Hip-hop artists are musicologists, and sampling is one way histories are folded into the present.
Black Panther. Solid entry. Great villain, but our hero is kinda bland. I’m not over the moon with it. Lots of humor falling flat. I selfishly liked seeing the High Museum as a featured setting. Seemed like there’s some Star Wars influence here. Also, love to see MMA becoming a part of the action movie vocabulary. Not just punches and kicks, but the grappling, throws, chokes, holds, etc.. These people should be complete martial artists. The star of the soundtrack was the talking drums. 👌
Spider-Man 2. I took a break from superhero films for a while but couldn’t have found a better way to return. I was just so impressed with this movie. Even more so because I never liked Spider-Man comics. The pace, the stakes, some great slapstick and sight gags. Just firing on all cylinders.
Avengers: Infinity War. It was mildly distracting to see the movie’s first major battle taking place in my downtown Atlanta neighborhood, just blocks away. Is this how New Yorkers feel all the time? Thanos is a great villain. Maybe knowing they’d have him around later let them invest more and give him some motivation beyond destruction? I like the several scenes where loved ones are torn between hard choices – Vision and Scarlet Witch, Thanos and Gamorra, Starlord and Gamorra, etc.. My main frustration with the movie was the big Wakanda scenes. We are convinced this is the most technologically advanced civilization on the planet, and they are fighting a crucial battle… with infantry, hand-to-hand? It’s a shame. They could have done something more interesting. The giant roto-tiller machines were cool, though.
Searching. This is a nice little manipulative thriller. Respect for how they experimented with form to give life to an otherwise straightforward tale. The opening montage killed me.
Lady and the Tramp. I saw this a million times as a kid (my sister had the VHS). Saw it again on a whim when I was in Los Angeles. Fun screening with a theater fool of kids who were super into it. The stereotypes… don’t age well. But the rest does. I’d forgotten about the music. Several good tunes in this one. I’d totally forgot about He’s A Tramp (those back-up vocals!). Bella Notte is unforgettable. And La La Lu? Just perfect.
Leave No Trace. Second viewing (the first). What is appropriate for an adult who can’t make peace with the world isn’t appropriate for a kid who’s just becoming ready for it. Using “You Are My Sunshine” as the opening song… :'(. Noticed the color yellow appears a few times – her favorite color, the bees, the yellow blanket at the first house they settle in, the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag when the bulldozers tear down the encampment, and when dad is brought back to the house, there’s a yellow blanket or sweater where Tom puts her stuff. The list of “inspiration source materials” in the closing credits was a cool addition. And there’s a fern at the very end of the credits – looks like a seahorse, doesn’t it? I love this movie.
Nocturnal Animals. Stylish, moody, multi-layered, draws you in, but maybe too meticulous for its own good. I was left a little cold.
The effect is something like an absurd and endless syllabus, constantly updating to remind you of ways you might flunk as a moral being.
Glad to see someone writing about one of my least favorite descriptions for art.
This usage seems to gesture everywhere but at the art itself, both as an admonishment to the audience and an indictment of the world that has begotten the themes contained in the work being discussed.
On the Basis of Sex. Paint-by-numbers biopic. RBG is pretty impressive and I’m glad I know more of her story now. Everyone does their part and we all leave inspired. It’s fine!
Shoplifters. It’s bittersweet and so, so good. I like this improvised family, formed by choice and by happenstance, lasting as long as convenience and commitment allow. But for how long? Lots of beautiful moments – out thieving, on the beach, enjoying a rainy afternoon. I like the “mother’s” transformation over the course of the film. Interesting to see side of Japan I’m not used to – the poor, the neglected. I like this one more and more since the time I saw it.
Asking yourself, “What am I doing when I like who I am?” seems to me to be a more direct way to figure out what you need more of (and what you need less of) in life, regardless of what you think you should need. Often, the healthy, fulfilling things we’ve drifted away from are things whose significance probably wouldn’t occur to us, until we start doing them again and see how much they contributed to our well-being.
I’m not of the opinion that a film absolutely needs to have a clear moral framework to have worth, but I do believe that making a film is a moral act. Even if the filmmakers pose questions to which they give no answers, the formulation and presentation of the questions themselves are loaded with a moral reasoning.
The Big Sick. Funny, bittersweet rom-com. I should probably watch more comedy. Shout-out to Romano and Hunter. So great in their roles.
First Reformed. I dig it. Some great performances. I never knew what direction it was going to go.
The “time” just provides a framework to allow you to get to a place where it’s going to be hard. If you just did it casually, it would be much more comfortable, and I don’t think it would be as transformative or profound, on a personal level.
So, I use the “time” as a beacon, or a motivator—whatever you want to call it—not to break a record, but more like if you challenge this time, it’s going to get you to a place where it’s going to be uncomfortable and hard and … you’re going to learn something.
Really loved that bit of Joe Grant’s Nolan’s 14 interview. It captured one reason a lot of my hikes turn out the way they do. I like being outdoors and have a few regular haunts. But sometimes I can’t talk myself into getting out until I have a “gimmick”, I call it. Some silly goal. Can I do 40 miles in a day? What’s it like to hike an all-nighter? Can I cover X distance in Y hours… with no running allowed? What if I hiked the same 3-mile loop until I lost my mind? So I put myself in these odd situations, and at times I’ve found myself 20 miles out from the trailhead, thinking, “Well, 20 miles to get back home. The only way home is to put the hours in… so might as well get on with it.” I go through all these emotional roller coasters and eventually there’s a certain peace that comes along, but only after I’ve really stretched.