I haven’t posted one of these posts in a while because I was so behind writing movie reviews on Letterboxd, but now that I’m finally starting to catch up, I’m excited to share my thoughts on some of the movies I have watched recently.
I watched three horror movies with my film club, one of them was Hereditary which I discussed in a previous 2022 in movies post, and The VVitch and Midsommar. Then we watched four movies as part of a cycle where we watched movies by Black directors.
The Witch (4.5 stars): This is a historical film with horror elements, there are no jump scares instead the film is unsettling and atmospheric. There are some disturbing scenes that make the film uncomfortable to watch at times. The slow pace of the film serves to build the tension and the mix between religious fervor and folklore works really well to give the story a dark tone. Lastly, the performances of the main cast are fantastic.
Midsommar (5 stars): This was really good. Thematically, the way it shows grief and the fact that you can’t run from it but also the way it takes the idea of shared pain being more manageable and makes it such a fundamental part of this cult’s beliefs, gives this film so much more depth. I think the cult, their customs, and beliefs add interesting elements and while it’s fairly obvious where the movie is going, the journey there and learning more about the cult, as well as the tension and the feeling that the film is building toward something keeps you engage.
This has a very unconventional color pallet for a horror film but I think it adds to the weirdness of the entire film. More than scary, this is very unsettling and disturbing. The performances, especially Florence Pugh’s performance, were all outstanding.
Moonlight (4 stars): This is my second time watching this movie and I still think that it’s visually stunning, the performances are great and the way it explores black masculinity is nuanced and captivating. The reason this doesn’t get 5 stars from me is that the characterization of Chiron was lacking, we know almost nothing about him, we just see him suffer for most of the movie, and, because of that, I wasn’t as invested as I wish I was.
Do the Right Things (4 stars): This movie has a humorous tone and is full of bright colors, but underneath that, you can feel the tension mounting throughout it. Because of that, I was expecting things to come to a head, but not in the way and with the magnitude they did. The ending was explosive, sadly realistic, and absolutely devastating. It’s unfortunate that this movie is still relevant 30 years later.
Nope (3.5 stars): I found the first half of this movie so slow and boring, I was watching with my film club and we were all confused about how a Jordan Peele movie could be that bad. Nonetheless, the second half picks up, the concept gets revealed more clearly and it is actually really cool, the mystery starts to unravel and the characters get more interesting (especially one of them even feels like a completely different character). Overall, I think so much of the first half should have been cut to make the movie better.
One of the most interesting parts of the movie, the monkey storyline, was absolutely disconnected from the rest of the plot. Also, I feel like this movie could have been so much better if it focused on Steven Yeun’s character, his backstory, and the whole performance that he was putting together with his family.
I Am Not Your Negro (4 stars): I watched this for the second time and I still believe this has a powerful message, I love James Baldwin’s writing which it’s used to guide this documentary and I also love the use of videos from tv appearances and speeches from Baldwin. Nonetheless, I didn’t love this as much as the first time I watched it. Sometimes it felt like the documentary jumped around too much from one topic to another, and the images that were used to represent the narration didn’t always work.
I watched Purple Hearts with some friends one afternoon after work when we wanted to watch a movie but we didn’t want to think too hard about anything.
Purple Hearts (3 stars): I wasn’t expecting to like this and I don’t know if the fact that I went into this with really low expectations made me like it more. There are obvious problems with this, I didn’t like the pro-military sentiments, and I definitely think that while they have chemistry, there’s no way the main couple is going to last, their social and political views are opposite, they don’t agree on anything, and they can’t talk about those things without arguing. Still, they do have great chemistry, the way the movie shows how they fall in love feels realistic, there were some funny moments, and the songs were good.