a nice little article about morphing and the idea of a post-racial America. Anyway I wasn't really thinking about all that while watching the movie this time-- this time I was really listening to the soundtrack. The music to a lot of this is just like, rhythmic clanking, it's great. Am I right in assuming that no one does this anymore? Remember when Mike Tyson entered the ring to COIL blasting from stadium speakers and everyone got really freaked out? No one has the guts for shit like that anymore.
🎭 No Time To Die (2021) --- I guess this closes out the Daniel Craig era of Bond movies, I liked it. I mean I had fun. With this last batch they did changed the formula in an interesting way-- previous versions of the character existed in a sort of vacuum, with each movie building on the vibe but not neccessarily the events of the previous movies. With the Daniel Craig movies the first one was a hard reset, and the history of this character-actor pair grew over the next couple movies, and then he dies in this one. I'm guessing they're going to start fresh with the next one? It's kind of a good way to do it- if you build up too much history you can't really get anything done, and it's too hard to onboard new fans (comic book problem). That said I prefer it when it's just like, giving you the set up in the first couple minutes, no worries, no starting point.
⟲ The Band Wagon (1953) --- Rewatch while stressed of this great Fred Astaire / Cyd Charisse movie. Grotesque co-star Oscar Levant seems blisteringly out of place, but not bad. They launch into a dance number and he just marches confidently off-screen. What's his deal? As far as I can understand he was incredibly funny in real life and everyone loved him. But onscreen he was a wincing boglin. He commissioned Piano Concerto #1 from Schoenberg but then Schoenberg (who was his teacher) quoted him too high a price and they parted bitterly. Anyway I think this is my favorite Fred Astaire movie.
🎭 Mr Vampire (1985) --- Sammo Hung produced this action comedy martial arts movie about Chinese vampires (jiangshi) and it's fun as hell. Jiangshi have different rules than western vampires-- generally speaking they're from a Taoist worldview rather than a Christian one. There's rules of course, which gives the whole thing some structure, and they have a particular manner of dress- either funerary garments or the uniform of a Qing Dynasty official (seems like these get confused). Most importantly they hop around, which is cool-- if you have a particular way of moving then its easier for kids on a playground to imitate you, that's almost essential for the popularity of a movie monster. This movie jump started the genre of jiangshi movies, with a bunch of sequels (all staring stern dynamo Lam Ching-ying) and a slew of imitators.
⟲ Deep Blue Sea (1999) --- I mentioned this already but ever since Sakiko started surfing she can't watch movies with sharks in them. But it's OK if the movie is extremely unrealistic. This one was OK. I mean it fit the bill. As a movie it’s more than OK, it’s nuts and I liked it. Great performance by LL Cool J, including a memorable scene where he describes how to make a perfect omelette.
⟲ Easter Parade (1948) --- Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, with music by Irving Berlin. A lot of these movies involve figuring out how two people with different styles can learn to dance together, and it's a great bit that works (on me) every time. You see them stumble around, and then when they really click it's magical. Judy's competition in this one is Ann Miller, who's good but simply doesn't pop. Judy pops right off the screen and says hi how are you. This was supposed to be a Gene Kelly picture but Kelly broke his ankle just before production.
🎭 Funny Face (1957) --- Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn co-star and "fashion magazine" is the set-up, and it's fun. Hepburn gets a really fun and wild solo in a beatnik club, which is a highlight. Overall though I'd say it's kind of a downer-- a big point of the movie is laughing at "the intellectuals" and that's a drag. At one point Astaire and wonderfully mean co-star Kay Thompson (playing a thinly-veiled Diana Vreeland) have to blend in with a crowd of beatniks and they do this sort of hoodoo inspired dance number in phony southern accents, and while it's true that intellectuals always jam on this overly simple idea of a raw and primitive culture, I found it a bit much.
⟲ Room Service (1938) --- The rare Marx Brothers movie where neither the script nor the characters were developed for the Marx brothers. They certainly shine, and it's nice to see them interact with other people giving good performances. The heavy in this is a real scenery chewer, he's great. With a young Lucille Ball.
⟲ Casino (1995) --- Great Scorcese movie I watched while doing a task. When you're great you can have a movie set in a casino and call it just "Casino" and it's no problem. Great performances by everyone, especially Sharon Stone, who walks, flies, and eventually crawls. James Woods I personally don't like but he's so incredibly good at playing shitty dudes I hate. Deniro and Pesci are perfect of course. Don Rickles has a small role and god I would love to see a behind the scenes where Rickles obliterates the entire cast with his inimitable style of insult comedy.
