Last night (7/5/16) my friend sent me a link to this list on imgur.
As lists go, not very good. Random person, not very eloquent, with lots of grammatical errors. The movies listed aren’t exactly bad, but there’s no real connection between them. Just “movies some random person watched and liked.” Also the way the person writes gave me the impression that they aren’t very well educated, or maybe not very intelligent.
I had to stop myself there though. A couple of mistakes on some image sharing website is not a good measure of someone’s intelligence. The meaning of their message is more important than the words they used to convey it. I have to be careful not to judge people by the education they may or may not have received, or their struggles with literacy and language. Also I have to remember, if I listened to this person read their post aloud, I would not be able to tell that they had these mistakes. As a conversation, it would be perfectly fine. To sum up, grammar is not relevant to this topic.
With that in mind, I still had problems with the list. Who’s this person sharing their opinions with me? Why should their opinions matter? Who cares what movies this person saw recently? That’s the only thing tying this list together, some random person on the internet? Who actually wants to read this?
I said stuff to this effect to my friend, and I realized that she is a type of person who’d actually want to read that. And I might have been saying something kind of unintentionally hurtful.
I also realized that I was criticizing this list, but the list wasn’t actually that bad. I was judging this person harshly, but not really; I was actually criticizing myself, subconsciously. Who am I? Why should my opinion matter? Who cares what movies I’ve seen recently? Why would anyone want to read my opinion of them?
The answer is, probably my friend, right? And people like her. If you’ve found this, maybe people like you? Maybe someone like me, who has the same kind of negative thoughts about themselves, might get something positive out of it.
So, long story short, I’m gonna make a list. A list of the movies I’ve seen recently.
To keep myself sane, I’m going to impose some simple rules for this list. There may come a time for a list with movies that don’t fit these rules, but it is not today.
- Only movies I’ve seen in an actual movie theater in the 2016 year.
- Every movie will have some kind of image, a short bit of information about where/the circumstances around how I saw that movie.
- Brief synopsis of movie. No more than two sentences. No research! I saw the movie. If my memory isn’t good enough, the movie isn’t good enough.
- Brief review/opinion of movie. Not more than a short paragraph. Pure stream of consciousness. Once again, no research.
- Try to avoid using the word good. I’m a movie fan, almost everything is good by default. Strive to dig a little deeper.
- Image for every movie. Image should be of something you can actually see in the movie (but can be a promotional still or something, not just a screenshot, but shouldn’t just be the movie poster).
That seems like enough. Let’s get started.
Be warned I’m not going to concern myself with spoilers. If you haven’t seen a movie, and don’t want to be spoiled, just skip to the next one. There’s 37 of them, it’s okay to skip one. That said, if you look up at the third and fourth rule, you’ll see it’s gonna stay brief.
Key: Time and place.
1/2/2016 at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
A bounty hunter is bringing in a prisoner to
presumably face trial thenhang by the neck until dead. Along the way, he runs into another bounty hunter trying to escape a blizzard, then sixish more people become involved, and not one of them can be trusted.
This is actually my second viewing of The Hateful Eight. Both times seeing the 70mm version, but this time I brought my parents along. Tarantino has many talents, but even in his lesser works, his characters and dialogue stand above most other screenwriters. I believe my parents liked it, but I’m not sure if they got past the mouth-rape scene. This is not the type of movie you’d usually take your folks to, but hey, my folks are cool.
1/6/2016 at AMC Bay Street 16
A continuation of the BBC television series, this episode takes us into Sherlock's mind as he tries to come to terms with the idea that Moriarty could still be alive. His mind takes him to an unsolved case from the Victorian era, and he uses his high-functioning sociopath skills to solve it.
If you’ve kept up with Sherlock to this point, I can’t really see anybody having too big of a problem with this episode. It managed to be both a great bit of fan service and a continuation of the present day storyline. Admittedly, at this point months later, I don’t remember it too well.
