Letterboxd - Demi Adejuyigbe
I would pay at least $10 to read an extensive interview with one (1) of Ari Aster’s nuclear family members.
Sat, 7 Dec 2019 22:40:53 +1300
a stunning but slow-burning entry in the annals of "i get it, and can sort of relate, but for the love of god please dump him" cinema
Sat, 7 Dec 2019 14:11:28 +1300
This review may contain spoilers.
Pelle's very first line/moment:
MARK: See? You could be getting that girl pregnant right now.
PELLE: And don't forget about all the Swedish women you can impregnate in June"
Watched the Director's Cut and am of two minds about it: one, there is a scene of Christian and Dani arguing that seems pretty critical to hitting home just how shitty of a partner he is (although I wish it happened in the day, because Dani's nightmare being the only nighttime occurrence feels structurally great) as well as some moments that make it even clearer that he was absolutely intending on fucking that teenage girl with or without drugs. (which he gave to himself, folks.)
two: look, i know this is "the point" of a lot of the film, but goddamn the deliberate pacing of this movie is just... not my thing! maybe the theatrical cut was slightly snappier or something, but the first hour of this film i just kept thinking "was it seriously this slow and lingering in the original?" the reveal of dani's family dying felt particularly overwrought, almost reveling in the awfulness of it all.
that said, this movie still fucking rocks. the psychedelics, the pareidolia, the measured cruelty and compassion of the cult– all in a bright, inviting technicolor dreamscape. dani's grief and pain at every turn feels so real and christian, mark, and josh are each such distinctly hatable men but the film does a great job of making each of their deaths feel a little bit unearned. in a movie with some truly heinous moments, the things that really make my stomach turn the most are the ways dani is forced to contort her own emotions and almost beg for christian's support in the face of his gutless apologia. it's truly painful to watch a dynamic on screen that you can recognize as real and totally fucked but not even a little bit overdramatic. if florence pugh and dp pawel pogorzelski get overlooked for an oscar nom, the swedish grief circle begins at my house, gang
I hate midsommar bcuz of the Bear boy, he was disgusting, i hate him with my life, he doesnot leave the sad girl alone
Wed, 4 Dec 2019 10:59:46 +1300
I've never seen a movie with such an unlikeable protagonist.
Mon, 2 Dec 2019 18:26:29 +1300
Gorgeous! Brilliant! Fuck, this is a cool film.
I'm glad I got to watch it with absolutely no concept of what it was about. For some reason, every single thing I've seen written about this movie so far has massive spoilers. Just watch it, don't look anything up. Let yourself be a bit confused and then feel the joy as it all comes together.
Sun, 1 Dec 2019 14:20:05 +1300
(nothing here is a huge spoiler but i’d still avoid this if you haven’t seen it because you should go in fresh, god damn you)
Docking a half-star because I watched this in a near-empty theater, which really hit home how much of the fun of this movie is dependent on the exact opposite! (Though it might play better at home. But boy was the lack of reactions hard to handle.)
Also, because I watched it so intently the first time, the structure stands out in both good and bad ways on a second viewing. Certain things (which i won’t get into until my inevitable third watch, surely a month or so down the line when it’s been out for a while and more people have seen it) feel a bit obvious with hindsight, though their obviousness is what makes them so well-hidden in a film where you’re assuming everything is a trick. And there are very few rewarding discoveries to uncover in a second viewing (although tracking the irony of the baseball’s path is a lot of fun, as it’s a ruinous series of events that wouldn’t have been set in motion without Don Johnson throwing it out the window)
Still, I stand by my thoughts on that first watch. It’s a goddamn blast of a film where truly half of the cast is giving performances that are among my favorites of the year. I’m dying to read the screenplay.
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 08:34:55 +1300
Verrrrry glad I ended up watching Céline Sciamma's previous work after being bowled over by Portrait Of A Lady On Fire. (And very glad I watched them with my girlfriend, whose insights were invaluable in helping me properly contextualize certain moments as the credits rolled.) Water Lilies, Tomboy, and Girlhood are all so different than POALOF but they carry similar themes of the complications of identity that can make the already-harrowing experience of adolescence even more distressing. Tomboy stands out as my favorite of the pack, but there's a confidence in the way that Sciamma directs Girlhood that makes me feel like she wanted to follow Girlhood with something different because she knew she'd mastered the genre. Such an incredible trilogy. And a really terrific showcase of what "good direction" looks like when it isn't as flashy or stylistic as any direction that has an actual chance to win an Oscar.
Obviously, there's an inherent "hmmm" factor in a white director making a film like this that seems to suggest a heavy lean on how blackness intersects with girlhood, but I think the real thing that made me go "hmmm" here, is that the movie doesn't seem to address it very much at all. I've talked before about how much I want to see films that explore a story with diverse characters but don't lean on the diversity as a storytelling element, but I dunno if this is the way. Aspects of the movie seem almost underwritten because they don't explore the reasons behind them, which leaves you to connect it to race and class in a way that the movie never really does. It's almost as if Sciamma knew she wasn't the person to tackle those elements, but needed them to still tell the story she wanted to tell. At least that's my interpretation of it; obviously I'm not a black French woman at all, so maybe there are things here that connected the story to race/class in a way I just missed.
I also think "Girlhood" as a title is a misnomer, as the film isn't so much about growing up as a woman as much as it is about the relationships that young women have with each other and how their camaraderie becomes a warm blanket, especially in the face of patriarchy. The original title of "Bande de Filles" is so much closer to that idea, and sets you up for a greater understanding of what I think Sciamma wants you to see. But even with that mislead, there's a sequence right after the title card that acts as a thesis for the entire film and will certainly stick with me a long time: a group of girls walking home from a football game in the dark, loudly and playfully conversing with each other until they come across a pack of boys sitting on the stairs to their block and get quiet. And that sudden switch could be for a variety of reasons, but the reasons aren't as important as the reflection of a very real and recognizable boy/girl dynamic, in which girls are socialized to silently understand that they must compose their lives around the whims of men. It's such a short moment in the grand scheme of the movie but it almost made me go "oh hell yeah" under my breath!
