Random Movies: Best to Worst
I stan a movie about the Shadow Self. It’s not as tidy as Get Out, but it’s really smart and entertaining, and not nearly as bloody as I was led to believe. This is the gentle, introverted type of horror movie squeamish people can enjoy, where the concept’s mostly like, “It’s creepy when people smile at inappropriate times,” and not, “I’m going to make you stick your hand inside a razor box.” It’s still really disquieting – it’s just not especially gross.
It’s also got some really nice, charismatic performances from Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke. I watched it twice in two days because I liked it so much.
Crazy Rich Asians
As far as romance movies go, this is a nice one, and it’s one telling a story I don’t feel like I’ve seen a million times. The plot is a wish fulfillment fantasy about an Asian-American college professor who finds out her handsome boyfriend is secretly a rich celebrity in Singapore and then goes on a whirlwind vacation full of spa days and fancy dresses and jealous rivals and wacky friends, all leading up to a spectacular proposal.
That part isn’t new, but the details about her trying to reconcile her heritage with her nationality are. And the part where both of their moms have complicated back stories is. And the part where I started crying because of a Coldplay song is.
Also Michelle Yeoh is there, and you can’t go wrong with that.
Isn’t it Romantic
Isn’t it Romantic is a romantic comedy about a woman who hates romantic comedies and then wakes up trapped inside of one. People who hate romantic comedies don’t seem to like it and people who like romantic comedies don’t seem to like it. I’m indifferent to romantic comedies, and it worked just fine for me.
The thing I like most about it is the underlying theme that sometimes the good parts of life aren’t as glamorous as they seem in movies, but that they’re still good. Also that the protagonist’s job seems just unglamorous enough to be real.
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu
This is a movie about a talking Pikachu who’s also a detective and teams up with some college kid to solve crimes. I paid $13 to see it in theatres because the trailers made the Pikachu look cute and funny. The Pikachu is cute and funny. I do not regret my purchase.
The story makes zero sense, and any scene without the Pikachu in it tanks.
The Third Murder
The Third Murder is a Japanese movie about an attorney defending a client who probably committed a murder, but did it for unclear reasons. He spends most of the movie trying to understand the reason, but questions whether he’s actually trying to discover the truth or trying to come up with a narrative that fits his worldview.
It’s a long movie and I found it a little bit hard to follow, partly because of cultural barriers, but I like that it’s a legal drama that’s actually concerned with philosophical questions about how we judge people, and not just whether the accused committed a crime.
There’s a narrative in Captain Marvel about how women don’t need to have badass alien super powers to be heroes that’s slightly undercut by the hero having badass alien super powers, but is nonetheless a nice idea. I was also pleasantly surprised that they used a non-linear structure rather than plodding through her origin story step by step.
It’s still a Marvel movie.
Support the Girls
Support the Girls is an understated, hyper-realistic movie that chronicles a day in the life of a shift manager at a boob-themed sports bar who tries to do right by her employees even though the business they work for is inherently misogynist and sometimes racist. The film doesn’t offer a lot of commentary on what’s happening, but might play differently if you don’t already boycott these places. If you do already boycott them, it’s just really depressing.
This is a movie about a bunch of criminals who get sent on a suicide mission in space, but instead of having action and adventure, it has nihilism and forced breeding experiments. There’s one beautifully-shot scene where Juliette Binoche has sex with a machine that kind of turns into an animal, and it’s creepy and erotic and moderately sad in the way that I think every scene in this movie wanted to be.
I don’t feel like I totally understood what I saw, but it was very bleak, and it left me feeling disturbed for a long time after. I kind of wish I hadn’t watched it, but it was my white whale at TIFF last year in terms of scheduling, and I know that I’d always feel like I was missing out if I never saw it.
The Endless is a sci-fi/fantasy movie about two brothers who return to the cult they once escaped from and find out that everybody’s trapped in a time loop. The rules of the time loop aren’t clear to me, and it also isn’t clear to me whether everything that happens has some kind of metaphorical significance or grew out of somebody saying, “What if a suicide cult had a good reason to kill themselves?”
I’m given to understand that this story fits into a larger narrative that connects with another film called Resolution, and I think I might have liked this more if I had seen Resolution first.
I said I wouldn’t watch it and then I watched it. The trope of white Americans going to an exotic country and having a jungle adventure hasn’t aged super well, but I’d feel more forgiving toward it if the adventure were funnier.