Calling It Quits

The curt hiatus announcement from a week ago was actually me trying to live without working on this website and seeing how it felt. I enjoyed not having movies on my brain 24/7. I haven’t looked at anything movie-related since that notice and it felt fucking great. No Twitter, no RSS, no movies whatsoever.

Getting ten days’ distance from the stress of last week also allowed me to relax enough to write this goodbye. I wish I could’ve exited more gracefully than this, but right now I’m looking forward to a future for myself that’s much less obsessed and overworked. It’s really a blessing in disguise. Now that I find it impossible to continue doing this website, it’s opened new doors in my life, freeing me up to do things I kept putting off because I never had time.

I’ve spent a lot of my break studying for a job, one that has nothing to do with movies and that I think I have a realistic chance of getting.

If you still want to use this website, the archive will remain online for a long time. I’m not planning on shutting it down any time soon.

Thank you for your time. Thank you for caring.

James

I need to get away for a while. I’ll try to come back in a few months. Bye for now.

Good grief, Rotten Tomatoes redesigned their website the same day I did mine. The shocking thing is that for once their redesign isn’t half bad. It’s not great, but it’s a step in the right direction for them in terms of a more pleasing look. Less texture, less color shading. The colors are flatter and more two-dimensional now, which is actually a nice change of pace for them.

I’ve deleted these notes about the website’s new direction because I’m not sure if it will still apply in the near future.

New Releases

Claire’s Camera (Hong Sang-soo, France/South Korea, 2017, 17 reviews)
The Death of Stalin (Armando Iannucci, United Kingdom, 2017, 14 reviews)
A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, United States, 2018, 7 reviews)

Cinema of the Past

Fanny and Alexander (Theatrical Cut) (Ingmar Bergman, Sweden, 1982, 4 reviews)
Fanny and Alexander (TV Version) (Ingmar Bergman, Sweden, 1983, 5 reviews)
Dark Passage (Delmer Daves, United States, 1947, 6 reviews)

New Pages This Week (13)

Midnight Cowboy (John Schlesinger, United States, 1969)
Shirkers (Sandi Tan, United States/Singapore, 2018)
Dovlatov (Alexey German Jr., Russia, 2018)
Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley, United States, 2018)
Foreboding (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Japan, 2018)
Classical Period (Ted Fendt, United States, 2018)
RBG (Betsy West & Julie Cohen, United States, 2018)
Rey (Niles Atallah, Chile, 2017)
The Pan-African Festival of Algiers (William Klein, Algeria, 1969)
Point of Order! (Emile de Antonio, United States, 1963)
Sanjuro (Akira Kurosawa, Japan, 1962)
Dodes’ka-den (Akira Kurosawa, Japan, 1970)
A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, United States, 2018)

Images: Claire’s Camera, Fanny and Alexander.

All full disclosures are humblebrags.

I’m excited about big changes we’ll be applying to the website on Monday. They’ve been in gestation for almost a year. Stay tuned.

I’m annoyed by the increasingly recycled line that the Berlinale has been off its game for a while and lags far behind its European competitors. First of all, they pretend like we’ve all known this for years when it’s pretty obvious the idea is actually brand new to them. Second, this glosses over the fact that Venice’s lineups recently have been almost equally underwhelming. But I guess people haven’t noticed because, unlike with the Berlinale, no one has written an open letter criticizing Venice’s programming. Yet.

I’m not saying Berlin was a total wasteland this year. There are five movies under the Berlinale slider menu right now that I’m excited to see. (In case you’re reading this on a day after those movies have been switched out, those films are Madeline’s Madeline, Infinite Football, Grass, An Elephant Sitting Still, and Transit.) And there are other movies to look forward to besides those. I guess it’s really Berlin’s competition that’s in the toilet. Their Forum section still offers a reason for optimism.

New Releases
Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? (Travis Wilkerson, United States, 2017, 18 reviews)
Werewolf (Ashley McKenzie, Canada, 2016, 13 reviews)
Foxtrot (Samuel Maoz, Israel, 2017, 6 reviews)

Cinema of the Past
Tom Jones (Tony Richardson, United Kingdom, 1963, 5 reviews)

New Pages This Week (14)
Wild Boys (Bertrand Mandico, France, 2017)
King of Hearts (Philippe de Broca, France, 1966)
I Am Love (Luca Guadagnino, Italy, 2009)
Strange Cargo (Frank Borzage, United States, 1940)
The Mortal Storm (Frank Borzage, United States, 1940)
China Doll (Frank Borzage, United States, 1958)
An Elephant Sitting Still (Hu Bo, China, 2018)
Infinite Football (Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania, 2018)
Deliverance (John Boorman, United States, 1972)
Excalibur (John Boorman, United States, 1981)
Piazza Vittorio (Abel Ferrara, Italy, 2017)
Heroic Purgatory (Yoshishige Yoshida, Japan, 1970)
Coup d’Etat (Yoshishige Yoshida, Japan, 1973)
Sanshiro Sugata (Akira Kurosawa, Japan, 1943)

Images: Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?, Tom Jones.

