C and I are trying to watch more movies this year. I don't know why 1.5 to 2 hours of a self-contained thing somehow seems more difficult than the equivalent time of TV episodes, but it does.
Also I am trying to log more movies that I have watched. For some reason I will faithfully log every book I start reading, but I will forget to do so for movies. I have a Letterboxd account
if you're truly curious. (As it's mostly for record keeping, I rarely review.)
So, here is a quick run-down of movies I've seen in the past month.
is delightful and inspiring. Taraji, Olivia, and Janelle are amazing, I was really annoyed by Kevin Costner's white savior character, and I was delighted to see Aldis Hodge and Mahershala Ali, who I was not expecting. I was impressed by Kirsten Dunst's white lady character, who is instantly recognizable from your Facebook acquaintances and replies to black people on Twitter. The whole "I know you think I hate you but I don't" exchange was brutal. I don't want to say it was simplistic, but it was very straightforward. That probably served the message of the story better, but it felt a little glossed over, too pat to be real history.
is a really enjoyable action movie once you get past the upsetting animal death
. There's a surprising amount of worldbuilding in it, stuff that's just on the edges and makes you want more exploration. The stunts are so fucking well done, which I suppose is unsurprising given that the directors were Keanu Reeves's stunt doubles on The Matrix. There is deep thought and attention paid to the fight choreography, and Wick's economy of movement in killing is very reminiscent of Kurosawa's samurai. There's never a wasted punch, kick, or shot. Wick actually reloads his gun when the clip runs out, which I don't think I've ever seen in an action movie before.
This is all well and good, but there's also a ridiculous gleeful spirit of camp to the movie. I was telling C that it reminded me a lot of Boondock Saints (which is a stupid movie that I love a great deal), and not just because Willem Dafoe is in it. The dialogue is hilarious and overwrought, and some fine actors (Ian McShane among them) get to chew the scenery with great relish. I can't remember the last time I had so much fun watching a movie.Keanu
is best paired with John Wick in my opinion, because it's a completely different kind of stupid and also parodies John Wick. Also there's a really cute kitten in it.
I finally got the chance to watch Moonlight
, after hearing raves about it for months. I thought I would be overwhelmed and amazed, based on people's reactions, but it's the sort of movie that's quiet and understated, wondrous because it's so subtle. It feels like the sort of fanfiction I have always wanted to write, the minutiae of gestures indicative of things that run deep. C called it just artsy enough, which I think is fair. It's so beautifully shot, and I love the way the harsh fluorescents contrast with the dark blue palette.
There is so much craft and regard put into this movie, and every character is treated as complex. I wrote this before about Luke Cage, but I think it applies here as well. This is what happens when you let people make art about themselves. You get beautiful, nuanced, thoughtful media that everybody else can watch and appreciate, and it is a fucking joy.