🎭 the Equalizer (2014) --- Denzel as the ex-assassin living a regular guy life and acting as a sort of casual coach figure to anyone that needs it. Eventually someone needs help dealing with some actual bad dudes and his eyes deaden and he goes into kill mode. The thing that really got me is that it's set in Roxbury and his Boston accent is actually decent, which elevates his performance. Some of the other characters do an ok job at the accent, no one's terrible, and blessedly, not everyone goes for it. I mean realistically, not everyone in Boston talks like that. At one point this overconfident Russian mob guy tries to do the accent to fool Denzel and he sucks at it and you can tell that Denzel's character sees right through him, and it really underlines what a good and subtle job Denzel himself is doing. Every actor at some point tries to tackle this famous accent and they usually fuck it up, but Denzel pinned it. Outside of the accents, yes, I enjoyed this movie.
🎭 Equalizer 2 (2018) --- This time instead of working at the in-movie analog of Home Depot he's a Lyft driver, which kind of feels weird but makes sense for the character. Co-starring the guy from Mandalorean who looks like Jeremy Harris. As with the first movie, there's a small part for Bill Pullman, who's always great to see. Denzel's character isn't especially strong or fast but in a fight he has an extraordinary sense of where things are and where they're going, which couples with a stony confidence to achieve wonders. Kind of a Larry Bird feeling.
⟲ Aliens (1986) --- Casual rewatch over 2 nights of this tense thrill ride. It's pretty wild that the Alien movies swing around so much in tone but that's also a great strength. I could see loving the first Alien movie and then hating this one because of how different it is, but I like them both. Perfect casting in this-- Paul Reiser is great as the yuppie schemer. One crazy thing that I latched on to in this one is that Ripley basically time travels 60 years into the future but everything's pretty much the same, which is really dystopian.
⟲ Alien (1979) --- Very inventive sci-fi horror, it's great.
⟲ Pee Wee's Big Adventure (1985) --- An essentially perfect movie that I enjoyed enormously as a kid and now.
⟲ Whisper Of The Heart (1995) --- Nice romantic Ghibli movie with very few fantasy elements. the 2 second animation loop used in popular youtube "lo-fi beats to study to" (a girl at her desk with headphones on) is from this movie. It feels incredible when you see it on the screen. Before the drop there's a few other very similar scenes, and you go "hmm, that's almost like 'lo-fi beats'" and then when it happens it's a rush of recognition, a warm flush of excitement and almost embarassment. Then after that they show other characters at their desks, and you wonder what kind of beats they're listening to.
⟲ Alien3 (1992) --- Unequivocably the worst one. I remembered this as being pretty bad but I was hoping to find that I had misjudged it. I hadn't, it really is bad. Michael Biehn (Hicks in Aliens) was so mad about his character getting killed off that he demanded and recieved almost as much money for the use of his likeness in one scene as he had been paid for his role in Aliens. The movie ends with Ripley diving into molten lead ala 1991's Terminator.
🎭 Tora-San Meets His Lordship (1977) --- I love the Tora-san movies where some old guy loves Tora because he's fun and says what's on his mind. This is one of them. The guy playing the butler (who is great) was the star of the Kurama Tengu movies (1928 - 1950), which are parodied in the opening sequence, with Tora as Kuruma Tengu (Tora's full name is Torajiro Kuruma).
🎭 Roma (1972) --- Watched this in small doses over a few days, and later I told myself I'd go back and watch it again, all the way through, but by the end I thought that maybe the small doses approach is appropriate. This is just "a movie about Rome" with no real main characters, except Fellini, who can be seen making the movie throughout. I loved being in this Rome, Fellini's Rome, and I kept thinking about how much I'd love going to a Fellini party, where everyone had to dress like someone from a Fellini film. My only issue is that it ended very abruptly after a long and smoky motorcycle scene, that I thought maybe my file was corrupted. No credits or nothing. I guess in Fellini's day "is the movie really over" isn't a question, because you're in a movie theatre and the lights are going up. but I would've liked something, even just a black screen with a little "(c) 1972 Fellini" at the bottom.
🎭 The Suicide Squad (2021) --- OK after the Harley Quinn movie I said I wouldn't watch more "movies like this" but I wanted a movie to watch while doing a task and I noticed that this had a big shark guy in it. Honestly I had fun, there were some good parts. Like The Green Knight, they broke things up into chapter with titles onscreen-- I remember Mandy did this too. It reminds one of a comic book (or a regular book) and maybe it's just a solution for abuptly transitioning from one part of the movie to another, but I could also picture a DVD owner being like, I want to just watch the part where they fight the starfish, or whatever. I mean that wouldn't be me- I just download movies illegally. But I could imagine some ownership fetishist out there enjoying that particular utility.
