The Resident Bitch's Movie Log

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High Noon (Fred Zinneman, 1952)
Imdb

Date Watched: 10/07/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 20th MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by rauldc14
Rewatch: No.


High Noon is a bit different than most films in that its events take place in real time. This is an interesting concept and it serves well to enhance a feeling of urgency and dread, but unfortunately that "real time" is less than 90 minutes. Now I'm not necessarily saying that I'd like it to be longer, but the time restriction leaves little room for character development. As such I didn't feel like I knew Kane at all and didn't really care one way or the other what became of him or the others. I could only muster a tiny sliver of sympathy when the people of his town - and even his bride - turned their backs on him.

So, once again, I was pretty bored. But the final shootout was at least mildly interesting and I didn't particularly dislike any of the characters so I'll give it a very apathetic

-.



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





We Own the Night (James Gray, 2007)
Imdb

Date Watched: 10/07/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: I needed a Joaquin fix
Rewatch: Yes.


*Spoilers Ahead*

We Own the Night is the second of four collaborations between Joaquin Phoenix and director James Gray.

The film centers on the relationships between and a police chief and his two sons - one a police officer and the other a nightclub manager who toes the line of being on the wrong side of the law and who associates himself with people far more dangerous than he understands. When the two worlds clash, the body count rises and loyalties are reassessed and realigned.

I don't know when it was that I last watched this film, but it's probably been a decade or so. I vaguely recall not being particularly fond of it when I saw it in the theater and I've more or less avoided it since, despite purchasing the DVD. But I watched it again tonight on a whim and was more than pleasantly surprised. Joaquin Phoenix is captivating in his performance as that second son - morphing from arrogant party-boy man-child rebelling against his father, to a terrified son and brother helpless to protect his family, to an officer who upholds the law. The supporting cast pull their weight as well, especially Robert Duvall as the grizzled police chief who barely conceals the contempt he has for his son's lifestyle. Marky Mark does a passable job as the favorite son, though I think most of what he brings to the film lies in the chemistry he has with Phoenix, who he previously collaborated with in The Yards (also directed by James Gray).

All of this plays out against a carefully shot backdrop of late 1980's New York, juxtaposing the flash and pop of the night club with the grit and grime of the criminal underbelly for which the club is a front. It sets a tone that is as ominous as it is beautiful.

Unfortunately, fine cinematography and strong performances can only do so much to elevate what is a tired story that's been told in so many ways and so many times. Still, it's well worth the watch for the strengths it does have.


+





Ghostbusters (Ivan Reitman, 1984)
Imdb

Date Watched: 10/08/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 20th MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by Siddon
Rewatch: Yes.


I don't really have a lot to say about this one. I watched it a lot as a kid and so it's heavy on the nostalgia factor for me. It's a very entertaining movie - though in a rather different way than it was back when I was too young and innocent to get the innuendo - and it features some very memorable scenes.

The trouble is that, now that I'm not so young and innocent, I want more out of my movies than just some good laughs. I want an emotional connection with the story and its characters and Ghostbusters just doesn't deliver that. It does, however, deliver a very fun movie watching experience and I can't find any real fault with it.






Inventing the Abbotts (Pat O'Conner, 1997)
Imdb

Date Watched: 10/08/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Joaquin
Rewatch: Yes.


Inventing the Abbotts has nothing to offer in terms of an original concept. Set in the 1950s, it centers around the relationship between a working class boy, Doug Holt, and a rich girl, Pamela Abbott, who live in the same small town, yet live worlds apart in terms of social status.

But even with such a simple and common premise, the film exudes charm - owed greatly to the setting and to the wonderful chemistry between its two leads, Joaquin Phoenix and Liv Tyler, even sparking a real life romance between them. As the youngest children of their respective families, both struggle to find their own identities and to come to terms with their feelings for each other. The remaining cast, including Jennifer Connelly, Billy Crudup, Will Patton, and Kathy Baker, all turn in fine performances as well, but it's that spark between Tyler and Phoenix that makes sweet little romance feel so authentic and engaging.

+





Monsters, Inc. (Pete Docter, David Silverman, Lee Unkrich, 2001)
Imdb

Date Watched: 10/10/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 20th MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by ahwell
Rewatch: Yes.


I was really glad when I saw this film listed among the nominations, especially after it failed to be given a spot in the Pixar Specialty Hall of Fame (though its lackluster prequel, Monsters University was nominated).

Monsters, Inc. features one[ of Pixar's most original concepts and - with its endearing characters, great voice cast, vibrant colors, and fantastic world-building - never fails to entertain me no matter how many times I watch it. It's also one of the few movies where I find a child character endearing rather than obnoxious.