I’m happy to say that I’m still committed to my New Year’s Resolution to start reading for pleasure regularly again, which makes me proud since 80% of people give up on their New Year’s Resolutions six weeks into the year.

I usually watch more TV than this, but this is closer to usual intake than January, which was excessive for me.

TV
Wormwood (Episode 1) (Errol Morris, 2017) (Quit) [4]

Fanny and Alexander (Episodes 1-4) (of 4) (Ingmar Bergman, 1983) [8]

 

Literature
The Left Hand of Darkness (Ursula K. Le Guin, 1968) [7]

Image: Wormwood.

Out of all possible conservative reactions to Black Panther’s box office success, claiming it as a victory for the right is far more preferable than using it as an example of what’s wrong with America today.

I don’t think Jonathan Rosenbaum reads the Comics Journal regularly, but it was nice to see him reference that website in a recent blog post.

While I’m on the subject of the Comics Journal, I have to mention that they still have one of the only good comments sections I know of. Here’s their choicest quote this week: “People who like Saga are lame-ass norms, not even a half-step removed from fans of The Walking Dead and craft beer, with no business assessing art of any kind.”

Berlinale 2018
Transit (Christian Petzold, Germany/France, 4 reviews)
Damsel (David & Nathan Zellner, United States, 3 reviews)
The Happy Prince (Rupert Everett, United Kingdom, 3 reviews)
Unsane (Steven Soderbergh, United States, 3 reviews)

New Releases
El Mar La Mar (Joshua Bonnetta & J.P. Sniadecki, United States, 2017, 10 reviews)

Cinema of the Past
An Actor’s Revenge (Kon Ichikawa, Japan, 1963, 12 reviews)
The Shout (Jerzy Skolimowski, United Kingdom, 1978, 3 reviews)

New Pages This Week (8)
Transit (Christian Petzold, Germany/France, 2018)
The Happy Prince (Rupert Everett, United Kingdom, 2018)
Damsel (David & Nathan Zellner, United States, 2018)
Season of the Devil (Lav Diaz, Philippines, 2018)
Unsane (Steven Soderbergh, United States, 2018)
Moana (Ron Clements & John Musker, United States, 2016)
Pacific Heights (John Schlesinger, United States, 1990)
Eros + Massacre (Yoshishige Yoshida, Japan, 1969)

Images: Transit, El Mar La Mar, An Actor’s Revenge.

When did liberals on Twitter start bashing the New York Times on a daily basis? Maybe since Trump got elected?

Because I’m including fewer reviews than I used to, I’m now lowering the threshold for RSS festival updates from four reviews to three. And just in the time for the Berlinale, which continues through the 25th.

My ability to commit to updating film festivals pages, especially for Toronto and the Berlinale, is declining. I’m only interested in keeping track of two Berlinale sections: the competition and Forum (and Out of Competition, since there’s only a small handful of those), so that’s all you’ll see in the index. Additionally, festival pages will still be grouped by section but within that they’ll be alphabetized by the English-language title (or whatever title is used most frequently by the English-language press). In other words, I’m no longer arranging them in the order they screened. It takes a lot more time to figure out the screening sequence than you might think.

Berlinale 2018
Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson, United States, 6 reviews)

New Releases
Western (Valeska Grisebach, Germany/Bulgaria, 2017, 21 reviews)
Black Panther (Ryan Coogler, United States, 2018, 7 reviews)
Loveless (Andrei Zvyagintsev, Russia, 2017, 22 reviews)
The Party (Sally Potter, United Kingdom, 2017, 13 reviews)
Double Lover (François Ozon, France, 2017, 8 reviews)

Cinema of the Past
The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, United States, 1991, 17 reviews)
Life Is a Dream (Raúl Ruiz, Chile, 1987, 3 reviews)
Love Me Tonight (Rouben Mamoulian, United States, 1932, 5 reviews)

New Pages This Week (12)
Be My Star (Valeska Grisebach, Germany, 2001)
Longing (Valeska Grisebach, Germany, 2006)
Locks (Ryan Coogler, United States, 2009)
The Iceman Cometh (John Frankenheimer, United States, 1969)
The Island of Dr. Moreau (John Frankenheimer, United States, 1996)
Billy Liar (John Schlesinger, United Kingdom, 1963)
Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson, United States, 2018)
Grass (Hong Sang-soo, South Korea, 2018)
The Doll (Ernst Lubitsch, Germany, 1919)
Rosita (Ernst Lubitsch, United States, 1923)
The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow, United States, 2008)
Georgy Girl (Silvio Narizzano, United Kingdom, 1966)

Images: Isle of Dogs, Western, The Silence of the Lambs.

