The Resident Bitch's Movie Log

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Brother Bear (Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker, 2003)
Imdb

Date Watched: 10/28/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Joaquin Phoenix
Rewatch: Yes.


Although this isn't one of Disney's more highly regarded features, Brother Bear has always been a favorite of mine with its beautiful colors and touching story of brotherhood and personal responsibility. I also really appreciate the chemistry between Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Suarez, who recorded their dialogue together - resulting in some unscripted lines. The film does get a little too silly at times, but I find it endearing and given its G rating and target audience, it can be forgiven its silliness.

Not a masterpiece by any stretch, but a sweet and fun movie just the same.

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"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."





Ladder 49 (Jay Russell, 2004)
Imdb

Date Watched: 10/29/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Joaquin Phoenix
Rewatch: Yes.


This is a solid - if not especially memorable - character study of a Baltimore fireman who struggles to balance his risky but rewarding job with the demands of being a husband and father. It's told through flashbacks as the fireman lies injured inside of a burning building after the floor gave way beneath him.

Joaquin Phoenix put his all into the role and turned in a fine performance that hit all the necessary emotional notes. John Travolta, Jacinda Barrett, Robert Patrick and the remaining cast all turn in solid performances as well, but even they can't quite save it from its cliched story and ultimately only slightly elevate it above mediocrity.

Still worth a watch, but maybe only one.

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Actually I have still never seen Brother Bear.
No idea if you'd like it or not. Despite our mutual love of animation, we still seem to seldom agree on which ones are good.





Clay Pigeons (David Dobkin, 1998)
Imdb

Date Watched: 10/31/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Joaquin Phoenix
Rewatch: Yes.


A serial killer who befriends an innocent man and then frames him for murder might not seem like the makings of an effective comedy, but damn does it all come together here.

And the linchpin of that is Vince Vaughn's chilling and hilarious turn as the charming killer who uses a dim-witted and amiable facade to disarm both his victims and his pursuers. But, while his is the standout performance (and is the reason I became a fan of Vaughn despite the many missteps of his career), the other actors all add a lot to the goings on. In particular, of course, is a 20-something Joaquin Phoenix who has great chemistry with Vaughn and gives his not-entirely-sympathetic character plenty of dimension. Strong too is the (admittedly type-casted) 90s darling Janeane Garofalo as the smart and cynical FBI agent giving life to the strong feeling of "WTF" regarding the ineptitude and absurdity surrounding the case. She also gives balance to the small town's (and, perhaps, film's) "dim view of women" and to the other female characters who are either vapid or spiteful.

The film is also beautifully shot using angles and lighting that do well to enhance a sense of isolation and paranoia that remind us that the film is also a thriller while the rather whimsical soundtrack never lets us forget that it's primarily a comedy. A very dark comedy that had me laughing out loud several times and also feeling pretty seriously creeped out.

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Joker (Todd Phillips, 2019)
Imdb

Date Watched: 11/01/19
Cinema or Home: Cinema
Reason For Watching: Joaquin Phoenix
Rewatch: Yes.



I want to love it, but I'm just not there...
I'm there now.

Today was actually my third time seeing this in the theater. That performance. Holy ****.




Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Off on another Joaquin binge eh?

And I agree Brother Bear is a really sweet little film. Only reason I watched it actually was you. Been meaning to give Clay Pigeons a shot for same reason but still not done so as of yet



Off on another Joaquin binge eh?
Yes, but there's a purpose to it.

Well, not to the Joker rewatch. That was just because I really wanted to. I went with a friend. It was her third watch, too.

Been meaning to give Clay Pigeons a shot for same reason but still not done so as of yet
I'd be interested to know what you think.





You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2017)
Imdb

Date Watched: 11/01/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Joaquin Phoenix
Rewatch: Yes.



Decided to make today a Joaquin Phoenix/Mental Health double feature.

Both Joker and You Were Never Really Here are character studies of men who have endured unimaginable suffering and struggle with the effects of both physical and emotional trauma and who turn to violence to cope. Both are socially isolated men whose only real relationships are with their elderly mothers.

But despite these similarities, these are two very different men and two very different movies. Joker's Arthur Fleck finds fulfillment in killing. It's therapy for him and is shown in graphic, shocking detail. It's in your face and he announces to the world why he does what he does.

But such is not the case with Joe, the subject of our study here. You Were Never Really Here is a quiet meditation on the effects of trauma. Joe doesn't talk to anyone about his troubles. He isn't crying out for help like Arthur Fleck. He isn't looking for anyone to listen to or understand him. He barely even speaks a word. His torment is instead written on his face and expressed through his actions.

And that's what makes this film so unique and engrossing: It refuses to give in to expectations. It is completely without joy of any kind. We get a story about a man who doles out brutal justice to some of the world's monsters with the bash of a hammer, but neither Joe nor the audience is given any real satisfaction or fulfillment in the act. The violence occurs offscreen and we get to see only its bloody aftermath. Even when we are witness to the death of one of Joe's victims, the scene is turned into an unexpected moment of humanity and compassion. But even the most effective writing would be wasted without a compelling central performance and in this, of course, Joaquin Phoenix does not disappoint.

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Hotel Rwanda (Terry George, 2004)
Imdb

Date Watched: 11/02/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Joaquin Phoenix
Rewatch: Yes.



I don't have a lot to say about this one. I've seen it only once before and have been dreading this rewatch. But that's not because there's anything wrong with the film. It tells an inspiring story about an ordinary man who finds it within him to go to extraordinary lengths to save as many as he can from the horrors that surround him.

But to get to the conclusion we the audience must first bear witness to the aftermath of horrifying atrocities. Even though the film carries only a PG-13 rating, it features some incredibly disturbing and haunting imagery. This isn't a film that you enjoy so much as it is one that you endure, but that's not a criticism. It's a very effective piece of art that left me feeling a dull sickness and disgust at the terrible things people do to each other.




