August filmdom


Not a lot this month, which is kinda disappointing for August, but if quality still counts for something, we got a couple Edgar Wright movies, some Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, a return to Barbieland, and a disappointing Disney property ah crap. So much for the sweep.


Century 16 Hilltop
Haunted Mansion (2023)

What a perfectly adequate movie! What a lovely work of committee-based creativity! Look, it's not really much better or worse than Disney's last attempt (Muppet, not Eddie—I've never seen the 2003 movie) but it was a pleasant enough way to spend a couple hours in a theater.

It's interesting to contrast this movie with Barbie. That too is a a corporate cash-grab created by incredibly talented artisans. The difference is Barbie has Greta Gerwig and the helm, a single visionary making everything fit together. Haunted Mansion feels like they were still workshopping the script a month into filming. When your lead is LaKeith Stanfield and you surround him with such talent, it'll still be watchable. But it was painful, watching the editors attempt to put together some of the dialogue-heavy scenes with the footage they had.

Also, if I may say so, actors are right to be battling against digital replacement. It's already happened to animals. It feels like we can't make it through an animal performance anymore without it being 90% cg. How's the animal-trainer's union doing (datapoint)?

Remember the first Pirates movie? Somehow it was more than just its source material. This movie has some ideas (not all of which worked together) about how to do the same but it just didn't work. Where was the controlling genius?

library dvd
Holiday (1938)

This was so refreshig after the movies we've been watching. All the music is diegetic, the dialogue is nonstop and delightful. The pacing is unpredictable. The leads don't get together until the final shot and it's hardly clear just how that will happen until just prior.

This is Cukor directing Grant and Hepburn a couple years before Philadephia Story, and you know what? I think I like this one better. (Although apparently it's bee over ten years since I've seen that so . . . I'd perhaps best hold judgment.)

Century Hilltop 16
Barbie (2023)

I think I love it even more this time. Margot Robbie is brilliant. I get Ryan Gosling's performance better this time. New wrinkles are evident in everyone from Michael Cera to Will Ferrell to Simu Liu. Rhea Perlman was perfectly cast and delivered in a big way. The movie's pacing is so deliberate and measured and willing to pause simply to breathe in moments yet it still comes in under two hours. The music is smart and well crafted. The imagery is stellar. I love that so much is done in camera.

It's perhaps the most innteresting movie spiritually I've see in a while too. This deserves even more conversation.

I short, it's a deserving blockbuster and I expect it to be with us for years to come. I love it. My favorite movie of the year.

Rialto Cinemas Cerrito
The Trouble with Harry (1955)

It's maybe been over twenty years since I've seen this and in those decades I've refered to it as one of my favorite Hitchcocks. And it remains delightful. He should've done straight comedy more often. (The only other one I can think of is Mr and Mrs Smith [final shot:sexiest bit of footsie I've ever seen] which I also haven't seen in over twenty years. That and the lost silent film, but why count that?)

The New England autumn is beautiful. The tightness of action is great. The characters charm. The whole thing's constantly just funny enough. The long gaps between scenes are curious. And the whole thing is just good, not great. But how wonderful to watch it with an audience!

library dvd
Hot Fuzz (2007)

Can't remember why I suddenly decided it was time to share this with the boys but I'm happy to say I'm (almost) ecstatic as last time. 2016 was a long time ago, wasn't it? Before seeing Olivia Colman was reason enough for me to watch a movie. Back when "Make Sandford Great Again" was amusingly ahead of its time rather than traumatically so.

I guess we oughtta bring the whole Cornetto Trilogy home, eh?

library dvd
The Truman Show (1998)

A few months ago, for reasons I can't explain, I read several long articles about The Truman Show (including one two three). For the last maybe three years, the now16yrold's bee askig to watch it.

I watched it a few years back with the high school's film club and at that point my opinion of it skyrocketes. I thik the film is more true now than it was in 1998. Or perhaps I am only older.

library dvd
The World's End (2013)

When we first saw this in 2016 we knew nothing other than it being an epic pubcrawl. I still think that's the best way to come into this movie. What an incredible experience this must have been with a theater audience in 2013 when it first dropped. Hoy, I'm jealous of those of you who managed that.

Just utter brilliance and utterly not-just-predictable-but-unimaginable.

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