dill & fennel

movie archive

years: 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

2020

153 Movies

The Vast of Night

A fun 50s-set sci-fi. The weird TV framing didn’t really go anywhere, but other than that the film was a tightly-shot and enticing story.

The Snowman

I’d heard how horrible this was before I dove in, but I’ve also read the book, so I found it not very confusing at all. There’s like, two twists? I don’t know. This weemed like a pretty straightforward nordic noir.

The Circle

Entirely too heavy-handed, and kind of a waste of both Tom Hanks, Jon Boyega, and Karen Gillan. I wish more folks thought that tech was this evil though. By trying to make a more mass-market Black Mirror, it got a bit overwrought.

Another Round

Is it a good idea to be low-key drunk all day every day? This movie aims to answer that eternal question. Perhaps the answer is getting drunk sometimes, but not enough to wreck your life? Mads dances really well.

Suspiria

I love modern dance a lot more when it’s a satanic ritual. The original Suspira is a masterpiece, but I really liked this strange homage. The music was excellent, and Dakota Johnson was haunting. I wonder if Tilda had it in her contract she would only do the film if she could Albert Nobbs it up.

Fantastic Fungi

I love the mushroom internet. Also this movie made me want to ingest a certain drugge mushroom. Every mycologist and enthusiastic mushroom person was a delight in this documentary. Neat.

Doctor Sleep

I’m still not sure that the Shining needed a sequel, but this was pretty fun Stephen King fare.

The Invisible Man

Absolutely thrilling, and utterly terrifying. The gaslighting in this film felt incredibly real. I loved that it took a typical horror trope and turned it into a character study of a woman desparate to be believed. Excellent film.

WW84

A friend on Twitter suggested this was basically a Doctor Who Christmas special, and yep! It was also the story of a single dad learning that nothing is free inside capitalism. Kristen Wiig was good.

You’re Next

This was fine? I dunno. I kinda zoned-out a lot but there was a lot of murder and an Australian lead actor lady.

Peppermint

A holiday revenge film that never answers the question: “how did this mom become special ops trained in five years?”

The Midnight Sky

This was alright. I’m a bit disappointed Sunu bc so many of the actors are usually outstanding. I can’t tell if they filmed this during COVID, but that would make sense for it since there were like 6 people total.

Greenland

The diabetic son was a hat on a hat, but I guess they needed a plot reason besides perimeter breaches and explosions to make the back half of this movie work. I generally love a disaster film, but this does little to unseat my favorite nightmare: 2012. “Small molten debris” was a highlight. I will say that the utter disorganization and nightmarish bureaucracy of the whole thing really tracks with the USA I know though.

Leave No Trace

Started hiking more often recently, and so I figured it was finally time to revisit the majestic Forest Park in cinematic form. This was a pretty sad film.

Inception

Another rewatch in my Nolan-spree. This was also excellent, and I’d forgotten how cool the set-pieces were, especially the Bond-esque snow mountain. I wonder if Nolan wanted to make a bond and someone told him no? I’m glad they did, because I like the weird shit he makes instead.

Dunkirk

For a Nolan film this was surprisingly straightforward. I wasn’t familiar with this battle until watching Dunkirk, but it was definitely different to see a film that depicts a retreat. Brutal, and hopeful.

Interstellar

Rewatched this gorgeous film for the umpteenth time. There are so many heartbreaking moments about fatherhood and trust that it always hits me pretty hard. For a movie that’s almost three hours, it’s a tribute to how great it is that I always want to rewatch. Because of the practical effects I feel like it will likely look fresh for decades to come.

Tenet

Definitely not worth getting sick over, but at home? With my own whiskey? With Snorri? Yea, this was fucking sick. Since ignorance is ammunition all I will say is I enjoyed this film greatly and immediately started it again.

Sea Fever

A tightly plotted, claustrophobic film about slowing losing your shit on a boat. Someone else described it as “X-Files before Mulder and Scully arrived” and that seems pretty apt. There’s a little bit of The Thing in here too. A lot of creeping dread.

Queer Japan

As a foreigner who spends a month or so in Japan every year, and as a queer woman, I really enjoyed this documentary. I loved that they chatted with trans folks, HIV+ folks, and disability rights folks. One man described Japan’s discrimination as “soft shell”, and I think I get a lot more of why that is after seeing this film. They even covered the strong anti-racism movement in Japan fighting against nationalism. This documentary was a delight. It also made me miss hanging with my queer friends in Osaka quite a bit, or singing karaoke with a bunch of cool weirdos in Ni-Chome.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

The atmospheric style of this movie is incredible. I love the slow build and tension, with its tight plotting. Oldham makes an excellent Smiley, and generally everyone is just a delight. RIP Le Carre. Also the soundtrack of this film is excellent.

Black Bear

Aubrey Plaza is a singular emotional rollercoaster in this twisty film. I still don’t know how I feel about it, but it’s definitely something I’ll sit with for a while. It’s at turns incredibly painful to watch, and hilarious.

The Taking of Pelham 123

Ah, I love a Walter Matthau movie. There’s certainly a lot of language/behavior that doesn’t hold up, but this is a real classic heist movie.

The Bourne Identity

What if Jason was just gaslighting everyone for the whole film, and he only pretended to have amnesia bc he hated his job? Great action, great car chase, and a really good haircut given to Franka Potente. I love a good spy thriller. The closing Moby track still slaps.

Black Christmas

Ah, I love Imogen Poots. She’s great in everything she’s in, but I’m definitely glad she’s not her character from Green Room in this. A horror film that tackles the terrible world of reporting and holding men accountable for rape and the challenge of female solidarity in the patriarchy. College is the worst; never pledge.

The Good Shepherd

I forgot i’d seen this in theaters back in 2006. Matt Damon is very serious, and Eddie Redmayne is yet to make his finest film: Jupiter Ascending. His lips still worry me greatly. I think Angelina Jolie tried to look dowdy but it’s not possible. Spies always have cool glasses. There should’ve been more Lee Pace.

Lucy in the Sky

I had no idea what to expect with this film, but it was certainly surprising. The last thing I expected was for it to be way closer to that astronaut lady who wore adult diapers and drove across the country to get revenege. Googling just now, apparently that story was the inspiration for this movie. Wild. Since this movie has Legion in it, I guess it’s also part of the marvel universe.

Happiest Season

This was disappointing. A more astute lesbian friend suggested this movie should’ve leaned inrto quirky indie-ness or fully into Meet the Parents schlock. It did neither. The ignored sister would’ve been much better as a butch woman.

Centigrade

After a very cold night camping, I decided to watch this movie about slowly freezing to death in your car in Norway. I’m super glad I get to watch this with some wine and a wool blanket. Being super cold sucks! For a movie completely set inside a car, this is pretty well-shot and compelling. It was based on true events, I guess, but the whole baby thing was a hat on a hat.

Paul Blart Mall Cop 2

I watched this because of Til Death Do Us Blart after listening to the cursed podcast for a few years now. Somehow it was both different and worse than I had imagined based on the podcast. Long live the shadow man.

#alive

Ah, a simple zombie film updated for a world with social media. This was fun.

Objectified

It’s interesting watching this again 11 years after it came out. I’m once again using A MacBook Air, and I understand the Muji designer way better. I wonder how many CAD designers are still using 24" square displays?

Night Moves

The movie where Zuck gets really into direct action. “Killing all the salmon so you can run your fucking iPod whenever you want”. It’s really a shame he went back to running his nightmarish company after this. There’s a delightful Griffin Newman role near the end too.

All About Lily Chou-Chou

This is one of my all-time favorite films, but I hadn’t watched it in probably 10 years. Fortunately, it more than holds up as a sad and beautiful tale of shitty teen life. It’s a brutal film because kids can be cruel.

Johnny Mnemonic

Ah, a 90s cyber classic. Somehow I’d never seen this before today! Ice T with upside-down paintball goggles! Beat Takeshi! Udo Kier’s trans body guard! A military internet dolphin!! I would love to see this screenplay get remade.

The Wolf of Snow Hollow

Ostensibly a horror film, but mostly about a man’s alcoholism and what it’s done to his family and his life. Interesting take on the genre.

Mortal Engines

A fun YA-turned film. I don’t usually like Hugo Weaving but his big character acting worked for this. I didn’t expect much, so I had a good time.

Tokyo-Ga

It’s wild to see how little Tōkyō has changed since the 80s–or rather the bits of Shōwa that still peek through. This was a gorgeous look at both the Tōkyō that once was, and the echo of 50s and 60s Americana that lived in the youths of the time. I also learned quite a bit about Ozu, and how he filmed. Loved it.

Columbus

Gorgeous and sad. Two people meeting while their lives are paused for their parents and sharing a love of architecture without building a romance. The pace was pretty slow, but I like this kind of slice of life film.

The New Mutants

As a fan of the comic series and a few of these characters, I like that they tried to give them a horror story beginning, but ultimately it felt constrained. I’m disappointed that this won’t be part of the MCU or integrated with the X-Men. The comics are having a heyday, but for some reason the movies are still just not there.

アキラ

子供の時に私はアキラが一番好きので、十回の見た。特に今はそのちょっと変な映画、でも大好きの。昭和の有名映画と最高アニメと思う I watched this a bunch as a kid. It’s super weird but it really holds up. A true classic.

The Wolf of Wall Street

After the painfully sad movie about the hundreds of thousands who lost their lives in tsunamis, I dove deep into this three hour epic of utterly nightmarish depravity. DiCaprio plays what a friend calls Catch Me If You Can 2 very well:

The Impossible

The real lesson of this movie is that in 2004 kids were satisfied with only getting a red ball for Christmas. This is also a Spider-Man origin story. Brutal movie generally though.

Possessor

For context, I’ve loved the concept of assassins since I was a little girl, as odd as that might sound. A movie wherein an assassin mind-syncs with a random person to do their business is thusly fascinating. The horror of that connection and the challenge of doing your job basically in a coma with all of the gore and wildness that entails was thrilling. I love the obvious skill growth since Antiviral as well.

Election

Not sure how I hadn’t seen this yet. A delight. I love the successful lesbian sideplot, and how Broderick’s character fully self-destructs out of hate of a precocious child. Fantastic.

Proxima

It’s hard to be a divorced mom while you’re an astronaut. Luckily, Eva Green is still super cool. At this point I’m curious if it’s a contractual thing to show her breasts once every 20 minutes? Instead of a movie about space, this was more of a movie about space-prep.

The Dark Knight

Ah, Heath Ledger. When this was made no one thought the joker was a hero, and yet, he became a bummer symbol for folks years later. It’s still weird to me that they switched actresses suddenly, but Queen Latifah is hard to resist, so I get it.

Enola Holmes

A fun movie to watch while waiting for these damnable election results. Millie Bobby Brown plays a great younger Holmes, while Cavill is an oddly fit Sherlock. The action moved briskly, and the little asides and jokes were charming. I’m here for a low-stakes adventure anytime.

