The Resident Bitch's Movie Log

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I usually write movies up as soon as I've watched them so that they're a fresh as possible in my mind, but life got in the way on this one, so please forgive my crap writing.



Boy Erased (Joel Edgerton, 2018)
Imdb

Date Watched: 12/08/18
Cinema or Home: Cinema, with Funny Face
Reason For Watching: Russell Crowe
Rewatch: No.


Although it was Russell Crowe's casting in this film was what initially piqued my interest in it, Boy Erased is a film that I think I would have wanted to see regardless. It's the story of a preacher's son who is sent away to a gay conversion camp and as such it touches on homophobia and on the damaging effects of certain religious beliefs and practices.

Overall, the film is a solid watch. Lucas Hedges turns in an admirable performance as the lead - giving his character a very believable combination of innocence and strength, and the supporting cast, including director Joel Edgerton as the head of staff at the camp, Nicole Kidman as the boy's mother, and of course Russell Crowe as the boy's father, all give strong performances as well. (There's also a surprising appearance by Flea, as a homophobic ex-con working at the camp who is presented as being an example of a "real man.") Unfortunately, however, Crowe isn't given much to do. I haven't read the novel that this film was adapted from, but this was my one big gripe about the film - the father's beliefs and his disconnect from his son were so important to the events of the film, yet we see very little of him. I realize that the film's purpose was more to shed light on these camps - and I appreciated that it did so in a mostly matter-of-fact and not overly dramatized way - but I would've felt a stronger emotional connection to the film if his personal relationships were explored more.

Ultimately a well made film, but one that didn't quite pack the emotional punch I had hoped for.

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





How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Chuck Jones and Ben Washam, 1966)
Imdb

Date Watched: 12/14/18
Cinema or Home: On my portable DVD player at work
Reason For Watching: Christmas
Rewatch: Yes.


I couldn't tell you how many times I've seen this short since my childhood. Dr. Seuss' crazy made up words combined with the brilliance of the Chuck Jones animation makes for a timeless and enduring classic that is essential holiday viewing.

Now if only I could get those songs out of my head.

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Never heard of An American Crime, maybe because it didn't have a theatrical release, but I'm familiar with the Sylvia Likens tragedy. I've read The Girl Next Door, which is loosely based on it. By far the most disturbing book I've ever read. Also seen the adaptation, which is amateurish in most technical aspects. Both the book and movie could be considered torture porn due to how much they focus on the abuse, but since so much of that abuse occurred in real life, the graphic content is more emotionally grueling than usual and isn't there "just for the sake of it," as many people would likely criticize.

Haven't watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas in many, many years. I think Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was my only real Christmas staple that I watched every year as a kid.

I had to look at Van Sant's IMDb page - Besides Don't Worry, I've only seen Milk (love it), To Die For (like it) and Good Will Hunting (didn't care for it). I've heard terrible things about the shot-for-shot Psycho remake (though I still kind of want to see it because I like Vince Vaughn) but haven't heard much about the rest. Anything I should definitely avoid?
Surprised you didn't care for Good Will Hunting, which is widely considered his best. The worst I've seen from him is Paranoid Park, but I wouldn't tell anyone to avoid it or any of his other films, since all of them have their supporters. Even the Psycho remake has a fan in Sexy -- er, Jase, I mean. I haven't seen Gerry, but I'm pretty sure I once saw mark f list it as one of the ten worst movies he'd ever seen.
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Love, Actually (Richard Curtis, 2003)
Imdb

Date Watched: 12/16/18
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Christmas
Rewatch: Yes.


I don't often bother with rom coms anymore, but I've long had a soft spot for this one and usually give it a watch this time of year. Not a whole lot to say about it - it's cheesy and a bit predictable - but still funny and engaging. Plus Rodrigo Santoro and Andrew Lincoln both look pretty hot in it. This is also the only performance by Hugh Grant that I enjoy.






Arachnophobia (Frank Marshall, 1990)
Imdb

Date Watched: 12/17/18
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Upcoming MoFo Horror Countdown Redux
Rewatch: Yes.


While I wouldn't go so far as to say that I ever had a true phobia of spiders, I was quite frightened by them as a child and so found this movie pretty scary when I first saw it. I'm not sure how long it's been since I last watched it, but I suspected it would not have quite the same effect on me now.

My suspicion was proved to be correct. I did not find it to be the least bit frightening, but that doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy it. The whole thing is pretty silly and there's definitely a reason why comedy is listed before horror on its IMDb page. Overall an entertaining watch and one that could possibly sneak onto the tail end of my ballot, but not truly exceptional on any level.






