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Added by Mackenzi on 19 Apr 2019 08:10
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2019 Diary: April

April in June? Before March? Yes I have been living a bit of a chaotic life, fortunately I do actually have all my monthly diaries still, they're just lacking comments and ratings for the most part. I will just have to publish them though because I don't want to be so far behind, even if the comments are a little shallow or not quite up to par as I'd like. But here I submit to the court the evidence I have indeed been watching films this spring! And I will submit March and May diaries as soon as I can.
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Theme: Detectives

This theme was designed to give me an easy month since I can really burn through crime movies without much thought, and I have a high tolerance for even the more mediocre parts of the genre. "Detectives" theme includes any kind of sleuthing, unraveling a mystery, professional or otherwise.
People who added this item 52 Average listal rating (38 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.4


Decently mystifying, a little ridiculous as the plot unravels, and an unsatisfying end. Worth watching but not as good as I was hoping- at the very least you won't know what's going on and will probably get caught up for the first hour.
Mackenzi's rating:
People who added this item 1158 Average listal rating (685 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.3
Brick (2006)
Brilliant, wonderful, a perfect noir film. Pacing, editing, setting, it's all great. This film is seamless. It's a real joy to watch. I've never been totally into classic noir, the genre has its highlights but I just haven't been one to lose myself in a hardboiled detective story. But putting the hardboiled detective in highschool changes everything- every cliche and trope that would bring me a little out of the immersion is unique and fresh and funny. It's a really unique film and totally succeeds at what it does, it should be considered one of the greats.
Mackenzi's rating:
People who added this item 1779 Average listal rating (1092 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.5
It was fine! It had some funny bits and the pacing was great, snappy, just like RDJ's performance. It was amusing and played around with expectations in a fun way. I guess I could take or leave the 4th wall "breaking" narration, some fun gimicky stuff that never felt like the movie would really be different if it got cut. But it was a weirdly cute movie for how dark it got. Maybe not my personal cup of tea but I'm glad I watched it, it's been on my to-do list for a while.
Mackenzi's rating:
People who added this item 1232 Average listal rating (803 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.2
Second time watching this one but I was a kid when I saw it first. It is lovely. Roped my girlfriend into watching this one with me, and we had a great time. A real nice popcorn flick that wraps you around its finger until the very end. We where exclaiming at the screen and laughing and gasping as the various events unfurled. This movie absolutely holds up through a modern lens, all of these blue-eyed performances are still a treat to watch and it never leaves you bored.
Mackenzi's rating:
People who added this item 2113 Average listal rating (1320 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.2
Insomnia (2002)
Watching this one for the second time as well, and while I didn't remember the movie beat for beat I remembered liking it. I am a lot less impressed now, unfortunately. It's not terrible, but it's not as fascinating and twisted as I thought it'd be. Much like Dial M for Murder you end up knowing what happens pretty early on and the movie tries to draw you in with the fallout, but it felt a lot less snappy than Dial M, not unexpectedly since the movie's whole theme is a total and complete lack of sleep. It drags much like Pacino's mind must be dragging night after night of sunshine, and I got a little tired of seeing him looking vacantly into the middle distance after a while. I know not every movie needs someone to root for, but I definitely hit a point where it just felt like, he fucked up so bad and so many mistakes where made the inevitable end is at least one person has to die, and there's really no good outcome to hope for here. And then I just had to sit and wait for it to play out.
Mackenzi's rating:
People who added this item 1508 Average listal rating (846 ratings) 8.5 IMDB Rating 8.3
M
Been wanting to watch this one for a while- some real classic bits in this, an excellent story and good acting. There are some powerful and emotional scenes, especially the last few bits, and even if it is not the most thrilling film after 90 years of filmmaking has given us so many more explosive and flamboyant movies, there are parts of M that are so memorable and they will definitely stick with you.

