After the day of birth, back to normal-ish. When do I not like a film? When it takes me for more stupid than I am. When do I like a film? When it makes me feel, wonder, when it opens my eyes or is ahead of me in some way. When it is worth my while, as goes for everything else in life.
Here is the yield in films since my last post on the subject. I tend to see one a day, just like Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia used to do (as shown in excellent documentary Cinema Komunisto), and then directed Yugoslavia and all our lives as if it was a film. And so it became one. We waded waters between the East and the West, between nothing and plenty, between to have and to have not. And yet it was presented to us as something highly worthwhile, and so we were happy.
Which if you look around these days is not a little feat for a politician to achieve.
Here are my films in the order of happy-making, starting with the lowest of the low, ending with the best, rated from 1 to 5. I consider 3.5 the threshold when the enjoyment starts to build and goes up from there. 1 is useless, 3 is not fully worthless but really not necessary. Within one category the enjoyment progresses, with the lowest film being the best of the bunch. If you ask me, of course. As incomparable as they are.
I don’t view genre films as something extra, to be viewed differently, to be pardoned for being merely slick examples of their craft. A film is a film. I tend to like biopics, I realise. My mom loves to read biographies the most. Must be something there…
Also, once I decide to see a film, I’m pretty lenient, I take it easy on it, I root for it to do well. Just as I do for every other choice in my life.
Here they are then, with a line for each as is my custom:
- John Wick: They kill his puppy and wreck his car and then he goes medieval on them. Hey, what more could one want from a film, right? Wrong!
- The Invitation: It’s mind-boggling why critics love this one so much. To me, the actors were saying “I’m sorry you are watching this” with their eyes throughout.
- Now You See Me 2: To pass time on the plane. The new female addition exaggerates.
- The Autopsy of Jane Doe: I made myself lunch and started to watch this. Talking about good sense. I don’t know why I’m watching scary movies and then I get angry when I get scared. Still, it’s rather silly. Except HER. 😮
- Sing Street: I was a huge fan of Duran Duran. Here are some more people like it. Young ones might love this one more. Still, I prefer The Commitments.
- Split: Mr. McAvoy is having a grand time. There is some hard-hitting and unintended hilarity, and the sad insight into why some heroines survive the monsters: they’ve seen it all before.
- Get Out: I heard that it should have won MTV Movie Awards. Hm… It views as a spoof. Still thrilling to see the glee with which he thrashes his captors. Familiar much?
- Life in a Day: The original edit of people-sent footage from a single day. I’ve seen the Italian version before this one and liked it better. No wonder I’m here.
- Shaun of the Dead: I understand there are two more films like this one to be seen. Might do. Funny people having fun with cliches.
- Paterson: I don’t know, Mr. Jarmusch and me used to be more in sync. It’s still pretty and literary, I just sided with the dog, you know?
- Green Room: After Blue Ruin by the same guy this looks like a step back. Probably it’s just that you really really really really don’t wish to be there. Get Out for white people.
- Logan: Well. He is very charming. ❤ As is the girl. Not bad at all, for a wolverine film (I didn’t even know what that was before watching it).
- Beasts of No Nation: This is a sad but necessary film about how wars get made and who is fighting them. Heartbreaking.
- Heart of a Dog: A little private Laurie Anderson film. Her dog playing piano. How everything changes once you get attacked from the air. That sort of things.
- La La Land: Well, you’ve seen it. I prefer the non-la la parts. Even Hollywood has started making films with endings as they really happen.
- Brokeback Mountain: I saw it only now. Hi, Jake (hides). Lots of micro face-muscle acting and mumbling. Voyeuristic.
- Incendies: Mr. Villeneuve did this one before Arrival and the new Blade Runner. Full of hard-hitting family secrets. Not an easy viewing.
- Gosford Park: An oldie. Lots of characters and acting lessons, with dewy Mr. Ryan Phillippe stealing it.