Batman Begins

This is probably the fourth or fifth time I’ve seen this movie and it’s still such a blast. I wish it were easier to hear anything Batman says, but otherwise a delight.

She Dies Tomorrow

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but this is a very art film vibe with a slow horror built-in. It definitely didn’t fit my mood tonight, but I’m not sure if that’s the film’s fault. Perhaps I should’ve stuck with schlock.

Earthquake Bird

The vibe of 80s Japan is a whole thing. So much hip Japanese literature I’ve read is firmly grounded in Showa-era Japan, so this felt a bit like watching a multi-cultural Murakami story. It’s rare to see a movie or show in both Japanese and English (Giri/Haji) comes to mind. I wish they’d worked with Vikander a bit more on her Japanese though.

Last Holiday

Heard about this from an Election Profit Makers bonus episode and honestly, I loved it. Sometimes you need something funny, kind, and hopeful. Thanks, last holiday, for soothing my nerves.

Zodiac

This was my 3rd of 4th rewatch. I’m a sucker for a slow burn Fincher film. I was still low-key mad that the other movie I watched today wasn’t a crime film, so I had to dive into one. Everything about this movie is so wild and well-executed.

Sinister

Fellow-Austin native Ethan Hawk slowly loses his mind while trying to write true-crime. If only he’d known you could just do a podcast instead! The worst ever character from the Wire is also in this. Overall, not very spooky but it leans a lot on goofy jump scares. Nice use of Boards of Canada though.

The Phantom Menace

Dammit Blank Check why did I do this to myself in order to listen to your commentary track. Seriously though, the 10 episodes about the only entry in Star Wars that was ever made were excellent. Thank you for the bonkers good time.

Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula

There’s no train in this one, despite the title that I think was used to make sure us goofy Americans realize it’ related to the previous film. I loved the taxi lady. This film had more of a Mad Max vibe than the original which was fun.

Train to Busan

Continuing the zombie movie rewatches, I threw this on in order to remind myself what it was like before watching the sequel that just came out. It’s just as good as I remember it, though I fundamentally don’t like “fast” zombies. Zombies should shamble. The wild melee of this film is a very different kind of fear than the slow horror of inexorable zombie overrunning of your position.

World War Z

A more intense pandemic movie. I’ve watched this three or four times, and it still manages to be one of the more interesting and compelling zombie action films. By throwing out the creeping dread for a much more agoraphobic zombie fear, this movie makes me glad I stay inside.

Blackhat

This movie dares to ask the bold question: “can a himbo code?” I don’t understand why most of the terrible coding examples are windows INF or registry files, but hey, it’s fun and stupid. I think this was also the first film I saw where it was obvious that US action films are now mostly funded by Chinese financiers.

Collateral

I think I’ve seen this before, but didn’t remember much. I love the extremely tight shots inside the cab, and the real LA traffic vibe. This is the same LA time period as the L Word.

Borat Subsequent

A hoot. This wasn’t nearly as salacious as the build-up implied, but there were some big laughs, and a surprisingly endearing lock-in with some Q Anon weirdos. I wish they’d gotten more Pence action.

Save Yourselves!

The initial cast was a reprise of the friends from Search Party, so one could almost imagine this was an alternate reality retelling. Fortunately, this movie morphs into a cute and weird duo alien invasion story pretty quick instead.

The Trip to Italy

Unlike the first Trip film I’ve never seen this one before. I like how Coogan’s character has changed it up a bit, and generally this film felt friendlier. I’m excited for the next two.

Jennifer’s body

The entire movie I just kept thinking, “what! They’re in this too?!” I missed this movie back in the day and I think it was largely maligned, but it’s a near weird little horror film. It only takes around 15 minutes to get creepy, and then it goes off the rails in the most weird ways. Even JK Simmons was in this! Amy Sedaris! The lesson here is: don’t trust scene kids, just stick with your best friend. The men in this film are the real monsters, obviously.

Vampires vs The Bronx

A fun horror film about gentrification with a great cameos from folks like Zoe Saladaña and The Kid Mero. Truly a great time.

The Assistant

I didn’t know much about this going in, only that it was well-regarded. Julia Garner is outstanding in an incredibly brutal film about a sexually abusive and horrible movie producer that definitely wink wink isn’t based on anyone who is currently serving 23 years in prison.

Evangelion 1.11 & 2.22

A friend watched Evangelion for the first time recently, and I was reminded I never got around to watching these remakes/retellings. Really, really weird, but in a new ways. I kind of like that they cut out many of the extraneous slice-of-life stuff.

Ava

I love an assassin film, but this one managed to make everything feel a bit smaller and more banal. Pretty forgettable with the stakes of a lifetime drama but the fight scenes of an action film.

Wall E

Super cute and dystopic. I love this movie so much.

Mr. Jones

This was nothing like that Counting Crows song, but it was excellent. I didn’t know this story before watching the film, but fuck. I wish Vanessa Kirby had more to do, but I suppose that’s the issue with historical fiction.

The Long Dumb Road

A great buddy road movie. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is one of my all-time favorite movies and this channels the delightful failures and wonderful moments of the genre perfectly. I should’ve watched this a while ago.

Blade Runner: 2046

This held up though I wanted more McKenzie Davis scenes. Also! I forgot Ana de Armas was in this. Neat.

Mission Impossible 6

Outstanding! After a little bit of a slump in 5, six was back to the wild heights of 4. The HALO jump was nuts, especially after looking into how they filmed it. I can’t stand Alec Baldwin, but everyone else in this is dope. A+ helicopter scenes as well. There’s car, and motorcycle chases, and even some outstanding Tom Cruise runs.

The Da Vinci Code

A real stinker, but silly enough to watch over a phone call with a pal. Ian McKellan was the best part of this film, with a close second being Bettany’s ability to look tortured and have sexual tension with literally everyone in every scene.

Mission Impossible 5

A fifth movie and a fifth director. Renne is back, which I’d forgotten, and also this movie brings some truly wild times. This is the first time the IMF goes up against the Syndicate, and has a kinda fun Opera battle. There’s no huge building this time, but there was a big swimming scene.

Mission Impossible 4

Benji, you fucking did it–you’re out in the field. I’m pretty glad Simon Pegg became a series regular, and especially glad that barely anyone else from earlier in the series didn’t. I do wish Keri Russell would come back though, bc she’s cool. Also this one has Stellar Skateboard.

Mission Impossible 3

Aw, yea… JJ Abrams is here with Felicity and that guy that’s in everything he makes! This was a really fun time at the movies. So many printable face masks! Phillip Seymour Hoffman! Tom Cruise running! A terrible love story! Also, who can forget the ridiculous Nokia phones they used in this.

Mission Impossible 2

Definitely not as good as the first. John Woo is great, but some of his signature shots and slo-no effects just come off kinda silly in this.

Mission Impossible

What a blast from the past. The special effects were largely practical, which means they aged well, but the computer interfaces are delightfully 90s. I can’t believe how much this series has upped itself every incarnation, but this first one is still just a nice small-scale spy film.

The Trip

I’ve enjoyed Coogan since the Day Today sketches he did with Chris Morris, so it’s fascinating to see him age and keep doing odd versions of himself on film. Rob Brydon is excellent in this, and I’m reminded I should rewatch the entirety of Gavin & Stacey. If you want to see two middle-aged men making very stupid (but funny) jokes and impressions while sampling haute cuisine in the north of England, this is your chance.

Class Action Park

I don’t know how I survived the 80s and 90s. I did a lot of really, really stupid and dangerous shit, even if I never got to go to Action Park. We had Schiltterbahn where I grew up, which was way less wild, but still pretty dangerous at times. This film does a good job of showing the teen thrills of incredibly shady theme parks.

Boys State

I can’t stand the little conservative assholes. Steven Garcia was chill though. Also, it’s surreal to see how far right everyone went out of an assumption that other kids would be conservative, despite that being somewhat untrue. I went to UT as well, and it was pretty nostalgic to see Clark Field and other spots I spent a lot of time on film.

Jack Reacher

Not the best of the Tom Cruise action franchises, but fun enough. Light on action till the end.

Genocidal Organ

I watched this a while ago before I read the book. It’s kind of a fascinating, if quite gory, look into what we do for “security” and how our definitions of other are constructed.

Nightcrawler

Despite a lack of blue skin or a tail, Gyllenhaal embodied a character just as bizarre and rigidly pursuant of his beliefs. Deeply strange film.

Violent Cop

This is a rewatch, but I think it’s been at least 15 years since this first time I saw it. Beat Takeshi is a treasure. This movie is delightfully filmed. I kinda love the 80s Japanese film look, which is more reminiscent of TV than film. A classic

An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn

I hope folks had fun making this movie… it felt like everyone was trying a little to hard. This felt like an extended Tim & Eric skit. Everything was just off.

Sputnik

I thought this would take place in space, but it’s mostly a fairly tight alien captive story. Enjoyable but not too wild or original.

The Rental

Ok, I’m glad I don’t have to stay in any Airbnbs soon after seeing this creepy movie. Whether it’s spycams, or the slow dawning realization that someone is watching, the way the vacation unfolds in this film is super scary.

Alien: Covenant

Ah, I love this ridiculous sequel to Prometheus. I think it captures the creeping horror of Alien and Aliens quite well, and is chock full of cool actors. I hope Scott keeps making solid Alien films for a while to come.

Contact

Still liked this movie, but the weird romance plot was uncomfortable AF. Also the way religion tied into it was hamfisted.

2:22

Watched this so I can enjoy this week’s How Did This Get Made. It wasn’t great, and tried a little too hard to be clever without actually being entertaining.

John Wick 1-3

Rewatched all the John Wick movies out of a desire for action and style, and they delivered. This series isn’t super substantive, but it’s an action movie smorgasbord.

Prometheus

A deeply satisfying addition to the Alien canon. I’ve watched this move a number of times, and it continues to thrill me.

Barista

I don’t watch a lot of documentaries, but this was pretty fun if a little telegraphed. The only downside to this film is now I want coffee, but it’s 1130pm.

Ride Your Wave

The creator of Devilman Crybaby and The Tatami Galaxy made a really delightful anime about adulthood and love. It was gorgeous and pretty touching, even if it made me really wish I could fly somewhere again. There’s also a weird parallel between this show and every season of Terrace House: namely there’s surfing, and firefighters.

Money Plane

A true piece of crap. Everyone in this film seemed like they mostly work on Cinemax soft core films.

Spectre

A delightful rewatch.

6 Underground

Continuing my tradition of watching mediocre Netflix thrillers, I think I’m almost done with the current set. Ryan Reynolds is doing his sarcastic guy thing, and there’s tons of fast cuts and action stuff. The first action scene felt exciting for a bit, but by the twelfth hat-on-a-hat and shitty rock song I was hoping for relief. Fortunately it got better later, but I wish this’d been modeled more on Fast & Furious and less on xXx. I wonder if Bezos watched this and thought “I’ve trained for this!”?

