Letterboxd - Demi Adejuyigbe

Letterboxd - Demi Adejuyigbe

Parasite, 2019 - ★★★★★

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

Clue, 1985 - ★★★★½

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

Joker, 2019 - ★★

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

Abominable, 2019 - ★★½

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

The NeverEnding Story, 1984 - ★★

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

Point Break, 1991

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

The Florida Project, 2017 - ★★★★★

“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

Over the Garden Wall, 2014 - ★★★★

absolutely peak cuteness

Sun, 29 Sep 2019 07:49:30 +1300

Ad Astra, 2019 - ★★★★

CLAIRE DENIS: hm. so no cum? you’re allowed to... just none of it?

Mon, 23 Sep 2019 08:46:03 +1200

Hustlers, 2019 - ★★★½

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

Over the Garden Wall, 2014 - ★★★★

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

It Chapter Two, 2019 - ★ (contains spoilers)

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

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, 2017 - ★★★★★ (contains spoilers)

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

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, 2015 - ★★★★

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

Ready or Not, 2019 - ★★★★

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

The Peanut Butter Falcon, 2019 - ★★★½

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

Avengers: Endgame, 2019 - ★★★★

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

Bad Genius, 2017 - ★★★★

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

You're Next, 2011 - ★★★ (contains spoilers)

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

Animals in Love, 2007 - ★★★½

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

John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City, 2018 - ★★★★½

when they inevitably reboot BIG john mulaney better get a call

Fri, 23 Aug 2019 16:32:55 +1200

The Last Black Man in San Francisco, 2019 - ★★★★½

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

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, 2019 - ★½

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

Sun, 18 Aug 2019 17:04:01 +1200

Tangerine, 2015 - ★★★★

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

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, 2019 - ★★★½

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

Midsommar, 2019 - ★★★★


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

Carol, 2015 - ★★★½

about 75 minutes in i looked at my phone to check the time and the reflection in my screen had more black people than all of Todd Haynes’s idea of New York in the 50s

Sat, 10 Aug 2019 23:24:18 +1200

Who You Think I Am, 2019 - ★★★½

I went into this thinking “if this is a movie whose message is that it’s hard for women to age because their looks fade, and they’re using Juliette Binoche to say that... garbage.” Luckily, it’s a little bit more padded than that, and there’s an incredible tension built off of little more than Juliette Binoche’s facial expressions that pays off in a quietly satisfying (but not so wildly unpredictable) way. And god, is Juliette Binoche fucking incredible.

Sun, 4 Aug 2019 08:39:13 +1200

The Day Shall Come, 2019


I haven't stopped thinking about this movie since 10:23pm NZT last night when the credits roll, and we all sat in the theatre in stark silence for a good minute or so before moving. I can't concisely explain my feelings on this movie, and I can't write anything lengthy about this movie without spoiling it, but I can say that it made me absolutely fucking angry. And yes, I'm angry in the way Morris wants me to be angry, but on a completely separate level I'm truly fucking livid that Morris even made this film.

The Day Shall Come is very good. For a while. Most of the runtime, my biggest thought about the film was that it was clearly a British take on a very American story that felt like it was being forced back through an American lens (but trying it's best to keep the Armando Iannucci style all the writers know very well)– but one thing it never does is try and put it through a black lens. I don't think Chris Morris or any of the four white British male writers consulted a single person of color (much less a black person, much much less an American black person) in making this movie. And I can't think of a worse movie to have made with that in mind.

I really dug Four Lions, and I think Chris Morris is very talented and politically righteous & biting in a wonderful way and this movie proves that– but there are SO many huge misfires here that made me leave the theatre feeling furious and embarrassed. In a way I really don't think any other movie has. I don't know how to rate this.

P.S. Fuck Anna Kendrick.

Fri, 2 Aug 2019 11:07:31 +1200

Vivarium, 2019 - ★★★

This movie was 97 minutes and it still felt like it was too long. A lot of intriguing and weird set-ups, some truly unnerving devices that make for great comedy, but it doesn’t build to anything of worth. Feels like it should’ve been a short. Imogen Poots tho... fuck, she’s great.