I enjoyed reading about the history surrounding this movie as well. It was banned in Nazi Germany, presumably for any favoring of criminals and undermining of authority. Peter Lorre and director Fritz Lang both fled Germany only a little while after the film was released. It is a small but haunting little snapshot of what was going on in the world at the time.
Mackenzi's rating:
People who added this item 6 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 6.5
Had its goofy moments where you almost forget there's been like a dozen murders, which was kind of odd and at the same time charming and funny. It's a funny little movie, I wasn't especially taken with it but at the end it got me with one of my favorite moral lessons: killing for revenge isn't worth it. That won me over. I also really appreciate that it has a lot of older characters, and the murders involve the elderly specifically in a way we don't see in major films very often. It branches out a bit from the standard and while it's nothing groundbreaking, if you're only gonna absorb so many kidnapped young woman movies this one's definitely one that's worth watching.
Mackenzi's rating:
People who added this item 1833 Average listal rating (1210 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.7
It's got some polarized opinions on the morality of police messing with evidence, both the "good guys" and "bad guys" do fairly illegal things with evidence. That will undoubtedly be enough to undermine the film's attempts at pulling in some viewers, but it's a surprisingly nice little drama. It's got some intense murder scenes, sensational stuff (at least for 1999) that any murder mystery/serial killer movie fans will eat up, and Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie's characters are actually pretty cool and you end up rooting for them. I would love to see more of those characters solving crimes on the big screen, though these days it'd be more suited to a series or miniseries on some streaming service.

Oh boy: I just googled to find the book at according to wikipedia "A pilot for a television series based on the novel was ordered by NBC in 2019." Neat! I try not to have any expectations but one can hope it gets the quality production it deserves.
Mackenzi's rating:
People who added this item 108 Average listal rating (62 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.1
Fascinating, fascinating. Honestly, how to watch Hays Code era noir after this? As a look at where Hollywood was in the 40's and 50's, I suppose- but honestly it was so eye-opening. One of those films where the very presence of black and Asian folks in it was a statement because it shines the light on how the exact same story would have been portrayed if it had been made in the same year it was set.

It is a pretty standard detective story, I do wonder if many of Raymond Chandler films will feel that way because he was so noteable of a writer to influence the whole genre. I know the legacy of this era more than I know his actual work. If you watch Brick and then this movie back to back you will be able to see where exactly Farewell My Lovely is going. But it was a good film to watch, it kept you wondering, it wasn't too cheesy and even if you go into it after a month of detective and mystery movies, able to predict where the plot will go, it's a nice ride.

Watching Robert Mitchum give friendly winks to the little kids is charming however you slice it. He's pretty good in this.

I just bought the novel The Big Sleep so I won't be watching the film version yet, but it will probably get slotted in somewhere next month. I am looking forward to seeing if it is worth the hype.
Mackenzi's rating:
I'd had this spoiled for me (not unfairly since the story has existed for decades haha) and it was still pretty fun to watch despite that, trying to figure out along the way just how they could possibly pull off such an ending. I don't know how plausible any of it is, though it was an interesting story and very lovely visually. I liked the ensemble cast though there where simply so many people no one person ever had a chance to shine. The plot was clearly the main focus and it worked for the most part. And I've never seen or read any of Poirot so this was a fresh take for me, and it was pretty enjoyable. While I can't say I loved it I'd probably watch more of Kenneth Branagh's Poirot.

