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.
So 2014 was a great year for films, to the extent that I have 10 favorites and 44 honorable mentions. And of course a handful of films I haven’t seen.
And I’m still trying to catch up on 2019’s films. Three films over this past Friday-Saturday-Sunday, which means I’ve watched about 50 of last year’s films. I also did some OCD research last night to see how much I felt I should see before committing to my list of favorites- that would be 32 films still to see. I won’t get through them all, but I can try.
It’s not like the Oscar voters watched all of last year’s movies anyway.
In fact, I’ve probably seen more than Stephen King. (Why does he get to vote for Oscars anyway? He’s a writer. The one great film that was made from his work (The Shining) is one that he’s essentially disowned because it’s too far from his novel. And that’s because his writing
sucks isn’t good.)
If you’re not sure why I’m picking on Stephen King, he’s said some questionable stuff about the Oscar nominees’ lack of diversity. And he hasn’t reflected very much on the issue, apparently.
OKAY, SO MY FAVORITES MOVING ON!
In no particular order:
- John Wick: I’m not in love with the sequels, but the original film is an original concept executed electrically. And sneakily deep for a film that explores how many deaths it takes to avenge a puppy (dude, if you’ve ever met/seen a puppy you know it’s A LOT).
- Kingsman: The Secret Service: Again, not a huge fan of the sequel, and there are definitely some moments in this that give me serious pause, but on the whole it’s a great time. Like, the kind of good time where you want to use the word “rollicking”. An excellent secret agent film for a post-Bond world. With a sprinkle of class conflict examination.
- Ex Machina: I’m a bit conflicted on this one because while I quite like Ex Machina, it does feel like it tries a bit too hard to be deep. There’s a whole lot of navel-gazing going on. But the performances are all excellent, Oscar Isaac’s dance scene is the most disturbing thing I could ever imagine, and the message is interesting.
- Fury: It’s an excellent ensemble war film about the crew of a tank, focusing on the newest and youngest member. Bloody, dramatic, and tragic.
- Whiplash: I’m not the hugest fan of Damien Chazelle, but this is my favorite of his films so far (the others being La La Land and First Man). But I’m always into stories of obsession and the clash of disturbed personalities, so there you go.
- Grand Budapest Hotel: Wes Anderson, Ralph Fiennes, early Saoirse Ronan, and many more exciting faces, plus a pink hotel and Andersonian hijinks. I’ve been feeling a bit deflated about Anderson post-Isle of Dogs, but this was back in the good old days. And I watched it with my family over Thanksgiving break. Anderson has another film coming out next year, so maybe that will get me back on the train?
- Nightcrawler: Brilliantly chilling thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a man who sells grisly camera footage to news outlets. Rene Russo is also great and similarly distressing to watch. Examines the ties between unethical journalism and consumer demand.
- Big Hero 6: Completely different from the preceding film, Big Hero 6 has a very big heart and watching it is like receiving a very big hug. I remember it was very popular when it came out but it doesn’t get talked about as much anymore, which is a shame.
- Ernest & Celestine: A French animated film based on a children’s series, depicting the touching friendship between a big bear (Ernest) and a little mouse (Celestine).
- The Book of Life: So I guess 2014 was a big year for animation, for me. To save the love of his life, Manolo sacrifices himself and must journey through the Land of the Remembered, meeting his ancestors along the way. Stop comparing it to Coco. Do you know how many Christmas movies there are? We can have more than one film about the Day of the Dead and Mexican tradition. Thanks.
Honorable mentions: The Wind Rises, Gone Girl, Edge of Tomorrow (good film but if I see poor Emily Blunt do the sexy stretch one more time I’m going to break something), Imitation Game.
I have not seen: Boyhood, It Follows, Highway, or The Lunchbox.
2012 was a much better year in terms of movies than the one that came before.
My favorites as follows, in no particular order:
- The Secret World of Arrietty: An excellent Studio Ghibli animated film based on the book The Borrowers. A good watch if you, like me, are someone who likes imagining what you would do if you were very very tiny. I blame a childhood spent watching George Shrinks.