Truly in love with Sciamma's work. And super excited to see POALOF again now that I stan.
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 16:17:12 +1300
Céline Sciamma is a rockstar, childhood is trauma, and gender is a fucking prison!
Wed, 27 Nov 2019 21:18:16 +1300
In January of 2018 I did a 2am tweet storm about how terrific I think Rian Johnson’s films are and how perfectly they all feel like they‘re tailored to my taste. Five months later, I ran into Rian on the street in my neighborhood and he recognized me because we follow each other on Twitter. (Feel free to roll your eyes and dismiss this whole thing as a pointless humblebrag, but it’s relevant.) We made plans to grab lunch a few days later and did exactly that, all the while I was quietly telling myself “don’t fuck this up, absolutely do not tell him how much you are a fan of his work.” People just HATE hearing compliments, you know?
When we got lunch, we talked mostly about movies and writing and commiserated about how hard it was to motivate yourself to write anything; I was on the fifth year of passively writing my own passion project movie between jobs, and he was six months out from having written and directed a billion-dollar Star Wars movie. Very similar struggles. I restrained myself to asking just one question about his upcoming Star Wars trilogy and he said he was gonna tackle it after working on his next project, a “New York murder mystery” that was all inside of a tiny notebook he was carrying around. Still trying my best to act cool and aloof I avoided asking him any questions about it, despite being a huge absolute sucker for any and all of those words (especially “York!”) and aspiring to write a murder mystery of my own. Part of this was me not wanting to freak out someone who I hoped would become a friend by showing how much of a fan I was, and part of it was knowing as soon as I heard it was a murder mystery that I wanted to go in literally knowing as little as I possibly could. (This was a full 17 months before it’s release, and before they had even started shooting- but you can never be too careful!!)
A few weeks later, I read a Deadline article announcing Knives Out with Daniel Craig, and my imagination immediately went into overdrive, trying to figure out what the movie would be. Then casting announcements started dribbling out. Then Rian tweeted about principal photography ending. Then a poster dropped. Then a trailer. Then I went into nuclear mode and muted every possible permutation of the words “knives” and “out” to shield myself from seeing even a GIF of footage. Because I’m nuts.
There’s a very fun experience of watching a movie when you know it’s going to be twisty. At the end of the day, you want to take in a movie like Knives Out and do your best to figure out the ending before they give it to you, as if the fastest one to solve it is going to be whisked from the theater into a Mensa meeting. The more movies or stories you take in, the easier that gets. The more stories you take in, the more jaded you feel to seeing plots and plot devices recycled and the more enthralling it is to feel like you’re seeing a genuine magic trick; having someone direct a tale so well that they can lead you to a natural conclusion just before pulling the rug from under you is great, but it gets harder the more you see somebody do it. “Got your nose” only works the first few times. (Just figured the secret a week ago- the nose is a finger. Absolute bullshit.) So how do you navigate that exact dynamic, in a genre that is predicated on the very idea that such a rug-pulling has to happen? How do you fool an audience that has come to be fooled?
I think figuring that out is the secret to a truly thrilling story. And there are many ways to do it, but I think it’s not often attempted because it’s easier to surprise an audience that isn’t expecting to be surprised, such as when the genre doesn’t guarantee it (which is why a shock like the one in a certain recent-ish MCU debut film worked so well.) But when it’s done very well, you get a goooood fucking rise out of your audience. Unexpected laughs, whoas, gasps, joy screams, jaw drops, a few “turn to your friend in silent shock” faces- pretty much anything Lucille Bluth would do when she was caught by Gene Parmesan. I think I did 10 consecutive Gene Parmesans to my friends Celia and Kevin at the end of Knives Out.
Knives Out is absofuckinglutely phenomenal. I knew I was going to watch it again and again about 25 minutes in. It’s tied for my favorite movie of the year, but might just inch out the other upon subsequent viewings. (Parasite. Let’s not get into that now.) It’s an incredible script, it’s funny, it’s charming, the score is perfect, there are multiple honest-to-God dramatic AND comedic Oscar-worthy performances in it, and it manages to weave a politically incisive story that hits you over the head with its modernity but develops its characters with the same brush in a much more subtle and affecting way. And it wouldn’t work if Rian wasn’t so keyed in to knowing exactly how an audience is going to watch this movie and how to play to that, which is something he does well. For lack of a better phrase and at risk of launching a flare to attract the least funny nerds of all time, (deep belabored sigh)..... he’s very good at subverting expectations. He has made a whole career out of doing it and doing it well with every film since Brick and I think it’s why I love his work so much and why I find his movies truly inspiring.
Rian Johnson is so deftly able to get that joyful, wondrous reaction out of me by expertly controlling every aspect of the script and the direction in a way that makes it clear he sees the entire process as a symphony that he’s conducting, where the audience is just another instrument being played. He’s terrific at leading you down the road he wants you to down and convincing you that you made the choice yourself. He’s one of my favorite directors and writers currently working today and I don’t think I would have finally finished writing my movie (a whole three weeks ago!) without taking in the lessons I’ve learned from watching his work with enormous stars in my eyes.
I will never tell him this.
Mon, 25 Nov 2019 19:50:19 +1300
I didn’t grow up with Mr. Rogers and only know him as a legendarily kind figure of great renown, so seeing him depicted doesn’t do much for me. I had this same sort of apathy issue with Won’t You Be My Neighbor? last year, which was sweet but largely ineffectual for me. I think where this one lost me just a little more is by casting someone as bombastic as Hanks as a quiet figure, because it just feels like he’s performatively whispering through the whole film. A great performance, and a very wonderful film- but it was hard for me to not just see Quiet Tom Hanks. There’s also a very meditative nature to this movie that makes Hanks’s whisper-performance feel almost...... sinister at times. Like it’s building tension for something to come. Which it was not.
Mon, 25 Nov 2019 18:09:11 +1300
It feels unfair for me to rate this movie because i was 10 min late and then left to go to the bathroom an hour in and stayed in the lobby for a bit because I wasn’t really feeling it (dramatic period pieces are an uphill battle for me) but I do think it’s a good film! Just one I probably need to watch again later. Florence Pugh kinda stoke the show for me, and Chalamet has one scene in particular that I really loved. But also, I didn’t know what this movie was about and as I slowly started to realize, I kinda felt myself losing interest.
