Tag: Drama

2022, Movies

Spiderhead (2022, Joseph Kosinski)

I loved George Saunders. I’ve only read one collection and one other story, but I’ve loved everything I’ve read. (This reminds me, I really should read his collections.) But I’ve never read this story. (I will soon, now that it’s spoiled for me.) So I can’t comment on how true this movie is to the …

1965, 1966, 1967

War and Peace [Voyna I Mir] (1965, Sergey Bondarchuk)

This is an epic, 7 and a half hour adaptation of War and Peace, sort of on the scale of The Human Condition, but not nearly as long and far more ambitious. Apparently made in response to the Hollywood version, this film (or series of films) mostly realizes the promise of Peak TV decades earlier …

2011, Movies

A Separation [Jodaeiye Nader az Simin] (2011, Asghar Farhadi)

The is an unrelentingly bleak tragedy about the dissolution of a marriage in Iran that leads to a misunderstanding that compounds into a destructive feud between two families. It is well shot, well constructed, and well acted and it was a chore to watch as a result. (I mean that as a compliment.)

2008, Movies

Synecdoche, New York (2008, Charlie Kaufman)

I’ve finally gotten around to watching the film that temporarily killed Charlie Kaufman’s career as a director. If you don’t know Charlie kaufman was one of the most acclaimed American screenwriters of his era, and then he made this film. Though it is now regarded by some of one of the best movies of that …

1937, Movies

Make Way For Tomorrow (1937, Leo McCarey)

This film is maddening and all the more maddening given its reputation. I suspect its reputation is earned in part from the Americans who had not seen films like this and decided that this must be some kind of masterpiece. Why did Orson Welles like this movie so much? Had he never seen anything like …

1957, Movies

Nights of Cabiria [Le notti di Cabiria] (1957, Federico Fellini)

Some people say, I prefer the “early, funny” Woody Allen, in preference to his more ambitious and serious films of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. Well, I have similar feelings about Fellini; I prefer the “early, realist” Fellini, or what I might less charitably call the “early, good” Fellini. I find Fellini’s later films incomprehensible …

1967, Movies

Samurai Rebellion [Jôi-uchi: Hairyô tsuma shimatsu] (1967, Masaki Kobayashi)

This is an exceptional samurai film from a little bit past the genre’s early heyday, that manages to do nearly everything right. I have only one criticism, but it feels like a minor one given the overall quality of the film.

1965, Movies

Obchod na korze [The Shop on Main Street] (1965, Ján Kadár, Elmar Klos)

This is a mostly excellent Slovak film about when the Jews were taken away in 1942. It’s a pretty remarkable film and, though I have some minor quibbles, I think I am willing to say it is one of the essential films of 1965.

1953, Movies

Tôkyô monogatari (1953, Yasujirô Ozu)

Some critics consider this simple drama to be the best movie ever made. I don’t really understand that, as I don’t really believe that there is a “Greatest Movie of All Time.” I know there are movies I’ve watched that have felt “near perfect” to me but I’m not sure too many of them would …

1983, Movies

Carnival Magic (1983, Al Adamson)

There are some terrible movies that are technically awful and might have actually been saved by some budget. And there are some terrible movies that are bad for story reasons, in addition to some other issues (the cast, the script…). This is one of the latter, presumably a product of the animal craze caused by …

1994, Movies

Sátántangó (1994, Béla Tarr)

Since I re-ordered my list of films to watch, to prioritize critical opinion, I’ve been watching a lot of extremely long films. I think these types of films are critically celebrated for at least two reasons: There’s a self-selecting group who watch these types of movies: only certain types of people will sit through a …

2021, Movies

Arthur Rambo (2021, Laurent Cantet)

This is the story of a rising French literary star (and YouTube personality) whose career is derailed right at the moment of his big triumph by his Twitter history. it’s something that happens seemingly every day in our world and yet I don’t think I’ve seen yet seen a movie that explicitly deals with this, …

2021, Movies

True Things (2021, Harry Wootliff)

This movie follows a predictable arc, if you’re familiar with its type: the main character is struggling with their life, a mysterious stranger comes in and entrances said character (or “insert other plot device here”) , and then life lessons. (Sorry for the mild spoiler.) I point this out so early in the review because, …

2021, Movies

Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash (2021, Edwin)

This film is many things all at once. It is, kind of incredibly, based on a novel, which made my confusion over what happens all the deeper, as the thing that I can’t resolve feels like its the kind of issue that wouldn’t exist in a book. So I’m wondering if something was lost in …

2012, Movies

Magic Mike (2012, Steven Soderbergh)

This is an entertaining and engaging comedy drama about male strippers during the financial crisis. It’s sort of an oblique comment on the consequences of the financial crisis and it’s fascinating that Channing Tatum wanting to star in a movie about his life as a stripper before he got famous turned into this film.

1959, 1961, Movies

The Human Condition (1959, 1961, Masaki Kobayashi)

This is an epic film, released as a series, that adapts an epic novel. Taken as a whole film, it is one of the longest narrative films ever – by my count the 8th or 9th longest ever, and probably the longest ever made at the time of its release. But it was released as …

1955, Movies

Pather Panchali (1955, Satyajit Ray)

Don’t ask me why I saw Aparajito first but I did. (It’s an A movie and I must not have known it was a sequel years ago when I saw it.) But it was long enough ago that I don’t really remember it (and long enough ago that I lost my review when Zip.ca died). …

1964, Movies

Woman in the Dunes [砂の女 or Suna no onna] (1964)

This is a really distinct and kind of crazy film that pairs a plot that could be in a horror film with a bit of a retelling of the story of Sisyphus. It is also, perhaps, the most incredible use of sand in a movie in film history. Very mild spoilers

1954, Movies

Sansho dayu [Sansho the Bailiff] (1954), directed by Kenji Mizoguchi

There’s a high standard to meet “The Greatest Film of All Time.” Though it’s sometimes not #1 on lists, Sansho the Bailiff has been called “The Greatest Film of All Time,” “Perfect” and many other things and when it’s not considered the single greatest, it’s often on a very short list. It’s even harder for …

2014, 2015, 2017, TV

The Leftovers (2014)

This is a well-made show with at least one fatal flaw. (And possibly two. I didn’t get that far.) Recommended as ideal for watching during the pandemic we found quite the opposite: that the pandemic actually made the whole thing seem far less believable than it might have seemed when it first aired.

2007, Movies

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007, Cristian Mungiu)

This is an extraordinarily bleak film. You probably know it as the “Romanian abortion movie”. It’s a pretty extraordinary film despite its bleakness and is very close to being a masterpiece, in my opinion. If you haven’t seen it yet – it took me nearly 14 years for some reason – I would recommend it …