That said though, I'd rank the film probably towards the middle of Pixar's offerings. It's a fun movie with some really touching moments, but it doesn't quite measure up to some of the studios other films. But I suppose that doesn't matter, since it isn't competing with Pixar's other films right now and it'll probably rank very high on my HOF ballot.






Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)
Imdb

Date Watched: 10/13/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 20th MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by John-Connor
Rewatch: Yes.


I probably own more Alfred Hitchcock movies than I do of any other director - and I've liked most of what I've seen - but I don't think I'd call myself a fan. As someone who is much more interested in character driven pieces, suspense just isn't really my thing. But there's no denying that Hitchcock was a truly a master of it. I definitely felt the tension as the events unfolded - especially when Lisa took matters into her own hands with their unofficial investigation.

That said, there were some things that kind of took me out of the film, though they're not really things that the film can be faulted for. For one, I really dislike James Stewart. His voice and mannerisms always bug me. The fact that I don't find L.B. Jeffries particularly likable doesn't help (all his BS reasons for why he shouldn't marry Lisa just had my eyes rolling). The obvious use of a soundstage and very dated effects (see Jeffries fall) also took me out, though of course I understand that they are merely a reflection of the technological limitations of the time.

Still, those few little annoyances do little to lessen my experience. Rear Window is not and probably never will be a personal favorite film, but it is definitely one worth watching and is a much deserving nomination.

-





The Music Man (Morton DaCosta, 1962)
Imdb

Date Watched: 10/16/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 20th MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by Citizen Rules
Rewatch: No.


If my count is correct, this is my 16th Hall of Fame in five years. In all this time and all those threads, I've had to watch a lot of movies that I didn't want to watch. And through all those films, never have I had such a strong urge to research a film on Wikipedia and bulls*** my way through a review.

And damn do I wish I had. F*** integrity. I hated absolutely EVERYTHING about this film - the characters, the music, the songs, the pacing, the costumes, the story, and did I mention the songs? I was cringing so hard it felt like I was in actual pain and each song seemed somehow worse than the last - culminating in the absolutely horrid "Shipoopi" ("A woman who'll kiss on the very first date is usually a hussy"? F*** you, movie).

As for those characters? I wanted to reach through the screen and punch each one of them in the damn face. Yes, even little Ronny Howard (who I actually respect as a director). Actually maybe especially little Ronny Howard with his stupid lisp and his terrible singing. But then there's that idiot Susan Luckey as Zaneeta Shin, with her shrill voice and rage-inducing exclamations of "Ye Gods!" And the primary characters were no better. Harold Hill was a scumbag and Marian was a doe-eyed dumbass.

I am strongly reminded of my feelings for Bringing Up Baby in the 11th HOF, but - as much as I despise that film - it at least had the decency to keep its BS under two hours. If I had to sum up my experience with The Music Man in just a few words, I'd call it cruel and unusual punishment.


-



There's a perverse pleasure in coming into this thread and seeing MV has watched a film which, from the get go, you know she's going to hate. This is one of those days.

I do respect you though, honey, because there's no way I'd do it. (which is obvious seeing as I don't )
__________________
5-time MoFo Award winner.



I actually quite enjoyed The Music Man.
😏



Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Damn that was brutal! You absolutely eviscerated it! Respect for toughing it out and making it all the way through





Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2017)
Imdb

Date Watched: 10/19/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 20th MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by neiba
Rewatch: No.


Phantom Thread features beautiful sets and locations, gorgeous costumes, striking cinematography, and fine performances. It has a lot going for it and is very well crafted. The trouble is that I don't care.

And this generally seems to be the case for my experiences with the films of Paul Thomas Anderson. His characters are perhaps too believable: They're unlikable and they surround themselves with people who are equally so. And when one character wrongs another, I feel absolutely nothing. Which is exactly what happens here. Lewis's Reynolds is a man-child who surrounds himself with women and whose very livelihood is dependent upon them, yet he clearly detests them. Kripes's Alma lets him walk all over her while doing everything she can to possess him. They're both horrible people who deserve each other.

Still there's enough positive here that I'd be lying if I said I hated it, yet not enough positive for me to truthfully say I liked it.


-





Blood Simple (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1984)
Imdb

Date Watched: 10/19/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 20th MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by Hey Frederick
Rewatch: No.


If my count is correct, this was my eleventh Coen film and my history with them is... varied. There's one I love, one I like a lot, a few I think are okay, a few I didn't care for, and a few I absolutely hated. I did not have high hopes going into this one.

Fortunately, I was in for a pleasant surprise. The film is thick with tension and atmosphere (though at times it felt like it was trying a little too hard) and it features solid performances all around with a cast of characters that are all pretty unlikable, yet interesting just the same.

