2021 Roundup

Only 8 months of movie going in a post-apocalyptic world, and I’ve still got very respectable numbers. Didn’t break 100, but came pretty dang close. Also lots of opportunities for special screenings as theaters were trying to fill up their slate amidst a slow release schedule. I took my time getting started, and did allow myself to not feel like I had to see everything. I do value my couch time after all, so I’m still trying to not force myself to see things because of some false sense of obligation. Also, it’s obvi much easier to do quick recap posts every few weeks instead of full posts after each movie. I’m finding that’s a better balance between me not wanting to let this blog go and not really wanting to invest tons of time. I hope you don’t object, my one reader, whoever you are.

The Numbers!
88 – Number of movies seen in theaters
17 – Special screenings
4 – Repeat movies
67 – Individual new release movies seen
1 – 4DX screening (F9)
1 – round trip for the hobbits to Mordor

10 – May
8 – June
11 – July
12 – August
9 – September
12 – October
11 – November
15 – December (7 during Xmas week in TX)

20 – AMC Marina Dine in
12 – AMC Century City
12 – AMC Marina Classic
5 – AMC The Grove
15 – Alamo Drafthouse DLTA
5 – Alamo Drafthouse Laredo
1 – Alamo Lower Manhattan
5 – Cinemark MDN Laredo
2 – Cinemark Playa Vista
1 – Cinemark Howard Hughes
1 – Cinemark Baldwin Hills
2 – New Beverly
1 – Aero
1 – The Landmark
1 – Landmark Westwood
1 – NYC Paris Theatre
1 – Regal Laredo

2 – NYC
11 – Laredo
75 – Los Angeles

\m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ – 16
\m/ \m/ \m/ \n – 17
\m/ \m/ \m/ – 21
\m/ \m/ \n – 8
\m/ \m/ – 2
\m/ \n – 2
\m/ – 1

The full list!
Nobody
Wrath of Man
Spiral: From the Book of Saw
Army of the Dead
Raya and the Last Dragon
Those Who Wish Me Dead
A Quiet Place Part II
Cruella
LOTR: FOTR
They Live
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
LOTR: TTT
In the Heights
LOTR: ROTK
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard
The Sparks Brothers
F9
Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway
The Forever Purge
Zola
F9 4DX
Black Widow
Space Jam: A New Legacy
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Old
Pig
Snake Eyes
Stillwater
The Green Knight
Eastern Promises
Austin Powers
The Suicide Squad
Jungle Cruise
Donnie Darko
Free Guy
Don’t Breathe 2
Reminiscence
The Night House
CODA
The Protégé
Candyman
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Malignant
The Card Counter
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Copshop
The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Dear Evan Hansen
The Room
School of Rock
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
The Many Saints of Newark
Titane
A Clockwork Orange
No Time to Die
The Addams Family
Halloween Kills
The Last Duel
Dune
The French Dispatch
Last Night in Soho
Scream
Eternals
Spencer
Belfast
Tick Tick Boom
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
King Richard
Cabaret
House of Gucci
Encanto
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Elf
Wolf
Don’t Look Up
West Side Story
Red Rocket
Black Christmas
Silent Night, Deadly Night
Spider-man: No Way Home
Nightmare Alley
The Matrix: Resurrections
The King’s Man
West Side Story
Spider-man: No Way Home
Sing 2
American Underdog
The Tragedy of Macbeth

