These are going to be super perfunctory:
Maps to the Stars (2014)
Clouds of Sils Maria (FR 2014/US 2015)
Yes! Such a capital-F Film. Very aesthetically pleasing in terms of the landscape + Kristen Stewart with that particular styling. And of course we love some meta shit.
Like, I was aware of this movie’s reputation, but I couldn’t actually believe it was going to be that bad? But wow, it really was.
Certainly there was some fucked up gender shit, what with Wesley’s (James McAvoy) whole beta male complex and all of his supposedly triumphant moments of overcoming pussyhood to, like, quit his job and tell his boss to go fuck herself. And the whole ridiculous scene where he ostentatiously makes out with Angelina Jolie in front of his bitch ex and the dude (Chris Pratt) with whom she’s been cheating on him, only for Pratt’s character–who Wesley hit in the face with a keyboard in a previous scene–to react by declaring “he is the man” in awe. Ugh.
It’s also that the movie is trying so hard to be cool and yet not quite getting there, which makes the trying all the more apparent. I mean, I love Nine Inch Nails, but the use of “Every Day is Exactly the Same” to score a montage of Wesley’s monotonous lifestyle at the beginning of the movie is so ridiculously on-the-nose that it’s just cringe-worthy. Plus, the mythology is super dumb, and despite all of the action, it’s just kind of boring? But worst of all, it is a complete waste of James McAvoy’s abundant charisma.
Down With Love (2003)
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)
Surprisingly great! The opening vomit gag was super unnecessary and I actually just covered my eyes for that, but the movie def redeemed itself. Have some GIFs.
Me Before You (2016)
Reasonable enough adaptation of the book, but not as moving. And I think it was a mistake to get rid of Louisa’s backstory and minimize the pressures keeping her at home. I hope Emilia Clarke does some straight-up rom-coms after Game of Thrones, though.
Decent! Daniel Radcliffe in a leather jacket walking away from a burning building while “Personal Jesus” plays on the soundtrack = A+++
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)
Eh, whatever. We could try to work ourselves up about some of the movie’s implications that Kabul isn’t “real life” (okay, the movie might be slightly more nuanced than that, but barely), but we just completely lack the energy at the moment.
(Note: not related to the book of the same name discussed in the last post)
Black Sea (2014)
This had been on my to-watch list for a few months, I think based on the appeal of Dennis Kelly as the screenwriter + Jude Law + Konstantin Khabensky (Anton Gorodetsky!). One of the books that E.M. Forster reviewed in his BBC talks was an account of the SS Egypt salvage and perhaps it’s just the power of Forster, but it actually sounded interesting? Alas, it seems to be out-of-print. But it reminded me of the existence of this movie, so.
There is this romantic appeal to the idea of digging up buried treasure from shipwrecks. I mean, somewhat less so when we’re talking about depressed middle-aged British and Russian guys retrieving Nazi gold from U-boats than, like, dashing pirates retrieving jewels from galleons or whatever, but it’s still there. But wow, NOPE, in Black Sea (and presumably, in real life) submarines are terrifying death traps and that overshadows everything else.
Also, I love the current stage of Jude Law’s career, where he’s still hot enough to be a draw based on aesthetics alone (although the hairline is getting a bit concerning), but age/experience/whatever has also given him enough of an edge that he’s getting cast as some interesting, non-standard leading man roles in interesting, non-standard movies (e.g. Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina and Dom Hemingway). Actually, this has maybe been the case for most of his career, but certainly in the patch of the early 2000s where he was ubiquitous, he ended up in a lot of shit movies that I can’t bring myself to watch (I made it through, like, 10 minutes of I Heart Huckabees).
Real Genius (1985)
I’ve been meaning to watch this for a while to get a glimpse of my college campus (and I think Cassandra Clare quotes it a few times in The Draco Trilogy), but man, I don’t think the 80s comedy conventions and archetypes have aged super well. Or at least, they’ve never quite connected for me.