Torn Curtain

Last night’s entry in my Sunday night Hitchcock marathon was this one, which I had absolutely no memory of, in terms of the story (even though I know I watched it at some point in my life). It could have been an OK spy thriller, but uncharacteristically, it doesn’t feel well put together, and there are some scenes that are just painful to watch — like the confrontation between Newman and the German agent tasked to follow him, as well as some of the way-too-long focus shots on Julie Andrews’ face when she’s supposed to answer something. Someone pointed out an article to me after I watched it that suggested that Newman and Hitchcock were at odds during shooting, and that Hitchcock didn’t even really want him and Andrews in the film (the studio wanted big stars). I didn’t dislike watching it, but it’s certainly the weakest of the Hitchcock films I’ve re-watched so far.

Rosemary’s Baby

After putting aside my 1968 movie marathon for what feels like months (because I had a hard time getting through Wonderwall), I immediately followed it by this film, which is still so incredibly good. I had even watched it a few years ago, but was again engaged fully. It has such incredible mood and progression — and that ending, oh my, still so shocking. Later in the evening I watched Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain, which came out just two years earlier, and I was struck at how, by comparison, Rosemary’s Baby feels so much more modern, in terms of visual quality, editing, etc.

Wonderwall

I was a bit stuck on my 1968 movie marathon because of this film. In a way, I’m glad I watched it, as some of the psychedelic visuals are pretty fun, along with the trippy soundtrack by George Harrison, but man, it was also a chore to watch, and took me a few viewing sessions to get through — I kept pushing it off, but at the same time wanted to get through it before I moved on the next film on my list (which ended up being the excellent Rosemary’s Baby).

Pacific Rim Uprising

I can’t say I really liked this. I liked the first one a lot, and the idea of giant mechs fighting monsters is one I quite like, but this sequel just fell flat for me. Sure, the big action set piece in Tokyo at the end was pretty fun, but getting there felt like a chore. I wasn’t into the cast, and didn’t care at all for any of the young recruits. And Charlie Day’s character was annoying pretty much anytime he was on screen. Don’t think I’d want another film in this series, unless it’s again directed by Del Toro.

Mary and the Witch’s Flower

This Ghibli-like movie is made by an ex-Ghibli director (Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who directed The Secret World of Arrietty and When Marnie Was There, the latter a film I really loved), within a new studio, Studio Ponoc, that is definitely trying to be the new Ghibli (now that Ghibli isn’t making a lot of movies anymore). I liked it, and it’s a beautifully animated film, but there’s something about that almost feels like it’s trying too hard to hit all the Ghibli notes — as my wife remarked, so many aspects of the film remind you of other Ghibli films. But despite all that, it’s really well done, and it makes me happy to see a studio like this that will continue the Ghibli legacy.

A Quiet Place

This was quite entertaining. I thought the first half hour was a bit too slow, and sure, there are some things that you just need to accept and not think too much about (why do they stay in that place, how did this nail never get noticed before, etc.), but overall it’s a great idea, and once things start moving along, it’s a fun ride all the way to the end. Makes me look forward to seeing the next movie John Krasinski decides to direct.

Rope

There so much great about this movie, from the fact that it takes place entirely inside that one apartment, to the way it’s made to look as if it’s just one continuous shot (there are just a few cheats, so they were still very long takes). And it’s enjoyable to see the interactions between all of the characters, as you find how they all relate to the victim.

The Birds

Sure, the effects come off as hokey, and the set-up to get the main character off to that location is pretty ridiculous, but it’s still an entertaining movie. And it is quite horrifying a situation, made even more horrifying by the fact that they never explain why this bird invasion is happening. I like the sudden ending too.

Making Fun: The Story of Funko

For the longest time I really hated Funko — or what I’ve learned, is that I specifically hated Funko Pop figures. I did finally break down and get some earlier this year, when they released a James Bond series — I never see Bond figures, so couldn’t help myself. Since then, I’ve gotten used to seeing them on my desk, and don’t mind the aesthetic as much as I did. What I didn’t know was that Funko started out being inspired by 60s tiki culture and bobble-heads, and that stuff was really cool. I learned this from the documentary about Funko that’s on Netflix, that’s pretty entertaining to watch — just like the Toys That Made Us series, it’s fun to learn how all of these playthings came to be. It’s an impressive rise to see, and the fandom that accompanies it is pretty nuts too. I’m still not a complete convert to the Funko Pop — I am eyeing the Twin Peaks figures now though — but I do quite like all of those original bobble-head figures they used to produce.