2017 (9)

(1 Sep) The Terminator (1984, James Cameron) 90
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

(2 Sep) The Secret Garden (1993, Agnieszka Holland) 76
[ I was very moved by Alfonso Cuaron’s “A Little Princess” years ago, and this earlier adaptation of another children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett also worked its magic on me. It’s a simple story, effortlessly told. Plus it features amazing locations – including the titular secret garden filled with flowers and animals – gorgeously shot by the great Roger Deakins. The score by Zbigniew Preisner is wonderful as well. ]

(5 Sep) Good Time (2017, Josh & Benny Safdie) 72
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

(7 Sep) It (2017, Andy Muschietti) 85
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

(8 Sep) How to Marry a Millionaire (1953, Jean Negulesco) 61
[ This is a silly, rather inconsequential romantic comedy, but watching these old CinemaScope productions, with gorgeous sets, lavish music, and golden age Hollywood movie stars (Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable) is always a treat. ]

(13 Sep) mother! (2017, Darren Aronofsky) 93
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

(14 Sep) Score (2017, Matt Schrader)
[ “The composer is a storyteller.” Film and music are my two favorite things in life (beside my wife and my dogs), so of course I love film music. As this documentary perfectly captures, the best film music becomes the very essence of a movie. The “Rocky” and “James Bond” themes get you pumped up right away. Ennio Morricone’s “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” score immediately takes you to another time and place. The circular melodic phrases of Bernard Herrmann’s “Vertigo” instantly make you feel uneasy. The sequence with the musical motifs from “The Lord of the Rings” almost made me cry in just a minute! And what about the iconic John Williams themes from “Jaws,” “Star Wars,” “Superman,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “E.T.” and “Jurassic Park”! Or, for my money, the era-defining work of Hans Zimmer (“Gladiator,” “The Dark Knight,” “Inception,” etc.) or the genius film music created by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, including their Oscar-winning score for “The Social Network.” The documentary touches upon the history of film music while also exploring the creative process of various current composers, who often use exotic or experimental instruments to create unusual sounds. It’s awesome to hear e.g. Tom Holkenborg talking about composing his goosebumps-inducing “Mad Max: Fury Road” score, or various other composers talk about their craft, with tons of film clips. A must-watch. ]

(20 Sep) K2 (2001, Gabriel Pelletier) 47
[ This sequel is messy and uneven, benching the great Isabelle Cyr (Karmina herself!) for most of the running time and ruining her romance with Robert Brouillette, who turns into a cheating bastard here. But I did enjoy Gildor Roy, screenwriter Yves P. Pelletier and Diane Lavallée getting the starring roles this time around, the whole production is zany and colorful, and at times, the bursts of slapstick and the cast’s scenery-chewing are pretty fun. So the original remains way better, but this second installment of the rare Quebec genre franchise does have its moments. ]

(23 Sep) Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961, Blake Edwards) 86
[ “There once was a very lovely, very frightened girl. She lived alone except for a nameless cat.” Audrey Hepburn shines bright like a diamond as the mysterious, fascinating, charming Holly Golightly in this loose adaptation of Truman Capote’s novella. The witty dialogue, supple direction by Blake Edwards (that decadent party scene!), gorgeous Technicolor cinematography and irresistible Henry Mancini score (built around the Oscar-winning original song “Moon River”) make this an extraordinary romantic comedy, full of classic Hollywood wonder. Too bad about the super racist yellowface performance by Mickey Rooney as Holly’s Japanese neighbor… ]

(28 Sep) Blade Runner [The Final Cut] (1982, Ridley Scott) 97
[ “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”

While not a very faithful adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s brilliant “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?,” “Blade Runner” might be the most influential sci-fi flick this side of “Metropolis.” I couldn’t admire the vision and craft more, from the design of the futuristic Los Angeles to the neo-noir atmosphere, the dazzling Jordan Cronenweth cinematography, the amazing Vangelis score, plus the always great Harrison Ford as hard-boiled protagonist Rick Deckard, and Rutger Hauer, Daryl Hannah, Brion James and Joanna Cassidy as the replicants he’s hunting down. This timeless Ridley Scott sci-fi masterpiece is an endlessly fascinating exploration of identity and the nature of humanity. I wasn’t always its biggest fan, but watching it again for the first time in ten years, on the eve of the release of “Blade Runner 2049,” I was completely won over. ]

(30 Sep) American Made (2017, Doug Liman) 79
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]