Friday Film Roundup

Our Friday Film Roundup is an attempt to share what we are reading, watching, and listening to as we head into the weekend. We plan on sharing major film news, interesting film essays/videos, and recommended films you might want to check out.

Good morning! It’s been a rough week for the world to say the least. We are all stuck inside, away from human interaction and fresh air, forced to spend our time watching movies and TV shows. So really not much different than the norm for some of us.

In all seriousness it’s a difficult time but it’s important we all stay inside and stay safe. So sit back and relax as much as you can and maybe binge that TV show you’ve been waiting to jump into.

Reading:

Not a lot of fun reading right now. And it’s difficult to escape the Corona Virus so let’s just lean into it. SlashFilm has a couple of great resources, one sad, another a small silver lining in all of this mess. First is a tracker of all the cancellations in Hollywood which shows we will feel the impact of this hard time for many months. The second is a list of all the early digital releases so you can safely watch new movies in your home.

And while we are on the subject, Vulture has a breakdown of how COVID could impact the future of the TV industry.

Watching:

Recommendation:

I splurged and actually paid to rent a digital movie (In this pandemic?! Mr. Money Bags over here am I right?). That movie was the Best Picture Oscar winning Parasite and it was 100% worth the money. If you’re on the fence about this movie go ahead and splurge and then watch this great video essay on YouTube (or one of the other million video essays about this movie):

And if you can’t get enough Korean cinema, check out The Handmaiden (streaming on Prime Video), a twisted and thrilling movie that you will not forget.

What I’m Watching:

I thought I would take this section to provide a mini self-quarantine movie diary:

Outbreak – cliche of me to watch this movie right now but come on, Contagion cost money to rent and Outbreak was right there on Netflix. Yes it’s a movie about a deadly virus that gets to the USA. Probably not something you want to watch to escape our reality. However it is a nice 90s throwback that has Dustin Hoffman running around all over the place trying to make the government take him seriously. At first I thought it was unrealistic that the people in power wouldn’t take a viral threat seriously…and then I remembered our president did exactly that. Watch only if you want to reminisce about a time none of this movie felt realistic.

Parasite – I wrote about this above but let me emphasize, watch this film. And then dive into all the Korean films you might have missed (Okja, Old Boy, The Handmaiden).

Mr. Right – Do you love Anna Kendrick? You should, she’s hilarious. Do you love Sam Rockwell? Probably, he’s a well-regarded actor with diverse roles. Then watch this mindless movie and try not to think about it too much. Currently on Netflix

Red Sparrow – I’ll admit I was “working” from home during this movie so I missed a lot of small details. My wife enjoyed it and wanted to rewatch it despite admitting it’s been done before and she had trouble accepting Jennifer Lawrence in the role. Intense and uncomfortable for much of the film, if you watch it make sure to pay attention.

Three Identical Strangers – I don’t watch many documentaries but this one caught my eye. Three young men discover they are triplets separated at birth. What starts as a fun and unbelievable story slowly unravels into dark and astonishing territory. Watch this if you love documentaries, crazy stories, and scientific research. Currently on Hulu

After – One of those teenage romance stories that you hate yourself for watching but can’t stop. Tessa Young is a young (subtle) and sheltered woman with a stable relationship who goes to college and finds herself intrigued by a young man who is dark and mysterious. This story goes exactly how you expect it to but is sweet enough to have on in the background and then not admit to anyone that you watched it. Currently on Netflix.

First Girl I Loved – Another movie about teenagers and love and honestly you can skip this one. Sure it’s nice to see representation for a budding lesbian relationship but this movie is problematic as the plot centers around inappropriate attempts to out two young girls. Don’t get me wrong, that is a serious issue and should be explored in a movie but this film doesn’t delve into why it’s problematic, in fact it doesn’t even bring it up as an issue, it just uses outing as a plot device. It’s on Hulu if you want to check it out but again I don’t recommend it.

Upcoming Flimsy Film Posts:

Welcome to New York: Mystery Film

I’m not sure which movie I want to write about yet but I want to return to this series. Maybe one with an apocalypse twist as New York is a ghost town right now.

Bought It Before I watched It: Jesse Arrives to Arrival

Apparently Jesse hasn’t seen Arrival yet. Which is weird, I thought anyone with a film blog was required to have seen, and loved, that movie. I guess he snuck through. I look forward to his thoughts.

Let’s Talk About: 100 Movies Bucket List

Jesse and I are going to introduce a new quarantine friendly series of posts where we aim to watch every movie on a 100 Movie Bucket List that his sister gifted him. We will introduce the list and discuss what we are excited to tackle.