Also, I did not know *** ******** was in this?????? And it was a TRIP when they showed up
Mon, 25 Nov 2019 09:14:24 +1300
I think Melina Matsoukas is a visionary, and one of the best contemporary black artists making unapologetically black art. I’ve been so psyched to see what a film from her looks like, and am still psyched to see her take on Y: The Last Man next year, but... I feel like I was hoping for something a lot stronger from this film.
It’s beautiful, the soundtrack is flawless, and there’s a shocking amount of big humor in the movie that works very well through the tension and fear, but it also feels like an extended short film. A lot of this movie is so art-forward and performed with a stilted dialogue style that it feels so much more like an art piece than it does a movie. It has a strange sense of pacing and the characters make some frustrating choices that left me wanting things to pick up a lot quicker than they did, but that’s not to say it doesn’t all feel real: it just feels a little... underwhelming. Maybe if I’d gone in with lesser expectations.
All that said, I think it’s still a great movie. It very well might be the most seminal black film of the year, rife with plenty of great shots and scenes that might stand the test of time as iconic. I’ve written so much about how endlessly exhausted I am to see black pain depicted in film over and over again, and this movie doesn’t necessarily bring anything new or refreshing enough to the table for me to feel invigorated in seeing it here yet again, but it’s still such a well-crafted, artful, powerful and painful film that I’d recommend without hesitation.
Also, someone needs to write a straight-up comedy for Bokeem Woodbine as soon as possible, and someone else needs to tell me when Flea and Chloe Sevigny are gonna show up in movies. You can’t just spring that on people, it’s irresponsible.
Tue, 19 Nov 2019 18:41:45 +1300
Jesus Christ, the exhale I did at the end of this film. Adam Sandler does a predictably incredible job, but honestly every performance in this movie is terrific. Stunning, tense, and surprisingly funny in a very dark way. Nobody builds tension out of overlapping dialogue like the Safdies. And that SCORE! Oh– if the Academy fucking ignores this one like they did Good Time, they're only gonna be embarrassing themselves.
Mon, 18 Nov 2019 16:37:40 +1300
I have mixed feelings on how this film handles the "it's Fox News" of it all, but Margot Robbie and Charlize Theron are doing absolutely stunning work here and the final resolution of the film is perfectly sobering and honest in a way that I didn't expect it to be. Also, every (white) actor in Hollywood is in this film! Good on them.
Mon, 18 Nov 2019 16:34:00 +1300
I love Alan Alda so much.
Very hard to watch this movie without immediately recognizing it as Noah Baumbach’s attempt to reconcile his own divorce in the most self-aggrandizing way, but I will forgive it on the sole condition that Laura Dern either runs me over with her car or allows me to treat her to a lovely expensive dinner and then never calls me again. Your choice, Laura!
Sat, 16 Nov 2019 20:04:41 +1300
Easily the silliest movie that has almost brought me to tears. A fun, easygoing movie about what even the most ridiculous films can mean to people. The Disaster Artist found dead in a ditch.
Sun, 10 Nov 2019 15:22:22 +1300
One detail I noticed this time around is that Min and Mr. Park both react the same way to being asked if they like or love the people that they're romantically involved with– by laughing. And in Mr. Park's case, giving a sarcastic answer that undercuts his saying 'yes'. Min and Mr. Park are both seen as powerful figures deserving of respect, and the way they dismissively respond to an earnest question about whether they truly care for the people they're supposed to tells us a lot about how powerful people think about not just the people below them, but everyone in their lives.
"I just feel comfortable here. It feels like I was born here. Maybe I had my wedding here, too. In my old age, love will comfort me."
Thu, 7 Nov 2019 13:33:15 +1300
it is insane how relentlessly horny movies were right before 9/11. my man baz directed this thing like the tasmanian devil on cialis
Sun, 3 Nov 2019 20:43:52 +1300
(no real spoilers per se, but i'm talkin about the tone of the film so if you wanna go in completely blind on what to expect, go away!!! but also, the movie is 3.5 hours, there is a strong chance you will have forgotten all of this by the time the ending comes)
About an hour into the film, the format starts to unravel in a way that makes you think "ah, this just might be another 'portrait of a criminal' Scorcese movie– but longer." And it isn't until the last hour that you can really feel what makes this movie different– there's absolutely no joy in Scorcese's portrayal of Frank's life. No fun times, no "this is the life it gave me," no celebration or pride in what Frank is doing– and very little sadness in it either, until a crucial point where the movie turns (and, imo, becomes truly fucking stellar.) Pacino is giving an absolutely stunning comedic performance in this movie and it's truly a shock and a shame that this is the first time he's worked with Scorcese. Pesci comes out of retirement and hits a grand fucking slam with a very intense but quiet and terrifying character that draws your attention every time he's on the screen.
My hottest take that is sure to get people yelling at me about this film, is that it might be better to watch on your TVs at home! I loved watching it with an audience. But something about the film made it feel like a cozy cable TV watch where you don't mind the commercials because hey, the movie is three Bambis long. It's also not much a visual spectacle film– though fuck, the CGI de-aging is truly outstanding. Even if you're looking for it at first, it quickly fades into the film so well that you forget they did anything at all.
Sun, 3 Nov 2019 19:16:18 +1300
Scarlett Johansson absolutely nails the role of a German woman who is actually from both Long Island & Nigeria. Nick Frost and the Benjamin Button VFX team absolutely nail the role of Jojo’s best friend Yorki. Sam Rockwell, for the umpteenth time, absolutely nails the role of “virulent racist who is actually good.” Taika Waititi absolutely nails the role of guy who reminds you how much you like Life is Beautiful and Wes Anderson.
Tue, 29 Oct 2019 17:27:32 +1300
God, the final act of this movie is truly so bad. But I still want to restate my desire to see an artsy remake a la Suspiria. Thank you.