The ranks – The Best!
1 – Nobody – I’m still describing this movie the same way. If I were to make a film, this is what I’d want it to be. The mix of gritty action and dark humor is perfectly balanced. It was a very close call between this and #2, but this edges out bc it was my return movie when I was vaxxed and theaters opened, which made it all the sweeter.
2 – CODA – My heart feels full every time I think of this movie. So sweet and unique everything I want when I want wholesome. I’m living for the awards love this is getting bc it is absolutely very much deserved.
3 – Spider-man: No Way Home – The best super movies are the patient ones that build something over time (and multiple movies) and then bring it all together perfectly. It’s only surpassed by Endgame as the greatest example of that journey. Easily best theater experience of the year, and that’s saying something since I did get to see The Room again.
4 – Last Night in Soho – It’s all about the vibe for me. I love the way this looks and feels, forming the rare meld between auteur and mainstream.
5 – Free Guy – Another one that I can’t help but smile at the thought of. So imaginative and clearly made with love. Possibly the most fun movie on the list with no extra baggage. Bonus points for the Boston nostalgia.
6 – Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
– If Spidey is how you do a team up, this is how you do an origin movie. It felt just tied into the MCU enough while still having room to create its own story. More importantly (and more impressive) it found ways to stand out from its numerous predecessors. AND it delivered some of the best fight sequences in the whole MCU. I will never be over the bus scene.
7 – Tick Tick Boom
– It seems like every other entry is about the feels, and this one really did hit. So thankful I got to see it in a theater, in NYC of all places, with the bestie. I woulda still loved it on Netflix, but it hit harder this way. And I still can’t get the music outta my head.
8 – Candyman – Now this is how you do horror. Scary and relevant on multiple levels. While I enjoyed Soho more, I’d say this is the better one at the genre. I think the short run time also helped bc it didn’t give you time to recover and be done with him. Instead Candyman stayed with you.
9 – In the Heights – One of the most perfect musical adaptations ever. I say that without having seen it on stage, but not seeing any of the usual pitfalls adaptations tend to have. It poured out into its space and was all about the spectacle plus a banging Latin soundtrack FTW
10 – Red Rocket – Simon Rex owned this movie and gave me every reason to love it. It’s one of those that I left simply saying “that was a good movie”
HM: The Many Saints of Newark

The ranks – The Worst!
5 – Peter Rabbit: The Runaway – Look, I went bc I had a newly active A-List with a desire to get outta the house and I love Domnall Gleeson. I slept thru half of the movie and for that reason do not regret my decision. But this was a lazy cash grab.
4 – Nightmare Alley – Yeah worse that Peter Rabbit, bc at least PR wasn’t pretentious. I just had no reason to care about Bradley Cooper and was bored. For the whole last 90 min.
3 – Wolf – I hate putting a unique indie like this on the list, but it felt like a wasted concept. Or a not fully thought thru concept. Either way, it went on too long with little advancing the plot
2 – Halloween Kills – This was a mess. No real tension bc you knew how every beat would play out, and kills too unsatisfying to justify the rest. Hopefully it’s just suffering from middle movie syndrome and Ends knocks it outta the park.
1 – Don’t Breathe 2 – I try to be diplomatic when I call out movies I didn’t like, and highlight that it’s my subjective opinion and try to find some merit in the filmmakers that tried hard. However, this is one movie I will shit all over. It truly was terrible. I didn’t know who I was supposta care about, so I didn’t care about anything. Poor planning (if there was any) and poor execution.

Not bad for the second season of the pandemic. Here’s to 2022.

Dec roundup, part 2

Nightmare Alley – I love GDT, so I assumed I’d love this, but I was so very wrong. I was bored throughout. The most interesting part to me was learning the mentalism tricks, but the story left met wanting. I think I know the problem tho. Del Toro is known for how much he loves his creatures/misfits/outcasts, and that passion was clear when we were with the circusfolk (I hate to call them freaks). Unfortunately, they were background characters, and our lead was a (to put it nicely) scoundrel who was (appropriately) treated with disdain. It was hard to care about him, and I simply didn’t.


The Matrix: Resurrections
– Was this as revolutionary as the OG Matrix? No. Was it as confusing and convoluted as the sequels? Not really. Did this really add a whole lot to the universe? Eh. Did I enjoy it? Yes. And what I most enjoyed was the way it played with the originals in telling it’s story, the intercut scenes and evolved characters were so much fun to watch. This film was therapeutic for director Lana Wachowski and there was a comfort in watching it. Shout out to Jonathan Groff who I need more of in my life, and a smaller shout out to NPH who chews scenery like no other.


The King’s Man
– This was so loosely tied to Kingsman with only a few hints at the organization’s origin scattered throughout. It was really an old timey spy in wartimes movie, and I wasn’t that interested. A couple of cool sequences (I loved Rasputin’s fight style combined with his costume) but nothing to make this stand out as memorable. Diminishing returns those Kingsmen have been, which is a pity.