Sorry to Bother You

Sorry to Bother You, the directorial debut of Boots Riley starring the infectious Lakeith Stanfield, is that strange reoccurring dream you have had your whole life. You know the one, maybe it starts with that darkly lit bathroom or those shadowy figures you never fully see or some room from your childhood that you have memorized by small detail. The one that has that feeling of something amiss despite everything around you seeming normal. That dream that you try to tell other people about but you can’t quite piece the details together. Actually you can. Because you’ve had the dream countless times. You know exactly what happened but it’s too weird to say out loud, in front of your coworkers or your loved ones. Lest you be judged for whatever your subconscious is capable of cooking up.

This is one of those movies that sticks. You walk into the theater, sit in your seat, silently observe for a few hours, stand up, leave. You say bye to your friends and maybe you get in your car, or maybe you start walking home. It’s dark out and you notice the silence. You feel the air and you sense something is different. You notice but you try not to. You want this feeling to wash over you and to never leave. It’s calming and spooky and freeing and all encompassing. Much like your reoccurring dream you feel desperate to wake up but oddly content with never leaving.

And the thing is, you aren’t thinking about the movie necessarily. Because you can’t. You are unable to, or maybe unwilling, because you hate it. No you actually love it. You try to just forget about it because the truth might reveal something about you to yourself. You also notice you can’t stop it from infecting what you’re feeling. You want to tell everyone about what you saw and you also want to lock it away like a secret, lest you be judged for admitting that your conscious self actually enjoyed something so…

That’s how the movie makes you feel. Nothing and everything. Depressed, happy, lonely, loved, contradictory. It unabashedly subverts what you think a movie should be or what you want it to be. It doesn’t say anything important. Or maybe it does, maybe it embodies the saying “the years are short but the days are long” and gives it a modern spin and turns it into, “the news cycle is quick but the effects are long”. Maybe it somehow takes the apathy of the modern world and makes you feel it. But you’re not quite sure because it’s a realistic unreal reality, it’s batshit crazy. And just when you’re in a dreamlike, depressed state of mind the movie completely…

The words don’t come. Not for days anyway. Because the film is stuck in your brain, marinating. It’s spinning around and around. You’re convinced it has all the makings of a cult classic. Then you realize it was all bullshit and you shouldn’t waste anyone’s time talking about it. But then you remember that scene where Cassius is starting to fall asleep after a long day of work but he is longing for a joint he just lit up while ignoring his artist girlfriend after the premiere of her art show.

The scene is innocuous and yet it’s stuck, no that’s not right, it’s jammed in your brain. It speaks to your exhaustion of balancing your job and your family and your friends. You feel the pressures of capitalism that force you to do things that you truly don’t want to. The force that drains you and distracts you and pulls you in even though you hate it and you want to escape.  Except maybe you love it because it empowers you and gives you more than you could ever dream. But it also takes from you, your time, your energy, your willpower, your motivation, your attention. It gives, it takes, you hate it and love it because you, like this movie, are an emotional pit of contradicting feelings.

You can’t prepare yourself for the experience that Sorry to Bother You is. It’s splendid and dumb. It’s beautiful and harrowing. It’s a cult classic or it’s stupid. Your experience will vary but it’s nothing you will soon forget.

My Year with MoviePass: A Quiet Place Review

Tired of my normal movie watching process, which amounts to me spending an inordinate amount of time searching through Netflix, Hulu, or illegal streams searching for the perfect movie only to be interrupted by my constant pausing to do the dishes, or let the dog out, or look at memes on Instagram, I decided to embark on a year journey of returning to the physical cinema thanks to the company MoviePass.

MoviePass is a subscription service that allows you to attend one movie a day at any cinema across the USA. There are minor limitations and exceptions but for the most part the entire world of cinema is open to you all for $9.95 a month (or, if you got lucky like me, $6.95 a month due to a promotional price).

I decided to use this year to explore different movies and to chronicle my experience. Lucky for you that means my movie review game should increase heavily. Most of my reviews will be short and sweet. My rating system will be pretty simple and based on the premise of MoviePass. I will tell you whether or not I would recommend someone who is not a MoviePass user to go out and pay full price to see the film in theaters. Meaning this is more about the experience of how the film plays in the theater than it is a full recommendation of the film. I might love a film but admit there was  no reason for the theater experience. Or I might not enjoy a film but be blown away by visuals that you need to see on the big screen.

I will also chronicle how much money I am saving (or losing) with the MoviePass service. Thanks for reading and click the jump to read about my first official MoviePass film, A Quiet Place.

Continue reading

Falling in Love with Her

Admitting to your friends that the film Her, directed and written by Spike Jonze, is one of your favorite movies instantly puts you into the shoes of the film’s protagonist Theodore Twombly.

“Wait isn’t that the movie where that dude falls in love with a computer?”

“Well actually his OS…”

“His what?”

“OS…Operating System. Like what runs your computer”

“Oh…and you liked the movie?”

Yes, despite the judgment, I did. In fact, much like Theodore fell in love with Samantha, his artificially intelligent operating system, I fell in love with the film about love, loss and acceptance.

Continue reading