🎭 The Green Knight (2021) --- Cool and far-out adaptation of this 14th century chivalric ode. I appreciated how far out it was-- it's fun to think about a time where you'd go on a quest and honestly have no fucking idea what's out there. Giants, magicians, sure. If you're watching this at home put the subtitles on because there's a few critical plot points that just get whispered. Wish they didn't do that. For music I want more dynamic range but for movies I honestly want less. One thing I couldn't figure out even with the subtitles was one part where he was doing it with some lady but then it turns out she was just jacking him off? I think? I should ask Caity, she likes horny movies with witches, I'm sure she has an opinion about this.
🎭 Nobody (2021) --- Bob Odenkirk had an interesting career turn-- here's his straightforward action movie, which would surprise anyone time-travelling here from 1998. This was like the non-lonely version of John Wick-- families remain intact and instead of a pet being lost, a pet is gained. I liked it, Bob did a good job. They went a little aggro with cutting the scenes to cool music in a few parts, but that's life baby.
🎭 A Spy Movie (2021) --- Brian Jordan Alvarez is a comedian who really uses social media well-- his best stuff isn't "jokes", it's just like a funny character you get to hang out with for a little while. Usually that "little while" is under a minute, on instagram or tik tok, but this year he starred in a full length movie, written, directed and edited by co-star and frequent collaborator Stephanie Koenig, and released for free on YouTube. I loved it. It definitely has that feeling of making a movie with your friends, but it's not like "rough around the edges", it's just like, fun!
⟲ Fast and Furious 9 (2021) --- Pleasant and comforting rewatch that we turned to at the onset of a booster-induced fever. Usually the villain is kind of fun but I hated Charlize Theron so much in this that I found myself starting to hate her as a person, which is completely unfair on my part. She's great in this but it's like she did too good of a job-- I wish I could tell that she was having fun chewing up the scenery, but instead it just seems like she was inhabiting this character, who wears a mask of calm to cover a seething cauldron of fear and pain. I like that each time she appears she has a terrible, terrible haircut, in some way that softens the blow-- long white dread extensions in Fate of the Furious and a preposterous bowl cut in this one.
⟲ Paddington 2 (2017) --- Pleasant and extremely comforting rewatch during the height of a fever. When I pressed play my body was pulsing in agony, but I was quickly transported to this British Eden where kindness always pays off. The main villain in this isn't even bad, he's just like, in the wrong place. The worst person here is the fake cop that lives in the neighborhood, who irrationally hates Paddington, and who everyone else hates. His authority is purely imaginary, which is a fiction that everyone in the neighborhood works to dispell. The movie itself looks like a Wes Anderson movie, with a fair amount of whimsical shots right in the center of the screen, plus elaborate dioramas. The only difference is that Paddington 2 isn't so ponderous, and it doesn't have a cool mix tape that goes with it. And unlike every character in every Wes Anderson movie, no one in Paddington 2 is villainously rich, nor do they aspire to be so.
⟲ Galaxy Quest (1999) --- I liked this a lot, and somehow that feels embarassing to admit. I mean it stars Tim Allen, it's a Star Trek send-up, and all the promotional imagery looks cheap as hell. Buuuut this is surprisingly good. It's a great script that sails along beautifully, the performances are great, it's even touching, in parts. It's a loving satire??? Sigourney Weaver is great as a sort of blond Nichelle Nichols, everyone's good. Tim Allen's good in this! Sorry, this is a good movie. In his book about the movie business, David Mamet calls this "a perfect film". A trek-loving roommate made me watch this years ago, this time I rewatched it during a fever and it was a great selection.
⟲ Kong: Skull Island (2017) --- Day 2 of my vaccine booster-induced fever, so we turned to this pleasant and comforting rewatch. We watched this last Christmas and I speculated at the time that maybe I'll watch this every Christmas, because at one point one person says "Santa Claus" out loud. Well here we are, Christmas Day. It's great. Samuel L Jackson, John Goodman, all the monsters look great. The best thing this movie does is recognize the intricate web of nature, and realize that there are situations where humanity as a whole can just fuck off.
⟲ Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas --- Loved this as a kid and I still love this. Jim Henson is a really inspiring artist in that he consistantly tried to do something good for the world and more or less succeeded. who else can say they did the same???
🎭 Tora-san Plays Cupid (1977) --- I love the ones where Tora helps out a shy guy in love, and that's what we got here. I realized while watching this that in Tora-san movies people are constantly eating, AND there's usually a few scenes where someone goes to sleep. I wouldn't call these movies "realistic" per se, but that's pretty real.
If you really can't get enough of long lists of movies you can read / scan through the previous two years in the castle library: [link]
I wrote a little bit about diary stuff here: [link].
If anyone found this list by searching "how to watch Tora-san online" then I'm sorry but I don't know. I found them all on a Japanese movie streaming site that has since disappeared, as these things do. Luckily I was able to download them all, using youtube-dl. If anyone local needs these movies (which are otherwise unavailable I think), bring me a removable hard drive and I'll fill it up. All 50 movies are 105.9gb.