Extraction

Thor trades his hammer for guns in this exciting action film without much behind the action. Sometimes you need to watch stuff get blown-up without much plot.

Time to Hunt

Outstanding thriller that kept building and moving throughout. I saw this on a sci-fi list, but for the most part this felt like a slightly alternate reality, vs something in the future. Very fun.

Bad Boys for Life

This series is epically ridiculous, and fun throughout. Everyone seems to be having fun, and there’s a lot of wild action and even a surprise third act trip out of the country.

The Old Guard

Fun but ultimately thin action flick. Solid action near the end, but so much of it felt emotionless in a way that was just not super entertaining.

Greyhound

Tom Hanks has a fantastic presence, but they don’t really develop many other folks in this tense battle movie. Which, hey, that makes sense, since the whole movie they’re just depth charging the shit out of the sea.

Bridge of Spies

A solid Spielberg feel-good negotiation thriller. I only knew a little about the U2 bomber and our history of capturing spies until I watched this film and dove into Wikipedia. This movie made me miss Berlin, which I’ve only visited once for a few weeks, but was delightful. If you enjoy the work of Tom Hanks, he does his thing well in this movie.

Gemini Man

I can only imagine a certain “religion” has also cloned Will Smith at some point. This was way more fun than it had a right to be, and weirdly enough the young Will CGI was pretty solid. How long until we see movies with young Cruise, or Washington? Have a bottle of wine and turn your brain off for 2 hours.

‌式日

This was a lot of movie. When I was younger I think I had more patience for particularly slow films, but I ended-up being a little distracted during 式日. I’m glad I finally got to watch it though, as it was pretty interesting seeing Iwai on the other side of the camera. Also I really miss being in Japan now.

Waiting for Guffman

Ah, a classic. It’s wild seeing Fred Willard in this looking so young comparatively. I watched this obsessively in high school and it really, really holds up.

Nightmare on Elm Street

Did you know Depp was in this? I certainly didn’t! This is the second movie I’ve watched because of the podcast The Scaredy Cats wherein one host of Reply All tries to help the other host inure himself to horror films. With all of the cultural cachet this movie had, it was interesting to see how quickly they showed Freddy himself. Freddy also seemed shorter than I imagined. I also always find it funny when all the “high school” actors are in their twenties. Why not just set it in college?

Upgrade

An interesting take on the post-human world. It’s a schlocky, funny, gory AF film, and not very into its own violence. Also it was rad to see Betty Gabriel from Get Out again.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Weird how much more low-key enjoyable this was than the last movie I watched. From the delightfully bad puns, to Jim Carrey having way too much fun, to Ben Schwartz just being himself, this was a nice Saturday afternoon romp. I went in expecting basically nothing, and was pleasantly surprised.

The Dead Don’t Die

This movie so badly wanted to be clever, it is the film equivalent to wearing a “funny shirt” from Hot Topic and explaining the joke to everyone before they can even laugh.

The Lodge

One of the better horror films I’ve seen in a while, with a very scary house, and an excellent secluded location.

Saturday Night

A fun documentary with rather overwrought camera-work that shows what preparing for and shooting SNL is like. It’s kinda wild to see the sheer number of writers and staff that make it come alive.

The Exorcist

Pretty creepy, with great special effects considering the time. I always root for the demons in any one of these, and definitely wondered while watching this how many more kids priests hurt than these imagined evil spirits. The devil, it turns out, was the church all along.

Vivarium

Started creepy, got way creepier. I appreciate the unwillingness to tell the viewer what the fuck is happening. This plays out like a great Ursula K Le Guin novel.

After the Storm

Koreeda is one of the best directors when it comes to presenting the sadly funny banality of life. I can’t fathom someone else who could present a deadbeat dad and dysfunctional family with such pathos. This isn’t quite as heartrending as Shoplifters, but it comes close.

Game Night

Just a good time. Everyone seemed like they were having a great time, and it hopped along at a good clip while keeping me laughing.

Hustlers

I love a good grift. I’m still low-key mad this wasn’t about a lesbian romance between J Lo and Constance Wu though.

The Commuter

A perfectly serviceable train thriller. Pretty fun.

Jumanji: Next Level

Have you ever wanted to see the Rock play Dan Devito? What about Jack Black playing a younger black guy? This movie was more bizarre than the last but hey, it was also fun.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

The extras’ costuming in this film is deeply strange, with a mix of “Indiana Jones pan-middle-east” and “Mad Max”. This whole film was a glorious mess, and I loved it.

The Guest

This was surprisingly funny and very bizarre. I really enjoy Dan Stevens, ever since his turn as Xavier’s son Legion.

Prisoners

In preparation for the eventual release of the new Dune film I wanted to familiarize myself with Villneuve’s ourve. This is a very good mystery film with a grittier Gyllenhal than his turn at Zodiac.

Rythym Section

A training montage revenge flick that slowly transforms into a pretty thrilling action movie.

Bloodshot

“I don’t mind the scars, I just don’t like the stories they tell.” With a time-to-tanktop of just under 5 minutes, you know from the jump this will be a new Diesel vehicle. This movie had it all: underwater tai-chi, weightlifting, Guy Pierce, and a drinking competition to hone in on Vin’s favorite shot. Of course, as a Chinese-financed movie, there’s no blood or sex or skeletons. Also why didn’t they put that one guy’s eyes in his head instead of on his chest?!

Radius

Interesting conceptually, but it didn’t really go anywhere besides the concept. It would’ve been better as an anime, lol.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Well, fuck. That was gorgeous and sad. This movie built until my heart ached, and wove a story of falling in love.

Crawl

It’s no Underwater, but I guess if you want to see a great reason not to visit Florida, this is a perfect anti-ad.

Underwater

This turned out was cooler that i was expecting. Can’t say much more without spoiling anything.

General Magic

After seeing the fictionalized versions of many of these folks in Steve Jobs, and hearing so many stories about others–some of whom I’ve met–this was a really interesting look at a company that catalyzed much of what we use every day to live online.

Steve Jobs

Oh, hey, it’s Shiv! It’s kind of fascinating that the entire story is told through the lead-up to the presentations that implanted Steve Jobs in so many of our brains. I really enjoyed seeing this, and also think it’s funny this came out only 2 years after the Kutcher film. Also, Fassbender has a way cooler vibe that the actual Jobs… I mean, he’s Magneto!

The Social Network

One of the wildest things about this movie is the that Facebook’s valuation at the time of the credits rolling was only $25 billion. A few years later, it’s nearly 500 billion. I left Facebook 3 years before this film came out, and briefly returned while in Portland. I get the sense the characters in the film might be less likable in real life.

Apollo 13

Such a fantastic film. It’s surprising how well this held up, with many practical effects and no terrible CGI. It’s been 25 years and this one still had me on the edge of my seat.

Overlord

This felt a bit like a video game. Lots of nazis getting blown up? Weird underground lab? Strange NPCs? Check.

Birds of Prey

It’s a low bar, but this is definitely the best DCU movie since all the serious Nolan Batman films. Not only was it silly fun, it managed to build interesting characters and solid battles that put the overwrought CGI-fest of Avengers to shame. I hope if they make more of these they keep the formula. I really want to see a love story between Poison Ivy and Harley.

1917

A very intense movie but it was also beautiful in its own way. I get why this won awards. Weird cameo by Doctor Strange though.

The Martian

Another rewatch. I had a FaceTime call where my friend Lena and I discussed Halt and Catch Fire, which reminded me how much I enjoyed this film, which I took to be about the competence of McKenzie Davis’ character. This was my first time watching this movie in 4K though, which made it look pretty amazing. Also, I always forget Donald Glover was in this.

Skyfall

Perhaps one of the only movies to use a Land Rover Defender in a car chase, this is pure fun. The filming and action scenes were a wild step-up from the previous two films, and the stakes felt high throughout.

Quantum of Solace

Far less memorable than Casino Royale. The first chase was fun, but a lot of the rest of the film kinda just meanders. I do appreciate the little nods towards older James Bond films though.

Casino Royale

Rewatching this in preparation for the eventual release of the final Daniel Craig bond film. It holds pretty well, save for the hilariously old-looking Sony phones and bootcut khakis. I’d forgotten Mads Mikkelsen was in this.

Contagion

I saw this in the theater when it first came out, but I haven’t seen it since then. This felt like a timely movie considering our current circumstances. I forgot Jude Law plays a weird crank reporter.

Jojo Rabbit

A deeply strange film about learning how to be a person and unlearn fanaticism. There were some pretty excellent cameos in this, and a very dark comedic beat.

Phantom Thread

Wow, this movie was hilarious from top to bottom. A friend (hi Drew) invited me to see it for the first time in 70mm, and all I want to do is channel Woodcock every day. “What am I supposed to do with that?”. What a joy. I can’t wait to watch this again.

First Love

A strange mistaken gangster film. This was much more straightforward than many Takeshi Miike films, but still managed to add in some really bizarre bits, and even some surprises.

Elle

Yow. That was… a lot of movie. Isabelle Huppert was fantastic, but I don’t know if I could recommend it. Definitely one of the stranger Verhoeven movies I’ve seen.

Anna

Another lady assassin movie. It was a helluva ride and I enjoyed it. I don’t think it added anything huge to the genre, but I’m just glad to have more cool movies about tough women. That said, I wish Anna had been able to just be with her girlfriend instead of randomly fucking spymasters.

Genocidal Organ

I read the book this movie is based on last year, and it’s a truly brutal story of linguistics and massive unrest. This movie is grim in a way that feels a little too prescient. Definitely one of the better anime thrillers I’ve seen in a while though.

Psycho Pass Movie Trilogy

After season 3, Psycho Pass had a trilogy of films in Japan. They’re fun continuations of the characters from all three seasons, and a bit of a sequel to the first movie. The future this film presents is pretty grim, but the animation is fantastic.

Weathering With You

I found out I don’t need to worry about climate change because it’s just rain, ya know? This film was gorgeous and fun and o loved the cat in it with my entire heart.

Matrix: Reloaded

Really starting the year off right. We talked through most of the exposition, which was like 75% of the movie. I hadn’t seen this since it came out, and it really didn’t hold up.

The Lighthouse

The first thing I noticed in this film was the tight, constrained feel of a square frame with deep black and white images. I immediately had to look around for how this was made. The VVitch is one of my favorite movies of all time, and Eggers doesn’t disappoint in this haunting film either. The dread builds as the antipathy between the two men grows. A joy.

2019

74 Movies

Ford vs. Ferrari

A blast! I love car racing so much, and this film was a gorgeous vision of a famous showdown between an incredible car company, and Ford. I grew up hearing stories about Shelby, and this film brought him to life.

Uncut Gems

This was wild! From front to back this movie was a rollercoaster of poor decision-making and the world of vigs, 3 way parlay, and Kevin Garnet. Adam Sandler showed that he could really act in Punch Drunk Love, and he absolutely owns in Uncut Gems.