- 21 Jump Street: I don’t usually enjoy modern comedies, but this is one of the few exceptions. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are great together, the premise is good, and performances are good all around.
- Moonrise Kingdom: Moonrise Kingdom was my first Wes Anderson movie and one of the first movies where I really realized how amazing the theater experience can be. It’s an aesthetically beautiful movie, a musically beautiful movie, and my enjoyment of it was certainly aided by the freshness of never before having seen Anderson’s particular style of quirk. That all said, it’s one of his best and is probably one of the more important films in my movie-viewing history.
- Rise of the Guardians: This is an underseen, under-rated animated Christmas film that takes place around Easter. Long story short, a group of magical mythical heroes (The Tooth Fairy, Santa, the Easter Bunny, Sandman, and Jack Frost) must team up to protect the children and the hopes and the dreams from Pitch Black/The Bogeyman. The Easter Bunny is Hugh Jackman. Santa/North looks like a very Daddy version of Auguste Rodin. Jack Frost is also hot. Wholesome content.
- Skyfall: I very much like Daniel Craig James Bond and this is one of his better ones (Second to Casino Royale).
- Django Unchained: I used to think I couldn’t stand Quentin Tarantino but have come to a change of opinion, largely through Inglourious Bastards and Django Unchained. I was thinking recently about how some of Tarantino’s movies seem to show a desire to retcon history, to take injustices and rewrite them. I like him best when he plays in this sandbox.
I didn’t see: Monsieur Lazhar, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Magic Mike, Samsara, The Master, Looper, A Late Quartet, or Amour.
I hope you had a lovely Saturday. I took a forty minute detour to claim a vegan cinnamon roll, visited the Louvre’s special Delacroix exhibition, and ate a pizza (also vegan).
Keep an eye open for an upcoming ‘best vegan pizzas in Paris’ post. The sequel to the Boston edition- we’ve relocated.
So here’s what’s happening on the interwebs, carefully avoiding the trend for snorting condoms.
- The city of lights from the sky
- I’m fantasizing less about these outfits and more about the swoon worthy descriptions of spring weather
- Body glitter is now the only appropriate use for the Kira Kira filter. I am entranced.
- What happens when you add illustrations to those random snippets of overheard conversations
- I would stay here– books and beds are the only things I need in life
- For it to really be Paris he would have an accordion
- Infernal Affairs and The Departed– for me The Departed wins because Boston, but I have yet to see Infernal Affairs (it’s been on my list SO LONG) so that’s not worth much. It does look excellent, doesn’t it?
- If you’re a Royal Wedding fan, maybe you want to enter this social media contest to suggest its defining ice cream flavor?
- The unstoppable rise of veganism, about which I have mixed feelings (more people want to eat my cinnamon bun but more places sell vegan pizza).
- The benefits of a plant-based diet for health and the environment.
- Congrats to Yale and congrats to Nathan Chen.
- An interview with my favorite makeup artist
- A follow up on the Orientalism inherent in Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, and in the broader world of American cinema (with a very interesting segment on 2015’s Met Gala theme).
“It’s Japan purely as an aesthetic — and another piece of art that treats the East not as a living, breathing half of the planet but as a mirror for the Western imagination.” And perhaps the only thing that will lead to a more fair, just, and equal portrayal of Asians in cinema and pop culture is the spending power of that huge sector of the world population.
- Turkish Rondo in finger snaps
- Molly Ringwald reflects on the problematic legacy of John Hughes movies in the era of #MeToo
I’m weirdly exhausted by life/final exams/the sporadically broken heating system in this house. But I have a backlog of links and they’re all exciting so there’s no putting them off any longer.
And because it’s a new month, the picture above is my new desktop background. Set to tile, as per usual. People swimming in a sea of stars.
What else? 19 days. So close yet so far.