Mon, 28 Oct 2019 19:12:16 +1300
Good news for everyone who hates this film: this is the first time I've watched it that made me go "hmmm okay parts of this movie are very very corny." Bad news for those same people: I still think the opening is so beautiful and celebratory and exuberant in a way I want more movies to be, I still think Emma Stone is so fucking fantastic and deserved the Best Actress Oscar, and Damien Chazelle deserved his Best Director Oscar! This movie rules!!!!!!!!
Mon, 28 Oct 2019 07:04:10 +1300
Cute and endearing, but I think the parts that are obviously over-dramatized really didn’t work for me. And once you get the crux of what this tour is going to be, it feels like you’re fighting against the urge to find it a liiiiiiiil tedious. But remember, I also called it cute and endearing!
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 08:29:27 +1300
nothin better than gettin high and smiling at cats :)
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 06:19:58 +1300
I saw someone on Twitter doing that annoying thing where they sneer at the idea that a movie that people love really could be as good as they say and then asking for more opinions, hoping to find just one person who says something like "it was fine" and then latch onto that one take as the definitive proof that there's some sort of conspiracy (?) to declare a film as great when it's actually "just fine." It's a very stupid trend that seems like a thinly-veiled way to get ahead of the curve and preemptively shit on a popular movie and cast all of that movie's fans as rabid sheep who can't think for themselves, in order to present as someone having a hot take that makes you seem smarter and more with it than all those "idiots" who enjoyed the movie– but it alllllllways comes across as corny and embarrassingly contrarian.
The closest thing I can find to a kernel of worth in doing that, is the conceit that if you do go into a movie thinking it's not "as good as everyone says," there's a great chance that you'll truly be stunned and let yourself be overwhelmed into an experience far above what you were expecting. Sometimes it feels like there's a psychology to film, where your brain is constantly trying to fight against the preconceived notions it has about a piece of art, like a strange defense mechanism. If everyone's saying it's good, you'll have to overcorrect for that expectation and end up letting yourself down. If it's said to be bad, you're setting yourself at a low bar to be extremely impressed when they do three flips over the thing from a standing position (which is impressive, even without a bar to cross!) And maybe that's what this person was concerned with in this movie.
People are calling this the movie of the year, a masterpiece, talking about how rich the themes and comedy are, how terrific the performances are, how great a director Bong Joon-ho is– but if you're going into the theater with that all in mind, aren't you erasing the very chance of surprise and wonder from your experience? I'd like to think that's not entirely the case, as this was the second time I'd seen it– long after the volunteer army for Bong Joon-ho & Sang Kang-ho's Oscars was formed (of which I am a proud cadet)– and the audience still seemed absolutely enthralled and rapt with the movie they were watching. And so was I! But I don't want to give the sneering contrarian crowd, or the cautious contrarian brain, any ammo by teeing it up in any special way.
All of that said, Parasite fuckin' sucks. Enjoy! ☺️
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 16:27:29 +1300
Madeline Kahn is so fucking funny. The final line of this film is one of my favorite last lines of any movie I’ve ever seen. Keep Ryan Reynolds & the Deadpool writers away from this film.
Tue, 8 Oct 2019 20:03:33 +1300
This movie means nothing. They just went “what’s big right now? incels and antifa? those are the same” and rolled it all into an existing character that could use politically and socially relevant anxieties as developing characteristics... but to make absolutely no “message.” and no, films don’t have to have a message (lemme just preempt that dumb comment someone always wants to make) but it’s so clear that this movie wants you to think it has one. it doesn’t. joker insists on telling you he’s not political multiple times in the same way people tell you they’re “sick of politics,” only to ignore the influence of politics in literally everything that led to where he is— and you’re never given a clear sense of what Phillips wants you to believe from that point on, because the chaos is so much more intriguing to him than anything of substance. whatever.
i generally like superhero movies and think they’re fun, and despite this having a stellar performance from Joaquin Phoenix and generally enticing production design (whoda thunk a Taxi Driver-inspired film looks nice in 35mm!) , this might be the kind of superhero movie that upsets me the most, because it insists on masquerading as something smarter and more important than the “average superhero flick.”
also, a huge fuck you to Todd Phillips for casting a dwarf actor pretty much solely for the purpose of a horrifying gag.
EDIT: i’m docking it half a star because in thinking about it, the dwarf gag literally undermines the closest thing this movie has to a message, which is in the importance of civility and kindness, especially to the marginalized. to throw a misplaced, laughing-at-and-not-with gag where the audience laughs at a dwarf’s misfortune into all of that? absolutely fucking bite me, War Dogs
EDIT: the comments are predictably a mess but one part of this "review" keeps getting poorly interpreted. i don't think Joker is an incel. i don't think the movie is about antifa. the full sentence i use those words in is pretty important to what i am trying to say but it feels like people keep insisting that i think this movie involves either one.
I think this movie uses the social and political contexts of two big modern "movements" (for lack of a better term) as a sort of set dressing for its story. I don't think Joker is an incel, but his "rise to madness" is set about by a provocation in the same way that incels very publicly enact violent acts against women. It's this idea that they've been pushed to violence because a sect of society ('society' in a post about Joker, finish your drink) has unjustly acted against them and this is their rebellion. I think Joker uses the same sort of justification and refusal to feel remorse for his violent actions as Elliot Rodger does, but without the misogyny. (Well, at least, moving the misogyny to being a passive act in the film and not any actual actions or beliefs– $10 to anyone who can tell me definitively what happens to Zazie Beetz, because I don't think Todd Phillips cared.)
It also uses Antifa in the same way– the imagery of political violent unrest and masks, all literally and declaratively set in a large city and staged to be demonstrative against wealth and facism? Both his inspiration and the images he wants to conjure in your mind– yes, despite being set in 1981– is what he knows the audience will recognize to be closely associated with Antifa.
