Here are flash reviews of all 66 films that I have seen in the last three years and a half.
If anybody asked me I’d say that out of all the things I do on my blog I’m proudest of a few poems and my film posts. It’s because I love this kind of short sharp observations. If you know anybody else who does them (or anywhere else I could be doing it), I’m interested.
Before I partially retire from blogging for the summer, here is my last film post for a while. Recently I posted reviews of almost 50 documentaries and almost 40 series, and with today’s post my stash of seen titles has been cleared. Somehow I’m not in the mood lately for watching new stuff, just like I’m not reading books right now. But these things come and go, I’m not worried.
My last regular film post appeared on the last day of 2018, and so these are the films that I have watched in the meantime.
The grades range between 3/10 and 10/10 but there are many more good films than the bad. How I do it is that upon viewing I insert the title wherever in the list it fits by general feelings it inspires in me and add the commentary just before posting. If it’s been a while since I saw it, I may no longer remember much about the film. I use Internet Movie Database (IMDb) to refresh my memory, but sometimes even this fails.
As usually, the titles below are in the order of appreciation, starting with the worst and ending with the best. By chance both the first and the last are Italian, even though I don’t watch many Italian films at all.
Also as usually, the post is illustrated with a variety of local trash (which gets picked up quite soon by the free tow-away service). What can I say… you are lucky that I’m not making films. In another life.
Let’s begin. Take your time.
3/10: Just no
66. Cose dell’altro mondo (Things from Another World; Italy, 2011). An IMDB comment says “The ugliest movie I’ve ever seen”. Not much to add, the ugliest on my list too. Italians pack their racism and other hot issues into such “comedies” and hope they will go away.
4/10: Don’t look
65. Don’t Look Up. I’m ready to fight over this one. Just like in the case of Get Out, I’m not willing to patiently watch a horrible production just so American eyes open a little. Maybe you must really get out and look at yourselves from the outside more often. Even though Ms. Meryl Street’s eyes ask for forgiveness throughout, the film left me feeling even madder, sadder and badder, I mean worse, than I thought possible. Just don’t look.
5/10: What was that?
64. Extinction. Nope, not even browsing the comments brings back any feelings I might have had watching it. Clearly a fully forgettable sci-fi with some monsters and a twist, apparently, which I also managed to forget.
63. Jason Bourne. I liked one other in this franchise more, this one felt flat in comparison. Why am I even watching such franchise action movies?
62. Elysium. And why am I watching Mr. Matt Damon so much? Hoping to land in another Good Will Hunting? Well, this one is not it, even though it has Ms. Jodie Foster. Futuristic fiction of the time-wasting kind.
61. The Cassandra Crossing. Who told me I should see this one in the middle of the pandemic? Am I masochistic or what? It’s from 1977 and it shows. The train with the outbreak is full of famous people, what is the chance of that?
7/10: A bit flat
60. Booksmart. See, you can’t put books in the title like this and then make us watch a couple of girls who would spend this time better reading. Some laughs but overall disappointing and not smart at all. They tricked me into watching it with the title. That was smart.
59. Sconnessi (Italy). An extended family gathers around the father figure in a remote cabin and then he cuts the internet connection to see what will happen. Another Italian “comedy” that puts a mirror to our society in such a way that it hurts but shies away from serious discussion. Hm… sounds like my life.
58. The Bachelors. When I found this one on my list, I had to think really hard and long and then google it because I couldn’t believe I had watched anything with this title. Nothing came to mind. And then I saw: it’s Mr. J. K. Simmons and Ms. Julie Delpy as teachers, and there is grief, but it’s a little too cheesy for comfort.
57. The Bourne Ultimatum. Here it is, another Bourne in the shape of Mr. Damon. As if I remember anything about this particular one. But believe me, it’s better than one above.
56. Wonder Woman. See, this one I was ready to hate but couldn’t. I loved the beginning so much right down to where the “wonders” start. At that moment it becomes unsupportable. It is NOT about super heroes, people! We need to solve the problems ourselves!
55. Hellboy. I’m surprised to find this one so high. I was never a fan of comics or films made after them. It must have the heart in the right place then… I believe I laughed at times as well.
54. It’s All About Love (2003). Directed by Mr. Vinterberg, acted by Mr. Joaquin Phoenix, Mr. Sean Penn and Ms. Claire Danes. Why is it so low on my list? Maybe I should watch it again. Oh no, no no, I really shouldn’t. I feel a certain nightmarish weight that I don’t wish to revisit. How many Claires can this world sustain?
