Black Narcissus (July 4, 2023)
A strange and beautiful film that, for all its uneven aging, carries a scent that still lingers.
I watched Scarface (1983) (September 4, 2021)
I understand the Trump-era callouts to this film now, though they kinda seem like the wrong ones.
I watched Only Lovers Left Alive (August 21, 2021)
Time, distance, entanglement, and blood.
Annihilation, an excellent but overlong music video (June 28, 2020)
I enjoyed this music-video adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer's horror trilogy, though it makes the mistake of stretching itself across a feature film's running length.
Revisiting Proof after 20-odd years (May 31, 2020)
The unique experience of seeing a completely different movie than the one your long-ago past self watched, and enjoying both.
I saw The Witch (August 17, 2019)
Giving this film a second watch in a different world make me appreciate it more.
On unconsciously ripping off Lars von Trier (June 23, 2019)
Imagine my surprise when I saw a scene from a game I wrote in 2010 appear in a movie I'd never watched before from 2009.
I watched Rebecca (1940) (December 5, 2018)
I am absolutely bananas for this 1940 Hitchcock film that I only now saw for the first time, and I want to tell you about it.
I watched Existenz (after dreaming about it) (August 30, 2018)
This gristly morsel of body horror from 1999 casually anticipated decades of video games' cultural and design trends, including Gamergate.
I saw Moana (August 7, 2017)
Not a great film, but pretty good. Felt in many ways like a quarter-century-on echo of Aladdin, most obviously through the presence of a celebrity-voiced barrel-chested trickster-god who rather effectively swipes the spotlight from the title character. Not a complaint; I saw the movie specifically because a friend linked to the film’s signature musical number, and I said: I want to see this movie. I don’t regret seeing it, though I do wish that its script had taken risks as bravely as its own heroine does.
I saw _Spider-Man: Homecoming_
(July 8, 2017)
On a recent episode of the Do by Friday podcast, co-host Max Temkin voiced dismissive disdain for all contemporary superhero films, decrying their preordained outcomes — the hero will surely triumph in the final act, the canonical romantic interest must survive for the sequel, and so on. I can’t disagree in principle, even though I have enjoyed so many recent super-movies. I therefore found my joy at Spider-Man: Homecoming boosted by keeping this criticism in mind, feeling delight in the ways that the story flourished within these very present constraints.
I watched Watership Down (May 27, 2017)
I recently watched Watership Down, the 1978 British animated feature following a warren of rabbits as they seek a new home, having fled disaster. I had seen it before, sometime in the early 1980s, in a format that I imagine modern children have no touchstone for: it just appeared on television one night, with no warning or fanfare.
I saw Synecdoche, New York (April 25, 2017)
I recall very much wishing to see this Charlie Kaufman film during its initial run in the late aughts. I count the Kaufman-penned Being John Malcovich as a favorite film from my own young adulthood. Perhaps I would have liked Synecdoche more had I seen it closer to then. My contexts have since changed. The meal satisfied my appetite when I watched it last night, but a day later I find myself left with an overpowering aftertaste of Oh no, a wealthy and accomplished middle-aged white New York man feels sad! Let’s all drop everything and pay attention to him for two hours!
I saw Arrival (December 18, 2016)
We saw this movie a couple of weeks ago, after I had a bad day and needed an escape. That’s what I got, even if the various early scenes of global turmoil in the face of species-wide fear and uncertainty felt especially raw right now, given everything. We both loved it, and we talked about it for days afterwards. We talked about it more with friends at a party we attended yesterday. This movie affected us.
I read Roadside Picnic and I saw Stalker (October 15, 2016)
“The inspiration for the film Stalker and the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. video games”, read the front-cover copy of the recent edition of Roadside Picnic I read — a fresher translation from the Strugatsky brothers’ original Russian, apparently, than the one last published in the U.S. some decades ago. The idea to read it came to mind quite obliquely a couple of months ago, following a path including but not limited to my learning of Andrei Tarkovsky’s films via the video game The Witness earlier this this year.
I saw Café Society (July 30, 2016)
I enjoyed this film’s premise and setting far more than its totality. After a mutual nose-holding ceremony to acknowledge our cognizance of the movie’s baggage-laden creator, my partner and I entered the Jane Pickens hoping for something like the relaxingly whimsical fantasia of Midnight in Paris, the last Woody Allen picture we saw together. Café Society, alas, fell short, despite a similar indulgence in fondness for things past. I couldn’t see past a fundamental mismatch between tone and content.
I saw Lost Highway (June 2, 2016)
What's YOUR name?
I messed up tonight (March 26, 2016)
Aside: The official music video for “Try Everything” infuriates my inner eight-year-old, who lurches in frustration each time it cuts away from the wonderful cartoon scenes to show boring old live-action people.
My imagined endings for The Martian (October 5, 2015)
This post contains spoilers for the movie “The Martian”.
I watched Mad Max: Fury Road
(July 6, 2015)
This post lightly spoils that movie.
I saw Oldboy (2003) and then Oldboy (2013) (May 16, 2015)
Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy had sat in our Netflix list for a few years, placed there thoughtfully by my partner even though she herself had no desire to ever come near to watching it. I can’t remember the motivation now, but several weeks ago, sometime after bedtime, I felt a little angry about the day’s events and in a mood to watch something cathartically nasty. Thus did I return to the living room to queue it up.
My previous post outlined my interpretation of The Shining ’s plot after watching it for the very first time last weekend. I shall now expound on some other things that struck me about the film, based on notes I took while watching it.
My surface interpretation of Kubrick’s “The Shining” (May 4, 2015)
On Saturday evening, home alone, I finally watched The Shining. I have no explanation for why I hadn’t seen it yet; despite everything, the film and I just hadn’t crossed paths before now, strange as that seems. The long-delayed experience may have affected me quite profoundly. I’ve hardly been able to sleep in the two nights since — not from anything like fear, but very much from simply thinking about this movie. I got up to start writing this blog post at around 4 AM on Monday.
We embrace to stop the bleeding (February 28, 2015)
Like others beyond number, I learned midday yesterday that Leonard Nimoy had died. I had a little more work to do that day but I did it slowly and poorly; I felt wrecked emotionally. Though cognizant of the unhealthy relationship with celebrity where fans can’t help but assume familiarity with famous people due to their spending so much time with their broadcast images, I unavoidably felt as if I had lost a distant but still beloved uncle.