DeKalb Elementary, which is in the New Pages This Week section, might be of extra interest because it was nominated for this year’s Oscar for Best Live Action Short.

The 2017 Catch-Up section is one-time only.

New Releases
Golden Exits (Alex Ross Perry, United States, 2017, 20 reviews)
The Student (Kirill Serebrennikov, Russia, 2016, 6 reviews)
The 15:17 to Paris (Clint Eastwood, United States, 2018, 5 reviews)

2017 Catch-Up
Frantz (François Ozon, Germany/France, 2016, 7 reviews)
Jane (Brett Morgen, United States, 2017, 4 reviews)
Ingrid Goes West (Matt Spicer, United States, 2017, 5 reviews)

Cinema of the Past
Time Regained (Raúl Ruiz, France, 1999, 14 reviews)
Summer with Monika (Ingmar Bergman, Sweden, 1953, 12 reviews)
Frantic (Roman Polanski, United States/France, 1988, 3 reviews)

New Pages This Week (14)
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (Clint Eastwood, United States, 1997)
Mystic River (Clint Eastwood, United States, 2003)
Gran Torino (Clint Eastwood, United States, 2008)
The Emperor Waltz (Billy Wilder, United States, 1948)
The Seven Year Itch (Billy Wilder, United States, 1955)
Torrents of Spring (Jerzy Skolimowski, United Kingdom, 1989)
Black Panther (Ryan Coogler, United States, 2018)
Frantic (Roman Polanski, United States/France, 1988)
The 15:17 to Paris (Clint Eastwood, United States, 2018)
The Great Buddha+ (Huang Hsin-yao, Taiwan, 2017)
Fanny and Alexander (The TV Version) (Ingmar Bergman, Sweden, 1983)
DeKalb Elementary (Reed Van Dyk, United States, 2017)
Seven Days in May (John Frankenheimer, United States, 1964)
The Gypsy Moths (John Frankenheimer, United States, 1969)

Images: Golden Exits, Time Regained.

I’m just gonna go for it. People who use the word “infer” as if it means the same thing as “imply” are never smart. In this case, the popular usage cannot be taken seriously.

A Fantastic Woman is technically a 2017 release in the U.S., but since many websites are treating it like a 2018 release, I will too.

New Releases
24 Frames (Abbas Kiarostami, Iran, 2017, 16 reviews)
A Fantastic Woman (Sebastián Lelio, Chile, 2017, 10 reviews)
Before We Vanish (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Japan, 2017, 8 reviews)

Sundance 2018
Hale County This Morning, This Evening (RaMell Ross, United States, 4 reviews)

Cinema of the Past
Legend of the Mountain (King Hu, Taiwan, 1979, 4 reviews)
Westfront 1918 (G. W. Pabst, Germany, 1930, 6 reviews)
Kameradschaft (G. W. Pabst, Germany/France, 1931, 6 reviews)
Basic Instinct (Paul Verhoeven, United States, 1992, 8 reviews)
Douce (Claude Autant-Lara, France, 1943, 3 reviews)

New Pages This Week (8)
Madeline’s Madeline (Josephine Decker, United States, 2018)
Jane (Brett Morgen, United States, 2017)
Ingrid Goes West (Matt Spicer, United States, 2017)
Frantz (François Ozon, France, 2016)
Legend of the Mountain (King Hu, Taiwan, 1979)
Summer Holiday (Rouben Mamoulian, United States, 1948)
The Shout (Jerzy Skolimowski, United Kingdom, 1978)
Moonlighting (Jerzy Skolimowski, United Kingdom, 1982)

Images: 24 Frames, Legend of the Mountain.

I’m trying a media log again, this time in a much more compressed format. The entries are grouped by medium, which was inspired by the log Keith Uhlich has restarted recently.

My movie log is on Letterboxd, so it would be redundant to post about movies here. Instead, this log will focus only on TV and books. My New Year’s resolution was to start reading books again, which I hadn’t done regularly since 2014. So far I’ve been able to commit to that without any trouble.

TV
Big Little Lies (Season 1, Episode 1) (David E. Kelley and Jean-Marc Vallée, 2017) (Quit) [1]

Easy (Season 2, Episodes 2-8) (of 8) (Joe Swanberg, 2017) [7]

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Season 1, Episodes 2-5) (Amy Sherman-Palladino, 2017) (Quit) [6]

High Maintenance (Season 2, Episodes 1-2) (Katja Blichfeld & Ben Sinclair, 2018) (Quit) [5]

Mosaic (Season 1, Episodes 1-6) (of 6) (Steven Soderbergh, 2018) [8]

 

Books
Zama (Antonio di Benedetto, 1956) [7]

“Cat Person” (Kristen Roupenian, 2017) [8]

 

Image: Mosaic.