One Cut of the Dead

Without spoiling it, all I’ll say is this film went to fun places I didn’t expect, and was a delight throughout.

Psycho Pass

The episodes of this show already feel fairly cinematic, so stretching the show to nearly 2 hours felt right. It was super jarring to hear random English throughout the film though—at the start I thought I was accidentally watching a dub.

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker

Frankly this post from Film Critic Hulk covered my feelings well. I described it as a movie trying to fellate itself. Scenes rarely got to breathe, and the movie felt packed with fan service and confusing backtracking from Last Jedi. Also wow, they just dropped a bunch of character storylines.

Ad Astra

Space Brad Pitt! We’ve sent most leading men to space, but never Pitt (I didn’t check this too carefully). Also this had Donald Sutherland, who is a personal favorite. I appreciate that none of the things in space made sound at least. Sad dads in space. It was pretty, and exciting, but ultimately didn’t really give me much to latch onto.

Ready or Not

Lol can’t wait to never get remarried. Rich people are the worst. Also it’s a real bummer that “satanists” get such a bad wrap in a world where the christians are the ones actually harming children. Fuck the satanic panic

Knives Out

Sadly, I wasn’t feeling great so I missed a bit of this, but I think I got all the important bits. I really want to see this again in the near future. The overall tone of the film was fantastic, and the comedic hits were delightful.

Second time emphasized how excellent this film was. A really great ride.

Fast Color

The preview of this movie had me hoping it was a potential adaptation of NK Jeminson’s Broken Earth trilogy, but alas, it wasn’t. Fortunately, it was still a fun movie about family and mutant powers. I wish there was a little more substance to the whole film, but on the upside, the mood was pretty interesting. Also it’s weird seeing a belter as a sheriff (please see the Expanse for more details).

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

I’ve had this on my to-watch list for years, and finally decided to dive in. It was a beautiful and strange mediation on life, death, and family.

Terminator: Dark Fate

A nice return to form. This felt like a nice natural extension to Terminator 2, and while it wasn’t a great film by any means, it was a fun romp with lots of goofy jokes, explosions, and Mackenzie Davis.

Edge of Tomorrow

This was a rewatch after a listening to a recent episode of the Incomparables. I have a special place in my heart for movies where Tom Cruise is supposed to be a tough guy, and if you add in mechanized suits? Hell yes. It’s not the best film, but it’s very fun.

In the Shadow of the Moon

A mid-flight watch on my way to Tokyo. Pretty interesting, engaging flick that gets weird.

Parasite

There isn’t a lot I can say about this without spoiling the whole endeavor, but suffice it to say this movie is incredible. There’s so much going on in every shot, and the actors performances are incredible. This is a rare movie that just keeps building and building throughout. Truly one of the best directors working.

What We Do in the Shadows

A rewatch of an utter classic of mockumentary. So many quotable lines and absurdly delightful scenes. The last word in vampire media.

The Art of Self Defense

The dialog delivery was definitely from the Yorgos Lanthimos school of deadpan, and the general vibe was extremely absurdist. I loved this film. Quite a bit of this movie was unexpected, and had me cracking up. A genuinely odd delight.

The Day Shall Come

An utterly bizarre and fantastic satire about the very real lengths the state goes to in order to prop up folks with no real chance of committing “terrorist acts”. It’s worrying watching this interview to get more behind the scenes of this film. Morris makes seriously strange stuff, and this is no exception.

High Life

Space dads! I don’t know if this is a genre, but perhaps it should be since Interstellar, High Life, and Ad Astra all appear to answer: “what if dads, but in space”. However there was a lot of assault in this film… it’s largely about felons being jettisoned into space, and artificial insemination experiments, it turns out. If you like very grim space movies, this might be for you.

Promare

A wild visual ride with a rather bizarre (it’s Trigger, naturally) story of fire people and the folks who fight them. There’s mecha, tons of goofy jokes, and even though it felt a little long, it was fun.

Eighth Grade

The idea of this movie made me very anxious. Middle school is rough, and I was on edge for most of the film wondering if something very bad would happen, or if Checkov’s AR-15 would reappear. Spoiler Alert No. There’re definitely some sad moments, and some very tender and sweet ones, but no one big terrible event occurs. This isn’t that kind of movie. Instead, Eighth Grade perfectly encapsulates how nervous and awkward we felt in our youth, and just how embarassed we were by our parents. I loved it.

Between Two Ferns

I love the parallel world of these bizarre and failed actors. I haven’t seen very many episodes of the web show, but this was pretty fun.

Aniara

TL;DR: Low-budget sci-fi cruise ship. This movie reminded me of a Twilight Zone episode, at least in its premise. I really enjoy movies where something goes horribly awry, and “what if we’re stuck in space forever” definitely meets that criteria, but unlike the Twilight Zone, there’s no big twist, just a slow sadness. There’s a certain charm to the fact that it’s Swedish as well. Plus, there’s space lesbians. We’re everywhere.

Mega Time Squad

Completely silly and fun. Low-budget time travel movies are often awesome (think Primer), but what if it was also a very low-brow comedy? Sweet as.

Booksmart

Wow, I really should’ve watched this in the theater. This movie ruled. Outstanding cast, hilarious from start to finish. I want so many more amazing comedies that center rad women. More. Lesbian. Characters. In. Everything.

Steven Universe: The Movie

I’m not super fond of musicals, and this was most certainly a musical. Generally, I’ve enjoyed Steven Universe, but more so when it’s weird, and not saccharine. This movie leaned more towards the latter, so it was cute, but not really my bag. If singing and supportive friendships are your favorite part of the show, you’ll love the movie. TL;DR your ex’s polycule adopts you.

Godzilla: King of Monsters

Ridiculous, but exactly what I expected. A bit of Godzilla, a bit of the Core. I’m fascinated by the idea that “eco-terrorists” have wide-reaching military power, lol. Shin Godzilla is still the best movie in the series, hands down, but this was a silly action romp.

MI-5

I fondly remember the British show Spooks, which ended in 2011. This movie was a nice reminder of the great things about that silly spy show.

Battle Angel Alita

I read this comic when I was younger, and it’s kind of neat to see it made into a live action film. I still can’t get over the uncanny valley eyes that Rose Salazar’s character had, or the goofy “love story”. Overall, this was a fun action film.

The Predator

I’ve seen folks watching this on a bunch of planes in the past year or so, and as a long-time fan of the Predator, I entered into it grudgingly. The first two films were tight thrillers, but at this point, I can’t tell what the series wants to be. If you can watch this for free, I guess it’s ok?

Bad Times at the El Royale

This was fun enough, with a pretty good ensemble cast. Nothing really stuck out as excellent, and in a few ways it felt like a less-ambitious Tarantino film.

The Quake

A good reminder that disaster movies don’t need to have the glitz and glam of a big budget Hollywood film. This sequel to The Wave was rather slowly-paced, but exciting as it picked up steam.

Killing of a Sacred Deer

Wow, this was an eerie film. At this point I’ve enough of Yorgos Lanthimos’ films that I enter into them thinking “what’s the strange twist?” This film delivered on that quite well. I love the strange, flat performance Lanthimos actors provide—they lure you into this world with everything just a bit off. Also the young man in the film was haunting.

First Reformed

I went into this movie thinking “it’s about religion and maybe climate change”. That covers it to a degree, but beyond that is so much truth and sadness. This was a grim, beautiful film that struck me right at the core—both as an ex-religious person, and someone who often mourns for the end of life for so many folks effected by climate change. The movie, at it’s core, asks if there’s any forgiveness for our destruction of the planet, for our destruction of humanity. I don’t have an answer to that question. This film however, was excellent.

The Lobster

I can now say that I have indeed considered the Lobster. After seeing The Favourite earlier this year, I decided to go back to watch Yorgos Lanthimos‘ other films. I’m glad I did. This was fantastic.

The Ceremony (儀式)

A bizarre 70s Japanese film about family, duty, and incest. Reading about this film, it seems like much of it was meant to be an indictment of the older generation, as well as the younger generation’s unwillingness to speak out against tradition. As a film, it’s truly strange, but also brutal in its methodical breakdown of the protagonist.

Hobbs & Shaw

A very silly buddy comedy. They talk about balls a bit too often for a movie with two 50 year old protagonists, but it was fun at times. There’s very little connection between this and Fast & Furious, but if you like Stratham & The Rock, you’ll have fun.

The Farewell

I cried a lot during this film. Awkwafina did a fantastic job, and it’s cool to see a major US release mostly in Mandarin. If you’ve recently lost a grandparent, or have gone through family illness, this might just hit you really hard.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

This was a very strange movie, even by Tarentino’s standards. A mix of fake show clips, stories of a man and his valet, and glimpses into the Manson family. I laughed quite a bit, and generally found this movie to be a blast.

A Vigilante

This was hard to watch. It was very well done, and intensely paced, but the abuse in the films was painful. There’s a grim morality in this film, and a certain catharsis in seeing abusers punished, but fuck.

Thoroughbreads

A fantastically creepy film about ennui and friendship. I loved it.

Spiderman: Far from Home

This is exactly what I want from a superhero movie: fun. The stakes were much smaller than an Avengers movie, despite this film happening in the aftermath of both the “blip” and many deaths, and that’s a good thing. Instead of world-changing events, we got to enjoy Peter and his classmates goofing around in Europe, and the zany world of Mysterio. I loved this movie. The action was exciting, and the jokes were silly and fun.

Hospitalitié (歓待)

A strange movie reminiscent of a short story I read years ago where. house guests slowly take over a family’s home. It’s dark, funny, and a poignant commentary on xenophobia.

Midsommar

Wow. What a gorgeous, twisted, wild film. From the music to the ultra-bright summer of it all, I loved this movie. If you’re quite squeamish, give it a pass. Otherwise, skål!

Force Majeure

A slow burn of a movie. Largely, this is about a family, and a father who is kind of a shit. Tormund from GoT shows up. Lots of skiing. Grey fog. Fin.

Ralph Breaks the Internet

This was super cute, with a nice mix of weird jokes and internet references. It’s wild how many amazing actors they got to join in the strange fun. If you liked the first film, you’ll enjoy the new one.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

This movie wasn’t as bad as critics have said, which isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement. Out of the two treatments of the Dark Phoenix, I think this one was better. The story was a bit odd, but overall, it was fun and a lot of shit blew up. B- summer pap.

Starfish

A largely solo trek through grief, loneliness, and the end of the world. The soundtrack to Starfish was excellent, as was the performance of Ginny Gardner. Without spoiling anything, it’s best to say this movie goes in interesting directions and is shot beautifully.

Wandering Earth

This is the second-highest grossing film in Chinese cinematic history. I’ve heard about this book for a while, and conceptually it’s interesting to think about the Earth moving instead of colony ships leaving, but it’s frustrating that Chinese censors meant that the themes of the film are somewhat limited. The end result felt more like The Core than Star Wars, and overall it was rather disappointing.