1/10/2016 (Underpants day?) at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission
A based on a true story account of small groups of people discovering how broken our housing market was in the era before the "Great Recession" (is that what they call it?). They used this knowledge to make lots of money, but the world still went to shit anyway.
I liked this movie. The little jokey asides weren’t terrible, but I don’t think the movie really needed them. I was surprised at how emotional I got, realizing that the events depicted in this movie might have significantly impacted my life, and I got off light (I think?). There are lots of people who found themselves in a terrible hole after 2008.
1/11/2016 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission
A white American fur trader guide with a half-Indian son is attacked by a bear, and one member of his group wants to leave him to die, while the rest are more conflicted about it. When given the opportunity, this particular group member leaves him half-burried, but the man doesn't die, and spends the rest of the film trying to survive to exact his revenge.
I liked this movie. Very powerful imagery. I don’t care how accurate the movie is, or how many crew-members quit due to harsh working conditions, this movie was beautiful. Seeing parts of the world still a mostly natural state. Unlike Tarantino’s Hateful Eight, this movie at least acknowledges the indigenous peoples that lived here before european influence. A highly visceral experience.
1/23/2016 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission
A customer service spokesman has a condition where everyone he sees looks and sounds like the same person. This is crushing, until he randomly hears a new voice and sees a new face--then fucks it.
This was quite interesting, and also a very familiar feeling. Ultimately I don’t think the movie was entirely worth watching, I mean it was interesting, but then what? Perhaps just a little too much time on the puppet sex. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for puppet sex, just maybe not with so much unsettling feelings attached to it.
1/24/2016 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission
A woman, born in a prison to a mother who'd been wronged by a group of people, is trained to exact revenge on that group. And does.
Chicks with swords. You know I love it. I had seen it before, but I suppose it was not one of my favorites, but it’s still good. I was also surprised to realize that it’s set in a more recent period. I feel like most jidai-geki are set further back, and this movie is more in the modern period. Meiji era, if I remember correctly.
1/24/2016 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission
Having exacted her revenge in the previous film, Lady Snowblood is now constantly being pursued by the police, and is running out of reasons to keep fighting. Then the government attempts to hire her as an assassin, but can this government be trusted?
To my memory, this one is less focused than the previous movie. I still enjoyed it, and it seems even more epic in scope. Rather than just a small group of evildoers, this time she’s siding with the radical left and poor community against the tyranny of the Meiji government. Biological warfare in its infancy. However, I don’t remember how it ends.
2/5/2016 (again 2/16 in EC with mom & dad) at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission
The Cohen Brothers' homage to the golden age of Hollywood. There's not really too much more to say about it, than that.
I wonder about this movie. I get the sense that I liked it, but it feels closer to their remake of The Ladykillers than their more prolific work. It’s no Big Lebowski. It’s not No Country For Old Men. All that said, it has enough wonderful work in it that I have to recommend it. I saw it again to see if maybe it’d grow on me. Jury is still out on that one. That said, if you have a love of film history, especially of Hollywood in the 50s, you should find a lot to like here.
2/10/2016 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission
Merc with the mouth has identity crisis after becoming horribly disfigured. Attempts revenge against the person he feels is most responsible, and hilarity ensues, also murder.
Thoroughly enjoyed this movie. What’s not to love? Here’s hoping they can make a string of successes like this one. Superhero genre is so ripe for ridicule.
2/13/2016 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission
Michael Moore travels the world looking for ideas to steal and bring back to America. Discovers that the ideas he's looking for are based on ideas that were already American, but we've apparently given up on them.
I’ve been a fan of Michael Moore for a long time. I remember when The Awful Truth was on TV. I miss Cluckers, the corporate crime fighting chicken. Regardless of where I stand on the issues he brings up, I still find most of his work at least entertaining. Still this movie surprised me. The emotion I felt during The Big Short cropped up again, as it hit me that there are things we should all be privileged to, but have allowed greed to take away from us.
2/28/2016 at New People
The first part of the kicking off point of the Monogatari series, finally adapted into a three-part feature. Kokomo Araragi meets two women who change his life, one of them turns him into a vampire.
