2017 log (8)

(2 Aug) Suspiria (1977, Dario Argento) 96
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

(5 Aug) Dirty Dancing (1987, Emile Ardolino) 77
[ This here is a bona fide dancing movie musical, where the story is almost an afterthought, an excuse for all the dance scenes. Those are the moments through which the characters are defined, as they move their bodies, on their own or with each other… As such, this is not unlike a porno (it’s “dirty” dancing, remember?)… Or like a martial arts movie, more unexpectedly, what with all the training montages, the elusive special move the protagonist only masters during the final showdown (the lift!), etc. Patrick Swayze’s Johnny Castle is the missing link between John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever” and Mark Wahlberg in “Boogie Nights”, with a touch of Elvis in “Tickle Me” (look it up). And Jennifer Grey is cute and fun as the rich daddy’s girl who slums it with him. Set in 1963, the movie is filled with great music from the era (Be My Baby, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Hey Baby, Do You Love Me, Wipe Out, etc.), plus a few anachronistic but amusingly cheesy ’80s numbers (Hungry Eyes, She’s Like the Wind, (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life). Good times! ]

(10 Aug) Sharknado 5: Global Swarming (2017, Anthony C. Ferrante) 36
[ Often, I figure I should stop watching these dumbass movies every year, but then there are always some moments here and there that make me smile or downright laugh out loud. This fifth episode is a whole lotta noise and nonsense, starting with an “Indiana Jones” homage and working its way to a rip-off of the “Back to the Future” ending, all the while destroying landmarks around the world, from England to Australia, Brazil, Italy, Japan and Egypt (I’m probably forgetting a couple). It’s kinda hilarious that Ian Ziering and Tara Reid are the stars of a franchise in the 2010s, and there are tons of cameos, my favorite being Bret Michaels as a Doof Warrior-type and Dolph Lundgren as [SPOILER]. The latter made it more obvious than ever that I’m going to watch the next movie! ]

(12 Apr) Hot Fuzz (2007, Edgar Wright) [ review ] 92

(11 Aug) Moana (2016, Ron Clements & John Musker) 80
[ Amazing Polynesian mythology, gorgeously bright and colorful animation, wonderful songs (by Opetaia Foa’i, Mark Mancina and Lin-Manuel Miranda)… And maybe most of all, we really love these characters, Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) and Maui (Dwayne Johnson). ]

(17 Aug) Logan Lucky (2017, Steven Soderbergh) 86
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

(20 Aug) Interstellar (2014, Christopher Nolan) [ review ] 92

(23 Aug) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017, James Gunn) 94
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ] / [ Review #2 (SPOILERS) ]

(27 Aug) Phantom of the Paradise (1974, Brian De Palma) 95
[ For some reason, I didn’t expect this to be a 100-proof De Palma movie. Before seeing this for the first time today – as part of Roland Smith’s “Les films de ma vie” screening series at gorgeous Théâtre Outremont – I expected a somewhat conventional musical, not this decadent, grotesque, wildly imaginative horror musical with all kinds of awesome stylistic flourishes. This is no less than one of De Palma’s best films, a brilliantly designed, shot and cut rock opera with great songs and music by Paul Williams, who also plays the mysterious Swan. Co-starring a pre-Suspiria Jessica Harper as Phoenix, the amazing William Finley as The Phantom (who kinda sounds like Christian Bale’s Batman!) and my favorite, Gerrit Graham as androgynous rock star Beef, Phantom of the Paradise is a pure dose of cinematic thrills, chills and spills. ]

(29 Aug) Casting JonBenet (2017, Kitty Green)
[ Not so much a documentary as a stylish, experimental film about the making of an imaginary film, specifically the casting/auditioning part. The actual story of the JonBenét Ramsey murder remains as fascinating and disturbing as ever, what with all the mystery and conspiracy theories surrounding it. And it’s quite interesting how this all comes through via (fake?) auditions and whatnot. But the “payoff,” which has all the actors and actresses running around a set doing bits of scenes at the same time, kinda falls flat. And ultimately, you might be left hungry for a more straightforward documentary with archival footage and interviews of the real people involved. ]

(30 Aug) Babar: The Movie (1989, Alan Bunce) 77
[ Here’s a cute, amusing enough cartoon musical adventure with talking animals. But then you’ve got this “Conan the Barbarian”-style sequence in which a village is burned down by rhino barbarians who kidnap elephants to enslave them, an extended action sequence that owes a lot to “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and a rather epic battle at the end. Plus Babar is totally badass! ]

(31 Aug) The Dark Knight (2008, Christopher Nolan) [ review ] 93