Sing 2 – The first move is such a joy to watch, which I’d forgotten until the obligatory homework rewatch earlier in the month. The sequel is equally cute and wholesome, but loses just a touch of the charm. I think part of the issue for me was that the songs were less recognizable to this outta touch millennial, and so many of them sounded like generic poppy dance songs. Nothing can beat Taron Egerton singing “I’m Still Standing” in the first movie (even better than any Elton number he did in Rocketman, including that song) and nothing came even close to rivaling it here.

American Underdog – It’s a faith based movie disguised as a romance disguised as a sports movie. Thankfully the preachy stuff was fairly minimal, but I find even the slightest bit triggering. From there, it’s like it was aware that we all know how underdog sports movies play out, so it based most of the story on the relationship between Kurt and Brenda, which was a solid play. By making the football secondary, it made this stand out just a bit in the genre. The movie was endearing and an enjoyable watch, but nothing that’s gonna last in my memory.

The Tragedy of Macbeth – The smartest thing I’ve done movie-wise in a very long time is that I purposely chose an open captioned screening (sidebar: I love how those are starting to appear more and more). I struggle with Shakespeare, and I’ve given Macbeth many attempts to fully understand it. This time, between veteran actors who knew the material and the dialog written out beneath them, I actually followed the story! I was so proud I was giddy. This adaptation is super artsy, which lets the text shine. However, while I love this cast and they were fantastic, they’ll never beat the one man version I saw Alan Cumming perform at Lincoln Center (that eventually transferred to Broadway). Frances McDormand, goddess that she is, ain’t got nothing on Cumming’s Lady Macbeth

Dec roundup, part 1

Don’t Look Up – I got really excited to see that Alamo was showing this. I’d heard very polarized buzz going in, and it didn’t take long to get why. The film is very uneven, but when it hits, it HITS. There are so many moments of sheer brilliance and biting humor. For me, that was more than enough to make the film worth it (plus add in the epic cast to really knock it over the edge) but not everyone is gonna feel the same way. And that’s cool. Just don’t be a dick about it.


West Side Story – I’m a musical theater kid, so I know West Side very well. I was even in it in college (just an ensemble role, random Shark or Jet girl as needed). I have issues with the show in general, mostly that it’s kinda basic. I love the Jets, and the more they dance, the more I love them, but I couldn’t care less about Tony and Maria. The message of the story is important, but has been done better elsewhere. For this movie update, the filmmaking is phenomenal. It really does feel like it came right outta the 50s and is absolutely gorgeous. But it’s still West Side Story (and the Jets didn’t dance as much as I’d have liked). Was totally willing to see it again so I could take Mom on Christmas Eve (which I did and she was ambivalent towards it), but there are so many other more exciting and better musicals out there that deserve a chance on the big screen.

Red Rocket – This was simply delightful. I absolutely fell in love with Simon Rex from the first five minutes and his charisma was a joy to watch. Unique spin on the Might have gone on a tad long, but I’ll allow it. Also, excellent use of N Sync.


Black Christmas
– Caught this OG slasher classic as the first half of a festive double feature at the New Beverly (my first post-pandemmy return, not that the pandemmy is over yet). Such an amazing opportunity to see this on the big screen. Not only does it hold up, it’s amazing seeing cinema history in action. So many tropes of the genre can be traced back to this film and it’s not hard to understand why


Silent Night, Deadly Night
– The second half of the double feature, and once I get my hands on the BluRay, this might need to be added to my yearly Christmas movies. It was absolutely batshit and I lived for every second. Okay so this kid ends up believing that Santa punishes the naughty the kids, which is tragically (and kinda uninentionally hilariously) reinforced when a criminal in a Santa suit kills his parents. Kid grows up afraid of Santa, somehow ends up in a Santa suit himself (because reasons), and goes on a killing spree doling out punishment. God bless us, every one!


