Films That I Saw is a self explanatory monthly column dedicated to cataloging each and every film I saw within that month. Each film will be given a grade and a mini review.
You can find previous catalogs here.
Random thoughts/mini review: A fun little action flick that’s one big set piece away from being an all timer. The ending almost makes up for it though.
Random thoughts/mini review: A revenge thriller that’s damn near impossible not to nitpick to death. There’s some great gore but the film forsakes realism in favor of the gag, each and every time (I mean, who the fuck would operate a break pad with a gaping wound on their foot??) But if you can turn your brain off, its a good time.
Film: King Cohen
Random thoughts/mini review: A stellar doc highlighting one of the greatest and most important independent directors of all time. Hail to the king.
Film: A Mighty Wind
Random thoughts/mini review: I’m a huge fan of Christopher Guest but this one just didn’t do it for me. It leans far too much on the documentary side, and forgets it needs something to mock in order to work. Some of the music is amazing though. (Old Joe’s Place has been stuck in my head for a month.)
Film: Altered States
Random thoughts/mini review: The fact that I’ve seen far too many films, has jaded me to the term “weird.” Especially when it’s used to describe anything that isn’t Japanese. This film–while not in the same ballpark as whatever the fuck the East shits out on a near daily basis–comes pretty fucking close to earning the moniker of “weird.”
I’m actually surprised this was a major Hollywood release. There’s crucified goat messiahs, primordial monkey men, fifth dimensional slug things, and a whole lot of William Hurt’s ass. For fans of weird ass shit only.
Or William Hurt’s ass. I don’t judge.
Film: The End of August at The Hotel Ozone
Random thoughts/mini review: A bleak post apocalyptic film that feels like the older, more nihilistic sister to the Road. Picture Jarhead but strip it of all fun and make it ten times more depressing and you’d have this movie.
Film: The Spider Labyrinth
Random thoughts/mini review: A slow burn giallo that delivers a satisfactory payoff. The ending is bug nuts banana balls crazy and I absolutely loved it. It kind of feels like the third act of Midnight Meat Train crossed with Lovecraft.
Random thoughts/mini review: A near perfect horror film that feels like it fell off the 70’s horror movie truck and landed in theaters today.
Film: Hotel Artemis
Random thoughts/mini review: Imagine an adaptation of MacGyver in which he spends the entire runtime collecting random bits of junk and right when you expect him to piece it all together to make the ultimate machine of kickassery, you realize there is no machine of kickassery coming and you just wasted 90 minutes watching a guy collect junk.
That’s Hotel Artemis.
Film: The ‘Burbs
Random thoughts/mini review: A childhood favorite that doesn’t exactly live up to my memories of it. The cast is great but the structure is wonky as hell. Shit just happens until the plot finally decides to show up but by then, it’s hard to care. And the ending feels rushed. It’s still fun though.
Film: The White Reindeer
Random thoughts/mini review: A fantasy from Finland that would’ve benefited from more horror than being tied to traditional Finnish folklore. I mean, it involves a witch who turns into a reindeer to feast on the blood of men and that, plus it’s unique setting should make for an interesting horror film but it never quite gets there.
Film: Money Movers
Random thoughts/mini review: An underrated heist film from Australia that definitely deserves more acclaim.
Film: Dark Days
Random thoughts/mini review: A gritty, heartfelt documentary about a community of homeless people living in a train tunnel beneath Manhattan made by someone who lived it. It’s impossible to not be affected by the stories of the people NY treats less than the trash they’re forced to live in.
Film: Force Majeure
Random thoughts/mini review: A family vacationing in the French Alps is confronted with a devastating avalanche and due to the father’s cowardice, the family begins to crumble. IMDB lists this as a comedy/drama. It is not funny nor is it dramatically compelling. Unless the joke is that it’s ironically trying to be a film, in which case, it succeeds.
Film: Incredibles 2
Random thoughts/mini review: A stellar sequel that trades in the emotion of its predecessor for more action and humor but also loses a compelling villain.
Random thought/mini review: This film should’ve turned Albert Pyun into the George Miller of direct-to-video movies. It’s not perfect but it has enough style to separate itself from the stink usually associated with Cannon films.
Random thoughts/mini review: An odd amalgamation of fantasy, horror and historical drama that feels like the film Paperhouse but directed by Jane Campion.
Film: When a Stranger Calls Back
Random thoughts/mini review: When a Stranger Calls, what is in my opinion, the scariest 15 minutes of any film in existence. It’s a goddamn nail biter. But, sadly, the rest of the film is mediocre at best. This film is an improvement in every way save the beginning. But that’s not to say the beginning isn’t great, in fact, I’d wager a guess and say Wes Craven is a fan because it’s eerily similar to the opening to Scream.
Film: The Silent World
Random thoughts/mini review: This pioneering nature documentary follows Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his team as they investigate aquatic habitats in various locations around the world. It’s a fascinating picture dealing with underwater exploration that’s gorgeous to look at but has not, unfortunately aged well. Cousteau and his cronies are shockingly cavalier with the life of the sea. Coral gets blown up, sharks get killed in the name of “scientific revenge”, and they dynamite a whole section of the ocean just to catalog the wildlife living there. It’s a film you’re going to have to forgive a lot to enjoy.
Film: Raw Courage
Random thoughts/mini review: Three marathon runners have to fight for their lives against a group of sadistic wannabe military vigilantes. It’s no where near as good as Deliverance but it deserves to be far more well known.
Film: Amphibian Man
Random thoughts/mini review: The easiest way to pitch this film is, “Mario Bava meets the Shape of Water” because there’s no fucking way Del Toro didn’t see this film before making his considering they’re shockingly similar in plot. This is definitely a hidden gem.
Film: Calamity of Snakes
Random thoughts/mini review: I can’t write too much about this because I’m saving it for my obscure movies list but suffice it to say, this film rocks ass hard. Imagine somebody extracting the insanity of Wild Beasts, mixing it with the holy shit factor of Roar and combining that with the WTFuckery of Boxers Omen and you have Calamity of Snakes.
Grade: Fuck Yes
Film: Private Benjamin
Random thoughts/mini review: The first half is an endlessly ripped off comedy classic that still holds up. The second half is a meandering waste of time that stops being funny almost immediately. Mild spoilers. Once she leaves the military, the film nosedives and never recovers.
Random thoughts/mini review: A surprisingly good post apocalyptic hybrid of the Running Man, Mad Max and Carrie.
Film: Caltiki: The Immortal Monster
Random thoughts/mini review: A blob ripoff that’s adorably cheesy but not entertaining enough to recommend.
Film: Mr. Wrong aka Dark of the Night
Random thoughts/mini review: An underseen thriller out of New Zealand about a woman being terrorized by her recently purchased car that turns out to be haunted. Or is it?
Film: Black Magic
Random thoughts/mini review: A progenitor of the Asian black magic horror subgenre that’s unfortunately the worst of the ones I’ve seen. The plot was needlessly convoluted and there’s not enough crazy to make it worth while.
Film: Julian Schnabel: A Private Portrait
Random thoughts/mini review: A decent documentary profiling one of the best artists of the 20th century. It does a great job of covering his art but feels like his directorial efforts were just thrown in slapdash.
Film: Danger Freaks
Random thoughts/mini review: 90 minutes of Grant Page doing crazy ass stunts. If that’s not enough to sell you, check your pulse. You’re probably dead.
Film: The Client
Random thoughts/mini review: *Kanye West shrug* It’s a John Grisham movie. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.