Weekly Round-Up: May 08-14, 2016

Two weeks ago, I saw:

  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) – Ambitious mega-sequel tying together plot elements from the far reaches of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, plus introducing charismatic new characters in Scarlet Witch and The Vision. I had some trouble following what was going on but I overall enjoyed it (though I don’t understand how Iron Man can let his tech run wild so many times!). RECOMMENDED.
  • Youth (2015) – I enjoyed this film slightly more this second round, though it could certainly use an editing job. At its best, it’s terrifically emotional even though at times it seems to not know where it’s going. RECOMMENDED.
  • Ant-Man (2015) – If this film had come earlier in the MCU I might have liked it more, but I couldn’t take the “buggy” qualities very seriously. Michael Pena is great as Ant-Man’s friend though, who tells outrageous long-winded stories (which surprisingly drive the plot forward). NOT RECOMMENDED.
  • Captain America: Civil War (2016) – Sorry Winter Soldier, but Civil War is the new greatest superhero movie. A key element to this star-studded affair is the showdown between Team Cap and Team Iron Man, but its core theme that actions have consequences is a mature and complex one, heightening the superhero film to new heights. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
  • Palm Springs Weekend (1963) – Silly teeny bopper flick about college kids who go on vacation to Palm Springs, where they drink booze, gamble, get arrested, and even fall in love. I adore these kinds of movies but acknowledge that they’re not for everybody. RECOMMENDED if you like baby boomer kids getting into trouble.
  • Friday the 13th (1980) – One of the dumbest horror movies to generate its own franchise, I admit I had a terrific time seeing this on a big screen, for the very first time, this past Friday the 13th. It was an outdoor screening at Griffith Park in Los Angeles, where the audience whistled with each love scene and cheered every time a camp counselor was slashed. NOT RECOMMENDED, but this movie is probably REQUIRED if you’re a horror buff.

What did you see two weeks ago? Did you fall victim to Friday the 13th?

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Fall Movies to be Thankful For

I have a very hard time watching, in good conscience, any non-horror movies during the month of October. And of course the Christmas season de facto starting on Black Friday (me? I start a little earlier), leaving only 3-4 weeks per year of true “fall,” unencumbered by other holidays.

To celebrate, here’s a list of fall movies to be thankful for, this and every year:

  1. Dressed to Kill (1980). While this film doesn’t scream “FALL,” it certainly takes place during this time of year – as explicitly as seeing a personal calendar for November 1980. We also get snippets of this through the costume design, including memorable moments with a glove (pro tip: how to pick someone up at the art museum). And don’t forget to buy turkey!
  2. Harold and Maude (1971). Unlike Dressed to Kill, this movie does scream “FALL,” from its gorgeous oranges and tans to its acoustic guitar-driven soundtrack by Cat Stevens to more scarves than you can possibly imagine. I jokingly wrote last year that this is “the ultimate Pumpkin Spice Latte movie,” and that sentiment still rings true.
  3. Rushmore (1998). Wes Anderson’s second movie covers mostly the (literal and seasonal) fall of its protagonist, Max Fischer, as he adjusts to a new school and new adult figures in his life. It all culminates to  a warm January as the pieces of his life come together.
  4. Silver Linings Playbook (2012). In this excellent film largely rooted in family, it is interesting how holidays take a back seat and are more incidental to the timeline. A “date” between Pat and Tiffany takes place on Halloween, a fateful night in which Tiffany agrees to help Pat contact his estranged wife, only to later leverage this into a bargain where he must join her in a couples dance competition. The following weeks, between Halloween and Christmas, solidify their unique relationship.

What are your must-see fall movies? Reply in the Comments below!