One day, I would really love for someone to explain to me why my favorite month of the year always seems to go by in the blink of an eye.
Midterms and finals sapped all of my time and energy this month so I fell slightly behind in my movie watching. Honestly, from the few titles I managed to get to, it wasn’t a stellar month overall but that’s okay — my release list for November is crazy long and they all look incredible. (See end of post!)
ANYWAYS without further ado, let’s talk October movies!
Pain and Glory (Dolor y Gloria)
“El cine me salvo la vida.”
Truly, one of the most moving, intimate, tender, meditative films I have seen in years. Antonio Banderas has never been better, and it would be worth watching for his performance alone. But Pedro Almodóvar gives us so much more — from the characters to the dialogue to the direction, you would be hard-pressed to find a film that works together more perfectly, even with its imperfections. The film boasts a small cast, allowing the characters to breathe and flow as real people — the film feels so personal, so autobiographical, that the characters seem to come to life as if straight from a memory. Similar to The Farewell, if there was any justice in the world, this film should be all over the Oscars — from Picture and Direction to Leading and Supporting for Banderas and Penelope Cruz, respectively. But even if it’s not, don’t let that stop you from seeking this out and losing yourself in the most beautiful story of the year.
“You won’t forget me, will you? Promise me, you won’t.”
I had higher hopes for this movie but honestly, it’s your basic run-of-the-mill biopic and falls short in giving the best, most complete, holistic picture of Judy Garland and her life and career. That said, Renee Zellweger is truly phenomenal (she does all the singing herself!) and I will be shocked if she doesn’t get the nomination. Despite not having much to work with in terms of story, she brings a lot of life and emotion to the screen and pulls you deep into the emotional beats. There isn’t anything particularly new or exciting with the writing and direction — there is one scene where Judy meets two gay fans outside of her show and spends a lovely night bonding with them, and it’s so beautiful and different and I wish the movie would have done more of that. That and the final scene brought tears to my eyes despite the cheesiness but I cry at anything these days so do with that what you will.
“I don’t believe in anything.”
Okay. The short story is I hated it. The sad story is I can kind of see what it was trying to go for (if I squinted real hard and tilted my head) but whatever the intention was not the end result. The good story is Joaquin Phoenix really is as incredible as everyone says (but if I’m being honest, it’s not totally a surprise either as we’ve seen him in similar roles albeit not to this extreme). For me, and I recognize this was a completely personal reaction, it was the kind of movie where the entire time I was watching it, I just wanted it to end. It was interesting watching it with a friend who liked it just slightly more than I did and the different lens we both watched it in. I can see where it might resonate with some people (and that’s the good and bad of it right?) But for me, as someone who has a very deep fear of guns due to the country and times we live in (not to mention the fact that I live in the city that Gotham is based on — I have a recurring nightmare about a mass shooting in the subway so you can imagine my anxiety during THAT scene), it was unpleasant to say the least. However, someone without that fear will experience the movie differently. All of that aside though, looking at the movie from a more rational rather than emotional stance, it is still just fine. Overly long and dragging at times with some really dumb “humor” (I hated the gag with the dwarf), the film focuses on shock value where they should go subtle and subtle where they needed the chaos. It’s great for audiences who want that shock value and don’t care about anything deeper. Which is fine and great, but that combined with everything else, just didn’t do it for me.
“The world is just men hiding behind piles of paper.”
Honestly, I debated even including this movie in the round-up. I have nothing to say except it is so bad. Just really bad. Boring and bad. Soderbergh tries to copy Adam McKay and his shticks but let’s be real, I was already bored with that gimmick halfway through The Big Short, let alone Vice. Anyway, sorry to the great actors who somehow signed on for this mess (seriously if you need an Antonio Banderas fix, watch Pain and Glory) but avoid this one. And don’t even get me started on Meryl Streep in brown face.
So there you have it! A short month compared to what I normally get through during the October part of awards season but it will be more than made up for in November. It’s actually crazy how many releases there will be in the next few weeks — I’m planning on knocking out Dolemite is My Name and Jojo Rabbit in the next two days, and will try to get to Parasite this weekend so I can at least be caught up with October movies. It’s going to be a VERY busy month.
Full watchlist below!
- Dolemite is My Name
- Jojo Rabbit
- Motherless Brooklyn
- Doctor Sleep
- Marriage Story
- The Irishman
- Honey Boy
- Charlie’s Angels
- Ford v Ferrari
- A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
- The Two Popes
It’s really picking up now so don’t walk, RUN to the movies and get watching! Until next time!