Jeffrey’s Film Queue: Feb. 15 – Feb. 28

Double Film Queue all the way across the sky! Last week I was down with the stomach flu and so didn’t have the energy to type out your weekly dose of my film diary. So this week, you get two weeks’ worth of content! Including some hot takes on everyone’s favourite mercenary. See me after the jump.

Deadpool (2016)
Directed by Tim Miller

Were I the meatheaded version of myself from ten years ago, I would have loved this movie. I probably would have labeled it as something ridiculous, like, “best superhero movie ever” or some shit like that. Now that I’m older and, not wiser but less fueled by testosterone, I have the clarity of vision to see this for what it is. An O.K. movie whose charm dangles on the edge of the thinnest razor, as Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool comes this close to being too obnoxious. Yes, you can cry and moan all day long that this is the nature of the character. Guess I’m just not a fan of the character. Hopefully, the sequel is a riskier movie that lets its character shut the fuck up for two seconds.

Yojimbo (1961)
Directed by Akira Kurosawa

Some of the most beautiful cinematography in film. The floating dolly shots of Yojimbo walking towards his enemies is forever the most badass image in the history of eyes and vision. The film itself is quite slow, but the cast of characters are rich enough to reward multiple viewings.

Shine A Light (2008)
Directed by Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese returns to rock concert documentation! While not nearly as mythical as his classic, The Last Waltz, this Rolling Stones concert entertains throughout. With the bevy of masterpiece tunes by this incredible band, it’s no surprise that some would have to be left by the wayside (though I wonder who was asking for “Shattered”) but there’s still a plethora of great performances herein, including that of what is perhaps my favourite Stones record, “Tumbling Dice”.

Sanjuro (1962)
Directed by Akira Kurosawa

What Sanjuro lacks in Yojimbo’s artistry, it makes up for in its tightly wound plot and beautiful duel. The film also has a stronger pacifist message (which may be ironic cause I’m pretty sure Sanjuro kills more people in this film than he does in Yojimbo) which is beautifully expressed through the mother and daughter characters.

In the Loop (2009)
Directed by Armando Iannucci

You don’t even have to be a cynical, government-hating cinephile in order to laugh your ass off! My mother, who is the furthest thing from any of those adjectives, was joining me in all the raucous laughter.I will never look at Peter Capaldi’s Doctor the same way. “Hello my little chicks and cocks!”

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Directed by Frank Capra

The truly awe inspiring aspect of this film is how its most cinematic moment is that of one man talking endlessly to no one in particular. It is a perfect example of simple drama being the basest, and most essential, ingredient in crafting a great film. Here, Mr. Smith filibusters to the chagrin of the political heavyweights working against him. This simple premise allows for such rich, rewarding drama that you hardly mind the fact that Jimmy Stewart is essentially just reciting the U.S. Constitution.

Dope (2015)
Directed by Rick Famuyiwa

I didn’t like it. Does that make me a bad person? I don’t know. My argument can be summed up in the film’s overall sloppy execution. The tone is a mess. The themes are a mess. The plot is a convoluted mess. It has its moments of genuine vitality, but there weren’t enough to sustain my interest for long. Although, Tyga getting shot dead is the cinematic highlight to beat for the rest of time.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Directed by a fuck ton of people

[Admin’s Note: Was going to change the above until I searched it up… I’ll allow it.]

It is the simple, adorable style of Walt Disney that has allowed his films to endure across generations. The subtle details of a woodland critter crawling prone towards a frightened Snow White are indicative of the work which has come to signify Disney’s masterful works. My mom watched and loved this movie with her father when she was a little girl. It warms my heart that I was able to do the same with her, all these years later.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
Directed by Francis Lawrence

After dismissing the first film in this series for its lack of distinguishing character, and poor sense of filmmaking craft, I neglected to watch any of the subsequent sequels. I am not ashamed to say I was wrong. Very wrong. Catching Fire is a legitimately great film that exposes its young audience to themes of revolution, government and media control, and the murky waters in which these battles are fought. Katniss Everdeen is a fantastic role model not because doing the right thing comes easy to her, but precisely because it is so hard.


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