Dandy Cat

Dandy Cat

Letterboxd Diaries—May 2021

  • Room: I feel like I’m still struggling to absorb everything I saw while watching this marvel of a film. It was powerful, sad, and ultimately, redemptive. I’m absolutely amazed by the performances Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay gave. They both deserve every accolade they received for this film. It’s going to stick with me for a long time. (★★★★½)
  • The Favourite: Leave it to Yorgos Lanthimos to make a period piece as strange and uncomfortable as this one. Leave it to Olivia Colman to absolutely kill it as the petulant and demanding Queen Anne. Absolutely don’t skip over the towering performances given by Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone. This is a peculiar film because it’s full of everything that makes a film great, and yet it’s hard to watch at times. It’s unpleasant, in your face, and will refuse to leave your mind after you finish. It’s unique, and that’s a damn hard thing to find in the movies these days. (★★★★)
  • Z for Zachariah: Oddl,y I would have loved to see a much longer version of this film. Show me more of the characters’ daily lives after an apocalyptic event. Give me a slow burn on the increasing tensions between Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Chris Pine. What I don’t want is a rushed loved triangle and unexamined hurt feelings. I loved the performances. I just wanted more story. (★★★)
  • WeWork: or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn: I saw this one while recuperating from my second COVID vaccination, and I think that was a mistake. There are few things that are going to make me more sickly and hopeless than watching a smooth-talking cult leader explain in greeeeeeat detail how we’re all WE. We’re all together. We can do great things through the power of thoughts and blah blah blehch. Also, he needs gobs of money to make it happen because that’s just how swindlers do things. I won’t deny that Adam Neumann was a smooth talker, but in the end, he was way too high on his own supply. (★★★)
  • The Transporter: Jason Statham kicks people’s faces, sleeps with women, and slathers himself down with oil while half-naked. This all happens to a soundtrack that was probably called “Luc Besson’s Naked Rubbing Time Playlist” and was most assuredly made by Besson himself. (★★½)
  • Foreign Correspondent: A pretty decent Hitchcock film is still a damn sight better than a lot of other films. Foreign Correspondent keeps the thrills and duplicity going at a fine pace. As with many of his earlier films, this one is overshadowed by the towering legends of his best work, but that doesn’t make it any less satisfying. You can really feel the director figuring out how to tell grander stories. He’s stretching out his talents. He’s laying the groundwork for what’s to come, and that’s a foundation you can build a damn house on. (★★★½)
  • The Verdict: The film that kicked off my newfound appreciation for courtroom dramas. Paul Newman is one of the most captivating performers of his time and here he gives one of his most understated performances of his career. His beleaguered Frank Galvin is an admirable man looking to fight a system that’s intent on crushing him. He dares to fight this film’s version of The Man and it nearly does him in. Sidney Lumet directs a script written by David Mamet. The combination of these three legends is probably all you need to know about this magnificent film. (★★★★½)
  • A Few Good Men: A knock-down, exultant film about a team of military lawyers looking to bring justice to a world that often operates outside of the law. Wrongdoings are done in the name of national security and this brave cadre dares to meet the orchestrators of the crime head-on. The ending is bittersweet—justice is found, but at the loss of purpose for a pair of soldiers caught up in one person’s machinations. Nonetheless, the performances are riveting. There’s a clear reason why much of this film is still so present in everyone’s minds. It leaves an indelible mark, and sticks with you. (★★★★)
  • Philadelphia: If someone needs any indication that the ‘80s (and early ‘90s) could be an extremely rough and close-minded time, they should look no further than this film. There are some masterful performances here, but none more so than the one that Tom Hanks gives. He truly deserves the Oscar he received for his tragic Andrew Beckett. It’s quite the thing to watch a person deteriorate into nothing as his livelihood and existence is picked apart, ridiculed, and reduced to ignorant assumptions about gay people. This is powerful and important stuff. I’d call it a must-watch for everyone. (★★★★)
  • Monsters: For a film with the name it has, there are few monsters seen. I think that’s to its benefit. Much like how you don’t see Jaws until the very end of that film, the fear and power surrounding these alien creatures only grows in strength when you don’t see them. They’re spoken of in news broadcasts and frightened whispers, making them seem more fearsome than they might actually be. Indeed, I wonder if they’re actually the “monsters” that the title refers to, or is it really the human beings that keep trying to destroy them for daring to exist on this planet? Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able give great, improvisational performances. They tie the film together and give it an actual, meaningful story. (★★★★)