John Wick 3

Ridiculous from start to finish. The fights were fun, the plot moved forward at a fast clip, and this is one of my favorite silly action franchise.

Lego Movie: Part 2

Fun, but didn’t match up to the sheer weird joy of the first movie.

Detective Pikachu

Hilarious and so, so fun. This was definitely a kids movie, but aimed solidly at kids who’re 28-35 now—my generation has the funds to relive our childhoods in cinema. I played a few Pokémon games, and watched the cartoon for a little while in middle school, and seeing all of the Pokémon I know flitting around the screen was a hoot. Ryan Reynolds did some fantastic Pikachu voice acting, matched by the incredible CGI of his fur. One of the sillier, funnier movies I’ve seen in a minute. “My clues!”

Burning

It’s been years since I read the story that this movie was inspired by, so I barely remember it. The pacing of Burning was slow, but each shot was artful, and each scene a strange delight. Also, the ambling, slightly clueless protagonist seemed to fit right in to Murakami world.

Arctic

This was in a really intense movie about how fucking cold it can get in the Arctic, and how scary it is to be crashed there. I like to think that this is somehow an extension of the Hannibal universe, and that in order to escape capture he became a pilot.

Avengers:Endgame

This was like three movies jammed into one. It was fine, but I hope they stop doing the massive super hero stuff for a while.

Hagazussa

Bizarre and utterly obsessed with liquids. Hard to watch, but also beautiful at times.

Still Walking

A delightful meditation on family. I watched an earlier Koreeda movie called Nobody Knows just after college, and it destroyed me. I mostly forgot about this director until Shoplifters last year, and damn, I loved that film too. I think i only have the emotional wherewithal to watch something he made every few months, but each time I dive into his world, there’s an incredible depth to how he shows the small ways we love and lose each other. Also it’s wild to see You-san in an acting role, and not on the Terrace House couch.

Little

I don’t know where to start with this weird mess of a movie. It was super funny at times, but left a lot on the cutting floor, had an utterly bizarre trans “joke”, and the worst driving scenes I’ve seen. At the same time, it was goofy, cute, and a man behind us loudly said, “that’s her when she was little”.

Glass

Well, I’ve finished Shyamalan’s weird comic trilogy. I remember watching Unbreakable in the theater at the mall near my house as a kid. I’d don’t know if that mall even exists anymore, but for a while, you could go to the arcade downstairs, and then watch a movie in the theater near the food court. I was straight-up enamored with Shyamalan at the time. Sixth Sense was fresh on my mind, and Unbreakable was bizarre, but hinted at something wild. Subsequent movies took this M. Night from a must watch icon, to an amusing auteur, and I think that’s great. The Happening is a movie I deeply love, but this trilogy never really lived up to either the mystery or weirdness of his best work. I think in an effort to make a meta-comic movie, he made something that ultimately doesn’t deliver much past a so-so premise that heroes do exist. Which, is fine, but isn’t “he was dead the whole time,” or “the plants!”

The Night is Short, Walk on Girl

This movie is gorgeous, which is to be expected from one of Yusuke Nakamura’s works. The plot is pretty bonkers, and includes everything from strange gods, rare alcohols, and a collection of Classical Japanese porn. If you like this, you might also love Tatami Galaxy from the same folks. There’s a certain spiritual similarity to Tampopo in this film’s over-the-top appreciation for food and drinks too.

Tampopo

This was a really fun movie about how amazing food can be. Tons of literal and figurative porn scenes about noodles, eggs, and more. The western film style is kinda wacky and silly, but the overall tone was interesting. I was a bit out of it when I watched this film, so I missed some of it, but likely this’ll be a rewatch.

Us

Super spooky. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the combination of very good dad jokes, incredibly talented actors, and tight pacing kept this film feeling scary and fun throughout. There’s twists and turns, and a very good boat name or two. See this movie. I’m stoked we get to see more of Peele’s work in the future.

Prospect

What a cool movie. This tense space flick proved that you can do a lot of sci-fi stuff with less budget. I love media about shitty tech, and this is kind of “what happens when you’re a skint space prospector” angle down pat. This could’ve been a weird Cowboy Bebop live action, but instead tackled the idea from a different angle. Sophie Thatcher rules, too. Wherever this was shot, it was gorgeous.

Captain Marvel

Super fun! Brie Larson made for a very compelling super hero, and I love Goose with my whole heart. The 90s throwback setting was a delight, along with its soundtrack. I’m stoked to see what this sets up for future Marvel films, and hopeful that we see the Skrull again (please show up in Runaways).

Flavors of Youth

An alright film about the things we leave behind as we grow older, and the tastes and regrets we have. Most of this film is set in China, which is an interesting place to hear all the characters speak Japanese. There are three vignettes, and none really tugged my heartstrings, but it was still a well done movie.

Anna and the Apocalypse

A high-school musical with zombies. I really don’t like musicals, to be honest. I’d heard good things about this one though, and wanted to give it a chance. The cast is doing a pretty good job throughout, though the relatively one-dimensional characters of the “hot jock” and the “asshole headmaster” are schlocky. This movie mostly made me want to watch Sean of the Dead again, which used rock music to better effect.

Polar

Mads Mikkelsen got his Takeshi Kitano take-no-prisoners action role. This movie was adapted from a comic, and it feels just like a comic, down to the choppy dialogue, fast-paced action, and dead-simple plot. It’s kinda fun, if you can get over the copious amounts of cartoonish murder.

Piercing

Weird. I read this book probably 10 years ago, and enjoyed it. The movie is a lighter adaptation, as it’s trickier to capture internal dialogue on film. Mia Wasikowska is outstanding as usual. I also enjoyed the general 70s aesthetic, and the cool selection of lingerie. This film only clocks in at about an hour and twenty minutes, but manages to build and release tension a few times.

Spy

I don’t know why I slept on this film. I guess I like Paul Fieg movies? This is delightful fare from Melissa Mcarthy, and a solid supporting cast.

Close

Noomi Rapace is a badass bodyguard in this short, high-action thriller. The “rich girl who eventually learns she needs help” is a long-standing trope, but it’s plays well here. This movie takes place in a weird parallel reality wherein everyone uses Blackberrys. Shout out to Indira Varma too, who was great in Luther, Game of Thrones, and now as a potentially treacherous stepmom.

IO

Another great eco-pocalypse movie. Limited cast and locations, but a cool premise overall. This movie was short, but definitely hit many of my speculative fiction check marks. I want to ride an ATV now.

Vox Lux

I loved the intense opening scenes of this film, and the scrolling credits—I’ve rarely seen something like this, and it felt brutal and fresh. Sadly the rest of the film felt like an idea that they forgot to film. Was she the devil? Didn’t explore that. Single mom? Didn’t explore that. There was so much buildup with no payoff. Terrorists? Nah. Long song b-roll? Yep. Even Sia couldn’t be bothered to record anything great for this film. Missed opportunity. This could‘be been Wicked and Divine, the movie.

Destroyer

Another film with Tony Kebbell—seeing him in this after seeing him in Hurricane Heist was a wild ride. I think his American accent got better. Also, Kusama seemed pretty obsessed with Kidman’s face throughout this film. This was a intense sad cop/revenge film, with elements from many old sad cop guy films—transformed into something new by letting the old cop be a woman. I really appreciated the Halt & Catch Fire alumni, as well as the always delightful Tatiana Maslany. This movie felt like a different era, and painted LA in a grim, dusty light.

Shoplifters

What a fantastic film. In some ways this reminded me of the anime Tokyo Godfathers—which is also about a group of underground folks taking in a child. The way Shoplifters weaved chosen family in with delightful vignettes and outstanding performances by two children was masterful. This felt like a Japan that rarely appears in cinema—a group of folks struggling with poverty, and not sure how to be part of a society that seems to expect them to join in. I will probably rewatch this, and highly recommend it.

Hurricane Heist

I knew going in that this would be a bonkers film, having listened to the How Did This Get Made episode about it, but wow. Everyone in this film except for Maggie Grace is from England or Australia, and their accents are absurd. I feel like everyone got drunk, decided to use an “Alabama accent” and then a movie happened. Nothing that happened made sense, but also it was a hoot.

Assasination Nation

I’m still not sure what I saw. I think this aims to be a cautionary tale about mob rule, privacy, and misogyny. It’s brutal, graphic, and so full of -isms, I can’t say I recommend it. It’s wild that this movie played in theaters. I’m kinda stoked Hari Nef got to be a mean teen trans lady. By the end there’s a revenge bloodbath that I can’t tell if I was meant to find cathartic, or sad. This is definitely the most misanthropic and nihilistic movie I’ve seen in years.

2018

Hearts Beat Loud

I cried through a lot of this, because the dad was so good. A+ always here for rebellious lesbian daughters with amazing musical talent and cool girlfriends. Also here for every person in the cast, and a random Jeff Tweedy cameo. Also Best American Girl was a dope song/Puberty 2 was an amazing album. I will rewatch this.

Bird Box

Spooky fun times. A bit of Blindness, a bit of the Happening, and a bit of Sandra Bullock. This was a star vehicle, with lots of randomly awesome small characters. Worth a watch, especially if you’re already a Netflix person.

Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse

Such a fun, silly movie. I recently played the Spider-Man PS4 game, so it was cool to see Miles return. Also, I’m a fan of Spider-Gwen, and I’m stoked she got a movie appearance. The whole theater was cracking up for over half of the film, and then it got a little serious and action-y. I really hope they make another one of these. The animation was wild, and super original too.

The Favourite

A lesbian triumph. Olivia Coleman had me laughing constantly with her performance as the queen, and Rachel Weiss & Emma Stone were a delight. This movie was a bizarre, hilarious, and strangely shot film; using fisheye lenses, and lots of smooth pans on a rail made for a truly odd experience. There was quite a bit of creative anachronism, and some very adorable ducks. Easily one of the best movies I saw this year.

The Equalizer: 2

This is apparently the first sequel Denzel has ever made. I’ve loved the genre of Denzel as an ultraviolent avenging angel ever since I saw Man on Fire. Some folks may prefer John Wick, and granted, those movies have a great style, but damn, the Equalizer is a series I hope to see more of in the future.

The Death of Stalin (rewatch)

It’s the season for rewatching films.

Slice

Super goofy horror film with lots of great folks. I think B movies can only rarely be made great from the start, and this one could’ve used a little less effort.

The Fast & the Furious (rewatch)

A few friends hadn’t watched this before, so we drank a bit, and had a rip-roaring good time seeing this again. Everyone is decked-out in the most late 90s gear, the camera work is bonkers, and the cars are cool, but painted like awful hot wheels. I love this series.

Hereditary

Granted, the central twist was spoiled for me, but so much of this movie felt joyless. Theoretically this movie should’ve been right up my alley, but honestly I would’ve rather rewatched the VVitch for the umpteenth time.

