As with all of my posts, and perhaps all posts in general written by people afraid of being held to their word, we will begin with a short disclosure.
Movies that are given release dates tend to be bigger budget studio films, i.e. the films I’m generally less interested in. Many of the films that were on my 2019 most anticipated list I never even bothered watching (Looking at The Curse of La Llorona) and many of my big loves were films I had no knowledge of at this time last year.
But there’s something like 30+ films that have already caught my eye, so I figured out list them out and give quick descriptions, probably stolen from IMDb. And at the same time I’ll add them to my private ‘to watch’ list (it’s 40+ pages and you will never see it).
- The Invisible Man: When Cecilia’s abusive ex takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.
Oh look, an adaptation of the only HG Wells story I give a damn about. The director (Leigh Whannell) also did Upgrade, so that’s a big plus. As is Elisabeth Moss.
- A Quiet Place II: Following the events at home, the Abbott family now face the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realize the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats lurking beyond the sand path.
I liked the first one, it’s that simple.
- No Time To Die: James Bond has left active service. His peace is short-lived when Felix Leiter, an old friend from the CIA, turns up asking for help, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
If the ‘one good, one bad’ pattern continues, this will be a good Bond. Also always here for Ana de Armas, Lea Seydoux, and Rami Malek.
- Antlers: A small-town Oregon teacher and her brother, the local sheriff, become entwined with a young student harboring a dangerous secret with frightening consequences
Based on the trailer my guess is that his Dad is a wendigo.
- Antebellum: Successful author Veronica finds herself trapped in a horrifying reality and must uncover the mind-bending mystery before it’s too late.
She would appear to have been time swapped to a slave plantation, which is no place for anyone, let alone Janelle Monae.
- Soul: A musician who has lost his passion for music is transported out of his body and must find his way back with the help of an infant soul learning about herself.
Looks much more interesting than Onward, in terms of Pixar offerings, tbh.
- Saint Maud: Follows a pious nurse who becomes dangerously obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient.
I love movies about dangerously obsessed people. Also: focus on women, directed by a woman!
- Candyman: A “spiritual sequel” to the 1992 horror film ‘Candyman’ that returns to the now-gentrified Chicago neighborhood where the legend began.
I’ve never seen the original, but I’m excited for this- not least because there are a lot of great names attached to it including Nia DaCosta, Jordan Peele, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen.
- Tenet: An action epic revolving around international espionage, time travel, and evolution. Possibly about a man trying to prevent World War 3 through time travel and rebirth.
Nolan with an exciting story and packed cast. Come on.
- Last Night in Soho: A young girl, passionate about fashion design, is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where she encounters her idol, a dazzling wannabe singer. But 1960s London is not what it seems, and time seems to fall apart with shady consequences.
Edgar Wright is finally back post- Baby Driver, with Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit) and Anya Taylor-Joy (Thoroughbreds, The Witch).
- The French Dispatch: A love letter to journalists set in an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional 20th-century French city that brings to life a collection of stories published in “The French Dispatch” magazine.
Isle of Dogs really pissed me off so I’d like a good Wes Anderson.
- Benedetta: A 17th-century nun in Italy suffers from disturbing religious and erotic visions. She is assisted by a companion, and the relationship between the two women develops into a romantic love affair.
Oh look, a psychologically twisted costume/period drama with lesbian overtones. I am predictable.
- The Lodge: A soon-to-be stepmom is snowed in with her fiancé’s two children at a remote holiday village. Just as relations begin to thaw between the trio, some strange and frightening events take place.
Similarly, I am also a sucker for strange and frightening events.
- Promising Young Woman: A young woman, traumatized by a tragic event in her past, seeks out vengeance against those who cross her path.
Based on the trailer it looks like she tricks men into thinking they will get to have sex with her extremely inebriated self and then wreaks bloody vengeance. Cathartic. I hope Carey Mulligan doesn’t kill Bo Burnham.
- Nightmare Alley: A corrupt con-man teams up with a psychiatrist to trick people into giving them money.
I can’t remember if I’ve seen the original 1947 film noir, but regardless I am here for Guillermo del Toro and Cate Blanchett.
- Undine: Undine works as a historian lecturing on Berlin’s urban development. But when the man she loves leaves her, the ancient myth catches up with her. Undine has to kill the man who betrays her and return to the water.
I love the Undine myth and I would love to be able to turn into a seal. I get few opportunities to live vicariously as a seal. Plus the main actress and director have worked on other projects that I need to get to.
- Deep Water: A well-to-do husband who allows his wife to have affairs in order to avoid a divorce becomes a prime suspect in the disappearance of her lovers.
