Burning (2018) – Mystery/Drama – Score: 7
I have been putting off watching this for some time but received several recommendations to watch recently. This is a beautifully made film – long, drawn-out shots with even simple interior locations showing significant detail and character just from the way it was filmed. I thought the plot was pretty lacking, though and I didn’t really like any of the characters. From a directing standpoint, it was perfect and I’d love to watch more of his work. It’s sort of too long for its own good, but good quality film nonetheless, if a bit boring at times.
A Dark Song (2016) – Horror/Suspense – Score: 6
So continues an obsession with horror films. I don’t really get why, considering so many are poorly done – but they are my vice. This one stars a confused, damaged woman looking to get her son back, enlisting the help of a unstable dark arts curator to help her perform a complicated seance in a large mansion she has recently purchased. This film is intense, unnerving, disturbing and at many points quite confusing. But, I think it got its point across. I love the plot, and there’s a pretty wild ending to this one. Could have been executed much, much better though IMO.
Back to the Future Part II – Action/Adventure – Score: 7 (Rewatch)
While the first is the best, I saw this on Netflix last week and had to give it a 5th go (or something like that). It plays on the same humor and tropes of the first with a fresh spin and new settings, which keeps everything light and entertaining throughout. Cheesy, cliche, and predictable – yes. But fun, exciting, funny and different – absolutely. You’ve gotta love the adventures of Doc and Marty (and Einstein), and their time traveling antics (which get them into much more trouble than it is worth) result in some absurd outcomes. Good quality stuff and a classic for sure.
The Invisible Man (2020) – Horror/Thriller – Score: 7.5
This was a surprisingly good watch. A unique clever plot led this throughout: a woman is terrorized by her supposedly dead husband, a mad, abusive genius who made his cheddar creating stealth-based technologies (hence, “the invisible man”). Great lead performance from Elizabeth Moss, who beautifully captures the hopelessness of a woman who is the only one who knows what is happening to her, while everyone else looks the other way constantly. The film is ultimately incredibly satisfying and a unique take on a horror/thriller film. Like with many great horror films, The Invisible Man is as much about what you DON’T see as what you do see. Well done.
It Comes at Night – Thriller/Suspense – Score: 7.5
Not what I was expecting, but a high-intensity, dark film nonetheless. After an apocalypse (which is rarely explained) leaves the world largely abandoned, a father and his family must band together in their boarded-up home to survive. When they encounter a new family seeking help, things go from bad to worse very fast. Such intensity with every scene, lots of tension and very little dialogue. I thought the director did an excellent job of capturing the idea of fear and tension without showing or saying much – rather by building an atmosphere. It is what is left unsaid or unseen here that makes the film. Worth a watch – but beware it is not as exciting as say A Quiet Place.
Whiplash – Drama – Score: 9 (Rewatch)
This movie is an instant classic. A short summary: lead/main character Andrew (Miles Teller) works to become the greatest drummer of all time, rising through the ranks to join the highly sought-after jazz band led by Terrence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons – Farmer’s Insurance guy). Terrence is an absolute horrifying leader – invoking terror in all of his subordinates and generally making everyone (especially Andrew) feel uncomfortable. Simmons deserved an Oscar for this role for this incredible performance. This is one of the most memorable and electrifying movies I have watched in years, and undoubtably one of my top 50. Beautiful filming, amazing atmosphere that is created. It has everything from discomfort and intensity to laughs and sadness.