- Reviews of Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs. I’m still pumped because I like Wes Anderson (and dogs), but it sounds like there are some pretty ishy us vs them components. Won’t be seeing it in the theater. Here’s a review from MovieBob and here is a deeper plunge into the problematic nature of the Japanese setting, the estrangement from the Japanese human characters created by the language barrier, cultural tourism, and the white savior complex.
- The movies that influenced Call Me By Your Name. Be right back, adding ALL OF THEM to my list. (Except A Room With A View- I honestly didn’t love that).
- Other things I’m adding to my film list? These twisted fairy tales (from female directors).
- A trailer for The House With a Clock in it’s Walls– speaking of twisted fairy tales. Cate Blanchett! Luscious steam-punk-y visuals! Jack Black doing his character actor thing! Creepy! Childlike! I’m kind of tentatively intrigued. Post-Jumanji, is Jack Black due for a resurgence?
- A discussion of Saoirse Ronan’s costumes for the film Brooklyn, and the deeper meaning behind them. So interesting (and a great film, if you haven’t yet seen it).
Let’s talk about perfume:
- Five fabulous orange blossom scents, courtesy of Angela at Now Smell This. Of these, the Serge Lutens is my favorite, but I would add Rubj by Vero Profumo to the list if I could. (And on the more gourmand side, Hansa Yellow by DSH and Unknown Pleasures by Kerosene).
- Carlos Benaim (love) and Frederic Malle on their new lavender-focused fragrance, Music For a While.
- Hermes releases a new cologne. Unfortunately I missed the Saut Hermes (a jumping tournament at the Grand Palais), but here’s a photo.
- If you’re feeling science-y (I always am) here’s a study that shows evidence of significant interactions between perfumes and individual body odor. The takeaway: “The odor mixture of an individual’s body odor and their preferred perfume was perceived as more pleasant than a blend of the same body odor with a randomly-allocated perfume, even when there was no difference in pleasantness between the perfumes. This indicates […] that people choose perfumes that interact well with their own odor. Our results provide an explanation for the highly individual nature of perfume choice.” So cool.
Fashion and celebrity people:
- Lena Waithe is amazing and I love her style and attitude.
- Bill Cunningham’s secret memoir. When can I read it?
- I know I’m late, but in honor of spring (and Easter) some floral looks from Moschino’s S/S 2018 RTW collection: 1 and 2.
- The maternal grandparent advantage. Rings true for my family (although that also has something to do with geographic proximity). And congratulations Mom and Dad, you are likely to be more involved with my future children than my future parents in law!
- Your friendship Myers-Briggs. As an INFJ, apparently I’m a bandaid and I’ll take it.
- For work relationships. I’m living vicariously through the drama of this twitter thread.
- In old age, shoplifting to find community. Heartbreaking.
Books and other tidbits
- I saw this adorable kid’s maze book at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris. It reminds me of an immense Sesame Street board book I once had. But rather more portable.
- Mari Andrew’s book is out! Love her illustrations and down to earth wisdom.
- Another reason to go home for the summer? Archery tag.
- A French waiter in Canada says firing for rudeness is discrimination against his culture. He’s not wrong.
- If you’re not a fan of the lack of privacy re: data and personal info online, console yourself with the fact that if you ever disappear in a national park, amateurs can keep looking for you for decades. But it’s actually a very interesting, well-written article.
I’m getting out a links post actually on Friday, pre-classes, pre-full-day-of-smelling-synthetic-raw-materials.
- Welcome to space. Meet Steve.
- Congratulations to John Oliver (and best wishes to Marlon Bundo and Wesley).
Love is love.
- …There’s going to be a live-action Lady and the Tramp. Can someone please explain why CGI counts as live action? And can someone also please explain why, in general?
- The beauty and power of fandoms. Read it for the first, introductory segment alone.
- A super interesting read on the ‘brand-influencer power struggle’. An examination of the rise of Instagram influencers and bloggers as fashion personalities, how they’re compensated, what it means, and how it’s changing.
- Honest Trailers does it again. On the slate this week: every Wes Anderson movie. One of my pet favorite directors and they get his idiosyncrasies so right.
