As you wait with bated breath for my year-end Top 10 list, I figured I’d keep with tradition and share my December in film viewing first. As I scramble to catch up with an unavoidably stacked backlog of interest-piquing 2015 releases, the past month was mostly fruitful in terms of quality as Me, Earl and the Dying Girl stands tall as its only dud, mistaking overly referential self-indulgence for affecting indie quirks. Tokyo Drifter was my first Suzuki, of whom I’m assuredly going to continue to catch up with in the coming months as my much anticipated Criterion trek gets underway via Hulu and the like. Enjoy, and stay tuned for the aforementioned list that should be finalized and posted for your reading pleasure by the end of this coming week.
The time for to binge catch up with the deluge of awards contenders is upon us. I’ve yet to embark upon this unwieldy endeavor myself, what with other preoccupations detracting enough from my viewing habits to pose a potential problem. I’ll be hunkering down in the year’s remaining weeks, if only to produce my annual year-end list in a timely enough fashion. Here’s to the fruitful twilight of a year that’s passed by quicker than I hoped it would, if only due to a lack of desirable warmth in a region where seasonal depression tends to reek havoc on yours truly.
I’ll begin by apologizing for my tardiness as festival fatigue has finally worn off following its conclusion. I saw a total of fifteen films at this year’s Philadelphia Film Festival, most of which were well worth seeing barring a couple of duds. This sheer volume of viewing paired with my continuing obsession with comparing my opinions with others’ yielded something fruitful, more specifically an overarching moment of self-reflection regarding my personal tastes. I’ve further distanced myself from past fears of harboring dissenting opinions, and thankfully, I feel much more confident in ironing out the criteria to befit my growing canon of personal favorites. Catching up with wide-release fare I’ve missed throughout the festival’s duration will prove tiresome, but I plan on eliminating a few blind spots in between these viewings whenever possible. Feel free to check out my ranked list of everything I saw at PFF24 here.
September was a stressful month if only because of my inability to cope with personal issues. Whether it’s due to the obvious lack of a well-rounded, moreover fully effective support system or something entirely intangible I’ve yet to discern, but what matters here is that my film viewing suffered a great deal. On a lighter note, the 24th Philadelphia Film Festival begins on the 22nd and I couldn’t be more excited. More to come when the official lineup is announced and my tickets have been purchased.
It appears I’ve been unintentionally omitting classic films from my regular viewing schedule. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but if I had to speculate I’d say it’s because of how daunting the impending project seems. The sheer vastness of what I have yet to see is enough to regularly deter me from investing the time needed to dive in, however this promising fall season will hopefully parallel the likes of quality fare from decades past.
On a more relevant note, my August in retrospect was a home run. Upon playing catch-up with several titles I hadn’t had the chance to see during their limited theatrical runs – based on geographical proximity, mind you – I was especially pleased to add three of them to my top ten of the year thus far. You can check out how everything else stacks up via my recently updated list over at Letterboxd.
July was a hot month. Unsurprising what with it being the dead of summer and all, yet the uncomfortable sustained temperature spike wasn’t enough to coax me into abusing functional air conditioning. It was ostensibly a month chock full of sequels to varying degrees of quality, the first of which was for all intents and purposes a pandering unnecessary gut punch. My Mission: Impossible retrospective concluded a day behind schedule but still prompted me to conjure up a lengthier-than-average piece about the present state of the modern action film a la the ’96 original and its sequels. An all in all lackluster month, but the recent announcement of this year’s TIFF lineup has increased my excitement for the looming latter-year festival circuit tenfold.
As June drew to a close I couldn’t help but think – out loud – to myself, “IT’S JULY ALREADY?!” While not an unsavory reality, the fact that we’ve coasted through more than half of the calendar year yields imminent cinematic bliss throughout the latter half of the festival circuit and awards season. My viewings were mostly satisfactory barring what could be considered a third affirmation of a franchise’s needless, money-grubbing expansion along with another dud or two. In other news, my ongoing world cinema endeavors unfortunately slowed but remain far from dead or even on hold, however a few checkouts from the local library have evidenced that people don’t know how to take proper care of shit, you know, a la simply not using DVDs as animal chew toys or drink coasters. An exaggeration, of course, but I’m sure you catch my drift.
On another note, my re-watch of Point Break was in the form of a 35mm screening at the historic Colonial Theater in Phoenixville, PA, of which hosts a pretty stellar array of programs year-round that I unfortunately can’t experience on account of a long (enough) commute to and from. In a similarly re-watch-centric vein, a Terminator double feature helped me come to the startling realization that the first is a mildly superior effort despite my adolescent adoration for T2 and the Universal Studios attraction it spawned when I was but a wee lad. Further thoughts to come in a longer than average review following my presumably lackluster viewing of Genisys early this week.
So I’ve become infatuated with East Asian cinema as a whole. As my viewing blanket has begun to cover the vast likes of classic and contemporary Japanese and Korean cinema, the rest of the month was still peppered with several worthwhile new releases and a colossal, curiosity-quenching failure. Keep an eye out for a weekly log chronicling my ongoing East Asian endeavor along with the return of other preexisting features. In the meantime, I thank you for reading and urge you to comment on whatever you’d like!
Another month down, another viewing-heavy endeavor to embark upon. In addition to future plans for binging on Hulu’s nigh-endless selection of Criterion titles, I’ve recently acquired quite the interest in Hong Kong cinema. Steeped in an unfathomably voluminous quality reflective of its own populace, the country’s cinematic history pre- and post-handover is undeniably eclectic and fascinating as such. This in mind, I’ve begun a shortsighted if suitably introductory focus on the iconic ’80s-spawned heroic bloodshed subgenre pioneered by John Woo and his contemporaries. There’s enough Chow Yun-fat to go around, so feel free to check out any of the titles I’ve chosen and will continue to cover.
2015 has yet to yield anything deservedly laudable outside of Alex Garland’s thematically stilted but entirely compelling Ex Machina, and the creatively-landlocked Marvel bubble has officially hamstrung this year’s biggest release irreparably enough. The good and the bad more or less offset each other, which is to be expected, however I hope to strike a considerable amount of blindspotting gold in the coming weeks. As always, I thank you for reading, and feel free to comment on anything in particular (or else).
Another month down and another arbitrary post pertaining to my viewing habits throughout the past few weeks. Flaccid in comparison to my noticeably more prolific February outing, work and its coinciding stress-inducing bullshit has reared its ugly head as has my short attention span. Spreading my already sparse spare time thin via both film and many a video game, I aim to concoct a schedule that will amply rectify what presently plagues me.
High Plains Drifter was my first foray into Eastwood’s revisionist Western catalog, the film itself mostly holding up despite a palpably barebones narrative complete with setting-specific normality. Condemning an entire town full of shifty fuckers to death as your own ghost reads excellent on paper, however the rudimentary presentation does little to reinvigorate anything in particular. An all in all solid outing succeeded by presumably better efforts as I scramble to view them at my scarcely afforded leisure.