Spider-man: No Way Home
– Where do I even start with this one? I’ve already seen it twice. The first was one of the best movie going experiences of all time (almost on par with Endgame). Second time I took the not so little little cousin back home, but I woulda gone without her. I feel like the best movies in the MCU are the ones that are the most patient and really honor previous films and tie everything up nicely, and this is the new gold standard. I think if I even try to elaborate further, I’ll end up with a whole novel, so let’s just end it here. We know I loved it.

Nov Recap, Part 2

Oooh lots of fun classic screenings the back half of this month!

Cabaret – If I’d blogged right when I got home, I coulda written a small novel about this. I mostly bought tix bc I wanted an excuse to go to Alamo. I invited a friend who had been in a production of Cabaret with me. Oh man, it was spiritual watching this movie, esp so far removed ([redacted] years) from when we’d been in it. The movie covers slightly different story points than the stage version, but it’s all really dense and heavy material. With everything that goes into putting on a production, I knew it was a hell of a show, but I didn’t truly appreciate it until now. And the first time I saw the movie, it was around when I worked on it, so I was mostly thrown by the differences. It’s certainly moving up my list of favorite musicals, that’s for damn sure.

House of Gucci – So pretty to look at, and an amazing cast, but I was bored out of my mind for most of it. The pacing of each scene was way too slow, and except for the first 20 and last 10 minutes, the story was not progressing much at all. We just kept getting more of the same sequences in new decades without much changing at all. I think Ridley Scott’s ego has gotten the best of him, esp if his disparaging comments about millennials not going to his movies are any indication. Said a millennial who did go to the movie he was ranting about (The Last Duel) and did enjoy it, even if it really wasn’t for my peeps.

Encanto – What’s not to love? An animated Disney musical with tunes by Lin-Manuel Miranda that celebrates Latin (specifically Columbian, I think) culture. Yep, sign me up!! I don’t think I have much more to say beyond that, but I don’t really need to. Oh I did meet lead character at Mirabel at Disney the day before, and it was awkward bc she was trying to quiz me on her family, but I hadn’t seen the movie yet. Points for energy tho!!

Dawn of the Dead – FINALLY! I have wanted to see this movie (MY movie, cause y’know, “Dawn”) for so long. The Aero kicked off what they’re expected to be a yearly Black Friday tradition of showing the OG zombies in a shopping mall masterpiece. And my god it was a masterpiece of pure perfection in every frame. Worth having waited way too long to finally see, and to see it properly on a big screen. They even had lead actor Ken Foree in person to intro the film and Q&A after. Or at least I assume he eventually got to Q&A’s. I left after ten min of him rambling about trying to get his writing projects sold. It was painful. But the movie rocked!

Elf – Movie party at Alamo! That’s all 🙂

Wolf – Technically a Dec film, but might as well get it in now. I really shoulda skipped this. I only went because otherwise I woulda had no movies to see this past weekend. From the trailer it had a bit of a Yorgos Lanthimos vibe and the concept was interesting, but in actuality it all played out too slow. They didn’t know what to do with the concept or how to build a compelling story around it. Kind of a bummer.

Nov Recap, Part 1

Wrote and deleted my paragraph of excuses for the late posting bc whatever.

Scream – I got to go to a brunch screening of Scream on Halloween at Alamo. Mostly went cause it gave me somewhere to wear my costume. No one commented on it, but I left a few of my character’s business cards with the check. And Scream is still awesome.

The Eternals – A month ago I prolly coulda gotten a full post outta this, but laziness prevails. I enjoyed it, as I enjoy pretty much all MCU movies, but it was A LOT to process. 10 new heroes who have lived thousands of years is a ton of info to squish into one film. Some great setup for later, and it certainly was a better watch than most set up type of films, but tough to rank it amongst the greats. In a year with tons of Marvel content, it’s prolly towards the bottom, but still far ahead most other competitors.

Spencer – One of the most stylishly beautiful movies to look at, so much that the aesthetic is almost enough to carry the film. Story is minimal, but the mood is palpable. I left there so depressed because I could FEEL the claustrophobia Diana had being trapped in her situation. As gorgeously decorated as her world was, it was a very sad one, and that theme came across loud and clear.