After Knives Out, I want to follow Ana de Armas’ work. Especially because this is based on a Patricia Highsmith (Strangers on a Train, The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Price of Salt) story.
- The Last Duel: King Charles VI declares that Knight Jean de Carrouges settle his dispute with his squire by challenging him to a duel.
Adam Driver, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon in period French clothes having a duel? What?
- Palm Springs: When carefree Nyles and reluctant maid of honor Sarah have a chance encounter at a Palm Springs wedding, things get complicated as they are unable to escape the venue, themselves, or each other.
Someone already gave away the twist to this and I’m kind of pissed.
- Mulan: A young Chinese maiden disguises herself as a male warrior in order to save her father. A live-action feature film based on Disney’s ‘Mulan.’
I’m on the record as being vigorously anti-live-action-remake. But I’m vaguely interested in a Mulan that hews closer to the original legend and incorporates wuxia traditions. And Donnie Yen.
- Mank: Follows screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz’s tumultuous development of Orson Welles’ iconic masterpiece Citizen Kane(1941).
Probably Oscar bait, but could be quite good. I like film history.
- I’m Thinking of Ending Things: An unexpected detour causes a woman who is trying to figure out how to break up with her boyfriend to rethink her life.
It’s listed as a drama horror thriller and it’s starring Toni Collette and Jessie Buckley. Give it to me.
- Annette: A stand-up comedian and his opera singer wife, have a 2 year old daughter with a surprising gift.
A musical with Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard.
- Rebecca: A young newlywed finds herself in living in the shadow of her wealthy husband’s previous wife.
I’m interested to see how far this adaptation is from measuring up to Hitchcock’s.
- Next Goal Wins: Adaptation of the 2014 British soccer documentary which follows Dutch coach Thomas Rongen who attempts the nearly impossible task of turning the American Samoa soccer team from perennial losers into winners.
Taika Waititi, Elisabeth Moss, and Armie Hammer sounds good to me (especially because AH is in Rebecca and I feel bad).
- Ammonite: 1840s England, an infamous fossil hunter and a young woman sent to convalesce by the sea develop an intense relationship, altering both of their lives forever.
Saoirse Ronan, Kate Winslet, period drama with lesbian overtones.
- The Hunt: Twelve strangers wake up in a clearing. They don’t know where they are, or how they got there. They don’t know they’ve been chosen – for a very specific purpose – The Hunt.
Famously controversial film originally slated for 2019. Google it.
- Da 5 Bloods: A group of veterans from the Vietnam War return to the jungle to find their lost innocence.
Chadwick Boseman and Spike Lee.
- Into the Deep: A Swedish journalist disappears near Copenhagen and is discovered to have been brutally murdered by Danish inventor Peter Madsen aboard his homemade submarine.
It’s not every day you get a Swedish submarine murder. Oh, and by the way, it’s a documentary.
I meant to write this post up yesterday, but I was in a bad, not very companionable mood. I’m feeling better today, having, among other things, cooked some beautiful dal and finished watching Mother!, which was much better than last autumn’s reviews had led me to believe it would be.
Other news? I’m looking forward to seeing Deadpool 2, probably this weekend, hoping to go out for meal or ice cream (or both), my chocolate quinoa pancakes continue to be excellent, and Solo is getting some pretty mediocre reviews. Oh, and I’m falling behind on reading Travels with Charley.
Here’s what else I have checked out:
- Travels with Charley
- How to Break Up with Your Phone
- The Little Book of Lykke: The followup to the widely acclaimed Little Book of Hygge. I’ve actually already finished it, just not ready to return it yet.
- Lolly Willowes
- Ripley’s Game: Wondering if this third installment will be the one that puts me off the Ripley series
- The Wings of the Dove: I really fear the day when I have no more big Henry James. This and The Golden Bowl. That’s all I’ve got left, I think.
- The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning
- Gran Torino: Clint Eastwood is bae.
- Lady Snowblood: Miss Havisham goes violent samurai.
- Enter the Dragon: Triggered by a youtube video pointing out a very extra extra.
- The Furies: Barbara Stanwyck is also bae.
- My Name is Nobody
- The Old Gun: Yay westerns!
- Frenzy: One of the chronologically last Hitchcock films and one of the last ones I haven’t seen yet.
- Amarcord: The first movie of Fellini’s that I’ve liked.
It’s been a weird weekend. And it’s only Saturday. Hopefully grocery shopping is uneventful tomorrow. One minute you’re sitting on the train and the next you’re disembarking and for some reason your right hip isn’t letting you walk?
Pretty sure I’m too young for hip replacement.