  • Suspicion: Boy, will this one keep you guessing throughout its entire running time. What’s going on with Cary Grant? Why can’t he keep a job? Is he actually some maniac on an unstoppable murder rampage? It’s a fun film to watch on a lazy weekend afternoon, as I did. Joan Fontaine won an Oscar for her performance in this film, and while I do think she deserves all the awards, her performance in Rebecca was the stronger of the two. Still, it’s nice all around. (★★★½)
  • A Goofy Movie: Talk about taking a step back into the ‘90s. This was a nostalgia trip all the way. It came out in 1995, and I’m certain I saw it in the theater. Probably with my dad. That’s a great way to see a film like this. Parents would do well to watch Goofy try his damnedest to bond with his son with their own children. It’s a nice ride and the music was awesome. (★★★)
  • Yojimbo: Toshiro Mifune was always one of my most revered actors. He’s quickly becoming my absolute favorite. The first thing I saw him in, as I’m sure is the case for many others, was Seven Samurai. He’s wrestled some control back from his wild Kikuchiyo character and turned himself into a confident, daring ronin named Sanjuro. He’s clearly the star of the film, but the story and the supporting cast (especially Tatsuya Nakadai) round everything out and turn this film into a classic that’s still as thrilling and fun as it must have been when it first premiered. This should be required viewing for any film lover. (★★★★★)
  • Another Round: At the end of this film, three alcoholics mourn the death of their alcoholic friend by getting wasted. Absolutely day drunk, as they have throughout the entire film. This is after they risked their jobs, marriages, and lives in the pursuit of a dumbass theory about how you can be your best when you’re always a little drunk. The film spent a good portion of its time showing how alcohol can dismantle a life—a worthy message—and then undercut itself at the very end. Although, I guess that’s part of the point: alcoholism is a pervasive, corrosive disease that’s damn hard to battle. Still, as someone who dealt with an alcoholic for most of their life in a way that was eternally unpleasant, I saw nothing redeeming or enviable about these characters. They’re not worth emulating or looking up to. They were sad, pitiable people who were all too willing to ignore their problems instead of actually working on them. Mads Mikkelsen (and the rest) were as amazing as ever. It was well-made. Its message could have been stronger, unless the message is “drink, ‘cause why not?” (★★½)
  • Safety Not Guaranteed: The film bogs itself down by adhering pretty strongly to its indie film trappings. I don’t mind quirky characters and plot lines, but a film shouldn’t be carried on those qualities alone. It’s a good thing that the running time for this one was short. Had it been any longer, the thing would have become a bore. Instead, it was brisk and had an ending that still surprises me and makes me wonder just what happened to two of the central characters. I hope they really did travel back in time. (★★★½)
  • Deep Murder: Ugh. This was just the worst. I had to watch it for my More Movies Please! podcast. The most frustrating thing is that the movie had a clever premise, but nothing landed. I’ll never get this time of my life back. (★)
  • The Mitchells vs. the Machines: Whoa, the energy of this film was off the charts! I absolutely adored the visual style of this film, and not just for its clever asides. The whole thing had a painterly feel to it which made it more appealing than it would have been had the filmmakers strived for more realism. The look of it marries nicely to the daughter’s love of animation and filmmaking. It’s clear that this one was led by directors who were assured in their vision for their film. When a film has that quality there’s nothing it can’t accomplish, much like the Mitchells themselves. (★★★★)
  • The Player: So much of this film is shot with a long lens and through the windows of studio offices on film lots. It makes the viewer feel like an outsider, perpetually wanting to break into the biz, but always held at arm’s length. It’s a good analog for the reality of the film world. It’s the rare person that actually makes it in the film industry. Most people will only be able to guess what’s happening behind those closed doors. Throw in a murder mystery and you’ve got a great Robert Altman film. Shame about what happened to Cynthia Stevenson’s character. She was done so wrong. (★★★★)
  • A Quiet Place: Who would have thought that John Krasinski had such range? I’m completely sold on the man now and I want to see everything he makes. He shows off his filmmaking prowess in one of the most suspenseful and thrilling films of the last decade. By the end, I was left feeling breathless and afraid to make any sort of noise; I don’t have a hearing aid with which to protect myself! Hats off to Millicent Simmonds, too (and just the whole dang cast). She was a revelation and I can’t wait to see what she does in the future. (★★★★)
  • A Quiet Place Part II: The amazing quality of this better than average film is how well it sustains the suspense, drama, and feel of the first film. I appreciate the filmmakers expanding the world that we were introduced to in part one—you can’t stay on that farm forever. We’re shown just how this alien invasion began and how it has transformed the world. All the while, there are terrifying monsters hunting down humans and they’re very good at killing us. Even with the newfound hearing aid weapon, the creatures are still fearsome adversaries. I’m looking forward to the next film, which is sure to happen now. (★★★★)

Total movies watched: 20

Be sure to follow me on Letterboxd! 🎥