Films I saw in 201601.01.17
0s & 1s
20th Century Women
--really loved this film; found it poignant and delightful. Greta Gerwig is something else in it.
A Clockwork Orange
A Face in the Crowd
A Tale of Love and Darkness
A Walk Among the Tombstones
--just a really great Liam Neeson film; understated yet powerful
A Wonderful Cloud
All the Way
--tremendous Bryan Cranston performance
--I knew maybe a light sprinkling of what you would assume one would know from just watching some (not a lot) press on her case. Sheds an important light on all the players. It's horrifying when you see how some of these justice systems (including ours) works.
--one of the greats from the Coens. Turturro is great in it.
--the script is absolutely tremendous and this entire trilogy, for as much credit as it gets, doesn't get enough credit for just how great these films are.
Batman v Superman
Beasts of No Nation
--I found this film terrifying. I did a lot of googling afterwards.
--Grantland has a tremendous oral history of this masterpiece.
--I had never seen Bottle Rocket before this past year and I must say, one of the most enjoyable films that I've maybe ever seen. So so funny. Two of the best performances from Owen and Luke Wilson.
Bridge of Spies
--an absolutely terrific film. Tom Hanks is great in it.
Captain America: Civil War
--I heard about this film, didn't think it was for me, then it got nominated during awards season, watched it, and loved it.
Catch Me If You Can
--heard Spielberg say on a podcast when asked which of his films maybe doesn't get quite the attention it deserved (or something like that) -- he said Catch Me If You Can. A very fun film and amazing story.
--I mean it won the Oscar, but it's a monumental piece of work.
--like seemingly everyone else, I was a bit surprised at just how good it is -- and it's really good.
Die Hard 2
Do the Right Thing
Dog Day Afternoon
--peak Pacino is always amazing.
--this is a great film! On so many levels. Gripping. Contained. The story is really smart. I think this gets classified as horror (which I generally never watch) but I was totally enthralled watching this film.
Don’t Think Twice
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
--I seem to watch this doc every few years. Every time, this film feels fresh, timely, and horrifying.
--some of the moments in this film, man, tough tough stuff.
Eye in the Sky
--this is the Valerie Plame film -- totally underrated. Definitely a must watch for folks who like politics.
Florence Foster Jenkins
--Hugh Grant is amazing in this film.
--a really smart and good film. Watch for earlier Riz Ahmed performance.
Fried Green Tomatoes
--I used to watch Steve Gleason on the Saints. This is rough stuff. He and his wife are amazing people.
Glengarry Glen Ross
--never gets old.
--people kept telling me to watch Blue Ruin (which is good). I was really struck by Green Room. Just terrifying in a seemingly utterly realistic way. One of the last Anton Yelchin performances too -- and he's tremendous in it.
--I need to re-watch this film (it just came out on HBO Go) -- but I feel like this is an underrated Coen brothers film.
Hell or High Water
--I thought one of the best films of 2016. Also by Sicario scribe Taylor Sheridan -- so one some level, no wonder.
--written by Charlie Kaufman, whose work, of course, is always worthwhile.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
--man, the Coens...
--maybe my favorite Tarantino film?
--Bill Simmons keeps raving about John Wick and while it's not perfect, it's really really good. Up there with any Keanu film.
Kentucky Fried Movie
La La Land
--a staggering story. One minor complaint. Dev Patel is terrific in the film -- but how did folks nominate him but not also the boy? The boy is amazing! It's like with Room last year -- Brie Larson is great, and she won the Academy Award, but no nomination for Jacob Tremblay?
Lo and Behold
--this doesn't even feel like a film the way it's structured, but it's really interesting (no surprise -- Werner Herzog)
--great action film
Mad Max: Fury Road
--this might be one of the best films I've ever seen. I've seen it 3 or 4 times now? It's absolutely tremendous.
Manchester by the Sea
--there's a terrific piece in the New Yorker about Kenny Lonergan -- it's pretty expansive but focuses in on his troubles with Margaret (and dives a little into the backstory on Manchester by the Sea.) Definitely worth checking out the article. Manchester is great, but if you haven't seen Margaret (or You Can Count on Me -- first Mark Ruffalo performance I believe, and I think he should've been nominated for just an astounding performance) -- check out Margaret. It's like a lost work of art.
--a very good (and surprising, I thought) Woody Allen film.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
--early Gareth Edwards.
--deserves all the praise it's getting. Mahershala Ali is great in it. Trevante Rhodes was apparently working as a waiter at The Lot around the time he was filming this? Wow.
