No plans? No problem. In this ongoing series of articles, I’m going to highlight movies on a weekly basis that I recommend for weekend viewing. Cinematic comfort food comes in many forms, so this particular form is an extension of “My Favorite Movies” but on a more consistent basis. Enjoy the show!
Following an Academy Award win for Best Original Screenplay, what better time to recommend Get Out to any and all people? The tragic truth is, it continues be a relevant time to recommend Jordan Peele’s directorial debut. Not only for its technical precision and horrifying cinematic compositions, but for how it uses these tools to tell a story about being a black person in a predominantly white environment.
Black bodies framed as objects of commodities, vessels of fetishization.
“We’re not racist! We just love black people so much we literally hijack their autonomy for our own purposes.”
Not the take-down of blatant in your face racism people were probably expecting prior to this. Rather, Jordan Peele utilizes his confidence behind the camera to analyze horrifying implications and far-spreading reach of liberal racism.
“I would’ve voted for Obama for a third term… Black is in style.”
Chris isn’t viewed as a person. He’s just another statistic to a system that has no interest in who he is, but what he could offer a crowd of white faces.
Thank god for T. S. Motherfuckin’ A. Let Jordan Peele make whatever the fuck he wants. This has the confidence of a seasoned veteran and the energy of a slumbering giant awoken by a need to express brilliance. An instant horror classic.
I did a commentary with my podcast for more fleshed out, extended thoughts on the Get Out, its influences and how race can and should matter behind the camera. “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Identity is arguably more so.
Better late than never? 2017 was a seriously great year for movies (like I mentioned here) so in a lesser year, any of these could have made my top 10 list. So I’m going to be greedy and write about 25 of my favorites movies from last year. I am human so I didn’t see everything (I will witness you soon, Florida Project) and let’s just call it a subjectively objective list. Feel free to check out my 2017 in Film roundup which is still mostly accurate to the list I’ve culminated below.
Here are some quick honorable mentions: Wonder Woman, Okja, Gerald’s Game, The Big Sick, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
War for the Planet of the Apes
A farewell to the Cesar trilogy of Apes legacy. Continuing the thematic and narrative threads of Monkey Moses might be far less subtle than its predecessor’s, though Reeves camera has never felt more appropriate. A throwback to classical blockbuster filmmaking with new gen technology, War takes elements of Apocalypse Now and The Great Escape to close out the Cesar trilogy with the most optimistic ending for the Apes at the expense of acknowledging the darkest exploration of humanities remnants.
The Lego Batman
Effectively satirizes the cinematic legacy of Batman while never failing to acknowledge why the character has endured for several generations and will continue for countless more. Batman’s dark, broody nature has reached peak ridiculousness and way the story maneuvers through the tragic heart of the character wisely brings forth his ultimate secret weapon: Batman is incomplete without a family.
Continue reading “Top 25 Movies of 2017”
2017 was a surprisingly refreshing year for movies, genre related stuff specifically. It broke box office records. Captain Underpants wasn’t just good, it was great. Big budget blockbusters actually looked like money was put to good use. It was a real treat to go to the theater rather than dreading it. Not everything was as great as Captain Underpants (no, really) but it was also a year where some hidden gems got lost among the big box office hits of the year. There’s another discussion we’ll have to have sometime about just how many blockbusters clog up the multiplex nowadays. For now, I thought I’d highlight some of the best genre fare theaters had to offer in 2017. Not all of these are specifically “Best of the Year” but I enjoyed these movies of varying sizes too much to let them be forgotten. If you’re curious about my favorites of 2017, here’s a video celebrating the best of 2017 and I’ll have another post up later this week. Without further adieu, here are a handful of my favorite hidden gems (in no particular order): Continue reading “My Not-Quite-Favorite Movies of 2017 (But Still Worth Mentioning)”
We lost Tobe Hooper this year. A legendary filmmaker who created among the most powerful and exuberant genre films the world has ever seen. How appropriate then that a 35 mm screening of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre would be projected at BeyondFest, a film festival showcasing film culture’s fun house genre appeal. Don Coscarelli, Mick Garris, Tom Holland and Adam Rifkin introduced the film with each one commemorating an experience with their comrade in genre. It became clear quickly that Tobe Hooper was being honored as a person first and foremost. By all accounts, he was a passionate artist, wanting to entertain and striving to create new methods of expression on film. To paraphrase Mick Garris, the best way to honor him is to watch one of his films. And so we did. Continue reading “THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE in 35mm: So long, Tobe Hooper”
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a damn good movie. On a technical level, it’s astounding. But that comes with the territory of J.J. Abrams. What was most striking to me after one or two (or a few more) viewings in theaters was the attention to scale and character. Star Wars is a series that is inherently expansive in scope and detail. The worlds are vast, ever-growing and are the definition of unlimited potential (UnlimitedPower.Gif) Continue reading “My Favorite Movies: THE FORCE AWAKENS”
“Have you ever seen blood in the moonlight, Will? It appears quite black.”
One of the best directed thrillers around. Manhunter isn’t so much interested in extraneous details of how characters came to be, filling information gaps with the nuance of a Criminal Minds episode but rather interested in the psychological weights of pure empathy. Continue reading “My Favorite Movies: MANHUNTER”
Batman Begins is a Batman story through and through, but The Dark Knight is a Joker story about testing the ideals presented in Nolan’s first entry.
The Joker might be an over saturated movie villain due to Hot Topic and aggressive fetishization of his villainy, but guys, he’s really fucking evil. I mean, he’s constantly tossed into Best Villain lists but this one is well deserved. The Joker isn’t a man. He’s an uncontrollable vortex of chaos and destruction. A living embodiment of pure anarchy bringing down the established order Batman and Gotham PD are barely scrounging together in their fight against the mob.
None of that matters to the Joker. He only cares about Batman. He only exists because of Batman. He wins by Batman beating him. Every punch thrown, every second Bruce puts on the cape and cowl, The Joker inches him further into his labyrinth of insanity. He exists because Batman needs his other half. A living nightmare created by Bruce’s crusade against crime.
It’s a whirling ballet of a performance and characterization. Nolan and the late Heath Ledger bring to life a monster unlike anything cinema had ever seen, and likely will never see again.
And even in the face of the unhinged clown prince of terror, Nolan has crafted an optimistic story.
Every move the Joker makes against Batman, and by proxy the people of Gotham, the city enters a downward spiral. Gordon pulls a gun on Batman (why doesn’t anybody ever mention this moment, like, holy shit??). Bruce loses what he perceives as his avenue to personal happiness. Gotham’s white knight falls further than anyone. But the citizens of Gotham endure.
Symbols can be torn down, Monsters may live among us, but unified humanity can triumph even in the face of seemingly unstoppable horrors.
Yeah, THE DARK KNIGHT is still a masterpiece.
More thoughts at AE.