5 Star Films Watched in 2020, Part 3


Possessor (2020): Totally worth a trip to the Starlight Drive-In (my first new movie in 7 months!). A slow, psychedelic body swap movie, punctuated with bursts of violence. There are some grisly and nightmarish scenes- I gasped out loud twice! It’s impossible to watch Possessor without picking out Brandon Cronenberg’s influences (his dad among them) but there’s nothing wrong with that- dude has excellent taste.

First Cow (2019) I did not think I would get teary-eyed watching a cow get milked, but I totally did. This film creates a really soft mood with unrushed pacing and lush wilderness set in the 1820s PNW. The friendship between the two main characters is so gentle and selfless. And, of course, the cow is a lovely star. I definitely recommend having some delicious biscuits to eat while watching.

One Sings, the Other Doesn’t (1977): My first Agnès Varda film! I’m very picky about musicals but this one is a winner. Sweet, sincere and visually wonderful. The story follows two friends through the years of the Women’s Movement in 1970s France. My heart is always happy to see close friends, access to abortion, feminism, and 70s styling. Maybe I do like street theater, I dunno!

Son of the White Mare (1981): Three superhuman brothers enter the underworld to rescue three princesses from three dragons… and things keep happening in threes. I am not familiar with the poem/Hungarian folklore that inspired this, but it is the most beautiful animated movie I have ever seen. The vivid psychedelic colors and symmetries made my eyeballs light up- especially in those insane battle sequences! I was disappointed by the weak women characters but I guess that’s to be expected in 1980s fantasy.

We Summon the Darkness (2019): I went in knowing nothing, underestimated it, and was totally sucked in! Is it a classic? Maybe not, but I really enjoyed watching. I hope more horror movies come out with women characters like this. Squad goals! (Just kidding!)

I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020): I actually hated this movie for being long, pretentious, and hopeless; but it is very good. The vulnerability of thoughts/illness/age/time are presented in a surreal stream-of-conscious Kaufman way that effectively upset me. He really makes voice-over work too which I think is rare. The cast is perfect, especially Toni Collette who deserves an Oscar by now. Any dinner scene she’s at is immediately elevated!

Death Wish V: The Face of Death (1994): At this point Paul Kersey is a seasoned vigilante and he’s having a blast killing people and delivering one-liners. I watched that Freddy the Flake soccer ball scene a dozen times! I can’t believe Bronson was 70 when he starred in this. I wish he coulda made five more Death Wishes.

10 to Midnight (1983): Like the Death Wish movies, this has a brand of above-the-law, Dirty Harry machoism I usually find repulsive, but EAT IT UP when it’s coming from Charles Bronson. This movie is sleazy and un-PC. The killer is butt naked and loosely based on Richard Speck. Bronson shames the killer for having a sex toy and is too manly to eat quiche!

The Mechanic (1972): Woah! I was shocked to see Bronson playing a killer-for-hire instead of an antihero. He plans his next hit in a swank pad while drinking fine wine, listening to classical music, and staring at an original Bosch painting. His kills are elaborate- he’d rather plant an exploding book than shoot someone directly. It broke my heart to see Bronson playing such a lonely character- this guy pays for a prostitute to act like a clingy girlfriend and takes OBVIOUSLY UNTRUSTWORTHY Jan-Michael Vincent as his partner.

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