53. The Dirt. Well, if I’d be fully honest, I’d put this one higher up. It’s just so hilarious in a completely blatant way. How can it be anything else seeing that it’s about how the band Motley Crue lived and loved. That said, write your own damn special letters!
52. The Martian. I also have a thing for Mr. Damon, one would think. Well, he needs to put more emotions into his acting if he wishes that his movies end up higher up on here. Or maybe it was the script. It left me not really caring much either way.
51. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. This one came so highly recommended and so many people love it, but I was left cold and forgot all about it by now. How could I forget that one whole Mr. Brad Pitt was in this one?
50. Midsommar. I didn’t really like this one as such but I found it refreshing in its cultural diversity. More Americans need to be scared of Europe. 😀 These young people even deserve what happens to them, in a way… And isn’t that a lovely green flowery crown the strange people make for her!
49. A.C.A.B. Do you know what this title spells? All Cops Are Bast…. Do you know this is an Italian movie? I didn’t. It views as an anti-commercial to join forces. The reality hits hard and will only hit harder.
48. Sicario II. Anything with II. in the title must work extra hard to convince. (Actually, the title is Sicario: Day of the Soldado.) But seeing that the first one was brilliant in my view, this one doesn’t quite follow up on the greatness, even though watching Mr. Benicio del Toro chew his lines will always be a plus.
47. The Master. I had too high hopes for this one, I’m afraid. Splendid acting – of course, it’s Mr. Seymour Hoffman and Mr. Phoenix – but such harsh realities and unpleasant characters! I vividly remember a motorcycle scene… Did he come back?
46. Tanner Hall. I decided to watch it seeing Ms. Rooney Mara and Ms. Brie Larson were in it. The story of four girls in an all-girl boarding school was pleasing but not too deep.
45. Rush (2013). Clearly I have a thing for biopics. This one is about the rivalry between Formula 1 drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt, even though I never heard of the second one before. I remember stern glances, good acting and honest storytelling but not much of the story.
44. The Way Back (2010). A(nother) real-life story from 1939 when a group of prisoners escaped from a gulag in Siberia and travelled on foot all the way to India. The presence of Mr. Colin Farrell and Mr. Ed Harris makes you feel every step.
43. Test Pattern. Just horrible what is happening here. I can still feel the anguish. Just one sentence: “A black woman is sexually assaulted and her white boyfriend drives her from hospital to hospital in search of a rape kit.”
8/10: I like, but
42. Irrational Man. First of all, I wouldn’t have watched it if I knew it was a Woody film. But I did and liked it, as I tend to if Mr. Phoenix is in it. And Ms. Emma Stone, and even Ms. Parker Posey, an old favourite. What I thought was an interesting character study of a repugnant man made more sense when I saw who directed it. Never far away from own subject matter, eh, Woody? But don’t tell me, a killer too?
41. Greta. Oh my, it’s Ms. Isabelle Huppert! I always mentally step back a little when I hear her name. It’s films like this that did it. In this one she is particularly… unpleasant.
40. iBoy. What a strange film for me to watch and quite like! A boy gets superpowers by merging with a smartphone and uses it to get revenge? Hm… I think it helps that it’s Brits attempting to mirror a big production. Even though, as a commentator says: “When push comes to shove, all good characters get really wimpy. Perhaps it’s a British thing, I don’t know.” Haha!
39. Šišanje (Skinning; Serbia). A painful Serbian one about a boy who gets drawn into a right-wing group. It shows how it goes, and it’s important that it does, but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t bothered by what I was watching. I bet it did the opposite for some others.
38. Alléluia (Belgium). Speaking of which. This is a horrible, horrible story of a one-night stand that grows into a murder spree when she wants to help him seduce. And then you learn that it really happened. Really well done though, cinematically. The female actress is a powerhouse. (Let’s learn the name: Ms. Lola Dueñas.)
37. The Assistant (2019). Ahhh, another bleak and sad one. I don’t choose them on purpose, honestly! (Well, I do, not knowing they will be bleak and sad.) But it’s important too! Women need to see themselves on the screen and think a little. What if everything is abuse? Ms. Julia Garner is doing it so you don’t have to.
36. Knives Out. Amore and I watch about one film together annually on average (at home) and in the first year of the pandemic we chose this one. I think that’s why it’s so high up. Okay, it’s got some interesting goings-on but it’s far from groundbreaking in any sense. I think Ms. Jamie Lee Curtis stood out a little.
