Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February 2018 Film Log

My number of films seen in February was lagging until I made the foolish (from the standpoint of all the MBA classwork I needed to complete) choice to attend nine screenings in the Wexner Center for the Arts' Cinema Revival program on the month's last weekend.  While I felt stressed to get all that homework done, gorging on old movies that looked and sounded fantastic was helpful in clearing my head before diving back into researching the Chinese car market.

I will note that my ratings for the Jean Renoir and Claire Denis films may strike some of you as far too low.  I'll simply say that THE CRIME OF MONSIEUR LANGE caught me when I was feeling somewhat drowsy and I wasn't entirely sure what to make of TROUBLE EVERY DAY other than noting that is a singular film.  I also wasn't completely certain how I felt about KING OF HEARTS because of its whimsical treatment of how to act in the face of war, but ultimately I found myself willing to let it work on its level.  I revisited BLACK PANTHER mainly because I didn't trust my initial reaction seeing it the Thursday night before the official opening day.  (The screening was way less than ideal as the theater was extraordinarily warm, a young child wailed through early portions, and the person next to me regularly checked his super-bright smartphone and still had it shining when he turned it over to rest on his leg.)

While it doesn't have anything to do with the film log below, this month I was quoted in an article in The Ringer entitled "The Delayed Gratification of Midwest Oscar Season."

-The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (Nathan Juran, 1958): B-

-The 15:17 to Paris (Clint Eastwood, 2018): C

-2018 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Animation: (Various artists, 2018): B-
     -Dear Basketball (Glen Keane, 2017)
     -Negative Space (Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter, 2017)
     -LOU (Dave Mullins, 2017)
     -Revolting Rhymes Part One (Jan Lachauer, Jakob Schuh, and Bin-Han To,
     -Garden Party (Florian Babikian, Vincent Bayoux, Victor Caire, Théophile
      Dufresne, Gabriel Grapperon, and Lucas Navarro, 2017)
     -Lost Property Office (Daniel Agdag, 2017)
     -Weeds (Kevin Hudson, 2017)
     -Achoo (Lucas Boutrot, Élise Carret, Maoris Creantor, Pierre Hubert, Camille
      Lacroix, and Charlotte Perroux, 2018)

-Black Panther (Ryan Coogler, 2018): B -- first and second viewings

-The Cloverfield Paradox (Julius Onah, 2018): C- -- HD stream

-The Crime of Monsieur Lange (Le crime de Monsieur Lange) (Jean Renoir, 1936): B-

-Dead Man (Jim Jarmusch, 1995): A -- repeat viewing (first theatrical viewing)

-Dementia 13 (Director's Cut) (Francis Ford Coppola, 1963): B-

-Early Man (Nick Park, 2018): B-

-Fifty Shades Freed (James Foley, 2018): D

-Game Night (John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, 2018): B

-The Insult (L'insulte) (Ziad Doueiri, 2017): B+

-King of Hearts (Le roi de coeur) (Philippe de Broca, 1966): B-

-Monkey Business (Howard Hawks, 1952): A-

-Peter Rabbit (Will Gluck, 2018): C

-The Revolt of Mamie Stover (Raoul Walsh, 1956): B

-Tom Jones (Tony Richardson, 1963): B+

-Trouble Every Day (Claire Denis, 2001): B- -- 35mm print

Shorts compilation program:

-Saving Orphan Films: The Amateurs and Others
     -Home movie of French Quarter, New Orleans, before Katrina (Helen
     Hill, ca. 2002)
     -Venus and Adonis (J. V. D. Bucher and Harry Dunham, 1935)
     -The Inner World of Aphasia (Edward R. Feil and Naomi Feil, 1968)
     -Përjetësi (Eternity) (Dhimitër Anagnosti, 1973)
     -Long Binh Post Exchange [South Vietnam] (Marcellus Hartman, ca. 1971)
     -EPH 4/27/16 (Ephraim Horowitz, 1979)


-Lick the Star (Sofia Coppola, 1998): B

The top films new to me (current releases):

-The Insult (L'insulte)
-Game Night
-Black Panther
-Early Man

The top films new to me (repertory):

