The Black Dog Newsletter January 15 – 21 “Baby, It’s Something Something Outside Edition!”
Yes it’s cold. I don’t have to tell you that. What I do have to tell you is that you should pop down to the stores and rent or buy something nice for yourselves. You deserve it. Warm those cockles. Also there will be a major announcement coming soon regarding the future of the stores and what that might mean to you and to me and to you
Also! Look to the end of this edition for more “Best of the Year” lists including your humble narrator’s selections!
Addams Family – Animated version (for some reason) of the much beloved old timey TV show and a couple of movies from back in the day.
Black and Blue – Tough police drama as a rookie cop witnesses two other cops doing something they shouldn’t be doing (like driving too fast or murder).
Code 8 – A construction worker with super powers (don’t they all!) joins a drug gang to help pay for his mom’s medical bills. Sounds legit.
Crown Vic – Thomas Jane is Crown Vic, a bad-ass cop hot on the trail of some cop-killers! Or that’s the type of bad-ass car that he drives!
Divine Fury – This one sounds fun. Korean film about a MMA fighter who joins forces with a priest/exorcist to fight evil.
The Lighthouse – The best and weirdest “salty dogs going crazy while living in a remote lighthouse” movie ever made. Fantastic!
Little Monsters – Lupita Nyong’o flexes are comedy/horror chops in this comedy/horror movie about a zombie outbreak.
Pain and Glory – Almodovar makes a semi-auto-bio-graphical film about a film director looking back on his life. Antonio Banderas is the best!
Veep Final Season – The final season of Veep.
Terminator Whatever its Called
The Golden Glove
And with much further ado (unless you enjoy ado) here’s my picks for the best and worst films I enjoyed and didn’t enjoy this past year.
And if you’re playing along at home, here’s a small list of the best in TV that I saw.
Better Call Saul
And here’s Mr Dylan’s picks as well!
I saw 53 movies in 2019. I haven’t seen a few apparently great films like Knives Out, 1917, The Lighthouse, Midsommar and Us but I also haven’t seen stinkers like Cats, Terminator Dark fate or Hobbes & Shaw. Anyway, as of Dec 31, 2019 this was my list of films I managed to check out. Here they are:
TOP TEN BEST FILMS OF 2019 (SO FAR)
1. DARK WATERS: This is what cinema has the power to do when the makers actually give a shit and have something to say. Reminiscent of Spotlight, and is every bit as powerful, emotionally devastating and infuriating. Todd Haynes’ patient, detailed direction skillfully tells the true story of Robert Bilott, a corporate attorney who is compelled to expose chemical giant DuPont’s downright sinister efforts to cover up the poisoning of, well, the entire planet. Mark Ruffalo reminds us that he’s not just a frumpy hulk but one of this generations greatest actors. Five stars, ten out of ten, thumbs up. See it.
2. JO JO RABBIT Delightful! I haven’t been moved to this many feelings in a movie in years. Colourful, hilarious, terrifying, heartbreaking. And Sam Rockwell. Go Taika go!
3. MARRIAGE STORY: Noah Baumbach’s latest is simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming. This is magnificent storytelling about humans and love, both sides of it. Every single performance is gold standard but it’s Adam Driver who throws himself into his role with a depth that is rarely seen, like an exposed nerve. You will cry more than once and then want to watch it again.
4. WILD ROSE: Overlooked gem about a shit kicking Glaswegian lass with dreams of making to Nashville as a country star. Biggest surprise of year. And my favourite soundtrack to boot. So damn good.
5. ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD: Tarantino’s hypnotic mediation on the very idea of LA, whether it’s true or not. The cinematography alone is reason enough to love this film never mind career best performances from both the leads.
6. THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD Peter Jackson spent years painstakingly restoring WW1 footage and the result is nothing short or mesmerizing. But it’s not heavy and depressing rather exploring the friendship and community that emerges when people are brought together. A masterpiece.
7. BOOKSMART: You probably know somebody who has seen this and urged you to watch it. A movie about young people where they’re not depicted as morons or self-righteous little shits. This generation’s Heathers. I just adored it.
8. FORD V FERRARI: I have zero interest in cars but this movie makes me want to drive very very fast. This is a movie that goes the extra mile to entertain everyone. And it’s not a damn franchise film, remake or reboot. Good old fashioned fun at the movies again. Top marks.
9. ARCTIC: Possibly the best survival movie I’ve seen. Right up there with Never Cry Wolf and Alive. Mads is the man. (NOT to be confused with another Mads movie called Polar that came out this year that’s by all accounts unwatchable tripe.)
10. DOCTOR SLEEP: I wasn’t expecting to love this one but love it I did. Blends both the book and film versions of The Shining and adds to the lore without succumbing to JJ Abrams syndrome. Haunting and, in some scenes, deeply disturbing. This is how world building should be done.
AND NOW THE WORST TEN FILMS OF 2019 (SO FAR)
1. THE HUSTLE: Complete garbage remake of one of the funniest films of all time. Anne Hathaway has zero comic chops and Rebel Wilson does her gross out slutty woman schtick. Again. (Why is she famous, exactly?) Made all the worse by using the same locations and scenes taken verbatim from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Unforgivable. The worst remake in a year of terrible remakes.
2. THE LION KING: Did you know that hyenas can distend their rectums to scent mark their territory? This is the cinematic equivalent of that.
3. PET SEMATARY: Made me want to be buried in a pet sematary.
4. NOELLE: Hey it’s the holidays! People will watch anything with red and green in it! Even if it’s filmed in an obvious back lot in LA in the middle of September! Why bother trying to write something fresh and original?! Elf without the laughs. Even Bill Hader can’t save this.
5. ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE: 2 boring leads with about as much chemistry as a luke warm jar of piss. Seems to think having Keanu Reeves in it is somehow hilarious without actually having anything funny for him to do.
6. STUBER: Sooooooo boring. Kumail’s character is everything boomers accuse millennials of being. Lazy, charmless, glued to his phone the whole time. Uber is not a plot.
7. LATE NIGHT: A movie about comedians with zero jokes in it. The lead character isn’t a comedian and lucks in to a cushy job writing comedy and then whines about how hard it is. Fuck I hate this movie.
8. TOLKIEN: You remember those parts in Lord of the Rings where it’s just pages and pages describing a minor character’s entire lineage? This is even more boring than that.
9. THE LAUNDROMAT: A lot of wealthy celebrities have a grand old time educating us dumb viewers on why wealthy people have an unfair advantage. Me too dumb to watch news. In the words of friend of Black Dog Amanda: SELF IMPORTANT.
10. CAPTAIN MARVEL: Everything exhausting and tedious about the current onslaught of Marvel movies. It doesn’t help that the lead has absolutely zero likeable character traits. The plot was the same old shit and the twist was so obvious that I spent the film in a state of frustration waiting for everyone to finally figure out what was blatant from the very beginning. What a waste of time.
That’s it for this week, folks. Stay warm, bring in those brass monkeys and we’ll see you next week!
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