The Monogatari series is quite sprawling at this point. I remember when Bakemonogatari was adapted into an Anime, and liking it, but it’s a challenging series to keep up with. Obscure Japanese references and wordplay, with rapid cutting, and just a dense script, made me stop following for a while. BUT THEN a little while ago, there was like no new good anime coming out. There was an anime hole in my life. I decided to fill it by catching up on the Monogatari series, and boy am I glad I did. I liked this film so much, I even bought the translation of the light novel. I never read novels. I can’t wait for part two, though now I know what’s going to happen–but I don’t know how it’s going to happen. Adaptation is a thing worth noticing. I hope I can find someone to drag along for part two.
3/7/2016 at Century Hilltop 16
Bunny from the country dreams of being a cop in the big city, and eventually gets her wish. Meanwhile, animal racism.
#FoxLivesMatter. I enjoyed this movie. I like how it’s kind of a silly disney movie, and yet is full of grown-up storylines and references. I think the whole Shakira goat thing is weird for some reason. Also, for some reason I had in my mind that the voice of the fox was Jason Schwartzman, but it was actually Jason Bateman. Jason Bateman was good, don’t get me wrong. But for whatever reason the idea of Max Fischer as a fox just sounded more fun to me.
3/11/2016 at Shattuck Cinemas
Mermaids are sick of being killed by rich people, but are also kinda inept at dealing with humans. One attempts to assassinate rich dude, but instead they fall in love.
Modern Chinese films seem so rough. I don’t know if it’s their whole industry, or just this one filmmaker’s style, but it can take some getting used to. This one had its moments, but I think ultimately, it doesn’t compare to the earlier works from Stephen Chow. But I’m glad I saw it, if only because it was pretty different from what I normally see.
3/19/2016 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission
Pee-Wee meets an awesome new friend that invites him to their birthday party, which is all the way across the country in New York City. Can Pee-Wee make it to the party on time, while learning important lessons about life along the way?
I have apparently been a Pee-Wee since I was very little, but my memories of being a fan do not start until I watched the original stage show on Comedy Central around when I was in middle school. Learning that Pee-Wee is kind of for everybody, and still surprisingly subversive, is just a great thing. This film is really good Pee-Wee. His adventures as he meets the cast of characters is definitely worth watching on Netflix.
3/22/2016 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission
A man has to take his son, who is hypersensitive to external stimuli, away from a religious cult that has formed around his visions. Turns out he's some kind of alien, or inter dimensional being or something, and doesn't belong among us.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, going into this one. I’m not too familiar with the film maker. It was kind of an interesting movie, but…I wouldn’t put it on the top of any lists. Still, the screening came with a director’s Q&A, a neat 7 inch vinyl record, and some non-functional but stylish blue swimming goggles.
3/26/2016 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission
The world isn't sure what to make of this Superman guy, and Batman is especially worried. Who can blame him, dude only seems to care about Lois Lane.
Visually, this movie is pretty good. Sounded okay. Pretty good effects. But the story is on the same level as a Amazing Spider-Man 2, or Spider-man 3. Not good to be compared to those movies. And wtf, DC, your two biggest heroes both have mothers named Martha? ARE YOU SERIOUS. If that’s always been true, they really shouldn’t have pointed it out in a movie like this. That’s the type of fact I’d want to keep hidden.
4/2/2016 at Shattuck Cinemas
A woman takes a break from her usual city life by taking a trip to the country. While there, she reminisces about her childhood.
I was glad to get another chance to see this film, especially on the big screen. It kind of brought up an interesting topic for me, that is, special education or lack thereof in the Japanese education system. Obviously, anime, or movies/tv in general, are probably terrible places to information about such a thing. I first noticed it watching K-On, but several other characters also appear from my point of view to have learning disabilities. Now, the time period where this film is set, I don’t think learning disabilities were that well known even in America, as my mother will often remind me. It’s interesting to see how people struggle with education, since I think everybody does at some point. OH AND THIS MOVIE IS BEAUTIFUL.
