Playtime

This is one of those classic movies that I’ve often heard about, but had never gotten around to watching. It’s definitely a strange piece of moviemaking, feeling much more like an experimental film than something that got a mainstream release — there’s no proper narrative, it just follows scenes loosely connected by space, of various lengths, but that are mostly tied together by the presence of Jacques Tati. What really struck me though was the fantastic cinematography and art direction, which creates a carefully constructed world that is utopically monotone, yet interestingly lively (especially the restaurant scene). Well worth watching as an interesting piece of cinema, especially on a visual level.

Fantomas Contre Scotland Yard

After I decided to do a 1967 movie marathon and started looking at what films had come out that year, I was super excited when I saw that this was a 1967 release. I loved watching Louis de Funes movies when I was a kid, and this was my favorite one, and I watched it countless times (almost as much as I’ve watched some Bond films). Strangely enough, it’s part of a trilogy of Fantomas movies, and I never watched the other ones, I was just obsessed with this one. Watching it again now — probably for the first time in 2-3 decades — I was happy to find it just as fun and funny. It’s not for everyone, but for me it was pure nostalgic bliss.

The Graduate

Of all the 1967 movies I’ve watched during this marathon (which I’m capping at 10), if I had to chose the best, it would be a tie between this and Belle de Jour. The Graduate was even better than I remembered, not only with a story that is still fun to follow, but with cinematography that is insanely innovative and inspired. And there’s of course the terrific soundtrack by Simon & Garfunkel. The strangest thing though was to now be watching this movie and being much older than Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft was 35 years old when she played the role).

Bonnie and Clyde

The thing that I found so strange about this movie is just how wacky it is — most of the characters, including the two mains, are constantly played over-the-top, which for some reason I wasn’t expecting, this being a sorta biopic and all. I liked it so-so, but for me the absolute best moment was the unfortunately too short appearance by Gene Wilder, who absolutely steals the show the whole time he’s on screen (for like 5-10 minutes). I’m glad I watched it.

Tangled: Before Ever After

I thought the movie Tangled was pretty good — a lot more than Frozen, and most Disney animated films since — but what really has me interested in the upcoming Tangled TV series is that I really dig the 2D animated style they’re using. Last week they aired a movie that leads into the series (starting later this week), and I quite enjoyed it. It’s got a fun vibe to it, and I do really like the art direction. I’ll at least watch the first few episodes of the series.

Sicario

Denis Villeneuve is currently one of my favorite filmmakers (Arrival, Enemy, Prisoners), and so it’s weird that I hadn’t yet watched Sicario. Watching it last night, I’m very glad that it continued to satisfy the currently incredibly high expectations I have for anything coming from him — which of course makes me both nervous and excited for his Blade Runner 2049. Gripping, with an absolutely mesmerizing turn by Del Toro, I loved it.

Passengers

When I first heard of Passengers, I was pretty excited for it — starring two actors I really like, in a slick sci-fi setting. Then it came out, and the reception seemed muted, so I set my expectations low. Watching it last night, I found it to be reasonably good — at least good enough that I’m glad I watched it, being entertained (and my wife ended up watching it with me, getting caught up in the mystery of what was going on, and how’d they get out it). And I liked the way it ended, as it wasn’t where I thought it would go.

In Like Flint

I’ve been meaning to check out the Flint movies (Our Man Flint, In Like Flint) for quite a while, and just somehow never got around to it. Since the sequel came out in 1967 (and so part of my current movie marathon), it gave me the opportunity to finally watch one, aaaand… I really disliked it. I guess it’s supposed to be a fun take on the spy/Bond genre, but it just wasn’t funny, and pretty much everything in it was laughable, but not in a good way. Add a boring story, and it just felt like a chore to get through this. I definitely feel no desire to watch the first one now.

Les Demoiselles de Rochefort

I can definitely enjoy a good musical — my issue with Moana was that I didn’t like the songs — and Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (The Young Girls of Rochefort) is truly a classic. By the director of Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg), it features a fantastic soundtrack, but more than that, the star of the show are really the fashions and the colors on display throughout. I love this movie, and it’s fun seeing Gene Kelly show up.

Casino Royale

The last time I watched this movie was when I was a kid, and I remember hating it. Sure, it’s a Bond film, but it’s a parody of one, and I just didn’t get it. Re-watching it now, I still hate it. I just don’t find it funny at all, and nothing in it makes any sense. Sure, it’s neat to see all of these actors, but it’s just such a mess of a movie that it’s a chore to get through it. The only saving grace for me is that I love the soundtrack.