Widows

This was one of my favorite movies of the year. Wow. A all badass lady heist movie with actual stakes! Everyone delivers in this film, and it was a hoot. A+

Crazy Rich Asians

This was a schlocky romcom about a very rarefied set of Chinese Singaporeans. It was fun enough, and now both of the people I saw it with want to flood the aisle of a building during their wedding. Moms are a lot.

Girl with a Dragon Tattoo (rewatch)

My partner hasn’t seen these, and I would watch them again basically whenever, so here we are.

Ant Man and the Wasp (rewatch)

Just as delightful the second go-round. More fun superhero movies please.

Skyscraper

So, so ridiculous and terrible… but also kind of great? Like, what if Die Hard wasn’t as good, and had the Rock in Hong Kong? I watched this so I could listen to this week’s How Did This Get Made, and I am glad I did.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web

We’re on our third Lisbeth actress, and while Claire Foy more than filled the shoes of Rooney Mara, the same can’t quite be said for whoever replaced Daniel Craig. This was a fun, twisty movie, that was inadvertently stressful for my partner because of all the snow and ice driving. Lisbeth continues to deliver her brand of justice, while “then Lisbeth hacks the thing” is a major plot device. Kudos to all the lesbians in this, and the giant case of dildos. Fun movie.

The Guilty

A wild single-room movie, that takes place completely over the phone. I love the narrative device, and the slow, dread-filled pacing. The movie largely takes place in your own imagination, helped along by excellent foley, and voice acting.

The First Purge

Yow, what a good mess. I don’t know why I love the Purge films, and to be honest, this one felt a little too real. However, I watched this on Halloween, so it fit my needs of a spooky, scary movie.

Halloween (2018)

This was goofy and fun, while still being a twisty thriller. Ultimately, these are morality tales about private property ownership, lol. A+ to Jamie Lee Curtis, and also all the random bit players. Definitely a good popcorn flick with friends.

Halloween

A spooky throwback to get ready for the sequel. I guess they made a bunch of these and they were all garbage, and the new movie aims to erase them. I think somehow the only one I’d seen was Season of the Witch, which is the 3rd movie in the original set. The 70s were a weird time, and the amount of nudity random “gotta take my clothes off” is just yikes. Jamie Lee Curtis did a great job. I’m hoping the pacing of the new film is more up to modern standards though, because dang, did this feel dated and slow in a lot of ways.

Hotel Artemis

From the preview, I assumed this would be a John Wick knockoff, but it was fun in its own right. Lots of action, Jenny Slate, and a wide array of solid actors. The future is a dismal one, but hey, that checks out.

Beirut

What if John Hamm’s Mad Men character was a state department guy turned negotiator? 70s Beirut is a trip in the way it’s presented, and knowing a little history, this seems like a wild but semi-accurate portrayal of all the folks who fought over Lebanon during and after the civil war. This is a tonally dark political thriller, and I dug it.

Venom

What a perfectly odd anti-hero film. I was a big Venom fan as a kid, and this movie delivered everything I wanted in a Venom movie. Fuck the haters, this is a hoot. I don’t think this should win any prizes for cinema but it’s fun, and provided lots of awkward laughs. The action was exciting, and I can’t wait for a sequel full of carnage.

Sicario: Day of the Solado

Another ridiculous action film about “the cartels” that I can’t honestly tell is meant to make folks dislike the US or root for us. If you want to watch Cable/Thanos run around and shoot things, this is probalby a good movie for you. I don’t find these very clever, but mostly I wish we got an Equalizer-style movie focused on Benecio Del Toro’s character. While I’m hoping, perhaps Demián Bichir can be in the third movie.

Mandy

A weirdo pyschadelic mess of a movie. I hate that a woman’s death is used as a catalyst, but beyond that this is a bloody, ridiculous revenge flick. The music is great throughout and perhaps we were all delirious, but my theater laughed quite a bit.

Dawn of the Dead (2004/Rewatch)

I could watch this every year. This is an excellent remake of an excellent zombie film. Everyone gives their all, and so many of the deaths, kills, and twists are perfect. A+ work from before Zach Snyder made cruddy films.

A Simple Favor

What a silly, fun movie. It ends up in kind of a weird, messy state by the end, as if Feig is like “wait, what if they don’t remember I made Bridesmaids?!?”, but I generally enjoyed seeing Blake Lively be a cool babe, while Anna Kendrick does her thing. All the side-characters were fun, and even though it felt long, it was also consistently enjoyable.

Blindspotting

This is the third movie I’ve seen this year that was shot in Oakland, and I loved it. There is so much intensity, and so many parts that made me hold my breath, but everyone in this, especially Daveed Diggs, just showed-up and did an outstanding job. The criticism of gentrification in this felt more present and painful than Sorry to Bother You, and the raw emotional energy between family and friends here was so good.

The Nun

Lol, this ridiculous series. My friend got me into this while I was recovering from a surgery last year by asking me to watch all the preceding movies before we went to see one of the Annabelle ones. This series delivers spooky times, jump-scares, and a universe completely devoid of a loving god. I’m always down for a movie where the evil folks win, and this series is suitably unclear about who actually comes out on top, so I just claim it for the demons.

The Endless

What a bizarre, fantastic film. I loved the world and magic of this movie, as well as the general sense of eerie inevitably. I’m excited to see the previous film as well. The shots of this film are a mix of dutch angles, handheld, and some neat CGI. There’s quite a bit of upsetting stuff in this film, but it’s also a fun ride.

47 Meters Down

Mandy Moore has never scuba-dived, but on a vacation to Mexico, her asshole friend convinces her to scuba in a cage with sharks to forget a man. It goes about as poorly as you’d think. I loved every claustrophobic minute of this. Fuck the ocean, I’m sticking to the rivers and the lakes that I’m used to.

Mary and the Witch’s Flower

A cute anime about a young girl who stumbles into the world of witchcraft. Very reminiscent of Howl’s Moving Castle, but with a less encompassing world.

Den of Thieves

A heist movie with a pretty solid cast. Gerard Butler plays a shitty, dirty cop well. He was definitely believable as “the guy who treats everyone like shit, but we’re supposed to believe he is a very good dad who just loves his daughters.” The plot was decently executed, but it’s mostly just a movie with lots of bro posturing and guns. Not a bad way to spend a couple hours on the couch.

Masterminds

A ridiculous heist comedy with Zach Galafanakis, Kristen Wiig, and Jason Sudekis. It’s about as ridiculous as you would imagine. A+ romp. Lots of quality physical comedy.

Book Club

Watched this on a whim with a couple friends, and it was kinda great? I love Candace Bergen from the Murphy Brown days, and hope I look as good as Diane Keaton when I’m older. Silly popcorn fun. Also I guess I own it now because it wasn’t available to rent.

The Meg

Wow. This is my new favorite sea-based movie. What an epically hilarious film. A+ good job everyone.

Mission Impossible Fallout

A wild, nearly 3 hour ride through a comical series of twists and beards. I laughed out loud often, both at the unearned gravitas, and actual jokes. I love this series like Tom Cruise loves being an action hero: deeply, and passionately.

Ready Player One

I blame my friend Mark, because he chose this for us to watch. It was just as bad as I thought it would be, but blessedly we could make good jokes throughout.

Drive Angry

There are probably worse Nic Cage movies, but this is the worst one I’ve seen. Every scene is painfully bad.

Tomb Raider

Fun, and very surprisingly entertaining for a video game movie. Lots of “oh, I could see how this would play in the game,” scenes. Alicia Vikander is a much better Lara Croft too, imo.

Sorry to Bother You

This is the movie Idiocracy wishes it were. Sorry to Bother You skewers tech culture, bay-area poverty, racial injustice, and so much more. Throughout, Tessa, Lakeith, and the rest of the cast deliver awesome performances. A mix of chilling and laugh-inducing. One of the best films I’ve seen this year.

Tragedy Girls

What a wild, fucked-up movie about social media, murder, and friendship. Don’t do it for the gram.

I, Tonya

Finally watched this with a friend, and wow, it was good but full of very violent abuse stuff. Growing up in the 80s/90s, Tonya Harding was in a lot of news, but this definitely filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge of her story.

Villainess

What a wonderfully bonkers movie. It kicks off with wild first-person murder fest, and just goes off-the-rails from there. One of the bloodier and wilder action films I’ve seen in a long time. Loved it.

The Incredibles 2

Watched this a few hours after the first one. The animation has gotten a LOT better, even though the first one honestly aged pretty well, since they didn’t try to make it photorealistic. The plot was ridiculous again, and they definitely leaned hard into the “men are bad at childcare” shit that I suspected they would. Fun enough though anyways.

The Incredibles

The animation holds up surprisingly well for a few year-old movie, even if the plot depends on some pretty annoying misogynist tropes. I watched this to prep for the new movie, and overall it was a fun, if ridiculous, movie.

Ant Man & the Wasp

This was a hoot. Very silly, and pretty PG, but above all else, this felt like a comic movie. I’d compare this to Spiderman Homecoming or a less stylish Thor Ragnarok. Great summer night movie.

Sicario

What a wild movie, in which I needed to completely suspend all of my feelings about America, the “drug war” and Thanos. If you can attempt to not emotionally connect to the actual monsters in this movie, it’s kinda fun in a “tense film where things blow up” kind of way.

Gemini

Lesbian murder mystery? Yes. This was fun, even if the music felt super weird at times. Good bangs. Cool cars. A movie where men are the worst. Also this seems consistent with the choices and habits of geminis, so, lol. shots fired.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Lol, this movie was absurd. They rushed off the island and so many of the subplots never really paid off? I can’t forget that Pratt is a conservative, and I didn’t really care much about anyone in this film, except for the dinosaurs. I guess I was rooting for the dinosaurs, and I figure they probably came out ahead.

Oh Lucy!

This movie ruled! The world feels pretty rough these days, and this movie doesn’t shy away from difficult topics, but the overarching feeling of Oh Lucy is a kind and happy one. It was also cool seeing an actor I’ve watched in lots of Kiyoshi Kurasawa films show up in a very rad role.

Ocean’s 8

All. Ladies. Heist. A+. I hope everyone involved in this comes out as gay. Points for literally every outfit, and double points for Rhianna’s devil-may-care overalls, and Cate Blanchett’s Carol-as-a-Timelord character.

xx

Terrible title unless everyone involved had to get a karyotype test to be involved. Most of the horror was related to having kids, which meant this movie hit me hard, because kids are the worst and deeply frightening on the best days.

Unlocked

I’m a sucker for middling spy movies, and Noomi Rapace, so I now own this film. It wasn’t great, but it was fun, and dammit, sometimes that’s all I need. TIL Michael Douglas is still around.

Red Sparrow

I will never believe for one second that the protagonist would fall for Joel Edgerton’s bland spyman. For some reason, I expected this movie to be set during the cold war, but instead it’s vaguely now. This had more sexual assault than I expected too, which is a fucking bummer. The saving grace in this film is that by and large Jennifer Lawrence kills or beats all the men in the movie. I can only hope she gets cast in more movies where she doesn’t have to participate in misogynist porn first.

