Movies Watched, March 2022

“Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes” by Junta Yamaguchi

As I’m writing these long-delayed roundups of my monthly movie consumption from earlier this year, I’m finding that the movies I want to talk about most are the smaller scale productions that went little noticed at the time. That’s not out of a disdain for Hollywood blockbusters—well, not entirely. I admit, I am a movie snob, but I’m also a guy who went to see Matt Reeves’s “The Batman” twice and really liked it, after all. Nevertheless, there are so many unsung triumphs out there, and I really enjoy trying to point more folks in their direction.

One film I saw in March that’s actually kind of a treat to discover sight unseen is “Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes,” a seventy-minute Japanese indie directed by Junta Yamaguchi. It debuted in Japan in 2020, made the rounds at film festivals for a year or so, and only made it to American audiences earlier in 2022. This is an utterly charming, family-friendly and incredibly winning flick with a script that’s tight as a drum and performances and dialog that work like a beautiful, high-end watch movement.

I’m being intentionally vague regarding what it’s about or even what genre it is because, if you’re not already familiar with it, then great! It’s a movie that really, really ought to be watched with as little prior knowledge as possible, which is exactly the way I watched it. I knew nothing about its cast, crew or plot beforehand, and that made it all the more richly satisfying. I’ve since recommended it to friends, lots of them, with the advice: “Don’t read anything about it beforehand. Don’t Google it. Don’t look it up on IMDB. Don’t even read the movie description if you can avoid it. Just watch it.” None of them have been disappointed, and I bet you won’t be either. As of this writing, it’s streaming on Prime Video, so what have you got to lose?

Here are all fourteen of the movies I saw in March.

  1. A League of Their Own” (1992) ★★★½
    Rewatched. Formulaic but fun, with a full slate of irrepressibly genial performances.
  2. Steamboat Bill, Jr.” (1928) ★★★★½
    Buster Keaton’s masterwork of invention, completely undiminished, even ninety-four years later.
  3. The Batman” (2022) ★★★★
    Takes itself way too seriously but does what we can only wish more super-hero movies would attempt: do away with the fan service and tell a story with a real point of view.
  4. Morocco” (1930) ★★★
    When you’ve got two smoldering hot leads like Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper, having a plot is almost unnecesssary.
  5. Joker” (2019) ★★★★
    Rewatched. Didn’t expect to be as impressed with this—or enjoy it as much—the second time around.
  6. Irma Vep” (1996) ★★★★
    Fleetfooted and nimble and hilarious in ways that so many indie movies, including this same director’s, just aren’t.
  7. The French Dispatch” (2021) ★★★½
    Rewatched. Totally fine.
  8. The Batman” (2022) ★★★★
    Rewatched. Confirmed that this is the best Batman film.
  9. Turning Red” (2022) ★★★
    Pretty endearing.
  10. Sherlock, Jr.” (1924) ★★★★
    Went back for more Buster Keaton and just bowled over by this genius deconstruction of the fourth wall.
  11. Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes” (2020) ★★★★
    Totally delightful, mind-bending sci-fi comedy from Japan. Highly recommended—but don’t read anything about it beforehand!
  12. Everything Everywhere All at Once” (2022) ★★
    I’m in the minority on this one.
  13. Seven Chances” (1925) ★★★½
    Early Buster Keaton; takes a while to get in gear, but it’s worth it.
  14. Red Desert” (1964) ★★★½
    Rewatched. Antonioni’s uncompromising vision is conceptually rewarding but also exhausting.

This is the latest roundup of my monthly movie consumption. You can also see what I previously watched in February, in January, in 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016. Also, you can always keep up with what I’m watching by following me on Letterboxd—where I’m also writing tons of capsule reviews.