Jan 31, 2017

The Month in Movies: January 2017

Films Seen: 56
First Viewings: 47

Best Film[s]
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly / Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell / The Wild Bunch
You could see one of these films as an outlier, but at some level I think Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell - the conclusion to the six film series following samurai Itto Ogami and his young son - fits just as well into the Western tradition as either of my other picks for this month. The series seems especially influenced by Leone's Dollars trilogy, as it follows Ogami on a series of missions that share little connection to each other. The Western is a genre I've yet to really discover, but this month went a long way to addressing that, as I watched and loved these films as well as Robert Altman's McCabe and Mrs Miller and Ti West's In A Valley of Violence. I feel that I am beginning to see and appreciate some more of the genre's traditions and I hope to dig into more of it as 2017 goes on.

Worst Film[s]
Assassin's Creed / Beyond the Gates / Book of Love / Dorian Gray
You could say that two of these films share a theme, as Assassin's Creed and Beyond the Gates are both rubbish films about games. The first adapts a computer game, the second invents a board game, both are almost certainly less fun than playing said game would be. Otherwise, the unifying trend here is simply ineptitude. Book of Love sets out an impressive challenge for the title of worst teen movie of the 90s, while Dorian Gray casts Ben Barnes in the title part; an actor so expressionless I'm not sure they didn't just have a painting play the role. It's quite a feat to make film so bad that Colin Firth hamming it up in an evil beard and the late appearance of the ever wonderful Rebecca Hall can't save it.

Note: I stole these categories from my friend AJ, who used to ask us to fill them out at the Joblo forum each month. Only first time viewings are eligible.

Best Actor: Ethan Hawke: In a Valley of Violence / Robert Ryan: Act of Violence / The Wild Bunch
Best Actress: Michelle Williams: Manchester by the Sea
Best Director: Sergio Leone: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly / Sam Peckinpah: The Wild Bunch
One to Watch: Oz Perkins, Director: February [a.k.a. The Blackcoat's Daughter]
Best Visuals: Mirror
Best Scene: Itto Ogami vs 100 samurai on skis: Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell / “My heart was broken”: Manchester by the Sea
Biggest Surprise: Rocky Balboa / What We Do in the Shadows
Biggest Disappointment: Beyond the Gates / The Lost Boys
I'm Pretty Sure No One Else Has Seen This: Mind's Eye / Book of Love
Movie I Finally Got to See: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly / The Wild Bunch
Coolest Title: Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key
Crush of the Month: Mackenzie Davis: Bad Turn Worse

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