Wed, 31 Jul 2019 17:59:39 +1200

Bacurau, 2019 - ★★★★

ME WALKING OUT OF THE THEATRE AFTER ‘BACURAU’: hm. well that was certainly overhyped. kind of feels fairly across the plate? maybe i’m missing something. it was fine
ME AS I’M TRYING TO EXPLAIN THE STORY OF ‘BACARAU’ OUT LOUD: [slowly giggling more and more] lmao fuck that movie actually went so hard

additional note: Thomas Aquino is the Brazilian Will Smith and I need this to be acknowledged by the future of his career.

Wed, 31 Jul 2019 09:12:44 +1200

Water Lilies, 2007 - ★★½

We decided to track down and watch this movie after Maddie loved Céline Sciamma's Portrait of a Lady on Fire but this one didn't click as much for me. I was tipsy, and found myself saddened in the first half by how much I related to Marie despite feeling like I "couldn't" relate to Marie, but the second half felt like a cruel (and– though, yes, i've never been a woman and can't truly say for sure that this is not how teen girls, much less french teen girls, ever are– unrealistic?) subversion of what I'd understood that first half to be, and made me feel like it was turning one of the characters into a villain. I don't know. I'm glad someone has been making intriguing cinema about queer love and queer adolescent love that doesn't just rest its plot solely on the 'forbidden/sordid' aspect of being queer, though.

Tue, 30 Jul 2019 08:16:25 +1200

Long Day's Journey Into Night, 2018 - ★★

Extremely obtuse and hard to follow, and the famous 50-minute 3D tracking shot that encompasses the film's second half felt like a show-off move more than anything else. Technically impressive and interesting but... what more?

I truly don't have any concrete thoughts about this movie, as I can barely tell you what the fuck was really happening through it. I'm am choosing to believe it's a feature-length adaptation of the song and video for Arctic Monkeys' "Cornerstone" though.

Tue, 30 Jul 2019 08:09:30 +1200

Non-Fiction, 2018 - ★★★

I’m bored of movies where directors wrestle with the encroachment of the digital age, like it’s a new concept people still haven’t settled with or like there’s many new things to say about how technology will change creative industries. But the conversations in this movie are at least fun to watch. The interpersonal antics, not so much. Not really sure what I’m supposed to gain from the intersection of romance and publishing here. Feels like a french Nancy Meyers film.

Mon, 29 Jul 2019 12:29:21 +1200

Portrait of a Lady on Fire, 2019 - ★★★★½

It’s very dumb how much time I spent considering whether to rate this 4 or 4.5 stars.

This movie is fantastic, but for a lot of the runtime I had sort of resigned myself to feeling like this might be a very typical-feeling period gay costume drama. As the movie unfolded, I was definitely more and more enrapt in it, but not finding it particularly exciting or special, save for great dialogue and a few moments. Then there are two things that happen in the film that really perked me up– one being a truly phenomenal use of music in a movie which, otherwise, does not really have anything in the way of score or soundtrack.

The other was a retelling of the myth of Eurydice, told in a way that you know it’s going to be thematically important (as if that’s ever not the case any time a character in a movie starts reciting a story.) I found myself liking it a lot more in the second half- and then the ending fucking floored me. And I feel like anyone who reads this and then sees the movie might go “really? That’s what did it?” because it’s a very simple ending. But I really really liked it, and it moved me a surprising amount. Walking away from the theater, i had a conversation about what the final few scenes were intended to mean, and no matter our interpretations it felt powerful. Outstanding.

Also, Adéle Haenel’s facial expressions throughout this film are so captivating, she gives an incredible performance. Also also, I was not expecting the title to be so literal. The very first scene of the film really set me up to think it would be something much worse upon realizing that it was. Also also also– GOD it is pleasurable to watch someone paint.

Sun, 28 Jul 2019 22:12:35 +1200

Animals, 2019 - ★★


One of those movies that should've ended at like 6 different points and ends in a place where I have no real clue what the point of the movie was except to provide a series of characters that I am not going to like. Not for me!

Thu, 25 Jul 2019 23:05:23 +1200

Judy & Punch, 2019 - ★★

I’m always intrigued when a person manages to channel a very similar energy into two different roles in one year so imagine my “huh!” upon realizing Damon Herriman’s Manson-y (and Heath Ledger-y???) ass is also playing Charles Manson in ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD. This is the only valuable thought I had walking out of this theater. The movie spins its wheels on a very simple plot for a bit too long and can’t really commit to or nail a single tone, but I weirdly respect what it was trying to do. Which is, of course, give Quentin Tarantino a shot to see and go “That’s it!!” when casting Charles Manson in ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD. I know the chronology of this joke doesn’t make much sense but I’ve chosen to ignore that.