4/4/2016 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – Ritz
Is it a documentary, concert film, historical drama, or poetry? I don't fuckin' know.
This was a challenge to sit through. I did it for my mom, who is a massive Dylan fan. I was surprised that she knew what the ‘Bob Dylan Mystery Epic’ was going to be before it started. It was still hard to watch for a few reasons. Poor quality visuals-both the original photography was somewhat poor, and then the only way left to watch it is this bootleg VHS from European television. The concert footage was alright though, if kinda weird, what with the facepaint and masks and stuff. Interesting documentary footage with The Hurricane and stuff. Makes me want to watch I’m Not There all the way through. Ultimately didn’t see the ending due to technical difficulties with the projector.
First time visiting the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz, in Austin, Texas.
4/10/2016 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – South Lamar
'Spiritual successor to Dazed and Confused,' we follow a soon to be college freshman as he moves in with his future baseball teammates. They all are highly competitive people on a quest for good times.
At the time I saw this movie, I had not yet seen Dazed and Confused. I had been ditched by my mom, and since I was in Austin and an Austin filmmaker had a movie in theaters, I decided to see it. I was not sure what to expect, but I can say that I certainly didn’t expect to be made so happy by the film. It’s interesting how it’s a kind of raunchy, college party comedy, but also makes the time for highly entertaining conversations. Thinking back on the Richard Linklater movies I’d seen, that seems to be his thing–conversations. I should find the time to plug in Waking Life again.
First time back to the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar since its big remodel.
4/11/2016 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – Ritz
Apocalyptic sci-fi anime. High school motorcycle gangs get mixed up with social unrest and powerful telekinesis with body horror.
I suppose I’d seen this before, but never in such a way as to give it the attention it deserves. For whatever reasons, I’ve never been very comfortable sharing my love for anime with my parents, so before this, I’d probably only ever watched it at night at low volume while my parents slept, with an ear towards their door and my finger on the remote in case they woke up. Well as luck would have it, mom was ditching me again and Akira was playing at the Ritz. Very powerful movie, but still perhaps not one of my favorites. Something about how Tetsuo turns on first his friends, and then everything, just doesn’t quite sit well with me. And that poor girl with the Afro!
This was totally the way to see it though. I had read previously about the Drafthouse’s fancy laser light Scott Pilgrim shows, and was sad to not fit one of those in. I was gonna watch Akira anyway, but I was delighted to learn that it was Akira accompanied by a laser light show. And boy, is this movie made for that shit or what? The only thing missing was live pyrotechnics.
4/18/2016 at Rialto Cinemas Cerrito
Retelling of the Disney adaptation. Boy raised by wolves in the jungle has to learn to fend for himself against a big scary
Saw this on a lark, wasn’t particularly interested. Special effects and animation are so great now. Entire jungle movie shot on fuckin’ soundstage. That’s not a knock against it, the effect is seamless. But in the end, I’m not sure it helped things. I never bought Bill Murray’s voice, and kid actor was a kid actor. He did well, though. I’m curious now about the upcoming Andy Serkis adaptation.
4/29/2016 at Century Hilltop 16
Highly stylized interpretation of a period in the life of Miles Davis.
I often find myself wearing a Miles Davis t-shirt. And I have a small selection of albums. I liked that movie with Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx. But I’m faaaar from an expert on Miles Davis. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if nothing that happened in this movie happened to the real guy. I also wouldn’t be surprised if a whole lot of this movie is actually very true to life. Oh and Obi-wan did drugs. Other people in the theater took the poetic note at the end as fact and proclaimed that Miles Davis is still alive.
4/30/2016 at AMC Metreon 16
View of the earth and the perspective given on the international space station.
It had been too long since I’d seen a good, sciencey IMAX movie. This did not disappoint. Beautiful vintages from the ISS? Interesting insight into the life of astronauts up there. Bullshit called on the movie Gravity for its depiction of taking off a space suit.