The thing is, he uses these ideas and images and characterizations in a way that don't really... make any clear comment on the things themselves. Which feels weird. To make an extreme comparison, it's like writing a road trip buddy comedy that pulls heavily from the recognizable imagery and characterizations of slavery, but doesn't... seem to have any particular stance on slavery. In fact, I think I agree with everyone who told me this movie has "nothing to do with incels or antifa!" i think that's the problem! why make a movie that will feel like it's got something to say, drawing from recognizable, current political and social events and identities, and not say anything about them?
Alternatively, I can just agree with whatever you guys think if it means you'll stop yelling at me. Who cares.
Mon, 7 Oct 2019 19:32:40 +1300
The back-to-back combo of this with The NeverEnding Story made me realize that fantasy/adventure films aren’t gone, they’ve just been scooped up by children’s animation. Which is something of a bummer- but not completely awful! At least the genre still exists. This was perfectly fine. I experienced a very shameful frisson during a strange Coldplay needle-drop and my dad kept humming along to melodies they made for the film as if he’d heard them before.
Sun, 6 Oct 2019 16:03:42 +1300
Just saw this movie for the first time— I distinctly remember it being played during daycare when I was a child, and I dreaded the idea of a movie that was truly “never-ending,” and thought it actually WAS somehow an infinite movie, because I kept leaving and coming back and it was still playing. The movie is 94 minutes long.
Anyways, I think it’s bad? The production design is fantastic and the puppetry is super cool. But the editing is insane, every line is ADR’d, and the entire narrative concept of the movie doesn’t make sense until the very end. I wish this was just the inside story of Fantasia.
Also, sorry 2 the sacrosanct childhood purity protectors, but this movie is a perfect candidate for a remake and I earnestly would love to watch it. Keep all the practical shit, work out the story a bit more, make Bastian more involved. I don’t know, make Atreyu a girl? He is a bisexual female icon. Embrace it.
Sun, 6 Oct 2019 15:39:32 +1300
I showed up to my friend’s party a little late and missed crucial parts of the first act so I won’t rate this, but this movie was way more insane than I had previously thought? But I... loved it. And want more of this psychosexual cop-and-robber-love-each-other dynamic.
Tue, 1 Oct 2019 05:26:25 +1300
“I feel bad for her because she’s about to cry. I can always tell when adults are about to cry.”
I’ve seen this movie four times now because I think it’s fun to feel my heart break a little more and more each time I watch it. The hero shot of Bobby walking out of the electrical closet after fixing the power and being cheered on by the motel is my new favorite moment on this watch.
Tue, 1 Oct 2019 05:19:44 +1300
absolutely peak cuteness
Sun, 29 Sep 2019 07:49:30 +1300
CLAIRE DENIS: hm. so no cum? you’re allowed to... just none of it?
Mon, 23 Sep 2019 08:46:03 +1200
The fun parts are so great, the serious emotional parts didn’t land too hard for me, and the relationship dynamics between JLo and ConWu (workin on it) felt so malleable and quick-changing in the second half of the film. But this movie still rules. JLo is terrific, Keke Palmer is hilarious, Cardi B is perfect, and I would watch a full 2 hour film that was just a Linklater-style hangout movie in the dressing room of that strip club.
Fri, 20 Sep 2019 18:49:06 +1200
honestly i was tired and in a post-IT fugue when i watched this so i dozed off for a lil bit but this is so sweet and funny and lovely and i’m actually excited to watch it again
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 10:57:12 +1200
This review may contain spoilers.
It has been a looooong time since I disliked a big studio blockbuster as much as I disliked this one. The script is awful, the balance of humor and horror is so fucking slapdash and without concern for really nailing one or the other, and so much of this movie feels like Muschietti really wanted to sit in the theater next to a 15 year old watching it so he could lean over with a smirk and go "Pretty fucked up, huh?"
The CG de-aging and pitch adjustment of the children is so fucking ghastly, the homophobic hate crime that kicks of the film feels entirely out of place and pointless (I've heard it's in the books, but... who gives a shit? It doesn't serve any purpose in the film series' adaptation of the story) the rules by which Pennywise 'works' are somehow made more and more unclear as the film goes on, it's extremely overlong and still somehow still under-developed its characters and under-explained its own plot, Chastain's character is only in this movie to be an abused woman and to fulfill the terribly-written romantic cliche role of the One Girl Of The Group, who's... in a love triangle with the other members? Still? After 27 years? Because of a poem? Alright, man.
I mean, Jesus, what works about this movie? Ben becoming "hot and successful" is so fucking hammy. There's a bonding moment between two characters that is ruined by them agreeing that one of them "married a woman 10 times his body mass" and we're supposed to love it. There are several scenes where McAvoy is left to do brooding, dramatic hero poses or the gang is spread evenly in an unnatural way so that the camera can get a good shot of them all together, because this entire film is directed for the trailer. The ending of this movie is a bunch of grown adults yelling "you're a clown!" and "you're a fucking bully!" at an extraterrestrial light monster in order to make him feel bad and defeat him. There's a god awful needle drop moment with "Angel In The Morning" that makes no sense and ruins what could've been a good moment. Hell, this whole thing is just a series of moments that make no sense and ruin potentially good moments– jokes about puppies and incessant, contrived callbacks to the first film and jokes about mullets and puns after brutal stabbings make it clear that they don't care if you give a shit about the traumatic reality of literally anything happening. It's all just index-carded ideas being tossed onto a conveyor belt piping right into a screenplay. "This is funny, it goes in. This is freaky, it goes in. This tests well, it goes in. Yes, they can all go in right after each other."
There's one moment I liked in this movie, and it's Bill Hader going limp after being hit with the deadlights. That's it. I don't even think Bill Hader's performance in this movie is anywhere near as good as people set it up to be– he's absolutely guilty of all the worst tension-ruining moments, and none of his comedy worked for me. But I also thought the same of Finn Wolfhard in the first part. No more characters whose entire personality is "we have one-liners for them to say so you know they're sarcastic. You love how sharp and witty they are, and it's funny." No it isn't. Write a fucking character. I love Bill Hader almost as much as I hate Richie Tozier.
And look, it's not the biggest deal– but Stephen King making a meta-commentary on shitty endings is one of the worst and most audacious authorial inserts I have ever seen. The gall of them to joke about a screenwriter doing a shitty ending, on this movie of all movies. Like they were so sure they couldn't be embarrassing themselves. We should all be insulted as hell that they really think they're that much smarter than us.