I got a text from work mid-way through this one which put me in a generally grumpy mood, and Poirot's comment of "I am happiest when I'm alone" really rang true to me in the moment. For that I feel a strong bond between us, me and Poirot! No more unexpected calls to work please!
Mackenzi's rating:
People who added this item 3378 Average listal rating (2158 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.7
Not much new to add here, after several viewings of this great movie. I enjoy watching it every few years because the parts where I feel most strongly have shifted from when I watched it as a kid. The fear and frustration shift to different scenes and things stand out to me differently as I get older. A very solid film and I can't wait to revist it again in the future.
Mackenzi's rating:
People who added this item 788 Average listal rating (497 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.1
Another one I don't have much new to add, I enjoyed this even more than I did the last time I watched. I have been watching a lot of Korean TV and movies this past year and just getting used to the language and tone and setting makes all the rest easier to absorb as I get more and more used to the different culture, and it's been so great exploring what Korean cinema has to offer. This one is so solid, one of the best things is the perfect blend of humor and tragedy- lead actor Kang-ho Song and director Joon-ho Bong are so great at this. Another solid detective thriller that I look forward to watching again.
Mackenzi's rating:
People who added this item 405 Average listal rating (268 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.8
I really fucked up this month totally forgetting Scooby Doo is a detective and I might have to make a mini-marathon of Scooby flicks to make up for it. I love the Scoob and this is probably the best feature-length film they've made for him. I've loved it since I was a kid, it's got a surprisingly tight plot, it's funny, it's got spooky vibes, and even with Scooby's typically low bar for animation it's very smooth and still watchable even two decades later.

You wouldn't think all of the elements here would add up to something cohesive: You've got zombies of confederate soldiers and modern tourists, pagan cat people, pirate ghosts haunting a historic mansion, an undercover FBI agent, all set on an old pepper plantation surrounded by deep swampy bayou. It probably shouldn't work, but it does. If I wasn't so underwhelmed by the live action Scooby Doo stuff we've already got I'd say this one would be a great one to see with modern CGI and real actor performances, not to mention some diversity for a movie set in the deep south. There are some great, fun songs on the soundtrack too.

It's a fun movie and a nice way to end the month after some more serious and sobering films before it. As always recommended for anyone who wants to watch something light and dorky but still has a story.
Mackenzi's rating:
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At Work

Ahh heck, I really liked it. I am glad I was forced to watch these at work because I wouldn't have realized just looking at them that they where worth it. But they so are. This one is still just as funny and cute as the first, and they're still throwing blatantly good and wholesome themes in there that are honestly kind of refreshing- I spent a month watching detective films and a lot of them exist soley in morally-grey, anti-hero territory, and it's really nice to see a funny and cute animated movie that is so well made and makes an effort to bring people together. Great quality, great soundtrack, they're solid fun while also being kind of inspirational. Not perfect, but I love that this movie explicitly talked about some of the criticisms I (and others I know) had with the first movie. Seriously, they're doing a damn good job with these things.
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The Rest

A good, if laid-back, look at the role of black actors, directors, and black culture in the horror genre. It was an interesting film and I have several more movies to add to my to-watch list now, but I definitely ending the movie feeling like we barely scratched the surface. Because there is so much to say and investigate in this topic! It would be better suited as a full docu-series, like The Story of Film: An Odyssey. Because we just flew through so many decades in only 83 minutes, and the truth of not just black but so many non-white stories in cinema is that, because they are sidelined, it is important to take a closer look at smaller roles and projects. And while this documentary does a good job giving a bullet-point list of topics it is more of a gateway into the topic than a be-all end-all examination. It is a good starting point to watch and analyze a lot of films and I am left craving more on the topic.

Definitely worth watching though! I liked that for almost all of the films, they've talked about how a lot of the good is also still kinda bad, and vice versa. It is normal that in scarcity, there is a take-what-we-can-get attitude, and a lot of the progress is still surrounded by negativity and problematic views. It was a satisfying doc to watch, a quick but good look at the black perspective on horror cinema that everyone should take a look at.

I saw a few reviews that said things along the line of "I wasn't the intended audience, as a [person of a non-black race] but I still enjoyed it" and I just wanna say, the intended audience for this film is everyone! We want our perspective to be heard, we wanna share these perspectives and be more understood, and a documentary is meant to educate and share views. Watch this! But don't stop here, lots of excellence to be seen in the horror genre.

I haven't delved in to much horror outside of Us this year and this really got me in the mood to watch something scary.
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