30-Day Movie Challenge: Week 2
You've seen it on Facebook! You've seen it on Twitter! Heck, you might have even seen it on Instagram! Now you can join along with us as Kino Club 313 shares our own choices and thoughts each week in June. Check out our picks for week 1 (days 1-7) HERE.
Day 8: a film where you liked the soundtrack more
Title: Baby Driver
Director: Edgar Wright
Blurb: I didn’t necessarily dislike Baby Driver, but the more I think about it the more I realize that the reasons I do like it are mostly because of the music. The fact that the film is essentially a 2-hour long music video with a crime/car-chase subplot is exactly why I enjoy it. Also, evil Jon Hamm.
Matt Linton Title: Singles
Director: Cameron Crowe
Blurb: Okay, to start with, I love Singles (the movie). Probably more than I should. It’s a film that I probably watch every five to ten years and it holds up every time. Plus, it has Pearl Jam as Citizen Dick (which is a great band name) and the late, great Chris Cornell in one of my favorite cameos. All of that said, I love the soundtrack so much more. Yes, the previously mentioned Seattle rockers show up (with “State of Love and Trust”/“Breathe” and “Birth Ritual”/”Seasons” respectively), but it also includes Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart doing a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Battle of Evermore” that I like more than the original, Paul Westerberg’s two tracks prompting me to discover the Replacements, and those are just the high points...and there are no low points.
Day 9: a film you hate that everyone else liked
Title: Avengers: Infinity War
Director: Joe & Anthony Russo
Blurb: There is an upward limit to the number of characters I can care about in a single film. Somewhere between three and five. Either way, Avengers: Infinity War was just too much for me. Too many characters, too many subplots, too many “beats” that felt forced (well OF COURSE we need Thor to meet the Guardians). It isn’t that I can’t follow all of that stuff, more so that I just don’t care to and become disinterested at a certain point. The carnage Thanos rains down at the end is so extreme that I wasn’t even capable of responding emotionally, which is unusual for me. The only emotional moment that actually rang true for me was the “death” of Spider-Man, but even that I knew would be undone by the next film. Tom Holland is too cute to die.
Title: Ready Player One
Director: Steven FUCKING Spielberg
Blurb: It might be debatable that everyone liked Ready Player One, but it made half a billion dollars, and anytime I mention how much I hate the movie there’s someone popping up to say, “Really? I thought it was fun! Did you see the [insert pop culture easter egg here]?” and my hatred grows. I hate it so much that it’s the only film I’ve reviewed for the site that received an “F” grade, and I’m still bringing it up here to reaffirm how much I hate it. And the fact that Spielberg made a movie this bad just makes it worse. For more, you can read my previous review here, and as you do, keep in mind that I can find nice things to say about Green Lantern.
Day 10: your favorite superhero film
Title: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Director: Peter Ramsey, Bob Persichetti, & Rodney Rothman
Blurb: How could I pick anything else? By far the most formally inventive and interesting superhero film, a great story and characters, wonderful voice acting, and the introduction of Miles Morales into the cinematic form (other than a few TV and video game appearances).
Title: Captain America: Civil War
Director: Joe and Anthony Russo
Blurb: Okay, so the real answer is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, but that’s already made an appearance on my list, so I’m going with Civil War. For this pick I’m leaning into the “superhero” part of the category. This isn’t my favorite movie in the superhero genre, or even in the MCU, but it’s the most “superhero” movie I can think of. It’s a big, (mostly) fun, event-comic of a superhero movie, it introduces (awesomely) Black Panther AND Spider-Man, and has some of the best superhero action sequences I’ve seen.
Day 11: a film that you like from your least favorite genre
Title: 13 Going On 30
Director: Gary Winick
Blurb: Typically I’m not a fan of twee romantic comedies, even though I grew up on LOTS of Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, and Meg Ryan films. 13 Going on 30 is so wholesome and cute, though. Even though it is totally predictable, Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo are charming and who can resist a group of dressed-up adults doing the “Thriller” dance?
Title: The Departed
Director: Martin Scorsese
Blurb: I’ve never been a fan of mob/gangster movies, and I’m not entirely sure I’d count The Departed as one, but the internet says it is, so I’ll go with that. When I think of the genre, I think of what I imagine the Godfather films to be - overly-long, sprawling epics about families and crimes, and betrayal and I just have no interest. The Departed is a bleak character study of a film with outstanding performances and shocking twists. The end disturbed me enough when I watched it that, despite liking the film, I haven’t watched it again. Also, yes, I’ve never seen the Godfather films, Goodfellas, Scarface, or Casino. I have seen The Irishman (and that’s got to be as long as two or three of those combined) but I didn’t like it that much.
Day 12: a film that you hate from your favorite genre
Title: Children of Men
Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Blurb: I love dark, gritty science fiction. I don’t even mind heavy-handed symbolism. But I hate Children of Men. 90% of that hate is probably based on the fact that I hate Clive Owen. He knows what he did. But seriously, no matter how much I want to like this film for the important themes and its favored status among SF nerds, I just can’t get into it.
Director: James Wan
Blurb: This movie’s dumb as hell.
Day 13: a film that put you in deep thoughts
Director: Jordan Peele
Blurb: The themes in Us aren’t quite as neatly-packaged as those in Get Out, which is actually why I appreciate Peele’s second film so much. I think the references Us makes to seemingly disparate cultural phenomena – from "Thriller" to The Lost Boys to C.H.U.D to the "Hands Across America" campaign – requires some real critical thinking to decipher. I think there is a clear critique of a permanent (in this case literal) “underclass” in America, which complicates the racial politics with the added intersection of class privilege. The twist, though, in which we realize we’ve been empathizing with the “wrong” person all along, is what truly wrinkles my brain, though. The easy distinction between who to root for and who to root against is twisted into something sinister and dark – like the funhouse mirror, reflecting back a terrifying version of ourselves, so easily manipulated and controlled.
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Blurb: I’ve also written about mother! for the site, and I changed my overall grade three times between leaving the theater and clicking submit. I don’t know that the film merits a ton of thought, because it’s pretty heavy-handed with its metaphors. But the experience of seeing it was unexpectedly jarring, so I’m counting that.
Day 14: a film that made you feel depressed
Director: Roman Polanski
Blurb: Okay, I don’t typically go out of my way to watch Polanski films (ew), but I saw this one in a film class. And once was totally enough. Despite the film’s amazing cast and compelling story, the unrelenting darkness of the plot made me feel like I needed a long, hot shower after watching it. I’m probably gonna lose some clout for saying this, but Rango (2011) is infinitely better.
Title: Schindler’s List
Director: Steven Spielberg
Blurb: Just to counter his previous inclusion, I’m going with this film. Other, more recent, films have also made me feel depressed (which is an accomplishment given my usual level of detachment) but Schindler’s List is still the first that comes to mind. I think it’s probably Spielberg’s best film, and the one I’m least-likely to ever watch again.