This will be one long last post. But the Movie part of my blog has got to go and this is its farewell.
Most of these films I watched so long ago that I forgot much about them except how they made me feel. This I shall now recreate. This time I’m not giving any grades, but rather group them together starting with the least and ending with the most enjoyable bunch.
As is customary, I equip my film posts with photos of found trash from three locations near me. Only this sofa is from Rome.
The first batch are those films which make me rather sorry that I wanted to see them and even more that I did. (More or less. The first one was abandoned after a few minutes.)
Super High Me (documentary): What was I thinking? That I want to watch a stoner getting high on film? Almost better to eat in Mc Don’t.
The Holy Mountain: Oh boy. The only good thing about this one-man film – apart from good reviews that made me watch it! – is that it’s old (1973) and might have opened some doors for others. I suffered so much.
Viral: I hate cliché horror films and then I still watch them. It’s my masochistic side. I suffer but keep watching till the end.
Jessabelle: I like this actress, I thought it would be fun watching her go gaga. Not in this script. Remind me not to watch horror flicks, will you?
The Informers: This was made after the Brad Easton Ellis book that I remember liking (what’s wrong with me?). I only found it dubbed in Italian. That and the dread-ful characters didn’t blend. Mr. Brad Renfro though… RIP.
The Perfect Human Diet (doc.): Honestly? It’s one of those films that kind of makes sense as you watch them but then you think a little. Did humans evolve the most while eating paleo? Might be so, but I doubt it was the food that did it.
Here are four films I expected much more from:
Shutter Island: They try so hard with the story but it’s all so silly. Mr. DiCaprio looks like he wishes to be somewhere else.
Game Night: Why do I watch what people tell me to watch? Skip this and play a game with your friends instead.
Mission: Impossible III: They filmed it in Rome, right? That’s why I watched it. I knew there had to be a reason.
Enter the Void: I had to stop after some twenty minutes, just when the decisive thing happens (okay, he dies). When I resumed after a (long) while since I liked the first part fine, it was like watching another film. I guess this is how it is when you’re dead. Directed by Mr. Gaspar Noé. You might like it more if you’re a psychadelic.
The following were not bad but rubbed me the wrong way:
The Square: I watched it in the perfect setting of Piran cinema above the sea under the stars, but was fuming throughout. You’ll like it if you liked Oscar-winning La grande bellezza. Same kind of artsy almost-sense-but-not.
Like a Cat on a Highway (Come un gatto in tangenziale): This film mentions my town Capalbio as the symbol of fancy schmancy hipster beach-hopping. Right! Still better than Ostia… Italians pack deep truths into easy-going haha comedies.
A Dog’s Purpose: Why did I think I’d like a film in which one dog keeps dying in different bodies? Some laughs too though. Still, much more tears.
The Emperor’s New Clothes (doc.): A bit old now (three years), but this Mr. Michael Winterbottom documentary on economy with Mr. Russel Brand has a heart in the right place, if you can stand his intensity. It’s not that we didn’t know.
These were pretty good. Why do they come so soon then? Because so many, who are yet to come, were better.
21 Years: Richard Linklater (doc.): I watched it with quite some interest, as I did most of his films, but it’s a bit too fan girl with the man himself nowhere to be seen.
Them Who? (Loro chi?): Another Italian comedy that says plenty in lovely settings. What bothers me is the need to wrap it up in fluff in order to spread the message. Still, quite an intricate and fully unbelievable tale.
The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec: This is entertaining and colourful, Ms. Louise Bourgoin is a delight, but from Mr. Besson one would expect a bit of edge.
Ghost in the Shell: Cyber-enhanced Ms. Johansson is fighting for justice. Apparently it made half of the world angry who preferred the original. I say, not sorry for watching it if you search light entertainment with some feelings provided by Mr. Micheal Pitt.
Here are some who fell a bit short from full enjoyment but are still worth it:
Adventureland: Mr. Eisenberg and Ms. Kristen Stewart in a film that I’d never expect I’d get through let alone enjoy, but I did. Enough soul and tenderness for that but specifics didn’t stick in mind.
Miss Julie: If it isn’t Ms. Chastain! Against Mr. Farrell, acting in the Strindberg play as if on stage. Which is to say it’s a bit stagy but full of emotions and wild eyes.
Road to Paloma: Now I’m going to whistle a bit if I may. ♫♪ Let’s just forget when the script stops making sense and look at the man. Mr. Jason Momoa (had to google the name). Hm… I see now that he directed it too. And then Ms. Bonet comes along and he makes her smile (for real too).
The 40 Year Old Virgin: I enjoy the darndest films, don’t I? It’s 13 years old, but Mr. Steve Carell is just so good. I forget all the jokes though. Need to see it again.
The Dancer Upstairs: I searched this one out on purpose since it’s the only film directed by Mr. John Malkovich (and he doesn’t act in it). Mr. Bardem helps him along but I found it a bit forced, especially the ending.