Belfast – I was kinda happy that the BFFF forgot to take the day off when I came to visit in NYC bc it gave me a chance to visit the new Alamo in lower Manhattan (even tho I haven’t been to the Brooklyn one yet). I liked this movie more than I thought I would. Branagh did a fantastic job of telling a story about a difficult time thru a child’s eyes, so that it felt fun and magical despite it’s bleak backdrop. Not sure how sold I am on this as a possible Awards front runner, but worth the watch

Ghostbusters: Afterlife – It’s funny to me how Ghostbusters has evolved to be seen as a family movie. That’s not really where it started, but Afterlife seeks to fully claim that classification. It was fun, and at its best when it fully leaned into the nostalgia, but otherwise felt like a pretty basic fam-com (is that a phrase?) Woulda also benefit from more of a B storyline than just sticking with a straight thru plotline.

King Richard – I say this every time I review sports movies, but there is a reason we all love them so much. Except for the sport, not much differentiation there. It did seem weird that a film about Venus and Serena is really about their dad. Initially I thought it was bc Will Smith is gonna Will Smith, but I heard later that the ladies actually wanted it that way, to honor their father. I still think it’s a weird choice, but it delivered everything it served up (see what I did there?)

Tick Tick Boom

I’m not gonna bother to check the correct punctuation on that title.

Skipping ahead of a couple of movies that will get quick posts later because this one left me with some thoughts. Or really, more just experiential anecdotes that I can easily fill a post with.

I was in NYC this past weekend, seeing the BFFF for the first time in (according to Google) 845 days. Really, all I wanted to do was hang with the bestie. The only show I bought tix for was Moulin Rouge. Otherwise, the weekend was pretty open. A few weeks ago, I saw Lin-Manuel Miranda tweet that the marquee at the Paris theater had been updated to include his directorial debut Tick Tick Boom. A movie musical with a very limited theatrical run at an iconic NYC theater that I would love to check out and the opportunity to watch it with my even more of a theatre geek best friend? Yes please. So I jumped on those tix as soon as they went on sale.

It ended up being the perfect end to a wonderful weekend. After Moulin Rouge, we sang showtunes while knocking back G&T’s at NYC institution Marie’s Crisis. Saturday we walked thru all five floors of Moma in between other bits of running around the city. So by Sunday, a nice brunch at a diner and a chill movie was just what the doctor ordered.

Oh and a quick word on the Paris theater. It’s an old classic, single auditorium theater in NYC (I believe the last single auditorium standing, but I’m too lazy to confirm). Recently Netflix entered in an agreement with them to help keep the theater open that will give them a steady venue to exhibit their films. We might be getting something similar in LA with the Egyptian.

Right so Tick Tick Boom is by and about Jonathan Larson, the man who wrote the musical phenomenon RENT. Originally a three person stage musical, the story follows his attempt to get his first musical produced and the affects it has on him and his relationships. In other words, it’s basically a musical for people who love musicals. And this movie was produced by people who love musicals. It all shows through beautifully. There’s also some of the best Broadway Easter eggs sprinkled throughout the film if you know to look for them, or I should say if you know who to look for.

I knew even less about the musical going in than what I wrote in that previous paragraph (of course I know Rent well). I absolutely loved every frame of it. The music was gorgeous (which I downloaded at 1 AM the next morning when I was home in LA and getting a jump on some Black Friday sales before going to bed). Perfect casting. I loved Andrew Garfield, and thought his voice sounded so great. The bestie pointed out that Larson wasn’t really much of a singer so it made sense to have a lead who also wasn’t a formally trained singer. Happy to see original American Idiot Favorite Son Joshua Henry in the film, as well as Vanessa Hudgens who has been really working her way up in the musical space.

I could not have chosen a more perfect venue for this film. The Paris is not too far from the Broadway theaters the characters are aspiring towards, so of course the auditorium was filled with theater people. There were countless moments were applause broke out, making this much more magical than it would have been watching on Netflix (though I may likely rewatch it there soon). Towards the end of the film (I initially typed “show”) there was a gorgeous song about friendship. The bestie put his arm around me and pulled me close saying there wasn’t anyone else he would have wanted to see this with. The room got awful dusty. I wouldn’t have traded this weekend for anything.

