We’re back with another look into The Letterboxd Files with Cory.
Are you curious what I’ve been watching? Well, look no further. Here are those leisurely thoughts…mainly 2022 catch-up, but some oldies in there, too.
Michael Bay discovering drones is the most exciting development in action cinema in years.
A legitimate roller coaster ride, a love letter to watching a movie through the slots in your fingers because the frenzy at times can be just too much to bear (in the best way possible). Only a delightful sicko like Bay could direct something like this; that ambulance surgery scene is seared into my brain.
Better than all the Transformers films combined. Bay is back, baby! Love.
Where to Watch: Peacock, VOD
The most violent film I’ve ever seen to also feature a stellar fart joke.
If you call this a flop, meet me at the volcano. Eggers the king. This is fantastic. Nicole Kidman’s best role since Destroyer.
Where to Watch: Peacock, VOD
COVID Rear Window. Steven Soderbergh is one of the most talented director from his generation if only because he can quite literally direct anything, any genre, at any time. The protest/van scene and the “Sabotage” sequence made me yell aloud in excitement. One of the best movies of the year; watching this and The Northman back-to-back was a hell of a way to spend a Monday.
Where to Watch: HBO Max
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Well, this is much better than The Crimes of Grindelwald, one of the worst studio blockbusters I’ve seen in the last 10 years, and when it actually focuses on the beasts, it’s a fun time. Jude Law was an excellent Dumbledore pick, and he understands the assignment. Dan Fogler is always a hoot in these movies and really seems invested in the character, and Mads Mikkelsen is just such an improvement over [REDACTED].
The problem is that even the good stuff here feels wholly unnecessary. The first film in the series did a good enough job of actually living up to its promise, but trying to shoehorn the Dumbledore/Grindelwald saga in this series just was the wrong decision. That needed its own movie without trying to tie itself down. I quite enjoyed this for what it was, but I’m just unsure we really need another one of these movies. I’d be much more obliged to watch it after this one as opposed to that awful second film. It just all feels like content over cinema; something recognizable, something occasionally fun and compelling, just never … needed.
Where to Watch: HBO Max, VOD
If Mark Rylance wasn’t one of the world’s best actors, I’m convinced he would be one of the world’s best poker players.
Where the hell was all the love for this when it came out? Just a sleek, purposefully messy chamber piece heightened by Rylance chewing every bit of scenery and a really tight, purposeful script. The type of movie that would’ve done better in 2005, methinks.
It helps that Dylan O’Brien, Zoey Deutch and Johnny Flynn are among the best in their young class of underappreciated actors. Graham Moore is a guy I’ve got high hopes for. It’s been a minute since we’ve had a nice little mob drama like this.
Where to Watch: Peacock, VOD
Top Gun: Maverick
Tom Cruise is the greatest movie star of all time. I think this settles the debate. He’s a weird cat, but the man understands the theatrical experience probably better than any actor to ever live. He’s created some of the most thrilling works ever, and pushes the limits every time into what he can do. There have been some greats, but Cruise is the king. He’s the best that ever was or will be.
This is stellar. Top Gun: Maverick feels like The Irishman for blockbusters, with the criticism going much more outward than inward. If you’d like to ask Tom Cruise about his opinion on the state of studio filmmaking, here’s your answer. …so I think I know what answer he gave Marvel?
It’s right up there with Creed and Star Wars: The Force Awakens for bombastic legacyquels, but it feels much more like the former in pushing the craft forward and in the latter in just delivering everything you were hoping for. A perfect blend of both approaches. All-time movie theater experience; one of the great sequels, too.
Where to Watch: Theaters now, Paramount+ later this year
A modest, intriguing little crime drama that lets Jesse Plemons kind of take over for stretches and do his thing, which I always approve of. Not sure if it fully lands that ending, but I really enjoyed the ride.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
FWIW: Nicolas Cage didn’t have to make this for folks to celebrate his talent (blessedly, we did that last year with Pig, and in 2018 with Mandy).
This, at least to me, would’ve worked better as a Funny or Die short, but Cage and Pedro Pascal as BFFs is fun enough to help cover up the uninteresting plot. This isn’t the shocking satirical introspection into a generational actor/enigma it kind of billed itself to be, more an SNL-style movie where a man plays a meme. Cage is always game for whatever the script throws at him; I just wish they’d thrown more? It’s a lukewarm effort, but likable enough to sand over a very uninspired plot. You could legit do without all of the CIA stuff. Just cut it out. It is just empty air.
The memorabilia scene is good. I wish the movie had been more of that. The Paddington 2 scene…I think it’s still too early to reference Paddington 2 in other movies. That’s just me, though. You do you.
Where to Watch: VOD
My wife walked in on me watching this, which inspired a heck of a look.
Phil Tippett spending 30 or so years to make this is a hell of a thing. More of a sensory experience than anything, but a punishing one, bent on pulling you into the depths of Tippett’s inferno. I wouldn’t last 5 minutes in this hellhole he imagined. I think that’s the point. Stunning imagery, blistering tone, downright horrifying in spurts, bleakly humorous in others. I really hope Tippett watched a lot of Seinfeld while he made this, or took a lot of really calm walks by the beach. This movie needed some Paddington 2 jokes, not The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.
Okay, switch the titles. Call this that, and call the Cage film Mad God. Pay me, Hollywood!
It’d be funny to me if they played this for a crowded theater full of kids instead of Minions: The Rise of Gru. Mad God…for the whole family!
Where to Watch: Shudder (June 16)
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
I was in Savannah so I decided to pop this on and see the main film made about the city.
Not bad! Not quite among Eastwood’s best, but a very entertaining and well-made courtroom drama with some unexpected personality. It’s a damn shame Kevin Spacey is a criminal because he’s quite good in this and usually everything he does. John Cusack is also a fascinating foil, but I genuinely have no idea what type of journalist or writer he was and what his ethical boundaries were. Writing a book might open him up a bit to be more friendly with the subject, but if he’s an actual journalist, this is a crash course in how not to cover something. Nevertheless, a really good watch! It has its flaws, but it’s Eastwood, and the Lady Chablis (RIP) alone makes up for most of the slips-ups. What a performance! Bummed she didn’t get a chance to do more in the movies.
Savannah! What a town. We passed by the Mercer-Williams House on a tour, and walked around Forsythe Park, two pivotal shooting locations.
DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story (rewatch)
Respect always to my Uncle Bobby for taking me to see this when I was 11. My brother was 9, and he was there, too. Special night! My mom had no idea.
We need more studio comedies where Stephen Root is a lead cast member.
The “Luck of the Irish” gag is still to this day one of the funniest things from that absurdly great 00s comedy run, capped without peer by that Joel David Moore “that’s how he wanted to go out” line. I mean, you can’t do it better. The way he sells it, and the look on the guy next to him.
The Lance Armstrong gag and like … okay let’s be real 15% of the very dated/probably offensive jokes you could do without. Outside of that, always one of the best studio comedies of its time during a time when studios actually made comedies. What a concept!
Last Year at Marienbad
I don’t want to be some sort of jackass and try to act like I know what happened in this movie because obviously *I have no idea,* but I’m pretty sure it’s about people who can’t let go of the past to the point where they become stuck there and can’t leave. So basically the Eagles watched this, said ‘wait a second,’ and wrote “Hotel California.” It’s also got the world’s most amped-up organ player going HAM on every stanza.
Great movie, of course. Totally baffling, but in the way that the French New Wave kind of owns the patent on, you know?