Appropriate Behavior

This was a fun movie about being a Persian Bisexual woman in NYC. Shirin goes through a major breakup, then struggles to date, and heal, while dealing with a family she doesn’t think will understand her queerness, and the strange world of the NYC queer and poly scene. I laughed out loud during a lot of this, even as I scratched my head at the confusing references to trans guys—like, why are they a joke? Overall, I dug this movie, and hope the director/writer Desiree makes more films soon.

Solo

This was probably tied with Last Jedi for my least favorite of the new Star Wars, but I liked it better than pretty much any of the old or prequel ones. It was fun, had a few rad women, and didn’t go overboard on “remember this?” fanservice. I laughed a few times, and I’m hoping they make sequels.

Deadpool 2

As fun as Avengers: Infinity War was boring and meh. Full of silly jokes. There were definitely jokes that were in really poor taste, but pretty much what I expected.

Avengers: Infinity War

This movie tried to tie together too many disparate stories, to bland effect. The attempt at some sort of emotional climax was a big wet fart, despite ten people in the theater I was in yelling at the screen. Like, spoilers they’ll all be back, bc Disney isn’t going to kill off their money-makers. Go rewatch Black Panther of Thor Ragnarok, or like, spend 3 hours outside instead.

In the Fade

One of the saddest movies I’ve seen in a long time. It’s gorgeous, well-shot, and soundtracked, but phew, what a brutal movie about the evils of nazism, and racism.

Geostorm

A trash movie in the best way. If you liked watching Jake Gylenhall run from ice in The Day After Tomorrow, and people saying “zap!” and “geostorm!”, then this movie is for you. Continues the trend of big-budget action films being largely targeted for non-US success, but that means we also get some cool co-stars.

A Quiet Place

A “good christian family” who loves gender roles has to be vewwwwwy quiet so they don’t get eaten by some kind of creatures. This movie was silly as fuck. Every time the monster was on screen, someone had to pantomime “be quiet,” as if the entire movie hadn’t been quiet. Also spoilers but how the fuck do you get pregnant if you know that a baby is going to make loud baby noises and get your family killed? And where did they fuck? Anyways, this is a hate-watch.

The Descent

Another “maybe these are bad people” everything-goes-wrong movie. This was a rewatch, and yet, the cave scenes still had me feeling super claustrophobic. It didn’t help that I was in the middle of a middle row on a plane to Portland from Amsterdam when I watched it.

Cabin Fever

I can’t tell if this was the original, or if this was a remake, but either way, it’s nice to watch annoying and awful people fall apart. This is a theme of the previous and next movie.

The Ritual

A very good “get lost in the woods” movie. Bad things happen to unlikeable men. A+.

The Death of Stalin

Super dark comedy. It has that abusive asshole Jeffrey Tambor, but otherwise is full of hilariously weird old men. If you like Veep or In the Thick of It, this is a must-watch.

Blade

rewatch Wesley Snipes is a half-vampire vampire hunter. It rules.

Wrinkle in Time

I’d recommend listening to this podcast after you see the movie. It was very, very disney, and they burned through everything pretty fast without a lot of wonder. Really glad that the god stuff was gone, but I think they could have jettisoned Calvin too without losing anything.

Thelma

A great movie about being queer, growing up Christian, and maybe having super powers. Relateable AF. Highly recommended.

Annihilation

What a wild movie. I read these books back in 2014 when they were released in a frenzy. I was pretty constantly afraid of the house I was staying in, as I was pretty well disturbed by the book. It had the kind of sneaky quality that gets in your head. The movie did a brisker job of telling a similar story, but I enjoyed it. I’ll probalby see this again, and I’m very curious if they’ll try to make more.

Lost Boys

I hadn’t seen this movie for a long time, but recently Imogen watched and talked about it, so my roommate and I sat down for a revisit. It held up. There’s something fantastic about watching these very gay vampire boys run around and be punk teens. Listen to Imogen’s podcast if you can, bc she says everything I’d wanna cover. Oh, and watch this movie.

Black Panther

Holy shit. I thought this movie would be good, but I had no idea how amazing it would be. Action like woah, a solid plot that doesn’t dig into origin story over and over like other Marvel films, and amazing set and costume design. The array of talented actors in this film is unbelievable. This is one of the best films of 2018. No doubt.

The Cloverfield Paradox

I’d heard a lot of “this movie isn’t good” from folks who hate fun, I guess. It was fun, and a pretty decent “stuff goes wrong in space” movie. I LOVE Cloverfield and even though I was mad at the gendered threat of violence that permeated the entirety of 10 Cloverfield Lane, I still enjoyed bits of that too. The Cloverfield universe is a wild one that I really enjoy. See this if you have Netflix, like seeing WoC protagonists, or like Cloverfield movies.

I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore

Elijah Wood is doing his all in this movie, as is Melanie Lynskey. This goes off the rails midway through, and becomes a thrillride, but keeps up the laughs. Also, yay for a movie that’s set in Portland.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Ahhh, this ruled! Sam Neil, and the kid are spectacular. Taika has a lovely cameo as a bizarre priest. This might end up being the best movie I see this year, and it had me laughing pretty consistently throughout.

The Raid

My second viewing of this movie since I saw it in theaters in Berkeley. I love how rad and amazing this tower-escape film is. The fight scenes and film style is so kinetic, and carries you through the film. There’s not a lot in the way of plot, but some of it feels like a Die Hard homage.

The Foreigner

Jackie Chan vs Irish James Bond. This movie kinda ruled. Jackie Chan is fantastic, even at 63, at just dominating the screen with his personality and action. This is definitely a more subdued and serious role than many of his more famous films, but he shows up and is great. Parts of this reminded me of taken, and others of name a political thriller, but overall I really enjoyed this movie.

Battle of the Sexes

I’d heard good things, and this was pretty fun to watch. The lesbian storyline was surprisingly compelling, and very well-done. I’m mad that Adidas didn’t reissue BJK’s signature shoe when this movie came out though. It’s a good shoe. Steve Carrell seemed like many of his other characters in this, but whatever… Billy Riggs was an ass, and they do a good job of showing that.

Murder on the Orient Express

Everyone is acting so hard in this, and yet the result is a mess. That said, I’d watch this again just to see Branaugh’s ridiculous mustache. 10/10 mustache. I saw this in Japan, so I had a beer and french fries to make it slightly better, and pre-roll video that repeated “NO NO NO” in English to admonish us for even considering texting or talking.

2017

this list is super truncated because i forgot keep it until july

Life

Everyone forgets their training, acts like an ass, and gets munched by aliens. It was entertaining in a schadenfreude way.

Moonlight

Cried through most of this. It’s about growing up black & gay, with a neurodiverse mom. It’s beautiful, intense, and in my top five movies I’ve ever seen. Incredible.

Get Out

At times hilarious, and others biting AF. I really loved this movie. A pitch-perfect callout of “good white folks”, like we often are.

Alien Covenant

Aliens rule. This movie ruled. Kenny Powers flies a spaceship, and new Ridley is solid. Also Magneto is creepy AF in this.

Logan

It’s like Wolverine, but better, because he’s old. Also this has Rictor, who was gay in the comics with Shatterstar. Super entertaining.

Fast & Furious 8

Haven’t seen one of these? Ready to live your life a quarter-mile at a time? Start at 1, then watch 2, 4, 5, 6, 3, 7, 8. I think. Anyways, this is bonkers in a perfect way.

Blame!

A anime movie? Yea, this series by Nihei is kinda rad, and there’s cool killer lady. It’s 3D animated, which is kinda the worst, but it doesn’t look horrible in this.

Rogue One

Ah, this was super good. A+ characters, fun action, and a lack of space incest! Also the robot was comic relief without being a jar jar.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Brian Cox from that other X-Men movie and also Rushmore is a morgue-guy, like those cuties from Six Feet Under… except spookier. Also I think the other guy was Spiderman.

Lego Batman

Gob Bluth is the bat. This movie is hilarious. Bonus points if you’re a DC comics nerd, or just enjoy fun.

Train to Busan

Seriously one of the best zombie movies I’ve seen in a long time. Also I love trains, and this is the best train movie since Snowpiercer.

Aliens

Ugh, this sequel to Alien was so good, and still is so good. RIP cool cat, but yay for all the rad ladies in this. Also Bishop is the only ok robot in this series.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Overall, pretty entertaining. Gomorra is cool as always. Baby Groot was less awful than I expected, and hey! Kurt Russell space dad.

John Wick 2

So, this is more Keanu as a vengeful Denzel Washington-esque character, but not as good. I liked this movie, but also Man on Fire did it better. Well shot though! And there’s at least a nod towards ammo being a thing.

Kong: Skull Island

Wow, they just told Samuel L. Jackson to be his one character, which is a great character. Bonus points for Steve Brule.

Tremors

“Featuring Kevin Bacon from Footloose” as the least convincing outdoor working man in a movie, ever. He and his boyfriend can’t leave town, so they end up fighting giant worms. This movie is super euphemistic, hilarious, and the best role Reba has ever had.

Shin Godzilla

A fantastic look at how modern bureaucracy and posturing can get in the way of stopping a giant lizard. Too bad they don’t show the environmental devastation wrought by eschewing safety checks.

Your Name

A super cute, super straight story of love through time. Imagine if the Lake House was better, and didn’t have Keanu. It’s basically this.

The Girl with All the Gifts

Another great zombie movie, with a super cute protagonist. Cute kid zombies are great.

Raw

This is literally what happens if you break vegan.

Prometheus

Had to rewatch this after Covenant. Still perfect. Naomi Rapace could do her taxes on film, and I’d probably be riveted. She rules.

Justice League Dark

I wanted this to be better. It was so-so, and seriously, Swamp Thing?

The Heat

A send-up of Lethal Weapon + every buddy cop film. Mcarthy and Bullock are fantastic in this.

Keanu

I will watch this yearly, as it’s one of the 4 movies I own. Get high, and watch this movie about a kitten, and the men who love him.

Wicker Man

Nick Cage at his most unhinged. Well, close to it. My roommate hadn’t seen this, so I introduced her to this hilarious hellride.

Neon Demon

Don’t get into modeling. It’ll end badly. This movie was beautiful, gory, and wild.

Kubo

I’ve enjoyed other movies from this studio more – Coraline for one – but this was still fun.