Tick Tick Boom – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

October, Part 2

I’d initially thought Part 2 would be longer, esp since (as previously mentioned) I intended to include SoHo. But since I’m on a roll, might as well wrap this up. Besides, next up is Eternals and I’ll likely have thoughts.

Halloween Kills – I really liked the 2018 Halloween, so I went in with optimism. Caught a screening with a friend who’s majorly into this type of slasher flick and had put together a motley crew of friends to go. Which is what made me feel bad about my negative opinion of the film. There was zero plot or arc or anything to move it forward. The whole thing felt like we were just waiting for the next kill, most of which weren’t that exciting, and then I’d be bored in between. I first attributed it towards my general feelings of horror movies (like its original era slasher) that relied more on kill than story, but it seems much of the world at large sided with my opinion. Also, could the people of that town be any dumber?

Dune – How did you feel about Blade Runner 2049? Because that’s likely how you’ll feel about Dune. I thought it was absolutely gorgeous to look at (esp in Dolby) but slow as all hell. So slow, that I completely fell asleep thru the second half, even with the Dolby sound shaking my seat thru all the action sequences. I wanted to love it. I wanted to be absorbed in the world. Maybe I just need to do what I did with 2049. I was frustrated by the lack of story movement on the first watch, but ended up at a second. That time, since I already knew where it was all going, I could really focus on the artistry and visuals and appreciated them so much more. May or may not get to it.

The French Dispatch – I went into this with what I felt were appropriate expectations. I have nothing but mad respect for Wes Anderson. He’s one of the few filmmakers where you can see any ten second clip of his work and immediately identify it as his, even if you’ve never seen it before. But I just don’t care for his overly cutesy setups and quirky storylines. Not my thing, and that’s okay. I expected it not to be. Yet I was kinda into it. The film was split into three stories. The first and last were fine, but I was really into the middle one (Timothee Chalamet and Francis McDormand). Chalamet thoroughly understood the assignment, and was far more engaging than the typical wooden toy in Anderson’s dollhouse approach that most of the rest of his playmates tend to take. The shorter format kept me wanting more, and I’ll take that as a victory.

The Last Duel – Oooh almost missed this one. This was one of those, ugh-I-have-to-go-don’t-I movies, mostly because I wanted to see Matt and Ben reunited as screenwriters, even if I had minimal interest in this type of period piece. Plus Adam Driver is always a welcome incentive. Took a little bit to get into it, but then I really enjoyed it. Mostly, I liked the storytelling. We get one story told from three perspectives. The first one felt a bit like it was missing pieces, but that was kinda the point. Then we get a bit more of the picture with new scenes and different perspectives on ones we saw before. Yet it’s not until we get the third side that we really see it all, and even then the earlier views make it a little hazy. There’s some controversy about whether or not the subject matter was handled in the best and most effective way, which I won’t get into. For my part, I just appreciate the way that story was told as well as the fact that this type of story is being brought to light.

Last Night in SoHo

Purposely held off on doing my Oct part 2 post because I wanted to include this. Then I saw it (loved it) and had thoughts. Besides, this was possibly my most anticipated movie of the year. It deserves a proper write up.

I was pretty much sold from the first trailer. Gorgeous looking mysterious horror from Edgar Wright. Lest you forget that the man behind the more comedic Cornetto trilogy and Scott Pilgrim truly is a horror fan, I’ve been binging Eli Roth’s History of Horror this past week and Wright is featured rather prominently. Just about every episode has some brilliant (and often funny) commentary from this film geek.

But yeah, hooked from trailer one, a trailer that started to play way too often at the theater. Just before the second trailer started to work its way into the rotation, Wright tweeted. He said that if you were already sold on seeing the film, avoid the second trailer. I’d actually just had several conversations with someone about watching vs avoiding trailers for movies, so this advice burned into my brain. Avoid the trailer. Got it. But what about when it inevitably plays before some other movie I’m at the theater to see? Even with me purposely showing up 10-15 min late, I still catch 2-3 trailers each time (hi, AMC).

