I’m pained by the notion that Studio Ghibli is considered a genre unto itself, let alone anime as a whole. (It’s a medium, not a genre!) But gripes aside, this is a fine list for the uninitiated, with a spread that spans drama, action, romance and more avant storytelling. #video
I made a list on Letterboxd of 30 Shaw Brothers films restored via the American Genre Film Archive for theatrical release in the US this year, just for my own future reference but it may come in handy for you. (By the way, it’s dead easy to make lists on Letterboxd; this one took me all of five minutes.) #link
A short documentary about an incredible trove of letterpress blocks for movie advertisements dating from the early 1980s to before the Talkie era, happened upon by chance by two friends antiquing in Nebraska. It really makes stark what might be lost in the move from the tangible to the digital in media. [c/o Kottke.org] #video
And I thought my February in movies was bad: only seven films watched in March. Not even two a week. And April isn’t looking much better, considering almost half the month has gone by and I haven’t seen a single movie. Quality, not quantity, I keep telling myself, even when the results don’t always bear that out. More…
The former Brat Pack star evaluates the John Hughes films that made her name some 30 years on, considering them from the angles of changing social mores, her own motherhood, and her growth as a person. Justifiably celebrated. #link
Lindsay Ellis’ video essay on why Bright doesn’t work is worth your time. #video
In case you were wondering — and yes, it’s the signifier/metaphor you might expect. Though it also fits with the not-necessarily-metaphorical groundedness of most contemporary anime (street scenes, convenience stores, vending machines, vehicles and public transport, etc). #link
Turns out, he got old, then found a new direction. “It’s so cool to see leading men become great character actors later in their career,” says a producer quoted here; indeed it is, and Fraser comes across as such an intelligent, sensitive and likeable guy in this GQ profile, that I’m quite looking forward to watching him in Trust now. #link
February’s a short month as it is, but nine films over four weeks is a low batting average. One of those was a repeat viewing, two others I reviewed over at Thumped, and I’m writing up one more over the weekend, or perhaps early next week. The rest you can find below. More…
It’s amazing to me how many people took this article as a personal attack when it’s really about ‘Armie Hammer’ the carefully crafted phenomenon, not necessarily a judgement of the person. I mean, there’s no doubt he’s one of a long line of white male Hollywood stars who’ve benefitted from the privilege that gives them the chances so often denied to others, whether through unconscious bias or Weinstein-esque bad faith acting. #link
Even accounting for the fact that some were shorter (circa 1 hr) documentaries, that’s still a better than average showing. Mind you, I didn’t write as many full-length reviews as I have in previous years, but it surely indicates I was watching more for my own enjoyment and/or edification. (That also classifies as CPD as far as I’m concerned.) More…
So much of T2 absolutely holds up today because of the vision and pride of everyone involved — something noticeably lacking from much CG in movies today, nearly three decades and countless incredible advances in technology later. [c/o Interconnected] #link
Hold those other, glowing reviews you're bound to see with suspicion, as the latest entry in the Star Wars saga is a middling dud. Maybe if some people could step outside their fandom bubble for a minute... #link
Another few weeks of genre-hopping, thanks to a free month of Shudder that I ended up letting lapse as I couldn’t find much of anything I wanted to watch. So it goes.
But it was also a month that included one of my favourite films of the year. Shame it bypassed cinemas and went straight to Netflix. The new straight to video? I sure hope not.
Obviously Netflix is better than that, but there is a clear sense that it serves serialised ‘prestige’ TV much better than first-run feature films. And I get the feeling even Netflix’s honchos recognise this, going by all the promos I’m seeing for Bright (which isn’t out till the end of this month). More…
An interview with the other half of Studio Ghibli, about his most recent film, a beautiful and heartbreaking masterpiece which is definitely one of my favourites of the decade. And from a director who so matter-of-factly states: “I don’t really draw myself, I’m not an artist.” #link
I have quibbles with this list. Billy Wilder made funnier films than Some Like It Hot, for one, and in general the selection is top heavy with the kinds of films one might feel they ought to rate. But shuffle the deck, cutting out the Woody Allens (Annie Hall excepted, they’re simply not funny — I mean, besides the obvious), and maybe sequestering the early-20th-century works, and you’ve got yourself a decent pot luck. #link
October’s viewing was a mixed bag: a handful of cinema trips, one of them a press show (for Brawl in Cell Block 99, as previously linked); a few dips into Netflix and other streaming services; genres all over the place; and one classic rewatch that stands the test of time. More…
Here’s a good essay from over the summer about an underrated actor, and person, that should get a re-up in this ‘post-Weinstein world’. It highlights how much the system is set against women who try to buck it (and how much it goes out of its way to conform to men who do the same, or worse). #link
Compared to July and August, September was a quiet month for movies watched round these parts. Mind you, two involved trips to the cinema as a paying punter, though one I regret spending those few euros on (see if you can guess which one). More…
If you haven’t yet seen Year of the Dragon or To Live and Die in LA, get that sorted before watching this great discussion of two of the 1980s’ finest crime films. (Be forewarned, the video is NSFW.) #video
Vanity Fair marks the filmmaker’s 75th birthday with some of his finest remarks. Take this, on the South American jungle while filming Fitzcarraldo: “The trees here are in misery, the birds are in misery. I don’t think they sing, they just screech in pain.” [c/o LinkMachineGo] #link
It’s won awards and it’s getting rave reviews, but I thought it was awful. And I get the feeling if it were anything but an Irish film it would get ripped apart. The only grace is the genuine connection between the two leads, but it’s not a saving one. #link
I may not have been blogging much here, but I did ramp up my movie-watching over the summer — mostly thanks to my dive into ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary series (not all of which I’ve reviewed, mind).
Among the films I watched in July and August is one of the best of the year thus far in War for the Planet of the Apes. And on average the quality has been pretty good, with only a handful of duds to speak of. More…
Despite promising to myself that I would more carefully audit the quality of the films I watch for pleasure/personal edification, I still managed to watch one of the worst things I’ve seen in many a year. Must do better in July. More…
The third entry in the Freddy franchise trades the inventive gore and straight-up weirdness of the original, and the sexuality allegory of the unfairly maligned second effort, for a more fantastic scenario that nevertheless has its queasy moments (the ‘string puppet’ scene near the start, especially). It’s not as well paced as you might remember it (Freddy’s barely in it; I doubt Robert Englund had to wear the makeup for more than a week) and pretty much runs out of steam in the final act, where it’s more a showcase for the technical skills of the special effects artists than a story worth following. Indeed, I forgot about the Harryhausen tribute at the end; I burst out laughing, but not in a bad way.