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My last 30 watches with a few comments

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My last 30 watches with a few comments


Post by cinewest » January 23rd, 2019, 8:49 am

This post is essentially dovetailed by plane flights from China to the U.S. and back again, during which I watched 4 movies each way. The rest were mostly seen on Netflix or Amazon Prime, with a few trips to the theater and dips into my DVD collection mixed in.

From most recent backwards:

Crazy Rich Asians (2018)- Rom Com, Singapore Chinese style. Apart from a few mildly interesting comments about cultural differences, this is pretty much feel good fast food for girls. 6

Ray (Konchalovsky, 2016)- Excellent film about 3 characters whose lives intersect during World War 2. Shot in B & W as if it were a documentary, and very well done. 8.5

Foxtrot (Maoz, 2017)- Definitely one of the best films I saw during my vacation foray. This Israeli drama reminded me a bit of Farhadi's work, and deserves a lot more attention. 9

The Wild Pear Tree (Ceylan, 2018)- Another Chekovian examination of family and place that could have probably been condensed some and even worked better. 8

First Reformed (Schrader, 2018)- Very well done, and nice to see Schrader back in the limelight with spiritual struggles and opportunities for redemption. 8

The Awful Truth (McCarey, 1937)- One of those witty 30's Rom Coms about the rich that is well done, but yet doesn't really stand out among the very best. 7

Mary Poppins Returns (Marshall, 2018)- I wanted to see the Favorite, but was outvoted, and I'm still not exactly sure why this one was made, since it followed the original so closely in spirit, but also felt a bit out of its time and place. Still, it was done fairly well, overall (with various imaginative retakes), though it felt a bit rushed (like a quick tour of a children's classic. 6.5

I Dream In Another Language (Contreras, 2017)- This one had the potential to be better than it turned out to be. Some interesting subject matter that barely held my interest by the end. 6

Happy As Lazaro (Rohrwacher, 2018)- Good film that defined its own path, but didn't fully flesh out as it might have. 7+

Va Savoir (Rivette, 2001)- One of those French intellectual relationship dramedies. Well done, but not particularly special to me. 7

Est - Ouest (Wargnier, 1999)- Post WW1 political / relationship intrigue. Also well done, but not a stand out of its kind. 7

Le Plaisir (Ophuls, 1952)- Very enjoyable cinema, but not essential Ophuls. 7.5

Roma (Cuaron, 2018)- Might be getting a little too much publicity given the nature of the tale. But very well done in every way. 8.5

Zama (Martel, 2017)- One of my favorite contemporary filmmakers, but I'm still not quite sure how I feel about this one. 8ish. Perhaps a rematch will clarify.

El Sur (Erice, 1983)- This unfinished film is still considered a classic. I saw it in both lights. 7.5

Sweet Country (Thornton, 2017)- Decent Aussie Western, but doesn't get close to The Proposition. 6.5

Giulia Doesn't Date At Night (Piccioni, 2009)- A very worthwhile Italian film with good performances. 7

You Were Never Really Here (Ramsey, 2017)- Distinctive crime drama with a lot on interesting cinematic touches that doesn't fully satisfy in the end. 7.5+

Estiu (Simon, 2017)- Very fresh and poignant family drama. 7.5

Western (Grisebach, 2017)- Not as good as her previous film, but still pretty good. 7

Leave No Trace (Granik, 2018)- Ditto above. 7-

Garibaldi's Lovers (Soldini, 2012)- Fun Italian comedy that weaves its characters together into an odd but worthwhile stew. 7+

I Am Not Your Negro (Peck, 2016)- Documentary about James Baldwin via reflections on his final, unfinished novel. Very worthwhile. 7.5

Isle Of Dogs (W. Anderson, 2018)- Entertaining WA, but not one of his very best. 7+

Burning (Chang Dong Lee, 2018)- An excellent film, and one of the best in my foray. 8.5

The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs (Coen Brothers, 2018)- Minor Coen Brothers, but still pretty good, though some excerpts are stronger than others. 7

Beasts of No Nation (Fukunaga, 2015)- Very solid drama about Boy Soldiers in Africa, but it didn't wow me quite the way War Witch did. 7.5

Wuthering Heights (Arnold, 2011)- Yet another film that produced mixed feelings. A very creative interpretation of a classic novel that stands out cinematically, but also didn't quite fully satisfy. 7 - 7.5.

Nocturnal Animals (Ford, 2016)- This one showed great promise early on (Ford has a unique eye), but doesn't quite sustain itself. 7

Red Sorghum (Zhang Yimou, 1988)- Ditto above. The film's opening makes it seem like a masterpiece in the making, but it falls off considerably after that. 7.5

First They Killed My Father (Jolie, 2017)- Beasts of No Nation Cambodian Style, though more of a docudrama about a young girl's attempt to survive the Khmer Rouge. While this is very well done, especially early on, its dramatic impact suffers some from its docu-drama intentions. 7+

Private Life (Jenkins, 2018)- New England American Indie that reminded me of Baumbach. 7.5

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Post by prodigalgodson » January 25th, 2019, 12:00 am

Crazy Rich Asians - I enjoyed this a lot but part of that might've been the company I shared; really nice to see not just roles for Asians but a genuine representation of Asian culture in mainstream Hollywood

First Reformed - powerful stuff, we need more modern movies like this

The Awful Truth - aww this was one of my favorite 30s screwballs, but I haven't seen it in years

Mary Poppins Returns - I think out of time and place is apt, though I didn't like the original when I was a kid either

Le Plaisir - I don't generally dig anthology movies and this is one of my least favorite Ophuls, but I can still enjoy the direction and camerawork

Zama - easily my favorite movie of the last few years, exciting to see Martel developing her vision

You Were Never Really Here - another one of my favorites of the last few years; same goes for Ramsay as Martel, we need more filmmakers like these

I Am Not Your Negro - felt like Baldwin lite, but I still enjoyed it

Isle Of Dogs - Anderson's hit-and-miss for me but this was one of my favorites

Burning - really looking forward to this

The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs - I'd second your sentiments on this

Nocturnal Animals - I also dug the style but left not feeling really sated

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Post by cinewest » January 26th, 2019, 1:10 am


Thanks for weighing in on the ones you have seen. Seems like we had similar takes, and I enjoyed your comments.

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