35. Lady Bird. I was surprised to see that I’d seen this one already. No matter how much I love Ms. Saoirse Ronan, I find this film totally unmemorable. I can’t recall a single scene right now. Hm… Clearly it was not bad but also it didn’t touch any specific chord. A comment says: “I was misled into thinking this film is a gold just like I was misled about Booksmart.” Aha!
34. Nešto izmedju (Something in Between; Yugoslavia, 1982). An old film but a recent watch. An American girl in Belgrade, the capital of Yugoslavia when we were still all together, comes between two friends played by two possibly biggest stars of Yugoslav cinema. You can sense the passion. Nine years later Slovenia was asking itself the same question as the girl: Should I stay or should I go? And so we went…
33. Once. It IS all that, tender and lovely and real and full of touching music, and yet I didn’t approve of the happy-go-lucky musical feel to it. Love is not a laughing matter. There is no edge to this film, somehow. It’s like they are acting.
32. Bombshell. Lots of cutting the edges here. After real-life drama happenings at Fox TV. You must know all about it by now and if not – watch it.
31. Stronger. A strong real-life story with Mr. Jake Gyllenhaal playing the Boston Marathon bombing survivor who helped the police identify the bomber, it’s just the cinematic execution that lacks a little.
30. The Guilty (Den skyldige; Denmark). A surprisingly effective minimalist film that takes place on the phone. A policeman talks to a woman in a dangerous situation. I’m pretty sure they have made the American version by now. (They have, I’ve checked now. Guess who the policeman is. Yes, Mr. Gyllenhaal.)
29. Allied. A film I found myself quite liking. Ms. Marion Cotillard and Mr. Pitt are a spy couple and it’s not easy being them. A tight little production. But clearly I was bothered by something or it would have been higher.
28. The American. Mr. George Clooney can hide in Italy any time, if you ask me, even if he must kill here and there. He is so alone in such a beautiful remote location. Kind of like me. He only connects with a priest and a prostitute played by the daughter of the actress who stole the heart of Al Pacino as Apollonia in the first Godfather.
27. Polytechnique. Before Arrival, the last Blade Runner and Dune (neither of which I have seen yet), Sicario and the distressing Prisoners, Mr. Denis Villeneuve did this study from three points of view, in black and white, of the attack in the Montréal school, in which a 25-year-old student shot 28 people and himself. It seems like an arrival of a great director.
26. Mr Holmes. The last film amore and I watched together. A sign of the times: aged Sherlock Holmes in the fine shape of Mr. Ian McKellen is fighting dementia and an old case. This has nothing to do with any other Sherlock film. In this way it’s quite meta but in a beautiful intimate way.
25. The Invention of Lying. Ahh, love it or leave it, I suppose. I was already endeared by the premise. Imagine the world before lying… Considering that it contains Mr. Ricky Gervais, it will tell many a truth in a painfully hysterical way. Plenty of food for thought.
24. First Snow. I wish to watch it again. Mr. Guy Pierce is always good to see. Hard and uncompromising, lots of tension and well executed.
9/10: I really like
23. Hollywoodland. I remember enjoying watching it but don’t remember much of the story, except that I was pleasantly surprised and Mr. Adrien Brody, who is always good news. (Currently watching the Lakers saga series Winning Time. Hahhaah!!)
22. Belfast. Well, I enjoyed it too, especially the opening credits because they are in colour. And then – no more, black and white sets in. Still, a brilliant display of how it must have been, except the kid. Ohhhh, the kid. Not working for me.
21. The House That Jack Built (2018). Clearly I prefer killers. Especially if they are played by Mr. Matt Dillon and directed by Lars von Trier in the film in the end of which Jack (an alter ego of von Trier himself) goes full Dante. (I used to love him but I hear that he terrorised Bjork on the set of Dancer in the Dark. Happens more and more, this kind of news. Damn men.)
20. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. I wished to love this one more than it probably deserved because I root for Mr. Terry Gilliam who directed it and all the cast, especially the three stars – Mr. Johnny Depp, Mr. Colin Farrell and Mr. Jude Law – who stepped up after Mr. Heath Ledger died. It is a wild ride for the eyes and it has Mr. Tom Waits as Satan. Not much more one could ask for.
19. Wind River. This is quite a gritty gem of a movie in which the murder of a woman in the Wind River Indian Reservation is investigated by a female FBI agent played by Ms. Elizabeth Olsen and a local hunter. Lots of atmosphere and slickly done. I wish to watch it again.
18. The Lincoln Lawyer. Clearly I loved it since I have a thing about how Mr. Matthew McConaughey carries himself and a film, but for the story I’d need to watch it again. Badass in every case.