--exquisitely written, crafted, performed. It's a Gilroy family special (writer/director Dan, producer Tony, editor John) -- with one of the finest Jake Gyllenhaal performances around and the first time that I saw Riz Ahmed who obviously has become a big star since then.
No Country for Old Men
--maybe my favorite film of all time.
OJ: Made in America
--I don't know if I've ever seen a film where time seemed to go by as quickly as when watching OJ: Made in America. (and it's like 8 hours long)
--seemingly little known but a tremendous Philip Seymour Hoffman performance.
--interesting that Nicole Kidman originally was cast in Panic Room (instead of Jodie Foster) but had to pull out b/c of, I think, a knee injury she suffered in Moulin Rouge. Jodie Foster is of course great in it and actually interesting contrasting Forrest Whitaker's performance here with him as Saw Gerrera in Rogue One.
Postcards from the Edge
--fascinating especially knowing a little of the Carrie Fisher / Debbie Reynolds backstory.
--breakthrough Ed Norton performance.
--there's some really weird stuff in this movie, but great to see Prince.
--no one seems to be talking about this, but I thought this was one of Scorsese's finest films. I have not read the book, but it certainly struck me from watching the film that this seemed like a really difficult piece of material to adapt too.
Sleepwalk with Me
Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
--I think the prequels get a bad rap. Yes, I'm aware of all the problems. But the stories are really strong. There's something about episodes 1-6 that seem to really tap into deep human mythos.
Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine
Stories We Tell
--must see documentary from Sarah Polley. Exquisitely made. Really really smart choices to illustrate. Good for her and her family for being so open and inquisitive. From a technical perspective, I feel like this was a very difficult movie to pull off and pull it off she did. What a story.
Synechdoche, New York
--this is both a great film but also a really sneakily hilarious film. I laughed out loud many times watching this. I heard Charlie Kaufman speak after a screening of Anomalisa and he talked about how difficult it was for him -- for him! -- to get films made (Anomalisa at one point had a Kickstarter campaign). Synechdoche, New York seemingly never gets mentioned with Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine, Adaptation -- but it's a giant like them.
--I was very surprised at how viscerally terrifying I found Taken. Yeesh.
That Guy ... Who Was in That Thing
--a seemingly little mentioned but great George Clooney film. Beautifully shot.
The Bourne Legacy
The Color of Money
--Tom Cruise and Paul Newman in a Martin Scorsese film. Wow.
The Dark Knight
--no film I've seen more often in the last 10 years.
The Greasy Strangler
--an innovative and wildly entertaining film. Really stayed with me in odd ways. Every so often those car wash scenes will just pop into my head.
--maybe the finest Nicole Kidman performance I've ever seen. Also, if you've never seen the time she's on The Tonight Show and talks about the first time she met Jimmy Fallon -- stop right now and go to YouTube.
--oddly, one of my favorite De Niro performances. It's weird to me that these types of performances (presumably b/c of the type of movie or maybe the performance itself) doesn't get more consideration for its merit. I think what he does in The Intern is just tremendous.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
--what a treasure that Wes Anderson.
--I wish there were more films like The Lobster. (or maybe there are and I just don't know how to find them)
--I laughed out loud so many times watching this film. Absolutely delightful. Susan Sarandon is amazing in this film. The Susan Sarandon / Rose Byrne dynamic is amazing. I think it's Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair on the Little Gold Men podcast that kept talking about this film and I wasn't interested, wasn't interested, and finally I just saw it because he kept harping on it and he's right. This film is great. (and I think part of the reason I wasn't interested was b/c it's called The Meddler -- which sounded like a very annoying person or annoying film -- and it is delightful.)
--man, Jack Nicholson. What a nut.
The Thin Red Line
--war is terrifying.
The Tree of Life
The TV Set
--this might only be funny to people in the entertainment industry (it's about TV pilot season) but boy did I laugh out loud watching at this movie. Also, the commentary track -- particularly the one with Jake Kasdan + Judd Apatow is really great.
To Die For
--tremendous Nicole Kidman performance
Tora! Tora! Tora!
--this is a really fine film but many many times during this film I would see an explosion and think, "I have no idea how they did that safely."
--from the screenwriter of Zodiac (maybe my favorite Fincher film); tremendously underrated film. I thought it was terrific.
--wow. What a waste. Anthony Weiner man.
--the ideas in this film are really something else. Michael Chrichton. Westworld, Jurassic Park, ER. An actual medical doctor! What a life.
--I knew very little about Carrie Fisher before this film. Really worthwhile and entertaining viewing.
--one of Alex Gibney's finest documentaries. I thought exquisitely crafted too. A really hard subject matter to illustrate (U.S. computer virus to slow Iran's nuclear program) and just really smart choices.