Thu, 25 Jul 2019 17:32:59 +1200

The Farewell, 2019 - ★★★★

This is maybe the cutest movie I’ve ever seen! Go visit your grandmas!

Thu, 25 Jul 2019 13:26:28 +1200

Snowpiercer, 2013 - ★★★★

I wish Tilda Swinton did more comedy. Doesn’t even have to be on a train if she wants

Wed, 24 Jul 2019 10:36:37 +1200

The Art of Self-Defense, 2019 - ★★★★½

I was always going to love this movie because the look and premise are so reminiscent of Battles’ music video for “Ice Cream,” (one of my favorite music videos) but I went in knowing nothing about it and wasn’t expecting a Lanthimos-esque dark comedy with one of my favorite performances of the year (Alessandro Nivola.) Fucking great. Big ups to Riley Stearns.

Also, are Eisenberg and Poots the indie Gosling/Stone?? (I’m basing this on knowing they are in two movies together this year and pretty much forgetting any of the million other famous collaborative actor duos)

(Also also, I didn’t realize there would be an absolute banger of a film festival happening in Auckland while I was here (sponsored by Letterboxd even!) and I’m absolutely stoked to catch a bunch more stuff in the next few weeks. If anyone is here/has recs for shit I gotta see, [Mistah Fab “Ghost Ride It” voice] holla atcha booooooooy)

Tue, 23 Jul 2019 18:20:06 +1200

Train to Busan, 2016 - ★★★★½

I’d put this on a list of movies to show Maddie while living in Auckland for the summer (er, winter) and finally pushed to watch it for real tonight when Marvel announced Ma Dong-seok was gonna be in Eternals, and it’s just as fucking phenomenal as I remember. There’s a lot of moments and choices that ring as cheesy or strange but there are just as many moments and choices and balancing acts in this movie that are fucking great. I love it. A zombie movie about compassion. What a joy!

Also, there’s no way the American remake ever becomes a reality, right? My least cynical reasoning is that there are so many important performances to balance with the budget needs that it would require too many well-known actors, each requiring a certain amount of pay and screen-time and billing and backstory that it would end up having to be a super-expensive limited series. My most cynical reasoning is because they’d have to pay too much for the rights for when the little girl has to sing “Fight Song.”

Sun, 21 Jul 2019 22:21:43 +1200

Tully, 2018 - ★★★½

MARLO: Holy shit, is that Tully? Tully!
TULLY: Bro, no way!
MARLO: No way– Tully! Babe, I gotta say "what up" to Tully.
DREW: Okay.
MARLO: Sweet. Hey– don't you two go falling in love
while I'm gone. Like that'll happen!
[Marlo runs off to Tully, leaving Drew to talk with Video Games]
MARLO: Tully, you chode! I owe you a shot to the nuts!

Sat, 20 Jul 2019 21:14:40 +1200

The Lion King, 2019 - ★★

this is going to sound extremely stupid but my big problem with this movie is that nobody has eyebrows and i truly believe the movie would be fine if everybody just had eyebrows

Fri, 19 Jul 2019 17:29:41 +1200

Toy Story 4, 2019 - ★★★★½

There's a new Randy Newman song in the middle of this movie called "I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away" that absolutely sounds like a parody of a Randy Newman song

Thu, 18 Jul 2019 02:57:44 +1200

Princess Cyd, 2017 - ★★★½

it’s a 90-min, practically-conflict-free movie about a horny bi teen and her successful writer aunt who teaches her about a love of the written word. it’s my bi writer girlfriend’s new favorite movie

Mon, 15 Jul 2019 22:07:58 +1200

Baraka, 1992 - ★★★½

damn!!!! i hate being tricked by a movie into thinking i'm gonna see some stunning images of the magnificent nature of the world and its culture as they exist beyond my immediate surroundings but then bein forced to also see some images of the unnatural world as it now exists thanks to the manmade perversions war, pestilence, and capitalism have unleashed upon a once-natural land!! i fucking HATE it!!!