But then again, I paid $15 to see this alone in the middle of the afternoon. So maybe they are.
Wed, 11 Sep 2019 21:12:50 +1200
This review may contain spoilers.
Watched the score-only version of this movie and it still absolutely fucking rules. I honestly feel like every scene makes me go "oh shit! I forgot all about how great this was."
• Paige Tico's heroic moment in the opening scene absolutely works on me, and it's wild how such a minor character sticks with me every time I watch this movie.
• I love the porgs. I love them.
• Wise old hermit legend Luke on his mountain is fantastic. The scene where he vaults over the canyon pass, the shot where he's carrying the giant fish up the mountain– it's all outstanding. This is how Johnson hammers home that Luke has become the incredible, mythical figure people wanted him to be– he's fucking Paul Bunyan. He even drinks milk straight from the cow. He's every god-awful early 2000s Chuck Norris joke come to life.
• Say what you will about the scene of Leia in space (actually, don't) but the music that plays as she flies back? One of the most beautiful songs in the entire film. That's what really makes the moment for me.
• The way they play with nostalgia in this movie is leaps and bounds better and lighter than in The Force Awakens. The moment of R2 playing the Leia hologram for Luke is such a delight.
• Look, I'm not trying to objectify Laura Dern as Holdo, because Laura Dern as Holdo is a terrific character and Laura Dern as Holdo deserves to be recognized for how well she plays this unknown character that we are meant to distrust as Laura Dern as Holdo comes out of nowhere to lead the entire Resistance. That said– Laura Dern as Holdo, please step on me.
• Kelly Marie Tran is GREAT? She owns absolutely every scene she's in.
• The way the Force telepathy scenes are shot so that we just see them looking of screen is some goddamn magic. This feels like the first Star Wars film where shots are framed and set up in a particular way for the story, and not just pointing it straight ahead because you have to see what's happening, or because adding handheld camera shake in post makes it seem more real (it doesn't)
• There isn't a single scene in the entire series like the scene where Luke guides Rey as she's feeling the Force for the first time. The way the scene is interspersed with shots of other things feels decidedly un-Star Wars, in the best way. For all the talk about how the original Star Wars is just The Hidden Fortress, this feels like the first Star Wars since that one where Kurosawa's influence can be felt so strongly.
• I have mixed feelings about Canto Bight like everybody else, but I will say it plays much better in the score only version, because when you're just focusing on the music it becomes clearer that Canto Bight is this film's cantina scene. You want an even more wretched hive of scum and villainy? Well, here ya go. It's rich people, blissfully ignoring the war going on and playfully gambling on the same ground that animals are being abused for their entertainment. As far as world-building goes in this franchise, adding more aliens is cool– but putting a face to this world's analog of capitalism and wealth and greed and evil in a way that isn't the one-note evil we've seen ("I want power and that's why I'm bad") is rad.
• Luke discovering Rey & Kylo together is ALSO rad, and I love that the hut exploding was done practically because you can feel it.
• Rey fighting Luke fucking rules. Every fight scene with Rey so far in these films has been fucking great.
• The Luke/Kylo flashbacks are astounding, and I've written before about how well Johnson characterizes both Luke and Kylo differently in each of them, but WOW. The way Luke looks so evil with the green reflecting in his eyes in Kylo's flashback. The way Kylo looks like an innocent little boy in Luke's. They can all do so much with just lighting and looks, and it works so damn well.
• Yoda showing up is a killer moment and I remember not expecting it in the theater but being so happy when it happened.
• Every single second in the Red Room is absolute gold. Start to finish. If one of you nerds tries to tell me about how the fight choreography is off or whatever, I will scream. I don't care. It's perfect.
• The destruction of the Resistance feels so real and painful the way it's cut with the Red Room sequence and with Finn/Rose being caught– which really hammers home just how necessary and great–
• – The hyperdrive scene is! Laura Dern as Holdo strikes again. If only she were still alive to step on me.
• Crystal foxes are cool as shit, and so are the crystal caves! Holy fuck! I wish I could've watched this on the big screen again. The entire sequence on Crait is outstanding. Every single shot of it. Even the way Poe slides into the trenches is outstanding. This is the most beautiful Star Wars movie, bar none.
• my pal Shrill said it best, but Luke facing down the First Order is the single most badass thing a Jedi has ever done in this series. It is leaps and bounds cooler and emblematic of wisdom than any crazy, jumpy, masterful lightsaber duel people had been wishing for.
• Poe meeting Rey for the first time is still a weird moment where I go "oh right, you guys haven't... huh."
• Rey lifting the rocks is a POWERFUL image that absolutely works on me, even though the rocks themselves look bad. Still good.
• This is absolutely my favorite Star Wars film and I don't think I would think anything more than "oh yeah it's kind of fun" about Star Wars if it weren't for this film.
Fri, 6 Sep 2019 16:06:16 +1200
War? Now, war is hell. But a Star War? That's hell too– hella fun! You gotta love movies!
Thu, 5 Sep 2019 20:26:14 +1200
i had fun with this movie and am giving it four stars so please keep that in mind when I say I have never seen a more transparent attempt to create a bad-ass Halloween costume moment than the one in this movie! and also, whoever color graded this movie is my enemy! again- four stars! samara weaving is great!
Mon, 2 Sep 2019 14:46:15 +1200
if you ask my friends i watched the entire movie looking like that gif of Lenny at the awards show but inside i felt like a nice warm smile come to life! funny and nice and easy in a 2007 indie film kinda way, for better and worse! (give dakota johnson something interesting to do she deserves better)
Wed, 28 Aug 2019 19:59:03 +1200
a list of nonsense i wrote while watching AVENGERS: ENDGAME on a plane:
• Gotta admit, I think I was way harsh on this movie coming off Infinity War! Second time around, the one-liners feel much less grating and you can tell how astoundingly well-plotted this thing is– like, yes, dug, it’s the culmination of 22 movies, but this time I really felt like I could see all the breadcrumbs they had been laying throughout other films and how they meticulously met here, instead of just feeling like they just happened to write something that worked with the universe they’d already set up. Good going, Markus & McFeely. (Attorneys at law.)
