Yes it’s the last day of February, but I’m posting this roundup of what I watched in January anyway. Early in the month I got out to theaters to see “1917” and “Little Women,” both on the same day, and both worthwhile investments of time.
I went into “1917” with a healthy amount of skepticism about the movie’s conceit of a single, uninterrupted shot, based partly on its inherently gimmicky nature and also the fact that Sam Mendes’s movies have always struck me as shallow. But I was pleasantly surprised by how “1917” delivered a genuinely affecting emotional wallop that mostly redeems its “video game” premise.
On the other hand, I had the inverse experience with “Little Women.” I went into it with high hopes based on director Greta Gerwig’s previous outing, “Lady Bird,” which I found to be nearly flawless. But I found this adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s immortal novel to be surprisingly misshapen, and marred by ill-advised casting. For a creative talent who seems so independent by nature, Gerwig’s take on “Little Women” just felt disappointingly Hollywood-esque.
In total, I watched sixteen movies in January, including several by Ingmar Bergman. I’m trying to make my way through “Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema,” a massive boxed set comprising thirty-nine films across thirty Blu-Ray discs. I have to admit knowing very little about this legendary director before starting this exercise; I’d only ever previously seen “The Seventh Seal” and “Scenes from a Marriage.” It’s going to take me all year to finish it, but I’m enjoying every minute.
Here’s the full list.
“Beirut” (2018) ★★ The bones of a complex script smothered in Hollywood clichés.