Mon, 15 Jul 2019 18:41:42 +1200

Jiro Dreams of Sushi, 2011 - ★★★½

something very charming about an old man that only cares about one thing, even if he seems to be kinda shitty outside the one thing

Sun, 14 Jul 2019 09:22:38 +1200

Koyaanisqatsi, 1982 - ★★★★

So what we get drunk
So what we smoke weed
We're just doin drugs
But nothin' wild, just weed
So what we got high
That's how it's supposed to be
Watchin' Koyaanisqatsi

Sat, 13 Jul 2019 11:32:17 +1200

Kedi, 2016 - ★★★★

wow all it took was two viewings of Kedi for me to go from "cats are fine" to "hands on sight for anybody that doesn't fuck with cats"

Sat, 13 Jul 2019 11:25:18 +1200

The Handmaiden, 2016 - ★★★★½

shit.... korean cinema be hittin different...

I think it's a little overlong and feels surprisingly (and ironically, given the story) male gaze-y at points, but goddamn this movie is amazing. It feels so much like a fairy tale. I haven't seen any of Park Chan-wook's other films (I know, I know, hush) but if it's anything like this, I'm in for a fucking ride real soon.

Strangely enough, I kept noticing how many things it had in common with the 2004 A Series of Unfortunate Events adaptation. (a lot of the camera movements, the fairy tale feeling, a story about a count in disguise
scamming a young woman into marriage for her inheritance, etc.) Is this me saying the 2004 A Series of Unfortunate Events adaptation is just as good as The Handmaiden? Is this me using my review of The Handmaiden to say that Jim Carrey, Luiz Guzman, Cedric the Entertainer, Jennifer Coolidge, and Meryl Streep deserve to be revered for their roles in Brad Silberling's critically-derided 2004 adaption of the first three books in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Eventsseries? Can't say!

(Also, the Netflix subtitles seem... off at some points? Contextually you can tell what they're supposed to be saying. But it feels like they just ran the script straight through Google Translate.)

Thu, 11 Jul 2019 09:59:35 +1200

coworker/friend recommendations

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 i've been alive

my favorite movie from every year since 1992 (holy shit this was hard)

  1. A League of Their Own
  2. Last Action Hero
  3. Léon: The Professional
  4. Before Sunrise
  5. Fargo
  6. Life Is Beautiful
  7. The Truman Show
  8. Galaxy Quest
  9. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  10. Ocean's Eleven

...plus 17 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.

Sun, 21 Jan 2018 09:40:54 +1300

2018 ranked

commence the yelling

  1. Eighth Grade
  2. Game Night
  3. Blindspotting
  4. Paddington 2
  5. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  6. Mary Poppins Returns
  7. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
  8. Suspiria
  9. Hereditary
  10. Roma

...plus 70 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.

Wed, 30 May 2018 09:59:34 +1200

movies whose full titles can be perfectly sung to the rhythm & cadence of “moon river, wider than a mile”

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

movies i own for some reason but still haven't seen for some other reason

inspired by jamie woodham. feel free to yell at me

...plus 16 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.

Sat, 14 Apr 2018 20:04:45 +1200

movies whose entire titles can be comfortably sung to the tune and rhythm of “little red corvette”

“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 films of 2017

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

  1. I, Tonya
  2. Lady Bird
  3. The Florida Project
  4. Brigsby Bear
  5. Get Out
  6. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  7. Blade Runner 2049
  8. Coco
  9. Nathan for You: Finding Frances

    (shut up)

  10. The Big Sick

...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!

  1. The Revenant
  2. About Time

    (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.

  3. The Big Short

    (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.

  4. Thelma & Louise

    (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.

  5. Beetlejuice

    (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.

  6. Spotlight

    (MICHAEL KEATON) Incredible. Worth every Oscar nomination.

  7. Big Fish

    (BILLY CRUDUP) God, what a sweet movie. My favorite Burton flick by far. I have a real desire to rewatch this one.

  8. Galaxy Quest

    (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.

  9. Working Girl

    (SIGOURNEY WEAVER) Sigourney Weaver is the absolute MVP of this movie. Melanie Griffith is MVP runner-up in case of injury.

  10. The Fugitive

    (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

Page created: Sun, Oct 20, 2019 - 09:05 PM GMT