17. 8 Mile. Yes, Eminem. I only needed almost 20 years to watch it… Still strong after all these years. I also have a thing about those who win against the odds in a hostile environment because they are so damn good. Kind of like Luka. (Tonight the first game against the Warriors in Western Conference final.)
16. The Matrix Resurrections. The most recent watch. I liked one part in the splendid first half so much that I had to watch it again. So clever. As for the ending, you be the judge. Blink or you’ll miss Ms. Christina Ricci. (I’m still upset at that part in a previous movie where Neo could have it all but all he could come up with was “Guns. Lots of guns.”)
15. Lepota poroka (The Beauty of Vice; Yugoslavia, 1986). A rather hilarious but also hard-hitting clash of traditional Montenegro values and the novelty of nudism. With young Ms. Mira Furlan.
14. We Own the Night. That Russian mafia… always a menace. The story of two brothers on different sides of the law, Mr. Mark Wahlberg and Mr. Phoenix, and their dad Mr. Robert Duvall. Gritty. You don’t wish to be any of them.
13. One Day. A man and a woman are showed on the same day, the day they met, through the years, sometimes together, sometimes not. Effective and emotional and a reminder that life will go on and not in the same way either. Apparently it was a book first and I’d love to read it.
12. Love & Mercy. I had no idea… Mr. Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys has had quite a life. Not your usual biopic and not your usual artist. I’m glad for this film.
11. How I Live Now. I have this book and yet have never read it. It’s one of those I carry from home to home as emotional baggage, waiting for the right now. When I saw the film, it was completely different than expected. Ms. Saoirse Ronan is an American teen on a visit in England, and then some things happen, worldwide. It might be that the time is right now.
10. Sin City. In this case I’ve been carrying around a DVD of this movie for years without having a look. When I finally did, I was floored in another direction than above. So much violence but so much power too, and style, and Mr. Bruce Willis. I forgot most of it by now but good because I wish to see it again. No more CD unit though…
9. The Trial of the Chicago 7. Another part of the American history that you can’t quite believe really happened, and yet the country is clearly run in this way still. Some hilarious casting and lines but I should watch it again to remember the details.
8. Contagion. Why would you watch a film shot so far in advance but showing exactly the shitstorm that has been going on for the last two years? Is it to learn the end? Or the beginning? The bat did it, of course. Unbelievable.
7. Sound of Metal. Oh man… one of those painful ones that you watch in self-defence, about something you take for granted – your hearing. Mr. Riz Ahmed is pretty remarkable.
10/10: I love
6. Dark Waters. One of those urgent ones that upsets you because you can just tell to what ends the company went to prevent it from being made. With strong work by Mr. Mark Ruffalo. How about that Teflon then?
5. Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus. A surprising Ms. Nicole Kidman film that I really liked. I’m still haunted by this one, especially about what her husband tells her at one point. About not signing up for a bunch of freaks? Mr. Robert Downey Jr. is a surprise too.
4. The Florida Project. And then there is this. Not overly sunny but deep, real and touching with Mr. Willem Dafoe in a surprising role.
3. World of Tomorrow (animated short). I should watch it again, it’s been a while. But I remember how it touched me. Tomorrow tends to do that. Find it out.
2. Help (TV movie, 2021). Oh woman. Brilliant but no need to watch this one. We know how it went all too recently. People kept dying and nobody knew much, at first. Some horribly haunting scenes here. And you’re just a cheery last-nurse-standing (played by excellent Ms. Jodie Comer) in an old people’s home in Liverpool, yeah? And nobody answers your phone?
1. Lazzaro felice (Happy as Lazzaro; Italy). Italians are many things. I started this countdown by calling them racists. They are also pure innocence and poetry. Sometimes a work of art hits me like no other, with its quiet power. I can still see Lazzaro’s happy face (played by Mr. Adriano Tardiolo). And those sweets…
More of the same:
- Almost 50 documentaries (January 2022)
- Almost 40 series (December 2021)
- See you at the movies (December 2018)
- Films to feel and fill me (August 2017)
- Holy Movie Motors (May 2017)
- Four movie months (March 2017)
- Moves like movies (November 2016)
My three film lists on IMDb where new titles are added all the time:
- My Watchlist with films and series I’ve seen (521 titles)
- The first half of films and series to see (A-L, 682 titles)
- The second half of films and series to see (M-Z, 537 titles)
This day in my blogging history
2015: To the complaint, “There are no people in these photographs,” I respond, There are always two people: the photographer and the viewer. —Ansel Adams