- “Visitors are encouraged to create drawings, one of which will be interpreted into a personalized Diptyque scent.” Diptyque is opening an interactive shop in Soho! I’ll have to visit once I’m back in the US (because lord knows there aren’t enough Diptyque shops in Paris). Don’t want to miss out on the fun? You can also submit online.
- “I will insist on my grandchildren referring to me as Grandmamá, with extra emphasis on the á.” All the Glamorous Things I Will Do When I AM A Rich Old Lady. Honestly- goals. But also, don’t wait! Get that Burmese python now! Or, you know, perfect your posture).
- Roland Mouret on his scent preferences and his newish perfume, Une Amourette.
- Olivia de Havilland, 101, alive, and very much kicking. I watched In This Our Life, featuring her and Bette Davis, this week while studying. Not the best movie ever but watching them was like visiting two old friends of mine.
I’m back in France (landed yesterday morning) but still thinking about films. Some things never change.
- The Post: They’ve asked tons screen this at the White House which I find very interesting given 1) the content and 2) the presence of the very-overrated Meryl Streep.
- A Fantastic Woman
- Winchester: This doesn’t actually look good but I love creepy house films and I could be wrong.
- Red Sparrow: Ballerina Jennifer Lawrence becomes Russian Intelligence agent. Could be good. Could be Atomic Blonde 2, Atomic Redhead.
- Isle of Dogs: Wes Anderson!
- Lean on Pete: Horses!
- You Were Never Really Here: Joaquin Phoenix and guns!
- Solo: A Star Wars Story: There’s been a lot of behind the scenes drama with this project. I hope it turns out well because I will never not love a good Star Wars. And I’ll be sad if they besmirch the Harrison Ford/Han Solo legacy.
- Deadpool 2: Of course.
- Ocean’s 8: I was questioning this on a kind of Ghostbusters remake basis but the trailer looks excellent and has assuaged most of my fears. Love that the heist is set at the Met Gala.
- The Incredibles 2: Edna’s coming back!
- Mulan: Live action Mulan. I’m torn. I don’t believe there’s a need but if one is coming I might be here for it.
- Bohemian Rhapsody: Another film with a lot of behind the scenes drama, but I’m excited. Queen is cool.
- Creed 2: It didn’t need a sequel but I did like the first Creed quite a bit.
You’ll notice that the list os largely big Hollywood films, as these are the ones that tend to schedule their release dates far into the future (as opposed to the smaller independent films I tend to prefer).
I continue to be in France! That’s it for updates really (for now. stay tuned).
I have a lot of exciting news to share that I can’t share yet because not everyone in my physical life knows the news yet- but stay tuned for a thrilling announcement.
On a less significant but still exciting note: I won $150 dollars off of Dad this morning. It’s been a good day.
Other news: I’m away this weekend and into Tuesday, being back Tuesday night and possibly posting again on Wednesday. So a short hiatus, in honor of Independence Day and family visiting. So instead of checking in here, do enjoy your barbecues and illegal fireworks, popsicles and movie nights with the family.
Other other news: I’ve been very excited by the growth of the blog in the past few months, and you may remember that last month was the first that views exceeded 1.0k. This being the last day of the month, you may be interested in an update of the blog views- with 2 more views we will breach 1.0k yet again! Which generally does happen in a day, statistically. But it is early and presumptuous to celebrate, so again stay tuned for Wednesday for the final word.
Now back to the actual links game that we play every Friday: Continue reading “Friday Links: 6/30 Edition”
One final down and two to go. Again I apologize for the lack of content but I haven’t had the wherewithal to write anything between studying and collapsing from mental exhaustion- guys, I’ve been taking naps! It’s crazy and unheard of!
But I’m going to unload the links because there are some pretty fun ones and I don’t want to be buried in them. But for now nothing else. But regularly scheduled programming should resume after my last final on the 7th. Really, I’ve been so busy I realized I haven’t even changed my desktop background for the month, so I have none to show you. Maybe next week, because picking the perfect background takes focus. You have to look at it for a month, after all. Continue reading “Friday Links 5/5”