Here is a mixed bag of unexpected goodies:
Dogtooth (Kynodontas): This Greek film is well made but the story is so horrible that not many will stomach it willingly. Give it a try if you dare. Expect to say Waaaaat a lot.
We’re the Millers: For some weird reason I started to watch this (it was on TV) and couldn’t stop. And I’ve never even liked Ms. Aniston. The humour in this was just right for the moment. Unpretentious. And I liked the bloopers at the end.
The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards: Seven unconnected literary stories with actors such as Mr. Franco. For those who like to read.
All Good Things: I have it here and yet couldn’t remember a thing about it until I googled it. Ah, yes. Mr. Gosling and Ms. Kirsten Dunst reenacting the suspected murderer and victim. I remember her face now painfully. They were both great in it.
Pineapple Express: Hehe. More stoners but these at least make it fun. If I laughed, you might too. Mr. Franco again and Mr. Seth Rogan. This film is ten years old and I’d never say.
Here are some small masterpieces:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: It took me ages to see it and surprisingly I love it! It’s memorable in its unlikely story, outstanding emotions and depth. If you won’t remember Mr. Pitt looking as if he cannot escape his faith, and he cannot, you surely will remember Ms. Blanchett age like nobody ever did.
The Disaster Artist: This is a recent watch and I haven’t seen The Room (the film this film is based on) but I must give credit to Mr. Franco (again!) for reenacting the man who is still alive and might kick his ass if he didn’t do well.
Bohemian Rhapsody: Another reenactment and major applause to Mr. Rami Malek for nailing Freddie Mercury. You can read all kinds of stories about how the film is basically bullshit since so many of the scenes didn’t happen at all or not how they showed it. And yet, he is Freddie. And the music remains.
The Girl on the Train (2016): Another surprise. I will never forget the eyes of Ms. Emily Blunt, even if I forget the (intricate, involved) story and other details. But I know that it’s worth your time and that Ms. Blunt left a huge chunk of her soul in this role.
Life Itself (doc.): I saw this one a while ago but for some reason it escaped all my lists. It’s the story of film critic Mr. Roger Ebert as he faces his illness. Since I’m not American, I didn’t hear of him before but now I see that our tastes match quite a bit. We shall take no bullshit!
Frida: Only saw it now. Ahhh, it made me sad, especially after reading about what kind of things Ms. Hayek had to go through because producer made her do it. Yes, that man. But also happy because she is glorious.
Here are a handful of fine viewing recommendations, if you’re tough enough:
The Man Who Knew Infinity: This is a deep-felt real-life story of a mathematician who comes from India to Cambridge. Mr. Dev Patel and Mr. Jeremy Irons become friends. It happened so long ago and yet things haven’t changed much, have they?
The United States of Leland: When I tried to explain the story of this one to my sister, it sounded all wrong. So I shan’t. Give it non-biased attention and we’ll talk later. I can’t believe it was Mr. Gosling again. That man can take himself out of a role.
The Reader (repeat viewing): I caught it on TV and watched till the end. I knew I liked it the first time, no matter how tough to take it is, but I thought that time and the book were enough. I forgot Ms. Winslet’s eyes and energy, and how she transforms, and how the boy grows into Mr. Ralph Fiennes. Ouch.
Big Wednesday (repeat viewing): Oh my. I was a teen when I watched it and felt bought, or is it sold, and then no surfing until now. What a fascinating experience to watch it again. Mr. Jan-Michel Vincent is still cute but it’s Mr. Gary Busey who is the animal.
Buried: This one landed here due to disbelief that I could enjoy a film in which one buried-alive man keeps trying to get out of his grave-to-be, and nothing else happens. Alas, it should be compulsory viewing. Ask not…
Hackshaw Ridge: Here’s an idea. Go to war but refuse to wear and use firearms. How many men can you save instead of kill? It really happened too. Mr. Andrew Garfield is a sweetheart.
Here are five examples of why I like to watch diverse stuff:
Desert Age (doc.): The documentary showing what kids did for fun in the desert behind Palm Springs and how the band Kyuss got to be. Unlike some others from other times and places, they are mostly alive and well. Good to see.
In Bruges: Tough luck to be a hitman in this film, especially if you’re Mr. Colin Farrell. A little gem.
The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen): A powerhouse of a film about the east Germany in the 80’s.
Stories We Tell (doc.): Filmmaker and actress Sarah Polley takes herself as a case study. Watch out, she’s good!
Mommy: This French-Canadian film will leave you in all kinds of states. It’s about a widowed mom and her hyperactive son. We all know one of these. The film is shot VERTICALLY so do not adjust your device. (How can that even be?? Is it the first of its kind?)
