Months in Review: September & October films 2018 (part 1)

I return to this blog of mine on the verge of crossing 200 posts (this will be my 197th). While 200 may seem like a big number at first, this is one that spans almost 8 years, thus revealing just how little I actually blog.

When I first approached the idea to start a blog, the mission was very different and my life was too. I had more time and more energy for blogging. The lofty goals I had in mind for this site belonged to that context alone.

Often, I like to talk about “life getting in the way of blogging”, or about being “too busy” to really dedicate myself to this pursuit. The truth is that there is always time, like my dad used to say. The problem is mostly about the relationship between effort and output.

In order for me to have the blog I would like, I’d need to de-prioritize certain things in my life that I’m not willing to. When I started this blog I didn’t quite comprehend how much work goes into a single post, especially when you care about what you’re putting out for the world to read. If I had known exactly how much time I would need, I would have perhaps never embarked on this journey.

Having said that, I have enjoyed it so far, even if my audience is about as numerous as the fingers in my hand. If I blogged to get a meaningful audience, I would have given this up a long time ago.

Now…to the topic at hand.

Continue reading Months in Review: September & October films 2018 (part 1)

Best Moments in Film History #10: The Birth of a Monster – Alien (1979)

alien

The following post will contain spoilers. Stop reading if you haven’t seen the film

I watched Alien at a very impressionable age. I couldn’t have been more than 6 or 7 years old. Of all the cinematic moments I can highlight in my 33 years on this planet, perhaps none have had quite as big an impact as my first encounter with Ridley Scott’s Alien.

Continue reading Best Moments in Film History #10: The Birth of a Monster – Alien (1979)

Months in Review: Films of July & August (part 2)

With a bit of a delay, below is the second part of my impressions of the new-to-me films I watched in August.

GAME NIGHT (2018) [ 3.5/5 ]

A truly wonderful cast delivers in spades in the often-hilarious Game Night from directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein. What impresses most for a movie like this is the directorial prowess with which it’s filmed, adding substance to an already funny film. In the lead Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams offer chemistry that works both romantically and comically, stealing the show with a couple of stand-out scenes that show how insanely talented these two actors are when it comes to finding the right comedic rhythms.

Continue reading Months in Review: Films of July & August (part 2)

Months in Review: Films of July & August 2018 (part 1)

Summer has come and gone. September greets us in Chicago with the wettest Labor Day weekend in memory. It rained Saturday, Sunday and it stormed on Labor Day. I have had a view of the lake for the last 2-3 years and it looked as if a monsoon had passed. It was quite a spectacle.

Summer has been very interesting from a cinematic point of view. I finally found time to watch Asif Kapadia’s moving 2011 documentary on Amy Winehouse. This was a film that was on my radar for a long time after the very emotional experience I had watching Senna, his previous documentary feature. The majority of my time though was put into catching up with a string of wonderful films released this year, a highlight of which was You Were Never Really Here by Lynne Ramsay.

Continue reading Months in Review: Films of July & August 2018 (part 1)

Months in Review: The World Cup + Films of May & June 2018 (part 1)

As the warm summer breeze begins to sweep by Chicago’s sandy lakeshores, one is hard-pressed to find justification for staying indoors. As enjoyable as a film can be, the allure of being able to wear a t-shirt outside after a long wintry hibernation can sometimes prove too tempting.

If the summer is also accompanied by the 2018 edition of the World Cup, then the act of film watching becomes an impossibility. There’s simply no time after putting in an 8 or 9 hour work shift, to find time to watch a movie after you’ve also enjoyed two 90-minute games of soccer.

Continue reading Months in Review: The World Cup + Films of May & June 2018 (part 1)

The Case Against “Raiders of the Lost Ark”

I rewatched Raiders of the Lost Ark as if I had never seen it before. After all, it had been a good 20 years, if not longer. As I approached the idea, I was trepidatious. Raiders was a favorite growing up and I didn’t want to tarnish the memory somehow. The idea, however, would not go away. For days I poured over dozens of reviews and, apart from a rare exception, Raiders enjoyed the kind of all-encompassing adoration that few other classics have managed to attain. It seemed to me like an exaggeration, like the reviews, many of which were written within the last 10-15 years, looked at Raiders with nostalgia for a simpler time in Hollywood. After all, it was the beginning of the 1980s, a period in which mainstream cinema took a turn, giving way to the summer blockbuster and to all-encompassing silliness. Perhaps, I thought, Raiders of the Lost Ark had ceased to become “just” a film, in order to transform into a cultural touchstone for people who came of age around the early 1980s.

Continue reading The Case Against “Raiders of the Lost Ark”