- The Outsiders: A repeat viewing of an even older oldie. Can’t believe the cast. Mr. Tom Cruise might be showing off his real self.
- What We Do in the Shadows: A vampire pseudo-documentary putting new zeal into New Zealand. Quite a bit of hilarity.
- My Scientology Movie: This one seems a legit documentary though. It’s painful. It makes you wish vampires were real, instead.
- Wild: As a drug, writing tops both heroin and hiking. Well done, Ms. Strayed. Some memorable scenes and slightly over-the-top acting.
- The King’s Speech: Superb acting by Mr. Colin Firth (and all) turns this king palpable and human. Nothing to envy here.
- A Bigger Splash: A highly stylised Italian character drama (set on the island of Pantelleria, half way between Sicily and Africa), with Ms. Swinton and Mr. Fiennes having fun.
- The Hunt (“Jagten”): A sad but all too believable Danish tale of a kindergarten teacher and a child. One of them is lying. Mr. Vinterberg at the wheel.
- Italy in a Day: It made me cry but I live among them, these predictably adorable people. Compiled from own sent footage, which explains lack of the dark side.
- Pan: A highly predictable but still enjoyable fairy-tale for children of The Ramones fans.
- Mr. Turner: A slice of art history from Mr. Mike Leigh with Mr. Timothy Spall recreating a man who predicted that in the future artists would carry with them photographic boxes instead of canvases.
- Genius: An editor (Mr. Firth) and a genius in the shape of Mr. Jude Law doing Thomas Wolfe. Some jobs are seriously underappreciated.
- The Theory of Everything: Simply astonishing, especially considering that the man (Mr. Stephen Hawking) is still alive. I’d believe all he thinks. Based upon the book by his ex-wife though.
- Hanna: Not a film I’d think I’d love. An enhanced child learning the ways of the world and own story. She is dreamlike.
- Christine: She was real, though. A news reporter who did something on air nobody had done before nor since, I’d hope. Ms. Rebecca Hall goes deep and brings her back.
- The Danish Girl: A powerhouse acting duo but especially post-Stephen Hawking Mr. Eddie Redmayne is sparkling again. It could be your man. Or you.
- Lion: A true story about an Indian boy adopted far away and his search back. Not exactly what I use Google Maps for.
- Jackie: Ms. Natalie Portman is all it takes to feel that splotch of red for eternity. Another non-enviable position.
- Stranger Than Fiction: This one is new: a character in a book learns that he is about to be disposed of. Nothing ground-breaking but still highly enjoyable.
- Amour: Not as enjoyable and yet urgent. You feel those vapid stares for weeks. Mr. Haneke lets Mr. Trintignant out again.
- Hell and High Water: Two brothers with a plan. Lots of texture in this one.
- Lone Survivor: Not a fan of American war movies, I never saw it coming. Suddenly you grow a new appreciation for what they do, as long as you don’t have to.
- Under the Skin: Bahaha. One of those movies that have you in a giggle throughout, no matter how grim a portrait of society it paints. Ms. Scarlett Johansson talking to men in Scotland is far from home.
- Room: Film that continues where others would stop. Once you get over the initial shock, it’s performances you take with you, wondering how many there are who only know Room.
- Predestination: My kind of a mind-bender. You can’t even. Mr. Ethan Hawke has something in his eyes that comes with time. Ms. Sarah Snook is a new one for me.
- The Little Death: I watched this one the next day again. Australians tackling some subjects funnily and some not at all.
- Pan’s Labyrinth (“El Laberinto del Fauno”): As visually stimulating as heart-breaking. Franco’s Spain through the eyes and fantasy of a young girl.
- Holy Motors: The top cinematic experience for me in the last period is a complete surprise and a matter of some dispute. Also, it’s French. It shows one day in the life of an actor being driven around in a limousine from one unfilmed performance to another. I have a feeling that those who don’t like it, will be terribly disappointed once their own curtain falls.
Photo: © signature mmm