4/30/2016 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission
Punk band lives hardcore punk lifestyle. Playing at a shitty venue they get involved in a murder, which the venue is keen on cleaning up.
Patrick Stewart as neo-nazi drug lord. Need I say more? Having said that, I don’t think he really had a big enough role in the movie. I suppose the real star is the gore and the tension. I’m not certain what I got out of this movie, in the end.
5/7/2016 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission
After Captain America and co. again cause collateral damage, the world's governments put pressure on the Avengers to submit to government restrictions. Tony Stark gives into this pressure in order to do his best to keep the team together, but Steve Rogers sticks to his principles and they clash.
Immensely entertaining continuation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s impressive how well these movies keep it going. Perhaps just a little too much going on in this one, but I don’t want to nitpick.
5/12/2016 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission
Couple in feudal times is ridiculed by the upperclass society, Belladonna, the bride to be, is gang-raped by them while the groom is forced to watch. Belladonna eventually recovers with the help of this devil dude, but the clergy and upperclass decide to execute her, sparking revolution.
Japanese hippie watercolor interpretation of European history. Saw the trailer for this back before the Renaldo and Clara. Wasn’t sure what to make of it beyond the fact it’d be a trip. I only wish I did psychedelics. Like most things related to the French Revolution, the story had trouble holding my attention. I like how our heroine is corrupted by the devil, but that it’s a good thing. It makes her a better person. The only bad guys are the clergy and monarchy, trying to cling to their power. God isn’t on your side, it’s on theirs.
5/22/2016 at AMC Metreon 16
Sloppy private detective and principled violent man team up to find a girl. They stumble into a big conspiracy over their head, involving the porn and auto industries.
Shane Black knows how to do this entertaining buddy/crime movie thing. Keep that up, man. If you have the chance, go see this movie. Or rent it. Whatever, just watch it.
6/1/2016 at Century Hilltop 16
Powerful mutant survives millennia underground, recruits other powerful mutants to help him lord over the earth. X-Mem gotta stop him.
The X-Men have never really been my thing, exactly, but I’ve still managed to see most of the movies. But I have no idea going into these things. Still, I was entertained. The bad guy could easily have been the worst part, but he was played really well. I dug that performance. Good to see all the characters again. Amy Adams part was underwritten. Why are you, throughout most of the movie, Amy Adams and not Mistique? I thought Mistique was not ashamed of who she is. But what do I know.
6/4/2016 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission
Famous archeologist is hired by America to beat Nazis. God kills nazis.
I don’t like to pass up seeing a good movie on a big screen. Indiana Jones holds a special place for me, but I’d never seen it ‘the way it was meant to be seen.’ It’s interesting how successful that movie is, despite the exposition left on the cutting room floor. What really surprised me, though, was the tears I felt in my eyes during the scene with Marion and Indy in Katanga’s cabin. Why that scene, I don’t know, but I’ll always welcome some tears of joy.
6/16/2016 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission
Rex is described as a partycrasher, so when he is separated from the regular toys and taken to the bathtub, he is determined to give the opposite impression to his new friends. Also, those bathtub toys are freakin' raving E-tards.
Ah, the good old Pixar short. How many of these damn toy story shorts are there? This one was very entertaining, both technically and comedically.
6/16/2016 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission
Overprotective father loses his son and has to cross the ocean to find him. Along the way, he makes new friends and learns to trust in his son's abilities.
This could still rank as my numero uno Pixar movie. Thomas Newman score, wonderful comedic timing, and still knows how to pull at your heartstrings. I can’t even imagine how much this movie would affect me if I were a family man.
6/16/2016 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission
Adorable baby bird has to learn to leave the nest to get some food. Learns first that the ocean is scary, but then learns to work with it.
Good job, Pixar. Really made me wanna go to the beach.
6/16/2016 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission
Dory has a moment of clarity and remembers that she has a family somewhere, and drags Marlin and Nemo along to find them. Along the way they get separated, but eventually reunited in an entertaining but unlikely series of events.
