Last 10

Jan 2 – 27

I’ve stolen this idea from Film Comment. The only thing that’s different is that I’m not a known filmmaker giving you a list of the last ten movies I’ve seen.

Uncut Gems (2019) – The Safdie Brothers are anxiety pilers. They have this gift of imagining everything that could possibly go wrong in a given moment and then piling them all in one room and then milking these moment until the utter is bone dry. They have a gift for this type of filmmaking. And it’s rare to walk out of a movie with your guts still in a twist. But underneath all that high anxiety is a clever burrowing in on what unchecked capitalism does to some folks. An African stone starts all this. The wonders of the universe lie with in it. But the mechanics and logistics to bring it forth and the outcome that follows isn’t worth it. Only death follows. And who suffers the most? Africans, Jews, Armenians and a sly little nod toward Native Americans with the casino at the end. It’s just not a rock to some.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) – There really is no telling what the fuck is going on here, yet I found myself midway through not really giving a shit. When Poe and Finn are running around some ship on some mission bantering back and forth, I thought to myself, this is what I want, more Oscar Isaac and John Boyega. It’s a pity sometimes to be so fascinated by something like The Force when the real pleasure comes from the frantic pacing and straight-faced chummery of a well done space opera.

Django Unchained (2013) – It’s QT’s most satisfying film. He sticks with Django throughout, jumping around very little. Some occasional flashbacks but for the most part just a fantastic grudge of dental work. Being inspired by German Folklore into heroism Django and the good doctor service a loud and bloody and brutal root canal to not just Calvan Candie but to whole institution of slavery.

The Tenant (1976) – Wherein we see Polanski turn into a woman. Or be possessed by one. I wondered while watching this again, probably like everyone familiar with the man’s story, that maybe this was some sort of sordid attempt by Polanski to deal with Sharon Tate’s death and the aftermath of fleeing America as a pedophile. How does he really go into himself and take a gander at things? By making everyone in the movie a bully and American to boot. Shades of Elia Kazan and On the Waterfront indeed.

Alien (1979) – This movie is in a constant state of penetration. So much so, that there’s an explosion of milky, whiteness toward the end, from a woman-hating android. Ripley is what? The modern woman? The modern space-woman. And what does she find in space? Maybe the root of all penetrating evil. Man’s unending tinkering with shit.

Aliens (1986) – For a minute there you think this movie might be about trauma and somehow dealing with it. But it quickly takes you inside this Heinlein-like hoorah of militaristic lampoonishness. Bill Paxton leading the way with such a deft performance of a dopey, gung-ho mercenary turned inside-out by this ultimate killing machine. It’s an evisceration of violent manly norms. Then again this could be about healing from trauma by just piling more trauma. Does Ripley ever get a break?

Alien 3 (1992) – Ripley gets laid! I mean, how long’s it been? A hundred years? She’s been floating around in space for at least that long and the closest she ever got was a little flirting with Hicks. But here she crashes on a prison planet, Newt and Hicks not making it by the way, and inside two days she’s banging Tywin Lannister. And I do not blame her one fucking bit, cause the rest of the movie is not so much garbage but refuse of doubt from the two previous films.

Booksmart (2019) – All these kids are so smart and funny it makes you wanna just keep growing old and die. Let them have this world, they’ll make it better for sure. Olivia Wilde comes to the table with such an assured handle it’s just amazing. A great kinetic piece of pop, coming-of-age comedy.

Inception (2010) – Projections run amok. All in service to change a memory. We’re left with a totem that never topples. Just spinning away in Leo’s head. It’s an idea that never falters, just like the driving efficiency of this movie. An epic Escher painting compounded to an nth degree of superfluous dream logic. A propelling force this movie. The ego’s momentum writ large. In the end it’s just all about what past you can live with.

Upgrade (2018) – The terrors of technology. It’s pretty simple isn’t it. There’s always a price to pay for the ability to walk again. To have a voice inside your head egging you on. This is disability porn at its finest.

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