SO I was talking to some friends yesterday and said I would send along a list of recommended French films. And SO I figured I would post it since it’s a list.
That said, full disclosure: I haven’t seen every French film ever so this is a superbly and spectacularly incomplete list.
Let’s Start with animated:
- Ernest and Celestine: Bears and mice and based on a lovely children’s book series that I want to buy for my potential offspring.
- Nocturna: Amazing world building. So much imagination. Cats.
- The Boy with the Cuckoo Clock Heart: I walked in on dad playing music from this. He’s never seen it.
- A Monster in Paris: There’s a giant bug and it’s a beautiful heartwarming story. Also beautiful music.
Also kid-focused but not animated:
- Le Petit Nicolas: This is what being a child is like. But kind of more so.
I’ struggling with categorizing all the rest so I’m just going to throw them at you in one big lump:
- Belle de Jour: Catherine Deneuve is bored and fantasizes about BDSM so she decides to be a prostitute. Also her name is Severine, which is an excellent name.
- La Vie en Rose: Marion Cotillard is Edith Piaf and it’s as amazing as it sounds.
- Les Trois Couleurs: Three movies which you can kind of trace from the Nouvelle Vague style. Loosely connected, all individually perfect as stand-alones. I think Blue was my favorite.
- La Double Vie de Veronique: For some reason this hangs out with Les Trois Couleurs in my mind. Some lovely music.
- Huit Femmes: A Christmas musical murder mystery with a who’s who cast of great French actresses.
- Les Choristes: A teacher positively affects students lives through music. But it’s actually a good film.
- Bonjour, Tristesse: The book is better but this is nice and light and summery. Still not a huge Jean Seberg fan.
- The Intouchables: I always confuse this with The Untouchables, a film about taking down Al Capone. This is great too.
- Elle: Isabelle Huppert is bae and this Oscar nominee (did it win? I don’t remember) from last year is fantastic.
- Tous Les Matins du Monde: Music again. But also period drama stuff and sex.
- La Pianiste: Isabelle Huppert being sexy again. But this time even more mentally off-kilter.
- La Piscine: Romy Schneider and Jane Birkin and Alain Delon are all fabulously attractive people. And the film is suitably sexy.
- Les Enfants du Paradis: A long film that flew by. It’s actually a work of art and quite possibly one of the best films I watched last year. It is inspiring me to fall in love with a mime.
- Eyes Without a Face: French New Wave does Hitchcock. I am obviously a fan.
- Diabolique: More Hitchcockian stuff. A wife and mistress conspire to kill the guy. Then come strange events.
Weird stuff that I’m not sure I can recommend:
- Last Year at Marienbad: I will never forget the word ‘couloir’.
- Triplets of Belleville: What…?
I turned 22.5 yesterday and today I have an exam that threatens to destroy all that I hold most dear. I’ve been studying since I woke up at 5:30 am. (Approximately five hours ago). There are about three hours left. It’s panic time.
Here’s what’s happening online:
- Kate DiCamillo (author of Because of Winn-Dixie, and others) on why children’s books should be a little sad.
- You can smell when someone is sick. Here’s a case where a woman was able to identify Parkinson’s patients by body odor, some even before they were clinically diagnosed.
- NBA = ballet? Check out these beautiful unplanned synchronized moments.
- Hedi Slimane takes over at Celine, replacing Phoebe Philo. Not a fan of this development.
- An ode to the pre-teen bedroom, complete with bead curtain.
- Ann Curry may have a baby crush on Stephen Colbert but I have a baby crush on Ann Curry.
- First there was athleisure. Now there is bath-leisure.
- Screen Junkies casts the It sequel– the prestige, the popcorn, and the provocative versions (the latter featuring Jared Kushner).
- Full cast and vague plot details have been announced for The Incredibles II and I am salivating.
- This webcomic is my current (as of yesterday) obsession and I’m narrowly avoiding bingeing it instead of studying. It’s sold out but if you buy it in book form it comes with a plush. Here’s the author/illustrators tumblr for more info.
- Phantom Thread is the last big Oscar nominee that I haven’t seen. Here are some of the films from which director Paul Thomas Anderson drew inspiration (including Rebecca!) and an amazing short film featuring under-the-radar lead actress Vicky Krieps.
- One thing I really like about this capsule wardrobe article in particular (among the seeming billions out there, which get
a bit very repetitive) is the recognition that, because everyone’s style is different, so will everyone’s capsule wardrobe be.
- What is Scandinavian style and why is it gaining so much traction globally?
- Living for Colbert’s imitation of French President Emmanuel Macron. It starts around 2 minutes in.
- In case you’re wondering what I’m doing here in France, here’s a video featuring some of my classmates.