Spending more time with these characters, and the new characters, really made me happy. It’s not quite there at the same level as Finding Nemo, but it’s up there pretty high, for me. I find myself appreciating the messages in this one, how you behave when you have someone important in your life with a mental disability. And Hank being the ultimate agoraphobe, also kinda hits close to home.
I’ll have to do a Pixar list, down the line some day.
6/25/2016 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission
It's the last day of school, which means there's a lot of fresh...freshman out there in the world! Hazing and general small town hijinks ensue.
After my positive experience with Everybody Wants Some!! a few months before, I jumped at the opportunity to see Dazed and Confused in the theater. There was an amount of hazing in this film that I can’t imagine being accurate, but what do I know about it. It struck me how this movie is set in 1976, in a town not unlike Austin, TX (It was actually shot in Austin, but could be portraying any number of suburban towns), which is not that far removed from my mother’s life experience. Also, since I saw Everybody Wants Some!! first, then this, I think I should try to sit down and watch American Graffiti, which, I imagine, is a similar type of movie about an earlier generation.
6/29/2016 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission
Man stranded in the wilderness is about to give up on life when he discovers a dead body. He and the corpse then have an existential puppet show in the woods.
Wow. I can’t even…This movie was very interesting. Mostly entertaining. Daniel Radcliffe really does the physical acting thing well. I only wish the main character was not such a creep. It’s one thing to take a photo of a stranger for your own personal enjoyment, it’s another to drag a dead body into their back yard, I don’t care how magical the circumstances. Probably the weirdest movie I’ve seen in a while. It gave off a very strong Spike Jonze vibe, which is a good thing. And while the ending might have made me just a little uncomfortable, where else could it go? Can’t fault ’em forever about this stuff.
7/1/2016 at Rialto Cinemas Cerrito
Earth has had a fair amount of time to prepare for another alien invasion, but find themselves unprepared when it actually happens. The world as we know it gets destroyed, again.
I wasn’t really that interested in this movie, but I have a fondness for the original ID4. This movie found a way to feel way less important. New characters fall far short. Having said that, I enjoyed all the characters that have returned. And it’s always good to see Brent Spinner, but maybe less good to see his ass. I’d be okay with them making another sequel, if they can deliver on the premise set up in the final scene.
6/29/2016 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission
First two episodes of a new HBO series about a pair of Vice Principals who both feel they should have the head honcho position. When they're passed over for someone else to get the job, they form a truce to take her out.
I was fond of the first season of Eastbound and Down. This doesn’t excite me as much, so far. Having said that, there is a certain glee to the sheer amount of crazy on the screen. IF they can continue to escalate the insanity, without going too far into the depressing kind of humor it could go to, I could see it growing on me. Also, I kind of hope that the two vice principals continue to get away with their evil deeds throughout the show. It seems like it’d be more funny for me if there are no repercussions. Good luck with that, HBO.
That’s it so far.
Thoughts on the year at the half:
Being surprised to find myself emotionally moved to tears a few times already this year. Big short, Where To Invade Next, Indiana Jones, and Finding Nemo/Dory. Niagara Falls. (Also Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, but I didn’t want to put it with the others ‘cuz it’s not a movie.)
Seem to find myself at the Alamo Drafthouse a lot. No better place to see a movie.
There have been movies from a lot of good film makers come out already this year. Look at the film makers represented above:
Q. Tarantino, G. Inarritu, C. Kaufman, The Cohen Brothers, M. Moore, S. Chow, R. Linklater, J. Favreau, S. Black, B. Singer, and A. Stanton.
And we still have another half year to go!
ALREADY BOUGHT TICKETS FOR
7/20/2016 Star Trek: Beyond
LOOKING FORWARD TO
Secret Life of Pets
Kubo and the Two Strings
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Bad Santa 2
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
And I hope I’m missing some there. I still have a ways to go to get to 50 visits to the Alamo Drafthouse. I wanna be top brass, damnit!
See you in January for the next movie watch recap.