After eight feature films and an ever more recognizable brand of cinema, we have come to expect a certain type of movie from Quentin Tarantino. He is, in many ways, the gold standard for many young and unapologetic film makers out there that think they have a new and distinct vision to share with the world. In the 1990s, Tarantino represented a break from Hollywood formulas that had been in place for most of the 1980s (with a few exceptions of course). To supplement his unique style of film making, Tarantino had the kind of rebellious anti-establishment personality to match that made his work instant cult favorites.
After nearly two months of no activity in my blog and a few hours away before the end of 2015, I simply couldn’t let December pass me by without offering something to reminisce about the year.
I hope this coming year finally gives me the purpose to really devote some time to blogging, as I’ve wanted to since I started it about 3 years ago.
There are also a couple of series to catch up with, like my reviews of the first season of Mr. Robot, and my ongoing monthly round-ups.
2015 was a year filled with great films, many of which I have yet to see. In lieu of a “best films of 2015” post, I will instead share thoughts on the films I watched this year, whether they were first released 50 years back, or just a month or two ago. The following list will comprise some of the greatest movies I watched (grouped by high ratings of 4.5 or 4/5 only as there were no perfect scores given) and some honorable mentions that did not quite make the cut . The following are limited to films I had not seen before or that I had not seen in their entirety until this year.
I have been busy, very busy. A new job, new professional goals, new schedule. All of that and more sometimes gets in the way of blogging. However, I have continued to watch and love films all the same. I have also managed to invest some time into some very worthwhile tv shows, that I hope to talk about in the near future. Meanwhile, I offer a rundown of the last 3 months worth of film watching. This will be a two-part post, with a second to follow a few days after this one.
After the first terrific episode, Mr. Robot left us in the middle of a cliffhanger. We find Elliot facing the so-called “1% of the 1%” he had briefly mentioned on the introduction to the story. Among the executives gathered at the top of a non-descript office building we find a familiar face, a former hacker, and one of the heads of E Corp we had briefly been introduced to in the first chapter. Interestingly, the scene is not one that offers much of a climax, and I get the feeling it is more of a moment of impasse between two players that will unavoidably meet again.
Browsing the web a few days ago I came across a couple of television reviews that compared the quality of the new USA network serial show Mr. Robot to Vince Gilligan’s already iconic Breaking Bad.
Upon embarking on a deeper web search, I found that Mr. Robot has a very impressive 9.1/10 on IMDB (compared to Breaking Bad’s 9.5/10), a 98% critical and 95% audience score in Rotten Tomatoes (against a 95% and 98% for Gilligan’s show) and a 75 in Metacritic for season one (compared to Breaking Bad’s 73 for its premiere season).
There comes a time in everyone’s life where the sun, the beach, and enjoying the outdoors takes precedent whenever one feels they have an hour or two to spare. Such has been the case for me over the last few months, even if Chicago, and its often unmerciful weather, has attempted to hijack a weekend or two with its northerly wintry winds and stray summer showers. For these reasons, and maybe a couple of others I will not get into right now, I have abandoned my blog yet again.
Sometimes it takes moving from one place to another, being extremely busy with work, renovating a new condo, dealing with some family matters and trying to sell the place you’ve been living in for the past year to realize that whatever you thought “busy” meant; it is probably nothing compared to how it has been lately.
Even though my blogging has continued to suffer, I still try to make time for movies. In the last three months I have managed to watch 25 films (11, 10 and 4 respectively). The average score in March was a decent 2.95/5, while April passed with a slightly better 3.1 and May was pretty great with an average of 3.875/5. Of the 25 films, four cracked the 4/5. First, it was the very bleak yet very powerful Oslo, August 31st, followed up by the very well-made documentary Life Itself that touches on the life of the late and great Roger Ebert., the moving doc Dear Zachary and the sensational Mad Max: Fury Road.
Below a summary, in order of viewing, with short reviews of each film I saw in the last 3 months. You might also notice quite a number of sci-fi films, especially those interested in robots and artificial intelligence:
Prologue: I have been away for about two whole months. I’ve been very busy, life has been kicking my rear once again (but in a good way). I bought a new place and I am currently in the process of selling my previous residence. I’m also helping my mother with various legal matters, I have been awfully busy with work, I recently moved to said new place and I’ve begun to write a science fiction novel (though it’s developing very slowly). I don’t expect my presence in this blog to augment very much in the near future, but I do certainly hope I can at least post something once or twice a month. Cheers to those who still follow. I’ve missed you.
Below you’ll find thoughts I wrote down fervently right after watching Life Itself for the first time about a month ago. Sadly, I did not find the time (or the will) to post these thoughts in review form at the moment they occurred. So, in lieu of a standard film review, I give you the largely unrevised gut-reaction I had right after watching the documentary about the great film critic I much admired.
Though I have slightly increased my activity in the blogosphere so far this year, it has been difficult to go through many films. Most of what I’ve watched are blind spots from last year, but I still have a lot of catching up to do. As it has been the case in the last few months, I probably spent more time on a couple of TV shows. First, I went through the first two seasons of BBC’s original series Peaky Blinders and, in the last couple of days of February, I devoured the entire third season of House of Cards (I know…)
I came out of the theater in a mix of frustration and puzzlement back in the summer of 2014. Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin was, and still is, many moons later, a difficult film to embrace. Every shot seemed to stretch out into infinity, relentlessly demanding that we observe, analyze and break apart every moment and every bit of dialogue. For every thrilling bit of film reel that was full of mystery and suspense, there were equally frustrating shots that seemed void of substance.