- And to round out this rather fashion-focused week, Kate Spade succulent sandals.
I’ve already mentioned that Halloween isn’t a big thing here in France, but it continues to be a big thing in my America mind- which explains why I’ve let go of the crutch that is mindlessly watching television shows for the first time (Game of Thrones and Sherlock) and turned to some more spooky stuff.
Not that GoT and Sherlock don’t get kind of… odd.
So creepy black and white films, what have I got? Quite a bit actually.
I’m trying to capitalize on the creepy and supernatural over suspense, because then (knowing me) we would wind up with just a list entirely of Hitchcock films.
But there’s still some Hitchcock:
- Psycho, 1960: Psycho is fair game because it’s one of the most famous, most impactful horror films of all time. Also, you knew it was on the list because of the header image, so no surprises here.
- The Birds, 1963: Another granddaddy horror film, but this time with some definite shades of the supernatural. Truly I don’t find this very scary, but it is a magnificent film.
What did I watch yesterday?
- Death Takes a Holiday, 1934: Spoiler alert, he falls in love. I actually had a very good time with this film- and Henry Travers is in it. ❤
Hey, that was a good book:
- The Innocents, 1961: The Innocents is based on Henry James’ Turn of the Screw and it definitely captures the novella’s encroaching claustrophobia and uncertainty. Is there evil afoot or is the governess batshit crazy?
- The Haunting, 1963: Based on Shirley Jackson’s Haunting of Hillhouse, the film isn’t quite true to the book, but it’s fantastic in it’s own unique way. Very atmospheric and spine-tingling. I recommend both.
- Nosferatu, 1922: The original vampire movie, based on Dracula, the original vampire book. Even more chilling than the titular villain? A wife calling her husband by his last name.
- The Uninvited, 1944: Based on a little known book by the same title, this is a beautiful and suspenseful family mystery/ghost story/romance.
- The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, 1947: So this is neither creepy nor scary so much as good wholesome odd couple romance. With Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison. So yeah, pretty good.
- The Hound of the Baskervilles, 1939: Not supernatural but almost so, and the desolate moors and howling lend a fair bit of creepiness. It stays.
I love Bette Davis:
- Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, 1962: Not supernatural but definitely one of the more disturbing and creepy films on this list (possibly ever). Child stars, faded glory, and a permeating air of decay.
Dream within a dream:
- Dead of Night, 1945: Supernatural tale-telling between guests at a country house starts takes an odd turn as one begins to experience some pretty spectacular deja vu.
The artsy French are so weird:
- Eyes Without a Face, 1960: I find this to be a completely amazing movie, both in terms of its haunting beauty and the simple but strange plot. Face stealing.
There’s a popular bit of wisdom that holds “the book is always better than the movie”- with which I must respectfully differ. Many landmark films come from meh reading material (The Godfather, Jaws, Rear Window, Rosemary’s Baby, etc.)
Granted, if you are eagerly awaiting a movie franchise of a book series already beloved, you’re doomed to be disappointed. It’s hard- if not impossible- to fall in love with someone else’s vision of something when you already have your own.
Many of the books I’ve sought out on the strength of a film have been disappointing. Frankly, some stories are better suited to print and others seem made to be made into films.
But then there have also been times that I have felt very much rewarded in seeking out a movie’s source material. These books are generally a little different than my usual reading material (well-known and older novels)- in a way that makes them particularly suited to summer. They’re generally shorter and quicker, a bit less thoughtful, a bit more action-driven.
My favorite books found via their movies are below, and arranged by genre: Continue reading “Books Via Movies”
I’ve been thinking a lot about going with the flow recently. One of my downfalls is that I have a tendency to become too obsessed with what I envision, which can make me inflexible and anxious when things don’t go as planned. This applies to major life changes, like college admissions, and very trivial things, like planning a sandwich day and then discovering the dining hall has absolutely no bread.
A lot of different things have been said about accepting fate. Go with the flow. Leave it to God. And also admitting that sometimes it’s just not a sandwich day, and that that’s fine.
I’ve also seen one of those pseudo-inspirational quotes (if you love it I apologize in advance) saying “Only dead fish go with the flow.” I have a few problems with this- the fist being that it’s patently false. Fish frequently go with the flow. That’s what makes it so remarkable when salmon swim upriver to spawn. The second is that I think the quote’s moral is very ill-advised. “Fight fate or you might as well be dead.” “Make your life one of never-ending struggle and pain just because.”
There’s nothing inherently wrong with ‘the easy way’, and what’s more, life is rarely divided so simplistically into an easy way and hard way. The ways are all just… different. Continue reading “Regretted Classes and Fate”