Dandy Cat

Letterboxd Diaries—July 2021

  • I’m Gonna Git You Sucka: Of Keenan Ivory Wayans’s films, this one is certainly better than A Low Down Dirty Shame. Its quality rests completely on the fact that it doesn’t take itself seriously at all. If this one wasn’t a parody of blaxploitation films, it would have been insufferable. Thank goodness for Bernie Casey and Isaac Hayes. (★★)
  • The Tomorrow War: This was overly long, felt like it had some major logic holes, and it underutilized Sam Richardson and Mary Lynn Rajskub (which is a serious crime in itself). The alien design was pretty dang effective, though. They seemed intimidating and were clearly capable of actually destroying all of humanity. By the end, they unfortunately just ended up becoming nothing more than some bugs to be squashed. They lost all their power when the humans figured out how to kill them. There was very little challenge for anyone. If you’re looking to watch a film that depicts a thrilling and moving future war, then you’d do much better to watch Edge of Tomorrow. You can never go wrong with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. (★★★)
  • Predator: I’m not sure why I was surprised that this one was as violent as it was, but who can ever prepare for the sight of human beings that have been removed from their skin? I certainly wasn’t ready for it, and then POW! Loads of dead people in a jungle. This was gruesome for an ‘80s film. It also became so much more than just terrible deaths. The first half of the movie is a decent examination of masculinity and its shortcomings. The back half is a great cat and mouse game between Arnold and the titular alien monster. I’d call this one pretty dang decent. (★★★★)
  • Clueless: I wish there were more movies made like this today. It was a perfect, low-stakes way to spend some of my time. There was no real antagonist. Everyone was very goofy. The main character, Cher, had far more depth than one might expect at the beginning of the film. Heck, the people who could have resembled an antagonist aren’t given much screen time. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised considering it’s obviously, and famously, based on a Jane Austen novel. It was just a pleasure to watch, even if it was the most ‘90s thing I’ve seen since the ‘90s. (★★★★)
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1: This is about as faithful an adaptation as you can get. Lines are taken straight from the graphic novel. Plot points hit at exactly the same time. Even visually there’s little difference between the two. That begs the question, if the source material is nearly perfect, then why wouldn’t I rank this adaptation higher? For me, the voice cast doesn’t quite work. The shadow of Kevin Conroy is long. Peter Weller doesn’t have the kind of gravelly gravitas I’d expect from an aged Batman/Bruce Wayne. I don’t know what’s going on with Commissioner Gordon. That voice is higher and reedier than I’d ever have expected. The acting is fine, but the sound of the characters is enough to make this one less effective. (★★★★)
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2: You can just refer to the entry above this one. It applies to this film, as well. (★★★★)
  • Black Widow: With this being the first new Marvel feature film since Avengers: Endgame, there was a lot riding on its success. The recent Disney+ tv shows have proven that Marvel still has the good stuff, but could they deliver again on the big screen? The answer, for me at least, is a pretty resounding yes. However, this isn’t a film that drives the long arc of the Marvel Cinematic Universe forward. This one exists in the past. That’s not a bad thing—this one is a blast from beginning to end—but it’s hard to see Marvel’s future plans if you’re using this film as a landmark. It seems to exist out of time. I loved Scarlett Johansson and everyone else who was featured. (★★★★)
  • Another Earth: For a film about a spectacular celestial event, there’s so little science in this film. Indeed, the titular other Earth is really only referenced in news reports, radio programs, and either hopeful or frightened whispers. I appreciated the effective drama between the two main characters, but boy did I ever want more information about the world-changing event the film depicts. If it had a larger budget to work with, that would probably have been seen. This wasn’t a disappointment, but there was still a lot more that could have been done with it. (★★★½)
  • The Royal Tenenbaums: This is arguably the film that first showed Wes Anderson’s unique, symmetrical, colorful style as we would come to know and refer to it now. It works on every level. For a long time, this was his standard-bearer, and the film that worked best as an introduction to his work. Having seen this several times before, I was struck this time by how complete and well-crafted the screenplay was. His work with Owen Wilson on the story created a tale that’s always propellant, intoxicating, and hilarious. It was the last film the pair wrote together and I would love to see them collaborate in this fashion again. This, combined with their previous work on Rushmore and Bottle Rocket, showed a pair of filmmakers that were creating eccentric beauty. I want more of that. (★★★★½)
  • Big Night: A simple plot that was turned into a full-length film. This one hinges on the strong relationship between Tony Shalhoub as Primo and Stanley Tucci as Secondo. Without them and their amazing chemistry, it would have been just an okay film. There’d be little substance to support the enjoyable cooking scenes, of which there aren’t enough to buoy the film without the family drama. This one takes its time and trusts that you’ll go along for the ride it presents. It’s hard to find such a confident film these days. (★★★★)
  • How to Steal a Million: There are surely some credible knocks to be made against this film, but none of those matter to me. What does matter is just how dang fun this one is. It’s a lovely caper film with great energy. It’s also got Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole. Are there any greater two reasons to watch this film than them? I think not! This is probably one of the best lazy weekend films I’ve ever seen and repeated viewings won’t go to waste. (★★★★½)
  • Wild Wild West: What an affront on every level. Plant a tree, kiss a puppy, eat some ice cream. Do anything but watch this film and you’ll have spared almost two precious hours of your life. (★)
  • No Sudden Move: Along with Killing Them Softly, Ray Liotta is making a real career out of getting the crap kicked out of him in front of a car in the rain. I can’t wait to see where he gets beat up next. Otherwise, this was a well-made film. It’s one of those things that throws non-stop names, connections, and dates at you. Much like a high school history class, it probably helps to take notes. (★★★½)
  • Gunpowder Milkshake: The story of this film really isn’t all that impressive, but damn if its style doesn’t push this over the edge into something more impressive. Karen Gillan was as lovely as ever. The cinematography and lighting were particularly top-notch. This is one of those films where it’s clear every cast and crew member enjoyed making it. Mostly, it felt hollow, and it’s a shame that there was little substance below its flashy exterior. (★★★½)

Total movies watched: 14

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