It ended up happening twice, I think. No Time To Die and Halloween Kills. Maybe another I’ve forgotten. My solution? Eyes down at my lap, trying to sing to myself whatever last song was stuck in my head or stuffing my face with any contraband food I may have snuck in and focusing really hard on how good it was (which it likely wasn’t). I didn’t see the imagery, but unfortunately did catch a few key words here and there. And yeah, it informed where the plot was going, but thankfully there was so much more mystery and atmosphere to it, that it didn’t spoil things.

Right, speaking of mystery and spoilage and such. None here. Hopefully all of my non-existent readers know by now I try to be careful. Once the film started to play a few festivals, Wright pleaded again via Twitter that those who got to see the film early should “keep the secrets” of the film, and I intend to honor that.

I did love pretty much everything about this film. It looked gorgeous, especially in its invocation of the 60’s (possibly my favorite era). Ever since hearing that Thomasin McKenzie was gonna be one to watch starting from Leave No Trace (which I saw and can confirm, she’s amazing), I always get excited to see what she does next. Her expressions and emotions were perfection. And we already know Anya Taylor-Joy is perfection, esp in this genre.

I’m sure I’ve droned on about what type of horror films I actually find scary and which I don’t. One of my sticking points is that it needs to be unavoidable and inescapable. By taking the psychological and nightmare route, it meets that criteria. You can’t run from your own thoughts and your own dreams, and if you can’t tell what’s real from reality is there anything you can even do about it. Wright played that card expertly and at full throttle.

Walking out of the movie, I ran into not one, but two tiny groups of co-workers (from our sister companies), all of whom had also been at the Friday evening Dolby screening in Century City. First off, further confirmation that I’m working at the right place when all of us choose to see premium format movies in our free time. There was one common thought from all of them after. None expected the horror elements (to the point where one friend’s gf was visibly upset at him for having brought her). So I guess not only did Wright do his job, the rest of the film community who had already experienced the film did so too. And in that spirit, I’ll end this before I say more than I dare.

Last Night in SoHo – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

October part 1

I still don’t have my laptop back, but thankfully I’m good about putting movies into my Google Calendar. The lack of laptop is my excuse for putting this off for so long, but we know better than that. Splitting this into two posts

Got to see The Addams Family (my generation’s, with Raul Julia) and A Clockwork Orange at Alamo (not on the same day). Addams at least gave me an excuse to bust out the Wednesday dress for some easy cosplay. Not much else to report, just like bragging about Alamo trips. Scream brunch coming up on Halloween!

Venom: Let There Be Carnage – I know I had fun watching this, but now nearly a month out I can hardly remember any of it. Still, I’ll take a light and breezy blast of a supe movie over something that takes itself way too seriously and suffers for it any day. Venom knew exactly what it was and didn’t try to be anything else. Respect.

The Many Saints of Newark – I tried to binge my way thru The Sopranos in the background while I was working for a couple weeks as a refresher. Totally the right call to help me remember who some people were, although I wish I woulda been able to pay the attention it deserved. Without The Sopranos tie in, Saints woulda felt like just another wannabe gangster movie. It’s those references and echoed performances that made this really special. Worth noting, while it was marketed as such, it’s not actually Tony’s story. It’s Dickie Moltisanti’s (father of Chrissy), and he’s a damn good character to dig into. Oh and because I didn’t know this until IMDB trivia told me, “Moltisanti” means many saints, hence the title that was far more brilliant than I initially realized.

Titane – My instinctive reaction to the trailer was that this looked cool and artsy, but that I wouldn’t be into it. I intended to skip it, but kept hearing good things. It took me reading the synopsis on wikipedia to finally convince me to go and yeah, it was cool and artsy, but I wasn’t into it. I liked the dark and the weird, but the pacing and storytelling weren’t my style. Basically my reaction to the trailer was correct. Got a similar vibe from the Lamb trailer, so I skipped that one. I know I shouldn’t put all my stock into trailers, but given how many movies I see, I think I’m justified in finding some way to filter the list down.