The Ref (Ted Demme, 1994)
Imdb

Date Watched: 12/23/18
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Christmas
Rewatch: Yes


The Ref has long been a personal favorite and one of my go-to movies at Christmas, but I was a little hesitant about watching it again this time. I was afraid that everything that came to light about its star Kevin Spacey would color my experience and damage my love for it.

Thankfully, that wasn't the case. I can't say that my mind didn't ever go there while I watched it, but I still very much enjoyed the film and it remains one of the few comedies that actually make me laugh. This is due in no small part to Spacey's performance. He and costar and Judy Davis play well off each other as the bickering couple and Denis Leary is also great as the robber who - much to his regret - has taken them hostage on Christmas Eve. It has a great, biting sense of humor and is a nice change of pace from the usual sappy and/or corny Christmas movie fare.

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Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson, 2018)
Imdb

Date Watched: 12/26/18
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: I got the bluray for Christmas
Rewatch: No.


I don't like Wes Anderson. I don't like Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom, or The Grand Budapest Hotel. I don't like quirkiness for the mere sake of being quirky. I don't like how his characters feel incomplete and artificial.

But I decided to give Isle of Dogs a chance because I love animation. It's definitely a quirky movie and the characters still don't quite feel real to me - but I was able to get past that and actually enjoy it. I suppose much of my ability to overcome my distaste for Anderson's brand of storytelling is owed to the fact that it is animated and that many of its characters aren't human (or anthropomorphised creatures who stand upright and wear clothes, like in Fantastic Mr. Fox), but I think this might also be the least Wes Anderson-y Wes Anderson movie I've seen. Besides having characters that didn't grate on my nerves, it also lacks the vibrant color palette I expect from him - yet it still never failed to be beautiful from a visual standpoint. That said, I did find myself rolling my eyes a time or two (the whole military issue tooth-bomb thing was just stupid), but I never got bored and only checked the time once or twice, which is a miracle considering my past experiences with Anderson's work.

I guess the seventh time was the charm.

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Early Man (Nick Park, 2018)
Imdb

Date Watched: 12/27/18
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: I got the bluray for Christmas
Rewatch: No.


Pretty standard Aardman that unfortunately dips a bit too far into the silly side of things and doesn't quite have the charm of their better films like Flushed Away and Chicken Run. The whole soccer... err... I mean football thing was pretty stupid, but overall the movie was entertaining enough.

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28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
I'm really interested in seeing Boy Erased. Hoping it does pack that emotional punch for me that you weren't able to get from it.
__________________
"A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have."

Suspect's Reviews





Wolf (Mike Nichols, 1994)
Imdb

Date Watched: 1/5/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Upcoming MoFo Horror Countdown Redux
Rewatch: Yes.


I know I'd seen this movie at least once at some point in the 90s, but all I could remember about it was Jack Nicholson pissing on someone's shoe and getting locked in a horse stall. So I didn't really know what to expect when I gave it another watch tonight.

This was a lot of fun. I really liked the comparison between the predatory and opportunistic mentality of the business world and that of the actual werewolves. The performances were strong (if a little cheesy at times). James Spader played a great douchebag (no surprise), Michelle Pfeiffer was good as the sexy female lead, and Jack Nicholson was... well, Jack Nicholson. So, no acting stretches for any of them but the film played to their strong points. I did find many of the effects and make-up laughable, but the film is 25 years old so for that it can be forgiven (and, frankly, it's not any worse than some more recent films I've seen).

Of course that leaves the question - is it horror? I think so. It takes a little while to really get going in that direction but it gets there. I don't know yet if I'll actually vote for it in the end but I did very much enjoy it.

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La piel que habito (The Skin I Live In) (Pedro Almodóvar, 2011)
Imdb

Date Watched: 01/06/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: MoFo Horror Countdown redux
Rewatch: No.


Well that was some f***ed up s***.

This tale of a brilliant plastic surgeon and his obsession with the young woman he holds captive was absolutely riveting. I loved that the film left me feeling unsure of where to place my sympathies as the events unfolded and the truth of the surgeon's motives were revealed.

But even a great premise is not enough to make a film great. It needs more and we get that in the fantastic lead performances. Antonio Banderas is both sexy and unnerving as the surgeon - whose actions morphed from those of revenge and punishment to a creepy sort of tenderness as his victim is slowly transformed into the woman he loved - and Elena Anaya infuses her performance with a potent combination of volatility and seeming innocence.

