Weekly Round-Up: January 17-23, 2016

Oscar season is now in full swing, and I’m steadily working towards my goal of seeing all the Best Picture & Screenplay nominees by The Big Night. This week also saw the Blu-ray release of one of my most beloved classic films.

Last week, I saw:

  • Sunset Boulevard (1950) – The inimitable classic Hollywood nightmare about fame, redemption, and resignation. There’s a reason this appears on everybody’s list of best movies. REQUIRED.
  • The Big Short (2015) – Amateurish farce satirizing the evil banks who started the financial crisis and the good people who whine about it. NOT RECOMMENDED.
  • Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) – Thoughtful drama about a divorcing couple battling out custody for their son. Starts out very by-the-books and turns very compelling for its second half. RECOMMENDED.
  • Ex Machina (2015) – Sci-fi meets film noir in this spellbinding thriller. Once this triangle of power between a tech genius, his employee, and his Artificial Intelligence creation gets going, it never stops – fueled by a wicked script. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
  • Joy (2015) – Not David O. Russell & Jennifer Lawrence’s best work, but an interesting and at times, very entertaining business drama about the life and struggles of Joy Mangano and the Miracle Mop. RECOMMENDED.
  • Gilda (1946) – Remarkably rich tale of a demented love triangle between two former flames and a Nazi, set in postwar Buenos Aires. Equal parts film noir and “woman’s picture,” not to mention one of the strongest films of the 1940s. REQUIRED.
  • Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) – Oscar Isaac gives a knockout performance as a struggling folk musician: a victim of circumstance, the music industry, and mostly himself. Terrific soundtrack to boot! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

What did you see last week?


5 thoughts on “Weekly Round-Up: January 17-23, 2016

  1. Great list. So glad you got to see the two unique noirs, Sunset Blvd. and Gilda. And yes, both are well described as “Required” viewing. I love Gilda for its commentary on how women are treated by men (she’s so much more sinned against than sinning, in my view), and I’m confident in my reading of the dock scene and how Johnny changes (that brilliantine hair! plus entering Ballin’s house without a key) that Ballin and Johnny are having an affair, too. Just awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Johnny-Ballin subtext didn’t even occur to me til stumbling upon another essay a couple months ago! Just finished watching the Criterion Collection extras (which are excellent) and am eager to re-watch… brewing on a new post focusing on those elements.

      Something else to note: while it’s certainly not a remake, there are a number of similarities between Gilda and Ex Machina of all things (which I probably wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t seen them so close together), namely the triangular power struggles between two men and one woman (whether real or robotic)!

      Liked by 1 person

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