- Isle Of The Dead (Mark Robson)
- Ugetsu Monogatari (Kenji Mizoguchi)
- The Devil’s Own (The Witches) (Cyril Franklin)
- Let The Right One In (Tomas Alfredson)
- Woman Of The Year (George Stevens)
- Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)
- Get Out (Jordan Peele)
- Pretty Poison (Noel Black)
- The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson)
- Jackie (Pablo Larrain)
1- Hallowe’en is my favorite secular holiday. OK, I know that it originated in All Souls Day, but just shut up. That is not what it is about anymore and I defy anyone to prove otherwise. My greatest happiness during this holiday is watching the kind of horror films that satisfy the need for Gothic eroticism. Thank you Val Lewton for your marvelous little miracles of haunting horror. So good to see The Isle of the Dead featuring Boris Karloff’s greatest role. It is as multi-faceted and troubling as John Wayne’s Ethan Edwards in The Searchers
2- I used Hallowe’en as an excuse to re-watch Ugetsu Monogatari. I mean, it is a ghost story, right? It is also breathtakingly beautiful, even in its depictions of cruelty.
3- Whimsy is a difficult thing for a movie. It requires great skill from the filmmakers to keep it from teetering into being excruciating. It also requires an agreement from the audience to indulge in an emotion which today is often despised: sentimentality. When I first watched The Royal Tenenbaums years ago, I was not ready to uphold my end of this bargain. I think that Wes Anderson and his co-creators did for the most part. Watching something whimsical when you are not in the proper frame of mind is not fair to the whimsy. This time around I had already seen and was enchanted by The Grand Hotel Budapest and Moonlight Kingdom. Also, many people who I respect have told me how much they love this movie. So, watching it again, I did a better job of being in a whimsical mood. Ironically, now that I was ready to meet the movie on its own terms, I found that Anderson & Co. did not keep their part of the contract. I could see where the whimsy was trying too hard, and that killed a lot of the immediate joy I was supposed to feel. Still, I liked it a lot more that I did before. The characters, though undeveloped, were ingratiating, and the plot was silly enough to carry me along. Maybe thrice is the charm?
4- You don’t need me to tell you how wicked and smart Get Out! is. It is at once a up-to-date critique on race as well as an homage to all your favorite horror tropes. So good.
5- Not sure what to think about Moonlight. It is the bleakest film I’ve seen in years. My difficulty is that it has the trappings of a ‘triumphing over adversity’ film, but the story goes another way. The tone of the movie is not what the movie is ultimately about. I think.
6- There were a lot of funny yet creepy films that came about as a result of the sexual revolution of the 60s. Some are just smarmy comedies that have no other agenda that being all in your face with sexual frankness. Then there are films like Pretty Poison. I always wanted to catch up with it. It was one of those films that was lauded but unseen when it was made. Now it has a patina of a classic, but a really sick classic. What a tragedy that Tuesday Weld didn’t have a greater career. She is terrific in this.
7- I kept thinking that Daniel Aronofsky made Jackie, since it made me nervous the way his films make me nervous……………..