No Time to Die – Since Mr Bond is rather ubiquitous, I got asked about this movie a lot by those who know how to best initiate small talk with me. While I always make a point to try and say something more insightful than just a few words, I usually couldn’t get further than “It was long”. Doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. It was a great Bond film, and wonderful sendoff for Daniel Craig. Bonus points for Rami Malek using his God given “resting villain face” as he joked on SNL. But for the life of me, I still am at a loss for saying anything else more profound or thoughtful. It was a modern Bond movie.

September roundup

My personal laptop is in the shop for the next 3-5 weeks. Among the things I forgot I would lose access to was my spreadsheet of watched movies. If I really wanted to, I could dig it outta the backup I took of my drive, but let’s be real. I’m too lazy. So instead of going in some semblance of order, here’s a few of what I remember I did see since we last spoke. And by remember, I mean scrolling thru my A-List history and Google calendar for anything before this past week.

School of Rock – Watched this at Alamo this week, and the smile on my face was the biggest I’ve had in a very long time. I only wish it was a rowdy screening so I could have sung along. Hadn’t seen the movie in a while, but the stage show was still very fresh in my brain, and it tracked so much better than I remembered. Also, was struck by Dewey’s sincerity in dealing with the kids. Sure, his underlying actions were selfish, but these kids felt comfortable enough with him to bring their problems, and when they did, he listened wholeheartedly and gave sound guidance. Mad respect.

The Room – FINALLY! Screenings of The Room returned with a vengeance this past weekend, selling out multiple shows with Tommy in attendance. I’d been dying to return. Admittedly, the crowd was a little rusty with their callbacks. It took a while for them to get going, and some of them needed my buddy and I to start them up. Still, the most fun theater experience ever.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – First repeat movie of the year (I think), although a big reason was because I got a huge migraine halfway thru the first watch that made it hard to focus (mentally and visually). But I loved it so much. Simultaneously felt very connected to the MCU and very much like its own fresh new thing. And some of the best fight sequences in the whole franchise (hooray for beautifully choregraphed martial arts). That bus battle is going down in history.

Malignant – I wasn’t sold that I wanted to see this, but many horror fans that I trust were talking it up. The trailer made it look like lazy jump scare stuff, which it most certainly was not. Mostly I went because I trust James Wan, and he did not betray me. I dug the vibe, but mostly, yes I loved the final act. No spoilers, but I will say that even though I figured it out a little too soon due to a certain clue that I’ve seen used before, it was so bonkers I didn’t care. Sure the “why” may be a little dumb, but you can’t beat the execution. Pun kinda intended.

The Card Counter – I don’t understand what Paul Schrader was trying to say with this film, or why I should care. And for most of it, I didn’t. There was a point maybe 2/3 in where I did start to get into it and feel invested in the story, and then it was gone. Beautifully shot and put together, but lacking on the story front for me.

Copshop – I had a free evening, and this looked up my alley. Gave me a “Nobody” vibe, and we know how much I loved that one. Copshop was a “me” movie, but not on the level I’d hoped. While I’m normally a stickler for plot, this is the type of movie where you want to minimize the story and increase the insanity. I felt like the set up went on too long, and once we got to the full on shoot ’em up, I wanted more. I wanted bigger.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye – I am very interested in stories like this, about corruption within religious organizations. Let’s just say I have personal reasons that I could make a whole series of posts about. So I was very much glued to this story, and Jessica Chastain’s epic performance, even if some elements of it were a little triggering for me.

Dear Evan Hansen – Speaking of triggering, oh boy was this hard for me to watch. Look, I know there’s all sorts of opinions and controversies around the film between the casting and its handling of the subject matter. For me, this just hit very close to home. The way that Ben Platt exhibited his social anxiety made a knot form in my chest that did not let up, esp when you add in the sucidal ideation as a result of various high school pressures. Oh and add in the overachieving side character who used her perceived perfection to cover up her struggles, yeah very real. I still don’t know if I can say I liked it. I can just say that I felt it, and for better or worse, isn’t that ultimately the goal?