Things I Saw In September


Bojack Horseman: Season 4 (2017) A continuation of everyone’s favorite manic-depressive horse celebrity. After wallowing in darkness and despair, season 4 finds a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel, although not a lot, but a little bit. The show is as strong as ever, particularly when it deals with Bojack’s mother as well as his new-found daughter Hollyhock. This show is definitely going to depths other animated shows haven’t dared explore, and each season is never low on ideas. 3.5 stars out of 4

Glow: Season 1 (2017) This one was a holdover from the summer  that I caught up on, and what a pleasant surprise. The is centered on an 80s female wrestler movement which consisted mostly of amateurs and actresses who were meant to just look pretty and glamorous, however this show uses it as a backdrop for some women struggling on their own and coming together and as most shows do, turn it into a surrogate family. The performances are winning, and the show is such good fun. The creators were able to balance the human drama with some moments that could have turned into schlock but rather become heartfelt and emotional. Here’s hoping season 2 continues with this trend. 3.5 stars out of 4

American Vandal: Season 1 (2017) I seriously thought this was just going to be a one-joke premise about penis jokes, but surprisingly it’s not and becomes a very spot-on spoof of “Making a Murderer” type shows and is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time. A mockumentary about a crime of someone spray painting dicks on teacher’s cars when one student is accused and a documentarian trying to discover the truth of the matter. Silly as it sounds, the filmmakers pull of an 8 episode tonally perfect look at high school in all its social media glory, as well as clever jokes on the whole idea of making documentaries of this sort. Are there too many dick jokes? Maybe, but I was honestly surprised at how good this turned out. 3.5 stars out of 4

The V.I.P.s (1963) Told in a “Grand Hotel” fashion, after all flights are cancelled due to weather, a group of (very important people) have to deal with their own personal dramas going on. This isn’t groundbreaking stuff, but the stars are what make it watchable including Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (Who were just starting their infamous affair as this film was being made) as a married couple on the brink of divorce after Burton discovers Taylor is running off with another man. Maggie Smith and Rod Taylor as a secretary who is in love with her boss, Orson Welles as a pompous filmmaker and Margaret Rutherford who won an Oscar for her performance as an elderly lady trying to save her estate. Mostly frivolous melodrama, but worth it for the stars. 3 stars out of 4

Paterson (2016) Catching up on this one from last year. The latest from Jim Jarmusch who has a knack for filming the mundane, this one focuses on a man named Paterson who is a bus driver in Paterson New Jersey but writes poetry in his spare time. The film takes on the idea about being an artist in your everyday life and how fulfilling it can be. Not much happens besides that as it follows a week of Paterson’s life where he usually goes to work, comes home to his girlfriend, then walks her dog and hang out at the local bar. We see him find inspiration for his poetry in the everyday. The film has the usual deadpan humour you find in any Jarmusch film and Adam Driver gives a subtle nuanced performance that is perfect. A delight from beginning to end, and the type of film that is pleasant to watch. 4 stars out of 4

The Story of the Last chrysanthemum (1939) Directed by Japanese master Kenji Mizoguchi, this is one of his very early films that garnered attention. The story is about a young actor who leaves his family once he is disgraced by his father only to dedicate his life to his art. He is helped by a young servant girl who sacrifices everything for him. The story itself feels a bit old fashioned, but the storytelling techniques were far beyond its time. Mizoguchi has made a number of films I would consider masterpieces including “Sansho the bailiff” and “Ugetsu”. This one didn’t hit me as hard, however I wouldn’t be surprised if I feel differently about this after another viewing. 3 stars out of 4

San Quentin (1937) A Warner Brothers Prison film is a tough, quick, and fast paced. This early film featured Humphrey Bogart who is a hardened criminal being sent to San Quentin but the warden played by Pat O’Brian feels that he can rehabilitate him. This is a great old fashioned crime movie with the usual tropes you would find in one of its kind. The storytelling is lean and does exactly what it sets out to do, it doesn’t exactly transcend the genre but it’s great movie entertainment of the period. 3.5 stars out of 4

It (2017) My lone visit to the multiplex this month was due to this blockbuster horror film based on Stephen King’s labyrinth novel of the same name. Cleverly taking half of the book which focuses on the main characters as children as they must do battle with the evil force known as Pennywise who is mostly seen as a clown but can transform into the thing you fear the most. This is an entertainingly scary film that plays on children’s real fears and doesn’t really sugarcoat it, although it is very funny in parts. This reminded me a lot of horror movies like “Poltergeist” or “Jaws” which fill you with dread but also keep the horror like a roller coaster ride of scares and jumps, a horror movie that also feels like escapist fun. 3.5 stars out of 4

Break on Through (2017) A little conflicted putting this on here as I know the people who made it and I don’t like playing favorites, but I wanted to be fair and also wanted to support them any way I can (this might now count as support as the number of people who read this blog are pretty slim). A group of people come together in an abandoned house after some sort of, let’s say seismic event has occurred which is never fully explained. Suffice it to say these people must learn to trust one another as they all fight to survive. Everyone seems to have a back story, the most prevalent is Dillon, a woman who is accompanied by a mysterious young boy who says nothing. The film is wonderfully shot, and directed, with a practically wordless opening, and stays strong with sparse dialogue and dialed down performances which keep the tone consistent. The ending might leave one cold as it did me, however you might have fun trying to deconstruct it to find out what it all means. 3 stars out of 4

The Corn is Green (1979) A television movie directed by George Cukor and starring Katherine Hepburn, about an old spinster who creates a school in a coal mining town and is intent on giving the children there an education. Based on a play and filmed before with Bette Davis, this is pretty light stuff, however Hepburn raises it to something worth watching. 2 and a half stars out of 4

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