These struck a major chord:
The Brave: The only film directed by Mr. Johnny Depp. I watched it dubbed into Italian. Mr. Marlon Brando makes an appearance. This entire film trip is… devastating, that’s what it is. For some reason I take with me young Johnny as he is here: suddenly rich and waiting to die.
The Dead Girl (2006): The story of a dead girl told through several chapters with many fine actresses, such as Ms. Toni Collette, Ms. Brittany Murphy and Ms. Marcia Gay Harden. A random find and a most satisfying but not easy watch.
The Light Between Oceans: Oh my, oh my, such drama. Mr. Michael Fassbender, Ms. Alicia Vikander and added Ms. Rachel Weisz depict people who do what they must because it’s human nature. And we get to watch. So well done, everybody!
20th Century Women: Ms. Annette Bening, a bit different and free-spirited this time, leads the wicked cast of women, her growing son, and Mr. Billy Crudup who is always good to see, through the late 70s. And the boy learns.
Let’s Play Two (doc.): You are allowed to skip this one if you’re not into Pearl Jam, Chicago, Cubs or baseball as such. If you are, a must watch!
Embrace of the Serpent (El abrazo de la serpiente): Shamans, healing plants, black and white jungle, secrets… I know I was affected and it was the perfect film to watch with my sister, but to tell you more I’d need to see it again.
Top of the pops. These are 5 and a half (because one is short) coolest films seen since March:
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: Oh, did this one sing to me and not only through David Bowie. Skateboarding deadpan Mr. Ben Stiller (whom I hadn’t liked much before), photographic riddles, Greenland, freedom. We’re on it.
The Tale: Ahh, the real-life story of the woman directing this film, played by Ms Laura Dern, brilliantly. What do you do when you learn what was done to you?
You Were Never Really Here: Uhhh. Mr. Phoenix, Joaquin, delivers a tough but tender portrait of a killer, and the director, Ms. Lynne Ramsay (who directed We Need to Talk About Kevin), makes sure it’s all done in such a way that you’d need to watch it again before you say anything. But I know it’s good when I want to hug somebody.
Bastard Out of Carolina (1996): Another hard tale to tell. Ms. Anjelica Huston directs, Ms. Jennifer Jason Leigh acts as a woman torn between her child and her child-molesting husband. Nothing more to say.
Berlin Syndrome: The hardest tale to tell. Why do I like hard tales, I wonder. I wrote a poem about this one. In short, Berlin Syndrome occurs when the kidnapped woman is neither killed nor raped, and when she finds nail polish she polishes her nails. A woman is directing, you see (Ms Cate Shortland).
The Box: This short film by Slovenian Dušan Kastelic shows what happens when you stick out. Grant it twelve minutes of your life.
Why I’m not watching many films lately is because I started to watch series. Boring for some, I know. I won’t go into much in-depth analysis. Here they are listed in two groups. In the first group are the ones I watched first.
The Leftovers: Trippy smokers in white and disappearances. I watched all the episodes but have forgotten most of it by now.
Mindhunter (tbc): A detective who visits mass murderers for possibly all the wrong reasons.
13 Reasons Why: The girl kills herself after recording the story of her suicide which involves everybody she knew, okay, 13 of them. Damn, don’t do that! And then she even comes back from the dead to hang out and bitch. Still, a worthy study of issues.
Westworld (tbc): At first I kept gasping audibly at some fresh ideas but the Season Two was a slow murder. Still, imagine if it were done to us. Because it has.
The Good Fight (tbc): So far, so good, I’ve watched it all. Ms. Christine Baranski is a powerhouse and is having so much fun.
And finally, these are the most recent and favourite series:
Black Mirror (tbc): I don’t think I’m done even with Season 1 but some of it has been on my mind all the time, such as the episode in which a black man lives in the future not unlike we have it already, with the ghastly talent shows. The girl is too pretty to become a singer.
The End of the F***ing World: This is a short, quick, entertaining watch. See that it doesn’t happen to you.
Mr Robot (tbc): I’m still in Season 1. The drugs are killing it for me but we’ll see where they take Mr. Malek, or will he come clean before the season is over? (Must not be good for the kids watching, man!)
Trapped (Ófærð): I was watching these Icelandic fellows dubbed into Italian. Added emotionality was hilarious. All resolved satisfactorily by the grand detective and the only other two policemen in the entire town.
L’amica geniale (My Brilliant Friend) (tbc): Watched it in original, no English, just Neapolitan and Italian. Season 1 done. Oh, what to say? Glorious tones of imagery and voices, gloriously faithful to the book, pretty good acting, especially by the leads, not toned down, savage, brutal, honest, brave and beautiful.
Oh yes, there was also that one part of The X-Files. The one in which no word is uttered and Mulder and Scully do nothing but fight with service robots throughout. Because he didn’t tip. Scarily, the feeling is that this is what we are in for.
Thank you for reading! Have a good year and see you on the other side.
If you want even more of the same, here are four film posts on my previous blog: