Dandy Cat

Dandy Cat

Letterboxd Diaries—April 2021

  • The Sisters Brothers: Between the sibling bickering and the unsettlingly realistic violence is a tale of love and sadness. Love for your brother, both by blood and found. Sadness for lost opportunities and half-realized dreams. All this is done under the guise of a western and it’s an engrossing magic trick that the filmmakers pull off. (★★★★)
  • Kong: Skull Island: The best thing this film has going for it is the glorious, beautiful cinematography by the talented Larry Fong. He elevates a fairly weak story to respectable heights. Otherwise, it’s hard to connect to any of the characters, save for John C. Reilly’s excellent Hank Marlow. Samuel L. Jackson is one-notey and there’s not a lot going on between Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston. It’s got thrilling moments, but not a lot of heart. (★★★)
  • In a Valley of Violence: It’s fascinating to watch a film that’s so derivative of works from other directors. Ti West, director of this one, definitely thinks of himself as Quentin Tarantino making John Wick. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but this one never tries to be anything more than its influences. I think the cast did a fine job with the script they were given. The dog murder was extremely tough to watch, though, and lessened my enjoyment of the film. (★★★)
  • The 39 Steps: I haven’t seen many Hitchcock movies yet, but every time I have the opportunity to see one I feel delighted. This film was one of his early, British-era films, and by all accounts, remains one of the strongest films in his filmography. I had a delightful time watching it. Robert Donat and Madeline Carroll made for an excellent pairing. They played off each other so well. (★★★★)
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters: As the third film in this new, I don’t know, “Titans” series, this one had less substance than either 2014’s Godzilla or Kong: Skull Island. It sure had a lot of stylish monster battles, though. It featured a plot with a very Thanos-esque motivation of wiping out a large portion of the world’s population so that the planet can “heal.” Ultimately, its reliance on destroying cities over telling a better story made this one less effective than Avengers: Endgame. (★★★)
  • Sound of Metal: This is one of those films that I feel utterly grateful to have seen. It’s a film to luxuriate in, even as it dwells in depths of despair at times. The towering performances from both Riz Ahmed and Paul Raci are going to stick with me for a long time. They both deserve every single accolade they receive for their beautiful work on this film. (★★★★½)
  • The Man Who Knew Too Much: Harrowing, weirdly humorous in places, and brisk as hell. This film tells the story of a kidnapping and the lengths that parents will go to return their child to safety. Peter Lorre gives a memorable performance as the said kidnapper. He brings a gangster attitude to his role, making him seem more menacing than the character otherwise would. This guy doesn’t care what it takes to accomplish his assassination mission, even if it means killing an innocent girl to do it. (★★★½)
  • The Long Kiss Goodnight: Next time I’m just going to watch The Bourne Identity and follow that up with La Femme Nikita. I think that would make for a far better time, and it would basically be the same movie. Except, you know, way better. (★★½)
  • Soul: When Joe falls through away from the Great Beyond, through endless black and white depths, and comes out into the Great Before, I was awestruck. No other movie I’ve seen this year caught my attention and admiration as firmly as this one did. What followed that opening sequence was a touching story that shows there’s more to life than just chasing a dream. If you spend all your days in pursuit of something intangible, you may wake up one morning wondering how you missed living your life. (★★★★★)
  • Mortal Kombat: Mortal Kombat is supposed to be a tournament. There is, however, no tournament held at any point. The film contradicts itself from the very start. What follows is nonsensical, not thrilling, and messy. What a shame that so much money was spent on creating a film that’s an utter bore from beginning to end. It’s clearly the first in what will most likely be a series of Kombats, mortal or otherwise, so at least there should be more of this nonsense in the future to look forward to. In the meantime… Man, this movie was bad. Just unpleasant all around. (★½)
  • Rebecca: I thought this one was going to be more of a ghost story. To my surprise, it turned out to be a tale of unrequited love and murder. It’s dressed up as a troubled romance between two people. Laurence Olivier has skeletons in his closet like you wouldn’t believe, and Joan Fontaine is the poor woman who has to bear the brunt of his past. In the background is the titular Rebecca, who, despite being long dead, continues to torment all who live and work at the Manderley mansion. Whether it’s with the new love between the main characters or the old love still held by the understandably severe Mrs. Danvers, there’s angst and turmoil. It’s a classic for a reason, and still as entertaining as ever. (★★★★½)
  • Shoplifters: How could anybody be ready for the gut punch this film surprises you with at the end? I know I certainly wasn’t expecting things to go the way they did. I thought this was just going to be a simple story about a family of shoplifters who fall under some hardship. While it is that, there’s a lot more happening under the surface. It’s too good to give away. What has stuck with me the most is the moment one of the characters shares with the young girl who has only known apathy and abuse. She hugs the girl close and says that love isn’t violence. Love is a hug freely given, and it lives in your heart. (★★★★½)
  • Godzilla vs. Kong: Somehow the filmmakers found a way to stretch a thirty-minute story into a two-hour smash fest. This was nothing but destruction porn. What I found worse to endure was the frequent pain inflicted on the titular characters. And for what reason, ultimately? Godzilla was a savior of humans. Kong was a savior of humans. They should have some interesting common ground. It would have been far more interesting to have had Mecha-Godzilla be the thing they team up against from the start. Well, who cares about any of that nonsense? Let’s instead use a human-caused misunderstanding between them as an excuse to have them beat each other nearly to death. Cruelty, now that’s entertainment! These Titans are maybe too forgiving of the species that keeps trying to murder them. (★★)
  • Collective: You ever watch a film that feels like it’s on simmer nearly all the way through? You know something is building underneath you, but you’re not sure what it old be, and why are you starting to feel warmer than usual. This film uses its entire running time to tell what amounts to four separate stories: the tragedy of a catastrophic fire that took the lives of many young concertgoers, the journalists who uncover the governmental corruption that led to the deaths of many more victims, the minister of health who took on the role after his predecessor was ousted, and a young, badly scarred woman learning to live again after the tragedy. These stories wind around each other, each giving more information to the entire story. By the end, what everyone has gone through turns the simmer into a boil that quickly escapes the confines of the pot, leaving you gobsmacked at how corrupt a government can be, and how quickly it can spread its disease throughout an entire country. (★★★★)

Total movies watched: 14

Compared to last month, I’ve seen far fewer movies. Seems I spent more of my time watching tv shows. I may not be able to record those on Letterboxd, but I still had a good time watching stuff in April.

Be sure to follow me on Letterboxd! 🎥