That said, I didn't love it. It's very well crafted for what it is, but what it is isn't really my kind of film. It'll likely rank high on my ballot, but this isn't something I'm likely to seek out for a rewatch anytime soon if ever.

+

P.S. - Tiny little nagging detail, but was I the only one bothered by how nobody reacted to the fish on Marty's desk? Surely they would have started to rot and make a horrible stench but not one person so much as crinkled their nose at them.





The Sisters Brothers (Jacques Audiard, 2018)
Imdb

Date Watched: 10/20/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Joaquin Phoenix
Rewatch: Yes.


I first watched this film about a year ago when it was in theaters - and I didn't have a particularly good experience with it - owed in part to some very rude and noisy people in the theater with me. At that time, I called the film - or at least its many parts - solid but not memorable.

I don't think I entirely agree with that assessment anymore. Last time, I said that the only character who felt fleshed out and real was John C. Reilly's "Eli Sisters" but this time I did feel some connection to Jake Gyllenhaal's "John Morris" and Riz Ahmed's "Hermann Kermit Warm." Surprisingly, it's Joaquin Phoenix's performance as the volatile and dangerous "Charlie Sisters" for which I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I think Phoenix did a fine job with what he was given, but on the other his talent feels wasted here. We've seen him do mentally unstable many times and the only unique thing about this particular mentally unstable character is that he exists in a Western - a genre Phoenix hadn't done before.

Still, with its tale of a man who is at his core a gentle soul forced into life as a hired gun by his own feelings of personal obligation to his younger brother, The Sisters Brothers has plenty to offer. Also Joaquin Phoenix looks pretty good in it, so that's always a plus.

+





Cool Hand Luke (Stuart Rosenberg, 1967)
Imdb

Date Watched: 10/20/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 20th MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by edarsenal
Rewatch: Yes.


In many ways, Cool Hand Luke is a showcase of the fragile male psyche and the need some men feel to one-up each other - no matter how stupid the competition may be. Everything's a bet. Everything's a challenge. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I got a little too much of Dragline's "my darling Luke" and "Hey, Babalugats. We got a bet here." and all that crap about his "Lucille" doing her titty car wash.

But at the same time it's a showcase of the determination some men feel to do things their own way and not be confined by anything -whether they be rules, chains, or fences. And this was the aspect of the film that drew me in and made me care. Dragline grated on my nerves a bit, but I can't deny that George Kennedy turned in a fine performance and of course so did Paul Newman.

Ultimately an enjoyable and respectable film, but not one that will ever be a personal favorite.






Elmer Gantry (Richard Brooks, 1960)
Imdb

Date Watched: 10/22/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 20th MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by cricket
Rewatch: No.


I had really mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, I appreciate what the film does in terms of confronting people's ideas of religion and showcasing some of the greed, corruption, hypocrisy, and deceit of those who claim to represent God and the irrational behavior of some of their followers. The film was also generally well acted (though I really wanted to punch that s***-eating grin off Lancaster's face) .

On the other hand, as an atheist it was quite a struggle for me to get through 2.5 hours of melodramatic preaching, gospel, prayer, and religious discussion. Even in a situation like this - where religion is not being cast in an particularly positive light - my natural response to hearing such things is to mentally check out and I wasn't entirely successful in fighting that urge.

This is probably a film that deserves a rewatch, but that's not likely to happen before this Hall of Fame is finished - if it happens at all.






Signs (M. Night Shyamalan, 2002)
Imdb

Date Watched: 10/25/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Joaquin Phoenix
Rewatch: Yes.


Signs features some pretty heavy religious overtones, a way-too-many-coincidences plot that often feels as contrived as it is, and a score that is at times overly loud and intrusive. But for those things it can be rather easily forgiven because it also features some really fine performances from both Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix (who takes a rare opportunity to show his comedic skills) and it manages to hit all the right emotional notes for me.

Overall not a big favorite for me, but a fine piece of entertainment just the same. Oh and Joaquin is a fine piece of... uh... something else, too.

-





Blood Diamond (Edward Zwick, 2006)
Imdb

Date Watched: 10/26/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 20th MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by me
Rewatch: Yes.


I've long been a sucker for redemption stories and Blood Diamond is a very good one. It doesn't offer a whole lot in terms of surprises or originality, but it does offer some really impressive performances. Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou both impart their roles with intensity and humanity and were each rewarded with Oscar nominations for their efforts, while Jennifer Connelly does well with what she's given.

It also sheds a little light on the dark side of the diamond industry - and the immeasurable suffering it has brought about - and calls into question just how rare and precious those rocks really are. It's a very moving and effective piece that seeks to entertain and enlighten and - at least for a Hollywood flick - does a good job at both.

Bonus points for how hot DiCaprio looks in it.

+