I can't say much more than that without giving away spoilers, but this is one film that will surely become a part of my personal collection and no doubt will secure itself a spot somewhere on my ballot.

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Interview with the Vampire (Neil Jordan, 1994)
Imdb

Date Watched: 01/17/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: MoFo Horror Countdown redux
Rewatch: Yes.


Holy hell I haven't watched this movie in ages. I remember when it first came out and people were going nuts over it. I wouldn't say I was quite caught up in the hysteria over it but I did love it - because I was thirteen years old and damn Brad Pitt was pretty and Christian Slater was still hot back in those days. It was one of my favorite movies for awhile.

Well I'm just a wee bit older now and just a little less into pretty boys but this was quite a fun watch. Nostalgia, melodrama, gorgeous costumes and sets, and a generous helping of homoeroticism combined to form a piece that is as entertaining as it is ridiculous. I don't love it as much as I did in my teens and no longer consider it a big favorite, but I have no doubt it'll place somewhere on my horror ballot.






Abandon Ship (a.k.a. Seven Days from Now, Seven Waves Away) (Richard Sale, 1957)
Imdb

Date Watched: 01/28/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 18th MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by Citizen Rules
Rewatch: No.


The premise of Seven Days From Now was strong and I did like how it made me think. However, there were quite a number of things about the film that bothered me or that I felt could have been done better.

My biggest gripe is the lack of character development. It's not often that I think a film could be improved by adding length, but in this case I think it would have been of benefit. As character after character died or was cast out to die, I felt very little because I didn't feel as if I knew them at all. An alternative to extending the film would have been to trim out some of its offal, in particular that pointless opening scene on the raft. I also found that scene distracting since the film takes the time to introduce us to the people on the raft but then we never see them again and I was left to wonder about their fates instead of focusing more intently on the events on the lifeboat. I was also a bit bothered by the inconsistencies and sometimes illogicality of decisions made by Alec and others. I know that they're human and humans make mistakes but I was particularly bothered by what happened after the death of the ship's captain and his body being dropped into the sea. Surely the space that was previously taken by a wounded man lying down could've accommodated at least one or two of the people left clinging to the sides in shark infested water, yet Alec ignored their pleas. I also don't recall anyone getting off the lifeboat in order to make room for Alec and the nurse to come aboard, so how was there room for those two but not room for two of the people in water? Speaking of those dangerous waters: if every person must do his or her fair share, why did Alec and his girl not take their turns in the water? The other thing that bothered me - at the risk of sounding heartless - was Alec's insistence on saving the child. He kept insisting that there be no "dead weight" and that only those strong enough to row and do his/her share of the work to save them would be spared. Yet he cast out the 18 year old. I get that the guy was small and not especially strong, but surely he would've been able to contribute more than the actual child? I feel like even the old woman would've been more helpful than the kid.

Ultimately a thought-provoking but irritatingly flawed film that I respect well enough but did not enjoy.

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (William Cottrell, David Hand, et al., 1937)
Imdb

Date Watched: 01/30/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 18th MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by ahwell
Rewatch: Yes


There's no denying the artistry of Snow White - that old school hand-drawn animation is absolutely gorgeous (especially on bluray) - and, of course, as Disney's first animated feature film it has historical significance - but damned if I'm just not all that fond of it.

A princess, plus an evil stepmother, plus magic spells, plus prince charming, plus a whole lot of singing equals Miss Vicky being annoyed for 83 minutes. It sure is pretty though.






Split (Chris Shaw, 1989)
Imdb

Date Watched: 02/02/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 18th MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by Joel
Rewatch: No.


What the **** did I just watch?

Yes, I realize it's a low budget film. Yes, I realize it's 30 years old. And, yes, I realize that the copy available on YouTube isn't exactly top notch quality. But still, what the **** did I just watch?

This movie felt like it was being bizarre for the sake of being bizarre - and sometimes I can get behind that sort of thing: if the actual concept is intriguing, if the acting is good, if the writing is good. But none of that seemed to be happening here. I'll grant that there were a few scenes with interesting visuals, but that's the extent of the praise I can give it. Its runtime is only a little shy of an hour and half, but it felt so much longer than that and was an absolute chore to get through. I lost track of how often I checked the remaining time and how many times I paused it to take a break. I wanted so badly to shut it off for good and were it not for my obligation to watch it for the Hall of Fame, I wouldn't have finished it.

Perhaps my experience would've been greatly improved if I'd been under the influence of something while watching, but I don't partake so... yeah I hated this.




currently editing a post...