So you're watching them all then?
No.

There are a handful that I either know super well or have already watched fairly recently that I might skip. But all of those are movies that I love so I may rewatch them just because I enjoy them.

Except one: Mary Magdelene. No way in hell am I suffering through that one again.





The Yards (James Gray, 2000)
Imdb

Date Watched: 11/03/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Joaquin Phoenix
Rewatch: Yes.



I was kind of dreading this rewatch as I always remember this as being a not-so-good movie. However, tonight revealed that to not be the case. It's over all a solid film. The story is not particularly unique but it is engaging. I also really liked the gritty look of the film, with its tones of brown and yellow reflecting the dirty dealings of its characters. It also features an impressive cast that almost universally turn in solid performances. Joaquin Phoenix is, of course, the stand out here and manages to lend a lot of humanity and realness to a character that would otherwise be unlikable. (His piercing eyes and gorgeous physique don't hurt anything, either. )

But that almost is a huge problem. There is one performance here that also stands out and does so in a very bad way: Mark Wahlberg. I'll grant that his character is meant to be quiet and a bit reserved, but he's just infuriatingly wooden. He's all eyebrows and no emotion and alongside people like Joaquin Phoenix, James Caan, Faye Dunaway, Ellen Burstyn and Charlize Theron, he's a very weak link. And as the film's protagonist he's weak enough to drag it down from good to only pretty okay.

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Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Yes, but there's a purpose to it.

I'd be interested to know what you think.
Ah I see. About time you had a Joaquin-dedicated thread

I'll maybe have a look at it soon



Ah I see. About time you had a Joaquin-dedicated thread

I'll maybe have a look at it soon
I've still got a lot of movies to rewatch before I start, so it probably won't be for at least a couple more weeks.





Toy Story 4 (Josh Cooley, 2019)
Imdb

Date Watched: 11/05/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Pixar
Rewatch: No.


Although I'm a big Pixar fangirl, I've never been a big fan of the Toy Story series - though I almost love Toy Story 3. Almost. I went back and forth on whether to catch this fourth installment in the theater and ultimately I decided to wait for the blu-ray and either wait for someone else to buy it for me or pick it up free or on the cheap with my Amazon rewards points.

I'm glad I did. Don't get me wrong: This is by no means a bad film. Of course, the animation is gorgeous. The colors are vivid. The images are crisp and detailed. It looks great and I did find myself a little misty-eyed a time or two, but I just wasn't engaged much with the story and it felt like there was just too much Woody. I also wasn't particularly fond of any of the new characters - and Forky is especially annoying. I do have to give some credit to Gabby Gabby, who had the most touching scenes. I also got a kick out of the cameo from Tinny, star of one of my favorite Pixar shorts. But that just wasn't enough.

Overall I found the film entertaining, but disappointing.






Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot (Gus Van Sant, 2018)
Imdb

Date Watched: 11/05/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Joaquin Phoenix
Rewatch: Yes.


I enjoyed this film a little more than last time, but my complaints about it remain the same: The scene with the mom is a bit jarring, though it bothered me less this time, and Jack Black is still annoying AF. I think the story is really sweet and funny and features some really fine performances from people who aren't Jack Black. Phoenix is, of course, wonderful as John Callahan, embittered alcoholic struggling to get sober and cope with the realities of life after a car accident leaves him paralyzed and bound to a wheelchair. I also really liked Jonah Hill's performance as his AA mentor, who struggles with his own demons. What I enjoyed most though were the interactions between Phoenix and real life girlfriend Rooney Mara, who have ample opportunity to let their chemistry shine.

Overall an entertaining film and one that I'll certainly revisit more in the future, but probably not one that I'll ever truly love.

-





Toy Story 4 (Josh Cooley, 2019)
Imdb

Date Watched: 11/05/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Pixar
Rewatch: No.


Although I'm a big Pixar fangirl, I've never been a big fan of the Toy Story series - though I almost love Toy Story 3. Almost. I went back and forth on whether to catch this fourth installment in the theater and ultimately I decided to wait for the blu-ray and either wait for someone else to buy it for me or pick it up free or on the cheap with my Amazon rewards points.

I'm glad I did. Don't get me wrong: This is by no means a bad film. Of course, the animation is gorgeous. The colors are vivid. The images are crisp and detailed. It looks great and I did find myself a little misty-eyed a time or two, but I just wasn't engaged much with the story and it felt like there was just too much Woody. I also wasn't particularly fond of any of the new characters - and Forky is especially annoying. I do have to give some credit to Gabby Gabby, who had the most touching scenes. I also got a kick out of the cameo from Tinny, star of one of my favorite Pixar shorts. But that just wasn't enough.

Overall I found the film entertaining, but disappointing.

Too bad you weren't a huge fan of Toy Story 4, I thought you might like it.





Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2014)
Imdb

Date Watched: 11/08/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Joaquin Phoenix
Rewatch: Yes.


"Fun" is not generally a word I'd use to describe the work of Paul Thomas Anderson, but it definitely applies here. It's pretty apparent that the cast had a damn good time making this film and none moreso than star Joaquin Phoenix, who gets to show off his comedic chops as the stoner hippie private investigator Doc Sportello (who is strongly reminiscent of Philip Marlowe from Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye).

The film itself views as not a whole lot more than a montage of awkward scenes and WTF moments, but on that front it is immensely appealing and engaging (which are also words that I do not normally associate with Anderson's work). But for all its entertainment value, its characters are rather lacking in depth and dimension. And this shallowness will forever relegate it to the category of movies that I like but do not love - which is still a whole lot more than can be said for any other Paul Thomas Anderson film.

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