Nocturnal Animals

The second part of my Amy Adams double bill was Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals, and wow, I enjoyed this even more than I thought I would. I liked Ford’s first film, A Single Man, quite a bit, but mostly for its luscious look. This film also looks quite nice, but it’s not what really grabbed me about it — I was surprisingly quite invested in what ends up being a “story within a story.” It’s in fact those sequences that I enjoyed the most, with fantastic work by Jake Gyllenhaal (an actor I quite like in general) and Michael Shannon.

Arrival

Without even planning it, I ended up doing an Amy Adams double bill last night, starting with Arrival. I was quite looking forward to watching this — not only because I’ve had so many friends tell me they enjoyed it, but also because I am such a fan of Denis Villeneuve’s films (especially Enemy). And yes, I enjoyed the fuck out of this. It’s smart, beautifully shot, with a story that keeps you guessing until the very end — and it really does all come together nicely. Very much recommended, and it makes me that much more excited for Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049.

Belle de Jour

So it didn’t take long after finishing my 1985 movie marathon that I got in the mood to explore another year’s releases, and this time I’ve decided to go back even further, to 1967 — I picked ’67 for the simple reason that it marks a 50 year jump back. I’m definitely not going to shoot for 30 movies this time, probably 10-15, and I started with a movie I remember quite enjoying, and that’s Luis Bunuel’s Belle de Jour. I’m glad to say I enjoyed it just as much as I remembered (the last time I watched it was probably 20 years ago). It’s deliciously weird and odd, with an ending I still quite like.

Katherine Ryan: In Trouble

I’d never heard of Katherine Ryan, but I saw her Netflix comedy special, In Trouble, pop up while I was browsing for something to watch and was in the mood for some laughs. I ended up really enjoying her routine — I definitely do tend to enjoy crass comedy from female comics (think Sarah Silverman, Ali Wong, Amy Schumer). Ends up she’s Canadian and has been based in the UK for a few years, which probably explains why I hadn’t heard of her. Definitely worth watching, very funny.

Finding Dory

So following Moana, I watched the latest Pixar film, hoping that I’d be into it — I say this because I’ve started losing interest in Pixar films, as I wasn’t crazy about Inside Out, and I still haven’t found myself wanting to watch The Good Dinosaur. The verdict? It was pretty good, I liked it fine. I was actually feeling a bit uncomfortable at first, as I wasn’t into the tragic note that it starts on (I get quite sensitive with films that deal with mental health). But it eventually turned into a pretty fun ride. I didn’t love it, but I’m glad I watched it. My favorite character was the weird seal.

Moana

I did a Disney double bill tonight by watching Moana and Finding Dory back-to-back. Starting with Moana, you can’t find fault in the brilliant visuals, and it was mostly fine in terms of keeping my interest, but I wasn’t particularly engaged. I didn’t care for all of the songs, so the movie constantly lost me during those bits — especially the ballads. It’s the same thing that bugged me with Frozen — I’m fine with watching a musical, but it’s a bummer when you really don’t care about any of the songs. I’d say my favorite sequence was the coconut attack. And anything with the crazy chicken.

Doctor Strange

I was looking forward to watching this pretty much because of the sequences I saw in the ads with the Escher-like city transformations. So let’s start with the good: The movie does indeed present some action sequences that are quite novel, from those aforementioned city manipulations to the fight in Hong Kong that takes place while time is reversing. I did quite like watching those bits, but the rest left me a bit bored. I’m so tired of seeing a hero’s origin retold in film, and we do have to spend a lot of time going through the setup, before we get to the fun stuff. The worst though is what they did with the Ancient One, and just a lot of the characters in general — it’s just a bummer to see a bunch of non-Asian people dressed in Asian garb, feels off in this day and age.

Rambo: First Blood Part II

So how did I end my 30-movie 1985 marathon? With one of the biggest movies of the year. I actually re-watched this movie a year or two ago (along with First Blood), and so it was still relatively fresh in my mind, but I still had fun watching it. Yes, it’s of the era, jingoistic, cheesy lines and all, but whether its colored by nostalgia or not, it’s still a blast to watch Stallone terrorize soldiers with his bow and arrows, and later with that full-on machine gun and bazooka.

Witness

I had fond memories of this movie, and I’m glad to say it’s still pretty good. It’s also a movie I remember appreciating later on, not when it came out — since I was too young at the time, and was more a fan of Ford as an action hero. But yeah, it’s a good thriller, and the scenes that take place in the Amish community are still interesting to watch.

Young Sherlock Holmes

I remember liking this when I was a kid, and I actually had a pretty good time watching it again. It has that fun adventure feel that you get from something produced by Spielberg (back in those days), and that CG character (the first use of CG in a movie to depict a character) still looks good, and I remember it being so cool back then.