• I love this movie so much more when I think of it as Captain America’s story ending and not Iron Man’s story ending. (Sorry! I still don't like Iron Man!)
• Feels like this movie is 3 hours long because the ending works best if you forget that they tried to prep you to mourn the same person 2 hours and 45 minutes before.
• Ken Jeong’s cameo is... SO weird. Two shots, zero lines, a very-fake mustache? Almost certain some scenes were cut but dang, that's an expensive cut.
• The scene of Scott Lang trying to eat a taco literally feels like it's one logo away from being a Taco Bell commercial. Like, I'd fully believe that they shot it as a commercial and then the deal fell through and the Russos were like "That was a freebie."
• Stan Lee in the 70s with a mustache looks like Marc Maron.
• Examining the time travel ‘logic’ of any movie is a waste of time and you will always inevitably come up against either a situation (either invented or in the film) in which the rules “should” work differently or an endlessly complex sequence that tries so hard to tighten the logic that it’s stripped of all fun. That said– the time travel in this movie is really fun! The big ass nerd in me wants to go “why didn’t they just do X instead” but we won’t be hearing from him I shoved his ass in a locker and stole his lunch money.
• Truly excited to see what a Black Widow movie looks like after Endgame. Like I know it’s a prequel set between Civil War & Infinity War, but I can’t imagine her solo movie ignores the fact that we’ve got an ending to her story- at least in tone, or a single sequence or something.
• The biggest laugh in the movie, and maybe even the entire MCU, is still the extremely jarring moment that Jeremy Renner’s end credit appears.
• I am never gonna not be upset that I didn't get to see this with a nutso crowd opening day in the US. I went opening day, but I was in New Zealand, and the crowd was a lot more tempered about their reactions– which is great and I love it! But I vividly remember enjoying the absolute off-the-wall fervor of the crowd when I saw Infinity War, even though I didn't like the movie as much. I wish I could've felt that same thing for Endgame. Just a room of excited people feeling the pure joy and fantastical wonder of a movie they're really really connecting with. That's the power of theater!! Even the cynic in me can't touch that rush– ya gotta love it, baby!
• Marvel, if you’re reading this- look, the Blade movie’s been officially announced now... lemme write it. Again, I will not be looking up who Blade is or what he does. He owns a barbershop now.
• I will also accept the role of writing that Moon Knight series. He too owns a barbershop now. Could be the same one, could be a different one– only way you find out is by sending me an email, fellas ;)
Mon, 26 Aug 2019 23:41:38 +1200
had to rewatch this with Maddie because i think about it every time i listen to the piano version of “Sugarboy”- which is a lot (no concrete reason for the connection, that song just feels like a thrilling but stark school montage to me. like the scenes of zuckerberg writing on his window in The Social Network)
god this movie feels much longer and twisty a second time around. the tension also rises and sets so many times I do full 360s on multiple characters!!! still, i stan an anti-capitalist anti-privilege “fuck school” heist movie
Mon, 26 Aug 2019 18:45:59 +1200
This review may contain spoilers.
absolutely no offense intended but the main couple in this movie is so mismatched that the literal first moment we learned they were dating i said “mmm. ok, he’s the killer”
Mon, 26 Aug 2019 18:35:41 +1200
birds are fucking aliens. they're aliens that came to earth and just copied bugs to blend in. and they sound like old fucking computers. i won't be answering any questions about my sobriety at this time
Fri, 23 Aug 2019 16:39:00 +1200
when they inevitably reboot BIG john mulaney better get a call
Fri, 23 Aug 2019 16:32:55 +1200
Wow. Honestly not sure what to say about this movie, past calling it beautiful, inside and out. I kinda can't believe it's a debut feature. Another great film in a series of great recent films about the gentrification of the Bay Area and conflicts of race and masculinity that come with the desire to push back against it.
Mon, 19 Aug 2019 12:35:01 +1200
THE ROCK: brother, we ain’t gonna see eye to eye. and not just cause you’re small
STATHAM: oi only seem small cos yer fogettin the soize of me nuts
THE ROCK: you think you got a big dick? buddy my dick couldn’t fit in this jeep
STATHAM: prolly could if i got me big ol wanker out of the droivers sait
THE ROCK: wanker? i hardly know her. and by her, i mean your mom. and also i know her very well, from having sex with her
STATHAM: me mum would never touch your tiny willie, mate
ENTERPRISE RENT-A-CAR GUY: yea aight y’all gonna have to clean this jeep before we take it back
THIS GUY FOR SOME REASON: chimichangas
Sun, 18 Aug 2019 17:04:01 +1200
Honestly the most “LA” movie I’ve seen in a long time- by which I mean it captures the spirit and feeling and people of LA as I know it, more than so many other films that try to depict LA as people want to see it. The iPhone aesthetic of it all lost its value to me so quickly and became really distracting and kind of frustrating, but I still really dug this! I love that Sean Baker seems dedicated to making humanizing depictions of the lower class that don’t lean heavily on the tragedy of living without privilege (save for one moment that was so unexpected it kind of broke my heart.)
Sat, 17 Aug 2019 21:30:54 +1200
Maybe it’s the lack of Tarantino-ness in this film that left me feeling underwhelmed but I didn’t feel particularly satisfied with this one. It makes me upset how hot Brad Pitt is though? So, that’s something.
