I want to commit to writing my thoughts on the movies I watch, so I'll try to use this thread for that. Don't expect much in the way of coherence or insight, I tend to just vomit out my thoughts and impressions.
Movies I've watched this week:
142. Logan Lucky (Steven Soderbergh, 2017)
-Not much to say about this one. There were fun moments, and Channing Tatum and Adam Driver make a convincing pair of siblings. It didn't really make that big of an impression on me, even though I did dig the working class take on Ocean's 11.
143. His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)
-I am a sucker for snappy, tit-for-tat dialogue, so I loved this movie. Cary Grant is delightful as the cut-throat scallywag asshole of a news editor, and he and Rosalind Russell have a great rapport.
144. Punch Drunk Love (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2002)
-My favorite PTA film. Best known as the "Adam Sandler deconstruction movie", for good reason, but even with all that metatextual stuff aside, it works as an incredibly sweet, moving story of a lonely, anxious, overall sadsack being able to connect and fall in love with another person. Everything in this movie works, from the creepy, dissonant score, to the use of colors and lens flare, and especially Adam Sandler's lead performance. He's so good in this. In particular, I'm thinking of the mini-anxiety attack after his first encounter with Emily Watson, and the moment where he stands up to his overbearing sister over the phone. Speaking of Emily Watson, it's fair to say that her character was drawn a bit thinly, and that we weren't really made to understand why exactly she was attracted to him, but for me, it works. Mainly because it's hinted all throughout that she's just as lonely, and sad, and fucked up as Adam Sandler's character (the stalking, the wearing the same red dress, the note about her being an only child and wishing she had a big family like Barry's). Anyways, I love this movie.
145. mother! (Darren Aronofsky, 2017)
-This movie is a ride, and I really liked it. The biblical parallels are not at all subtle, but I don't think they were trying to be. It's an over-the-top mess of a movie, which I would say is part of the appeal. And for all the (valid) critique of the script and the anvil-on-the-head approach to symbolism, I don't think its an empty movie. It works as a black comedy bastardizing the Bible, but it's also fun to read as Aronofsky reflecting on his own creative process, even if that reflection was inadvertent. I don't want to say too much about the plot, but the fact that this movie is so clearly a vanity project is actually really interesting when put side by side with what happens in the story. What kept me from loving this was the lead performance by Jennifer Lawrence. I am not a hater of Lawrence, but she never reached the level of "unhinged" that the material called for, and given how central she is to everything that happens, it's a big handicap. But all in all, I enjoyed mother!, and wish that this kind of insane, narcissistic auteur-driven type work is rewarded.
146. Respeto (Treb Monteras, 2017)
-This is a local film (I'm from the Philippines), so unless an online copy is released somewhere, this probably won't be accessible to anyone not in the country. Which is a shame because it's great. The movie is set in one of the slums in Metro Manila and is focused on a group of friends who are into fliptop (a Filipino appropriation of freestyle hip hop and rap battles). Basically, they're a bunch of degenerates who come from troubled families and like to rap. The main character, Hendrix, delivers drugs for his sister's boyfriend, and ends up losing some of the money. In order to get the money back, they try to rob this old man (a former activist during our country's time under martial law), get caught, and end up having to do community service for the old man. What elevates this movie is the way it comments on our current situation here in the Philippines (our President is currently implementing a war on drugs which has resulted in the deaths of thousands of Filipinos, mostly members of the urban poor) and does it through a very small-scale story of a teenager trying to use free-style rap to win the respect of his peers. I'm sorry if this commentary was incoherent, there really is a lot going on in the movie, and some knowledge of the socio-political and cultural context is probably necessary to really understand it. Still, it's an angry film for angry times, and I think that's something people can relate to across cultures.