November 2019 Movie Roundup

Hey hi hello everyone welcome back! My social life now consists exclusively of sitting alone in a large dark room munching on popcorn and getting too emotionally invested in movies!! How are you all doing????

That’s my way of saying I made my way through SEVEN (7) movies this month, including two absolute year favorites, so buckle up cause I got lots to say and you have LOTS of movies to watch!

Dolemite is My Name
“I want the world to know I exist!”

I’ll be honest, I went into this movie knowing nothing about the real Ray Rudy Moore and the extent of his impact. The great thing is that the movie still works regardless. The beginning takes some time to get off the ground but once the second act gets going, the fun and funny cranks up. It’s incredible to see Eddie Murphy back on screen doing what he does best. He’s dynamite in this role, one that he was truly born to play. It’s a laugh-out-loud movie with an unexpectedly sweet and heartwarming ending, led and spurred on by Murphy’s pure talent and comedy. Catch it on Netflix if you’re looking for a fun movie with a big heart.

Charlie’s Angels
“I’m, like, so gay dude.”

I guess I am in the minority here but I had a blast watching this movie. Yes, it’s silly and dumb and predictable. But you go in knowing that it’s silly and dumb and predictable and the movie itself knows it’s silly and dumb and predictable and that’s what makes it so much fun. I loved the three leads but Kristen Stewart shines above and beyond the rest here. It’s sad that my first introduction to her was the godawful Twilight movies but her repertoire since then has just gotten better and better, and she is the life and soul of this film. Honestly, it’s exactly what you (should) expect — fun, lighthearted, action-packed cheese. It’s even better thanks to supporting turns from Elizabeth Banks and (my fave) Patrick Stewart. And honestly, even better because of all the weird anger the film bros have towards it.

Parasite
“That’s so metaphorical.”

Okay. This is easily one of the best movies of the year. I would even go so far as to say one of the best of the decade. I almost don’t want to review it because it’s actually so much better if you go in cold. All I will say is that it is a masterpiece in every single way. It exists in a genre of its own. A thrilling, funny, stressful, tense, brilliant, captivating story that doesn’t miss a single beat. If you haven’t seen it already, make sure you do. The hype is absolutely deserved. Truly masterful cinema.

Waves
“All we have is now.”

The cinematic equivalent of a punch to the gut. In a good way. A visceral and emotional experience. This film impacted me more than probably any other movie this year (maybe even more than Ad Astra). Was the reason because it was filmed almost entirely in South Florida, and specifically Broward County and also oh yeah in my high school??? Yeah probably. But still. This is a knockout film with powerhouse performances and stunning cinematography. A completely immersive experience, both in sight and sound (truly it is some kind of audio-visual poetry), that captures the chaos and messiness and purity and rawness of life. It tells two different stories, flipping perspectives so easily that you never lose the common thread between both, using a neat little trick of subtly switching aspect ratios when one story ends and the other begins. I will say I wish it would have come with a trigger warning for the domestic violence / abuse storyline — those scenes set against the backdrop of my hometown caused me to have a minor panic attack in the theatre. There are a lot of really heavy themes so be warned. But if you are able to see it, there’s a really powerful and beautiful story at the end. It’s not what I would describe as a mainstream type of film and I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. But to those who can appreciate the cinematic effort, even if it doesn’t resonate as much with them (which is totally fair!), it’s definitely worth checking out.

Jojo Rabbit
“Be the rabbit.”

Overall, an enjoyable and worthwhile film, albeit a bit off tonally. The shifts between the comedy and the drama were somehow both too sharp and too subtle. That said, it’s an extraordinarily tricky needle to thread, and I completely commend Taika Waititi for taking on something that many filmmakers would never even attempt. Even though I lost the through line between the comedy bits and the more serious emotional bits, the majority of the movie still landed well enough for me. Roman Griffin Davis is a mini star in the making, and his performance really anchors the film. It’s an interesting mix of soul and satire that shouldn’t work but it sorta does and then sorta doesn’t and then sorta does again. Critical and audience opinions seem to be pretty divided so you’ll have to check it out for yourself!

Ford v. Ferrari
“There’s a point at 7000 RPM where everything fades.”

Generally, I liked it. Surprised actually by how much I liked it, as I know little to nothing about racing and this had all the signs of a basic biopic. Indeed, I thought the second half was better than the first, which gets a bit too caught up in those formulaic scenes. It’s a great story, a true underdog tale, but I think the more interesting battle was between Ford and Ferrari, not Shelby and the Ford marketing team. To be honest, I never really quite got why Leo Beebe kept trying to mess everything up for Ken. It seemed a bit too manufactured and melodramatic. Aside from that, it’s a fine film with great performances and some incredible sound and editing on the racing sequences. Buuuut, I think I liked Rush better!

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
“Now let’s take a minute to think about all the people who loved us into being.”

There’s a point in the film where Mister Rogers asks Lloyd Vogel to sit in silence for a full sixty seconds, and everyone in the scene stops and falls quiet, and all the noise completely dies away, and everyone in the theatre seems to be collectively holding their breath, and Tom Hanks truly becomes Mister Rogers as he sits there calmly, benignly, reflecting, and by the time the minute is up and he is thanking you for doing that with him, you let out a deep breath and all of a sudden it feels like that weight you didn’t even know you were carrying just became a little lighter. So what I’m saying is yes, this was basically the cinematic equivalent of a good, solid therapy session. I have to say it took me completely by surprise — it wasn’t anything like I thought it would be but I enjoyed it thoroughly nonetheless. It’s certainly slow-paced and would have surely resonated much more had I grown up watching Mister Rogers but even so, the impact was powerful enough to make a lasting impression. Director Marielle Heller really is just profoundly powerful at capturing human emotion. A truly lovely, feel-good, deeply moving movie, perhaps necessary now more than ever.

And that wraps up November! I should also mention I watched three additional non-new-releases / non-contenders this month:

  • Late Night — fine, formulaic, funny
  • A Simple Favor — absolutely fucking loved it so much, would watch 100 more times
  • Let it Snow — meh, nothing special

Alright guys. We have a month left in the year and some true gems still to come over the next few weeks. I was already able to catch a very early screening of 1917 (truly incredible) so keep an eye out for those thoughts in the next post. The rest of my December list is as follows:

  • The Irishman — was waiting for the Netflix release cause ain’t no way I’m spending three and a half hours in a theatre
  • Marriage Story — Netflix release tomorrow!
  • The Two Popes — out on limited release already but waiting for Netflix release on 12/20
  • Uncut Gems — love when Adam Sandler actually tries
  • A Hidden Life — nothing like a Malick to end the year
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — CAN. NOT. WAIT. (to see my love oscar isaac and his ethnic hips back on screen)
  • Bombshell — should be hella interesting
  • Little Women — please film gods let this be good

Also have some leftovers from November still to watch, including:

  • Honey Boy
  • Motherless Brooklyn
  • Harriet
  • Last Christmas
  • Knives Out
  • The Report

SO looks like our work is cut out for us. No time to waste so get watching go go go!!!!

And before you ask, no I have absolutely ZERO desire to see Cats. 

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