Sat, 17 Aug 2019 04:31:51 +1200
NZIFF FILM #12
I have been waiting for Midsommar since I first heard about it last year. It was easily my most anticipated film of 2019. I’d avoided knowing anything about the plot or the characters or who was in it or even seeing a single second of footage, all in the hopes that July 3rd was going to be an incredible day. Then I scheduled myself to leave the country days before it was released. So I deftly navigated the internet and blocked pages and moved all my Twitter followings to lists and avoided literally anything that might accidentally reveal any aspect of Midsommar for the following month, as it wouldn’t be released in New Zealand until August 8th. Then I found out it was playing at the NZIFF and essentially begged Twitter to see if there was anybody that could pull a connection and get me into the screening so I wouldn’t have to wait four whole days longer than I planned, and somebody came through. Then I was feeling extremely down about a conversation I had with my girlfriend in the hour before the movie, and the movie opened in a way that made it clear this was going to be a 140 minute film that put a spotlight on a relationship in slow demise and made me feel even more dour in a way that dragged me down and made it near impossible to actually process the movie or feel affected by any of the things I saw. All I could think was “Jesus Christ this movie is long. I feel awful. I want to go home.”
Anyway, then I talked about the movie with my girlfriend and read some reactions and pieces about it and I think it’s good.
Sun, 11 Aug 2019 15:00:06 +1200
movies that my friends tell me "you HAVE to watch" (and im GONNA)
...plus 2 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.
Thu, 31 Jan 2019 07:53:40 +1300
my favorite movie from every year since 1992 (holy shit this was hard)
...plus 17 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.
Sun, 21 Jan 2018 09:40:54 +1300
commence the yelling
...plus 70 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.
Wed, 30 May 2018 09:59:34 +1200
we’re after that same rainbow’s end
...plus 18 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.
Mon, 23 Apr 2018 08:56:44 +1200
inspired by jamie woodham. feel free to yell at me
i bought it because i feel like i'm gonna like this movie but i'm never in the mood to prove it
i don't even know why i own this
someone bought this for me. i haven't seen any of the bond movies before casino royale (i know)
don't remember why i bought this, but it looked fun (and then a girl i dated said it sucks and i lost the spirit)
i've think i might have seen this one, just not all the way through? i'm not sure
a gilmore guys fan sent me this in the mail because i'm a big LCD soundsystem fan and hadn't seen it. i started watching it the night after i last saw them live, but didn't finish it
my best friend loves this movie, but i feel like i'm just gonna go "sure whatever" when it finishes
bought it on a criterion sale bc someone described it in a way that seemed fun, but like all of my criterions, i'm never in a mood to watch a movie that seems "important" so i get scared and leave it alone
bought this bc i love the radiohead song (just kidding. i mean, i do but i don't remember why i bought this or why i haven't watched it)
recommended during the last criterion sale. i keep confusing it with NETWORK in my mind. not a reason not to watch it, just a fun little detail to color your understanding of how bad i am at this
...plus 16 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.
Sat, 14 Apr 2018 20:04:45 +1200
“entire titles” and “comfortably” and "rhythm" being the operative words
...plus 63 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.
Sun, 15 Apr 2018 04:43:59 +1200
my favorite movies of 2018. gotta stress that my choice in "favorite" over "best" was one thousand percent intentional. as you will realize almost immediately, those star ratings don't mean a damn thing now
...plus 19 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.
Mon, 15 Jan 2018 21:02:56 +1300
Last year I saw 29 movies. And I think some of those were even repeats. So to challenge myself this year, I'm going to try and watch 100 movies I haven't seen, where there has to be an actor in common between movies. I started with THE REVENANT, so I've got DiCaprio, Hardy, Gleeson, Poulter, hell even Haas movies to choose from next. But past that, who knows how this will go! I'll update each entry with the actor they have in common. Fingers crossed. Also, I don't know why nothing gets 5/5 stars either!
EDIT: I DID IT! And the order got real fucked up because I didn't keep good track of the movies closer to the end of the list (ended up using Alan Tudyk and Michael Shannon twice) so I just filled in the gaps. The last movie I saw was Fences.
So what did I learn from this? I learned that by gamifying the act of watching movies, you'll start to hate watching movies. I learned that there are a lot of bad movies out there! I learned that good actors are in terrible movies all the time. I learned that Ryan Gosling, Tim Curry, Rebecca Hall, Sally Field, and Susan Sarandon are some of my favorite actors. I learned that watching movies is something I gotta do more often on a whim, and not as a means to an end. I forced myself to watch some terrific films that I might've not seen had I not had a reason- but overall, this challenge was nuts and stupid and uhhh I won't do it again! Happy new year!
(DOMHNALL GLEESON) Really funny, and really sweet. They spend so much time establishing Domhnall Gleeson's character that it feels like they rush through his relationship at one point (a relationship that never falters, by the way) but it still all works! Bill Nighy is beyond delightful.
(MARGOT ROBBIE) Wonderfully directed, wonderfully acted, and completely and totally enraging. For great reason- the story told is meant to frustrate you. It's as much a tale of a big fuck-up as it is a warning that the fuck-up is gonna happen again. The last twenty minutes of the film compelled me to start over and watch the beginning again, and that only frustrated me further. Truly can't recommend enough.
(BRAD PITT) A classic, and with good reason. One of the best road films I've ever seen, both heartwarming and heartbreaking, a powerful and fun movie.
(GEENA DAVIS) Honestly, I didn't love it? It was fun, and clearly inventive- a movie that wouldn't be made as whimsically today, but it felt like there were a few strings missing for what I expected it to be. All of the "classic" scenes fell flat to me. VERY surprised at how little Keaton is actually in this movie! Like he doesn't even show up until halfway. I think I need to watch this again.
(MICHAEL KEATON) Incredible. Worth every Oscar nomination.
(BILLY CRUDUP) God, what a sweet movie. My favorite Burton flick by far. I have a real desire to rewatch this one.
(MISSI PYLE) What was I doing that I hadn't watched this movie until now? I think I'd seen it in parts on TV, but never in full. My mistake. It's so good.
(SIGOURNEY WEAVER) Sigourney Weaver is the absolute MVP of this movie. Melanie Griffith is MVP runner-up in case of injury.
(HARRISON FORD) It's so cool to watch this movie and see its direct lineage to at least 3 other Tommy Lee Jones movies. He deserved that Oscar. TLJ's version of a US Marshal was as distinctive, in its finding a way to play an archetype differently and with personality, as Ledger's Joker. The ending was also very funny having seen Mulaney's Comeback Kid special four times.
...plus 92 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.
Tue, 5 Jan 2016 11:17:35 +1300
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