Monday, January 9, 2017

Films I Saw in December

La La Land

I watched 11 films last month, two of which were rewatches (Home Alone and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation). I've ranked the first-timers below. Also, I've seen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story now, but I didn't see it until New Year's Day.

9. Suicide Squad

8. Kubo and the Two Strings

7. Other People

6. Jason Bourne

5. Florence Foster Jenkins

4. Captain Fantastic

3. Lemonade

2. Fences

1. La La Land


  1. I’ve only seen a couple of these. I’d agree with your grade for Florence Foster Jenkins, the performances were better than the overall movie but it was a pleasant film. I don’t however get the nomination talk for Meryl…Hugh yes but I don’t think the part asks that much of her. Nothing to cost Annette Bening or Ruth Negga a nod instead.

    I was disappointed in Jason Bourne. I’ve been a fan of the series from the first film but this one seemed like it was running on fumes. The others were more situational but still action packed where this just struck me as one explosion after another.

    Looks like the terrible things I heard about Suicide Squad are true. Anxious to see both La La Land and Fences.

    I managed to fill a couple of long-time blind spots, Paisan and Variety Lights. I wasn’t wholly enraptured by either but both were fine films, glad to have finally seen them.

    I also caught up with two more recent releases, Sully-Tom Hanks was great and the picture involving even though I knew the outcome. It was disappointing that all Eastwood could find for Laura Linney was the worried wife role though. Also Passengers which was visually impressive but the story left much to be desired, glad I saw it in the theatre since the design is the thing here.

    Saw a trio of intriguing older titles, The Prowler-a noir with Van Heflin and Evelyn Keyes that didn’t go in quite the direction I expected. A 1966 TV version of The Glass Menagerie with a jaw dropping cast-Shirley Booth as Amanda, Hal Holbrook as Tom, Barbara Loden as Laura and Pat Hingle as the Gentleman Caller, it’s never been one of my favorite Tennessee Williams’s plays but the cast made it well worth the watch. The third was another from the 60’s and another literary adaptation, The Fox based on a D.H. Lawrence story with Sandy Dennis and Keir Dullea. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, Sandy Dennis is always a question mark for me-usually she’s too fluttery and twitchy but on occasion-Up the Down Staircase being the best example-she can be very good. I only knew about the at the time shocking lesbianism angle but it was an interesting, meditative film with that aspect just another component of the story.

    In my filmography quest I managed to knock a few off. Mostly forgettable early Myrna Loy films but outside of those I found one hidden gem, The Bottom of the Bottle-the title makes absolutely no sense to the film-with an extraordinarily excellent Ruth Roman performance as Joseph Cotton’s frustrated wife (though his performance is shaky). Also one dog that once I saw it I understood why it was so obscure-Yes, My Darling Daughter. It was just exasperatingly stupid made even worse by the fact that it wasted a cast containing Fay Bainter, Roland Young, May Robson and Genevieve Tobin. The ONLY plus was that I was able to close out Priscilla Lane’s filmography by watching it, hardly her finest hour.

    I did catch one other on the fly that by most standards wasn’t much of a film but engaging because of its backstory, The Son of Captain Blood. As the title explains it told the tale of Errol Flynn’s Captain Blood’s son set about 25 years after the original film. The catch being that the title character was played by Flynn’s real life son Sean. He was attractive and cut a fine figure but he didn’t possess Errol’s magnetism nor star quality, he gave up acting shortly after this and became a photojournalist for Time and other publications disappearing in the Cambodian jungle while on assignment during the Vietnam War.

    Unfortunately as with all months there were a couple of real stinkers. Lazy Eye, just inert and pointless and worst of the worst, Dirty Grandpa!! It wasn’t voluntary, I was at a friend’s house and they insisted on watching. What the hell is Robert De Niro doing to his film career? It was ghastly.

    1. I liked Meryl more than I expected in FFJ, but I agree Grant is more deserving of a nom, even if he's really a co-lead. And Bening and Negga are certainly more worthy of noms. (I saw their films recently.)

      The first three Bourne films are A-grade for me, so I was also disappointed. That said, I'd welcome another film to see if the series gets back on its feet.

      Fences is all about the performances, while La La Land is an all-around delight. Suicide Squad is pretty terrible. I was honestly surprised that I agreed with the naysayers.

      I skipped Passengers in theaters, but I did finally watch Sully, which I liked. Linney definitely deserved better though.

      I think I'll skip Dirty Grandpa, Lazy Eye, and Yes, My Darling Daughter then, but the rest of those sound interesting, especially The Fox and The Prowler.


    La La Land ride that wave to win EVERYTHING!!!

  3. Of those nine I've seen Lemonade, the album gains so much from the visuals