November was a bit of a slow month for movie watching. The only new release I saw was director Jeymes Samuels’s “The Harder They Fall,” a Black western that had everything going for it and sadly whiffed. I’m a big fan of westerns and a big fan of nearly everyone in this cast, but after two relentless hours of stylish but empty posturing, I just got bored. Thanks to its provenance as a Netflix-financed production, it will probably experience a marginally kinder fate than it would have likely met had it been released twenty years ago in theaters: this is the kind of flick that would have been forgotten incredibly quickly, only to surface some years later in bargain DVD bins at Walmart, where a younger generation would have picked it up and said, “Look at this stacked cast! There’s no way this isn’t good, right?”—only to be disappointed all over again.
I’m keeping this entry short because it’s the holidays. I’ll do my December round-up soon, and then I’ll be posting a year-end round-up in January. Until then, here’s everything else I watched in November. Cheers!
“Thor: Ragnarok” (2017) ★★½ Rewatched. Never takes itself too seriously, which is amusing. Refuses to take anything seriously, which is exhausting.
“Pig” (2021) ★★★½ Nicolas Cage as a…well, part of the fun is that this is all very unexpected.
“Touchez Pas au Grisbi” (1954) ★★★★ French gangster classic details the quotidian drudgery of “one last score” that actually succeeds.
“Blade Runner 2049” (2017) ★★★★ Rewatched. Not unlike its predecessor, this gets deeper and richer with each viewing.
“Sicario” (2015) ★★★★★ Rewatched. As much as I like Villeneuve’s franchise work, original fare like this is what he was put on earth to do.
“Hangover Square” (1945) ★★★½ An entertainingly formal bit of Edwardian, paranoid noir, with a wacko editing.
“The Harder They Fall” (2021) ★★ Could’ve been a classic, should have been a classic, but it’s just boring instead.
“Neighboring Sounds” (2012) ★★★½ A Brazilian neighborhood where the mundane is bizarre and the bizarre is mundane. Mesmerizing.
“Paddington” (2014) ★★★ Rewatched. So genial that even Ben Whishaw’s nails-on-a-chalkboard voice is tolerable.
“Dune” (2021) ★★★★ Rewatched. I was down with the flu so I just figured I’d watch it a fourth time.
“In the Cut” (2003) ★½ Jane Campion tries to art up the thriller, but in the end it just amounts to a cavalcade of clichés.
“Point Blank” (1967) ★★★★ Rewatched. Throws you headlong into stylized, abstracted action that still seems striking, if shallow.