-Monkey Business
-Tom Jones
-The Revolt of Mamie Stover
-The Crime of Monsieur Lange (Le crime de Monsieur Lange)
-Dementia 13 (Director's Cut)

Viewing locations & formats:

-Theatrical viewings: 19 (DCP: 18, 35mm: 1)
-Home viewings: 1 (HD stream: 1)

February Totals:

-# of screenings: 20
-# of unique films seen: 17 features, 2 shorts compilation programs, and 1 short
-# of feature films new to me: 16

Year-to-date Totals:

-Theatrical viewings: 31 (DCP: 30, 35mm: 1) (includes one live performance)
-Home viewings: 7 (HD streams: 4, HD recordings: 2, DVD: 1)
-Live performances: 1

-# of screenings: 38
-Unique # of films seen: 34 features, 2 shorts compilation programs, and 1 short
-Unique # of feature films new to me: 32

Because it seems like the podcast got off the ground before this month, I almost forgot to mention that FILMBOUND, the podcast I'm doing with Paul Markoff, launched and has five episodes currently available.  Please check it out.

Finally, a dumb joke of mine became the most popular tweet I've posted and likely is responsible for an invitation to be interviewed on an entertainment program on state-run Turkish TV.

Filmbound - Episode 5: The 15:17 to Paris

There's some nice synchronicity at work with releasing episode 5 of FILMBOUND as I'm headed to the True/False Film Festival.  This episode is focused on THE 15:17 TO PARIS, clearly a fictionalized narrative drama yet one that recreates real events with three of the people who played central roles in disrupting and stopping a terrorist attack on a train.  It's not as though Clint Eastwood has morphed into Abbas Kiarostami with his approach on this film, but it's a conceptually interesting, albeit dramatically inert, project that prompts good discussion.  We also mix it up, more than I expected, regarding the topic of spoilers in film criticism and in casual conversations about movies.

Upcoming episodes:

-March 7: BLACK PANTHER and our recommendations segment
-March 14: EARLY MAN and a discussion about the concept of cinematic guilty pleasures

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Filmbound - Episode 4: Fifty Shades Freed

After recording the first three episodes of FILMBOUND, the new podcast I'm doing with Paul Markoff, we decided to make a minor tweak with the format and release schedule.  The good news is that a new episode discussing one film will be released weekly on Wednesdays rather than covering two films per show and releasing twice a month.  The idea is to deliver shorter episodes more regularly than long episodes less frequently.  Episode 4, which is focused on FIFTY SHADES FREED and features Oscar-related recommendations, follows this revised plan. 

Upcoming episodes and release dates are:

-February 28: THE 15:17 TO PARIS and a discussion about spoilers
-March 7: BLACK PANTHER and our recommendations segment
-March 14: EARLY MAN and a discussion about the concept of cinematic guilty pleasures

As we're recording once a month, there will be some lag between opening weekends for the films and when our episodes are released.  Anymore it feels like a film is old news a week after it has opened, but our hope is that, by providing more space between the availability of what we're covering and the episode releases, listeners will have had time to check out those films.  Although we may need to adapt to keep from getting too far behind, that's the idea.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Announcing new podcast Filmbound

Although our cable TV show NOW PLAYING has ended its run after 550 episodes, Paul Markoff and I are keeping the film conversations going with our new podcast FILMBOUND.  You can listen to and download episodes from the FILMBOUND site and also find them on iTunes and Google Play Music.  Subscribing gets new episodes to you as quickly as possible.  We've also submitted to be available on Spotify and the RadioPublic app, so if the show isn't at those locations when you read this, it should be there soon.

We have three episodes already available for you.  The first episode covers STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII - THE LAST JEDI, PADDINGTON 2, and a recommendations segment to touch on other films we've seen that are worth your attention.

Episode 2 features MOLLY'S GAME, PHANTOM THREAD, and a discussion about how to attract more ticket buyers to movie theaters when ticket sales are trending downward.

Our special edition episode 3 reveals our picks for the best films of 2017.

As this format is new to us, we're still figuring out how best to structure and release the episodes.  The initial idea was to record two episodes per month, with each episode covering two films.  To make episodes a little shorter and maintain a more regular and predictable release schedule, we may be switching to episodes that feature one film each and publishing weekly.  Stay tuned for updates, and enjoy the show.