Interview with the Vampire (Neil Jordan, 1994)


I wonder what the reception to this would be if we could go back in time and insert "social media" ? Would it be bigger? or flash and sizzle away quickly?


Maybe it was my age and peer group, but this was a moment when it happened.





Road to Perdition (Sam Mendes, 2002)
Imdb


Date Watched: 02/03/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 18th MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by edarsenal
Rewatch: Yes


I've seen this film once before - 17 years ago when it was still in the theater. I didn't care at all for the film back then and when I saw it nominated for this Hall of Fame - and by edarsenal, whose nominations I never seem to like - I was not too enthused.

Watching it tonight, I really have to question why I disliked it all those years ago. I've never found the subject of mobsters all that interesting, but I was really drawn in by the way this film was presented and its focus on the relationship between the father and son. The performances were all quite good, with Tom Hanks - stepping out a bit from his usual good guy roles - and Jude Law, who I normally dislike, the standouts. I also really liked the dark, moody look of the film as well and found this to be overall a very solid and engaging watch. I doubt it'll ever become a personal favorite, but I expect it'll rank high on my HOF ballot.

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Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (Stephen Daldry, 2011)
Imdb


Date Watched: 02/04/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 18th MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by neiba
Rewatch: No


I have avoided watching this movie for the last eight years. I have a personal aversion to films that are made about tragedies that occurred not only in my lifetime, but recently enough for me to remember them. This is especially true of any Hollywood movies involving the attacks on the World Trade Center. The inclusion of such events just feels like a cheap, lazy, and opportunistic way of garnering the audience's sympathy without putting in the work of telling a compelling story and presenting the viewers with well constructed characters.

So needless to say I was anything but unbiased going into Extremely Loud. I had hoped though that I would be able to overcome that bias, but unfortunately I could not. Not only did that feeling of cheapness never go away, but another huge hurdle to my enjoyment was the film's protagonist, Oskar. I hated that kid. I get that he has Asperger's or is somewhere on the spectrum or whatever. I get that he is angry and confused and struggling to cope with his father's death - but damn that kid was an obnoxious a-hole. I really disliked him from the start and it made it quite a struggle for me to stay engaged or to feel anything when he finally broke down and came to terms with what happened. Despite an impressive ensemble cast, the only character I felt anything for was "the Renter," played by Max Von Sydow who never even spoke.

Ultimately this film that was meant to be touching only left me feeling cold.







The King Of Comedy (Martin Scorsese, 1982)
Imdb

Date Watched: 02/05/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 18th MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by Yam12
Rewatch: No.


Well that was quite the unsettling commentary on fame and obsession.

Robert DeNiro turned in a phenomenally creepy performance as Rupert Pupkin, an aspiring comedian who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Sandra Bernhard was impressive as well in her role as his mentally unstable and equally obsessed accomplice. The film was also masterfully directed and is overall a very well crafted piece of art.

The only trouble is that I felt nothing for any of its characters, which makes staying engaged a difficult task for me. I fully acknowledge that this flaw lies with me and not the film, but the end result is that I respected and admired The King of Comedy far more than I actually enjoyed it. Still, I expect it'll rank pretty high when it comes time for me to vote.

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Pâfekuto burû (Perfect Blue) (Satoshi Kon, 1997)
Imdb

Date Watched: 2/7/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 18th MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by Nathaniel
Rewatch: Yes


This was, if I recall correctly, my third time watching this film. I first watched this movie in 2015 (when I was on a mission to watch every film on the MoFo Top 100 Animated Films list) and again in 2017 (when it was nominated for an animated films tournament). With each viewing I've been very much impressed by how well crafted it is. I think a lot of people wrongly dismiss animation as being a medium for children's entertainment. I was once one of those people, but watching the work of Satoshi Kon was instrumental in changing my perspective.

Perfect Blue tells a very taut, disorienting tale of obsession, paranoia, and delusion. The characters felt very real and at times I forgot I was watching an animated film because I was so lost in the story. The film also does really well to set its mood and uses color very effectively contrast the two worlds Mima inhabited - as a pop idol and as an actress. It also uses that contrast to contribute to the unnerving feeling as she really lost touch with reality.

I am not without my complaints about this film, but they are pretty minimal. My only major gripe was how irritating I found Mima to be, particularly in the earlier scenes - her childlike naivete and shrill voice are really grating. I also find myself unable to really feel any emotion for her - perhaps a result of my annoyance with her - and for that reason even on this third watch I just can't seem to cross that line from really liking it to actually loving it. Even so, I think it holds its own among the other psychological horrors I've seen and will surely secure a place on my ballot for the Horror countdown.

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