Summer Music Catch-Up: RTJ4

Run The Jewels – RTJ4

This actually was an album I got to talk about a little bit before the onset of Criterion Month, since I gave it a Little Pick shout-out the week after it was released. However, RTJ4 is such an earth-shatteringly awesome album that I feel the need to give it a little more love. When the album was first released a week after the George Floyd killing, it felt like the perfect soundtrack to the summer’s protests against racism and police brutality. While Run The Jewels’ political commentary is one of the more potent aspects of their work here, there’s plenty else to enjoy considering this might be the album I’ve come back to the most this summer. Continue reading

Summer Music Catch-Up: Rough and Rowdy Ways

Bob Dylan – Rough and Rowdy Ways

The past two years in late June, I’ve posted lengthy catch-ups featuring bite-size reviews of albums that I hadn’t gotten around to reviewing by the year’s mid-point. I didn’t do that this year because there just weren’t that many albums that I had much to say about that I hadn’t already mentioned on this blog in one way or another. But then right before and all through July, a bunch of albums came out that I really liked. So, now that we’ve taken a little break from posts in the aftermath of Criterion Month, I’ll try to keep that review-a-day energy rollin’ by reviewing a recent album each day this week. I’ll start off with the one that I probably have the most thoughts on… Continue reading

Criterion Month Day 31: Apur Sansar

Apur Sansar (1959)

It’s been a little more than two years since I watched Pather Panchali, the first film in Satyajit Ray’s Apu Trilogy, and I couldn’t possibly wait another year before wrapping things up. So here’s another bonus review, my 11th exhausting post this Criterion Month.

One thing that I always find amusing reading up on The Apu Trilogy is the exact proportions Wikipedia uses to explain how much of Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay’s two source novels inspired each film. Pather Panchali, the movie, apparently represents only “four fifths” of that book, with sequel Aparajito picking up the last fifth as well as the first third of the second novel, also called Aparajito. This means that Apur Sansar both has the least material to draw from and is the first film in the trilogy not to take its title from one of the books. That title aspect is actually important, as it is reflected in the scope of this picture. Apur Sansar translates to “The World of Apu” and while the first two movies in the trilogy were about a family, the third picture is all about Apu.

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Criterion Month Day 30: Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

This is my last entry for this year’s Criterion Month. Can you believe it? I’m finally free. No more being confined to my arthouse movie prison (the prison bars are subtitles). I can finally go back to watching the bad kinds of movies I usually watch. I’ve had Hostel: Part II burning a hole in my queue all month. But real talk, I’m glad we do this month of celebrating more intellectually and emotionally challenging films. I’m glad we do this because if I’m being honest, I wasn’t chomping at the bit to watch this movie.

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Criterion Month Day 29: 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007)

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is another Criterion Month film that proves that sometimes it’s best to go into these types of movies knowing as little possible. While I was well aware that the film was critically acclaimed upon its release — most prominently by A.O. Scott and the Cannes Film Festival — I was less aware of why it was acclaimed. Considering it was a movie about abortion during the final days of communism’s grip over Eastern Europe, I was expecting it to be fairly grim and harrowing. Though I would say it is those things to an extent, I wasn’t expecting it to also be thrilling and genuinely suspenseful in a way that ended Criterion Month on an exciting note for me, rather than on a sad whimper. Continue reading

Criterion Month Day 28: Y tu mamá también

Y tu mamá también (2001)

On our Criterion Draft podcast it was mentioned that Y tu mamá también was “kind of a sexy” but I wasn’t prepared for this kind of sexy. Right off the bat this movie hits you with back-to-back explicit sex scenes. I had to stand guard by my remote all night to avoid the embarrassment of someone coming into the room and thinking I was watching porn. A lot of dicks too. The film was rated 18+ in Mexico also known as MX-C which would be the equivalent to the USA’s NC-17 Rating. Which is usually the kiss of death for a film’s success.

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Criterion Month Day 27: Funny Games

Funny Games (1997)

Spoilers Throughout! (you have been warned)
I was so ready to hate this movie. That’s because back in the before times (2007), I watched the English language remake of Funny Games also written and directed by Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke and hated it. the film was so brutal to its characters. The ending is a downer and Michael Pitt has a punchable face. So why thirteen yeas later would I subject myself to the original?

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