Baby Driver

I’d avoided watching this because I hadn’t read great things about it, save for this review by Matt Haughey. While I agree with him that the opening action scene was stellar, so were the short films BMW made with greats like Wong Kar Wai a few years ago to sell cars. I liked watching this film, but it’s unfortunate that the men were two-dimensional, and the women collapsed in on themselves, with no characterization, or much motivation. I’d expected a bit more of Edgar Wright, but on the upside, the musical cues were also quite good. I’m not fully sure if this is a tribute to old McQueen movies, or what, but it was alright, but I can’t co-sign the fantastic from the above. It was exciting, but the stakes weren’t ever high, because I never cared much about the protagonist, because I was given no reason to care. We’ve seen chases before, parkour, car work. This movie could’ve elevated them further, but it chose not to. I never believed there really was jeopardy, because as the movie, and the news of the day makes clear, “he’s such a good boy,” is something that will always apply to the white male criminal.

Valerian

The short version is that this was very targetted towards a Chinese release, partially due to the studio financing, and even Besson was promoting it on Weibo. I had a great time watching this movie, but it was pretty dang ridiculous, and had super traditional and boring gender roles and “marriage is the best” kind of crap. Still, the visuals were incredible, and it was a fun space romp. Recommended.

Secret Life of Pets

I blame my friend Andy – they wanted to watch this because they were tired and we thought it’d be cute. It was very cute, but also pretty silly. I dunno. Kids probably loved it. There’s some good cats.

Atomic Blonde

Charlize Theron as a queer badass assassin/spy? Sold. Because this is mainstream Hollywood, of course that doesn’t last, but still… this was a fun romp. A summer movie devoid of substance, but thick and heavy with style and silliness.

Flatliners

Kiefer oozes weird attraction in this classic about chasing the meaning of life by dying for minutes. I saw a trailer for the sequel to this, I guess, with Ellen Page, so I had to revisit the original. I loved it all over again. Spooky and silly. And, to quote my roommate, “how many Baldwins are there?!”

They’re Watching

This was goofy as hell, and was sort of a comedic Blair Witch in Moldova thing. Near the end it takes a sharp left, and we were cracking up. Worth watching on Netflix, perhaps?

2012

A beautifully terrible film by the guy who brought us The Day After Tomorrow. I love a movie where we’re led to believe that John Cusack is the best driver in the world, and a writer-cum-action hero. I love watching this movie when I’m camping, or hiking for a few days, because it’s so ridiculous, and also it’s wild to watch the world end, however silly the movie.

In This Corner of the World

SO. MANY. TEARS. My friends and I sobbed through a lot of this film about the atrocities of World War 2, especially the destruction the United States caused in Japan. The movie follows a woman living in Hiroshima, then Kure, who grows up in the 30s and 40s, and sees her friends and loved ones suffer during the war. It’s beautiful, hilarious at times, and sad. This movie is a shift on the view that Grave of the Fireflies offers, but definitely in similar territory.

The Visit

Guessed the twist about 20 minutes into this movie and i’m really proud of that because I’m usually the worst at figuring out where bad movies are headed. Don’t trust your grandparents. Don’t send your kids anywhere. Don’t ever clean your oven.

The Conjuring

This was great, until the witch didn’t win. I can’t help but think these movies are trying to get me to follow their lord and savior.

The Conjuring 2

Yep, these are definitely witnessing. A cool demon has a hard time with some very awful British people. Watched both of these in quick succession to get to see Annabelle 2 or whatever later on tonight.

Annabelle: Creation

This was a very silly movie with children making terrible choices. I don’t think dolls themselves are very scary, but Catholicism is definitely scary. Everyone who gets hunted by the demon or whatever was also a practicing Catholic, so maybe being a satanist or atheist would be some kinda ghost protection.

Wall-E

One of the best movies ever, and it’s held up super well in animation and craft. I love this robot.

I think I watched a movie about a plague

I was on a LOT of drugs for surgery, so I have no idea what this was called, but I’m pretty sure I saw it before?

The Happening

This fucking movie is straight-up incredible. Mark Wahlberg at his best “I’m just happy to be here,” and a whole lot of incredibly banal deaths. Zooey “Literal Beige Person” Deschanel is also in this for some reason. Anyways, I love that this was one of the movies we all saw, hoping for the return of that GOOD GOOD Sixth Sense action, and instead we got this beautiful god trash. Eat a pound of desert pudding and cry about humanity. “I’m gonna give you… a math riddle.”

IT

Hadn’t seen it, and wow what a silly joy. Not scary at all, but I’m definitely even less trustworthy of Tim Curry now, I guess? Everyone is giving their all in this movie.

Wonder Woman

Ok, I finally saw it. I literally couldn’t stop thinking about Gal being part of an anti-Palestian army, but once Chris Pine made me laugh by doing a bad German accent. This movie bravely asks the question: “she’s a goddess, but when will she become super saiyan?” Not particularly into this movie.

Spiderman: Homecoming

This is the kind of superhero film that makes me smile. I think this is the best reboot of the Spiderman franchise, and it is filled with silly, fun moments, that emphasize the more joyful aspects of the character. I’m looking forward to the next few. Marvel seems like they’re just going to keep making better movies than DC, save for the Nolan Batman movies. Speaking of Batman – the second best modern Batman (Michael Keaton) also plays the Vulture in this movie. Go figure. Anyways, this was a fun romp.

Ingrid Goes West

Everyone besides Dan is terrible in this movie, and Dan is hella co-dependent. This is a biting satire of the lives folks live in pursuit of Instagram perfection.

Death Becomes Her

Bruce Willis, with hair! Wow. Everything about this movie is perfect. Women seeking eternal youth. Isabella Rossilini just oozing charisma and power. Inexplicable wrestling manservants. Mincing Bruce Willis. The prothesis in this movie is hella Beetlejuice. I loved it.

New IT

I think I’m broken inside, because jump scares and all of the “scary” bits of this film didn’t phase me. It was at times pretty cute, but the misogyny and against the only girl in the group was the scariest thing of all. I’m interested to see what they do with the second part of this movie. The visuals were kinda neat and well-done.

Friend Request

Wow, this movie was garbage. I ended up skipping through it because the first 20 minutes were so painful. 0 thumbs out of 20.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard

Samuel L Jackson at 68 in The Hitman’s Bodyguard is doing a better job than most action guys half his age. What a goofy, fun movie. It’s not particularly smart, but it was a wonderful romp. A summer action movie through and through.

Ghost in the Shell (with ScarJo & white-washing)

The fashion was kinda neat, and some of the visuals were cool. The story seemed worse than the anime though, and I can’t tell if ScarJo can’t act, or just collected a paycheck. Bonus points to Beat Takeshi for just speaking Japanese the entire time, unlike the rest of the characters. He’s great. I hope he got paid for this trash.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage

Wow, this movie was over-the-top ridiculous. And the terrible coat was back from the first movie. I think this canonically takes place in the Marvel universe, because of Samuel L. Jackson. I have no idea why xXx uses “extreme sports” people, soccer stars, and a DJ(?), but here we are. I love this very, very goofy series, and bought this movie with a big grin when it was no longer available for rent. Everyone is having a blast, and it’s a multi-cultural cast that is filled with neat folks.

Blade Runner: 2046

Damn. This was definitely one of my favorite movies this year. Every scene was so beautiful, and skillfully art-directed. I loved that Mackenzie Davis (also from the San Junipero, the Martian, & Halt & Catch Fire) was in this too. Harrison Ford was spectacular, and somehow Ryan Reynolds didn’t bother me. The outfits ruled, and even though I wish there’d been more central roles for women, the women that were in the film were neat. I’ll own this, and watch it more than once, for sure. Now, to find some of the outfits in the film…

What Happened to Monday

A movie with Noomi Rapace playing 7 different women? I’m in. Willem Dafoe was in this too. Mostly this movie was a neat dystopia with lots of twists, and even though Noomi Rapace wasn’t quite up to Tatiana Maslany’s Orphan Black performance, it’s still really, really well edited.

Landline

From the same creators as Obvious Child, which ruled, comes this movie about a family in the 90s trying to keep from imploding. Jenny Slate is great in this, and the sisterhood on display is pretty adorable. John Turturro does a great job too.

Colossal

Oh, great, a movie about white people working out their alcoholism and relationship issues while murdering folks in Korea. I dunno. This wasn’t great. Also damn girl, those bangs are LONG.

Beyond the Gates

Very silly movie about a VCR-based horror game that… is really happening. A fun time for the spooky holidays.

Pitch Black

Vin’s other, other series. Vin Diesel plays the same character, but this time, he’s in a space black tank top, and his eyes glow because he can see in the dark, I guess? There’s a genderqueer-ish person in this film, but I checked and the actress is definitely a straight and feminine-presenting woman now. Was hoping Jack grew up to be a genderfucking weirdo cool kid.

Fried Green Tomatoes

This was charming and cute. It wasn’t as gay as I wanted it to be, but was gayer than most. RIP Smokey. RIP other characters. I read the book before I saw this movie, somehow, and I missed some of the book scenes, but overall this was fun.

The Babysitter

If I’d watched this alone I would’ve turned it off after a few minutes. It was garbage. It’s like the creators of Scary Movie read Ready Player One, and thought, yea, we can do that. Terrible.

The VVitch

This movie rules. It’s about jettisoning a sex-negative, shitty family for the loving embrace of Satan and a coven of witches. The vibe is sullen AF, and very stark. I think I’ve seen this movie five times, three of those in the theater. This was a perfect movie to watch during Samhain.

Thor: Ragnarok

A+ super hero movie. Silly and unpretentious.

Lady Bird

The truest old millennial movie. I cried a lot.

The Room

Terrible movie. Great rewatch. This movie is epically bad, and I hope everyone has had a chance to see the copious softcore sex scenes, and confusing “american man” football rituals.

Okja

A sometimes cute, sometimes very grim movie about the evils of capitalism and factory farming. The protagonist is the cutest, and is really giving her all in every scene, and Paul Dano and Jake Gylenhall manage to not spoil the movie with their characters. Steven Yuen is pretty great, and Tilda Swinton continues in her consistent “I’m definitely not an alien in human skin” character from movies of yore.

The Disaster Artist

Wow. This movie is a parade of actors and actresses who loved the Room in all it’s weirdness. This movie falls somewhere between a tribute, a satire, and a dramatic reinterpretation documentary. I loved it. Saw this with another long-time The Room fan, and we both were in tears laughing. I will see this again. The podcast How Did This Get Made? has a great episode for this movie too that begins with their The Room episode.

It Follows

This is my second viewing, and this movie was still unbelievably creepy. I made my friend watch American Vandal with me after this to get less scared. It’s a horror film about an STI haunting. I dunno. It’s wild. Watch this, but be ready to always watch for a single, slowly-walking person in a crowd.

Rare Exports

A perfectly weird holiday movie about the real santa.

Die Hard

It’s a wonderful holiday time for everyone, except german models turned “terrorist”. Points to this one for accurately pointing out that white people are the bad guys though.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Here for this. Love the porgs, and love Luke punking Kylo. This was a great combination of ridiculous and fun. I like that Rian brought more humor into the world of the star war.

2016

Nine Lives

Nothing could redeem this absolute shitpile. We thought it would be funny to watch a movie about Kevin Spacey as a cat, but it was unbearably bad. Avoid.