Our Quarantine Movies

A Quiet Place

I’ve never been good at watching movies, any of my friends can attest to this. I get distracted or I get bored, depart or fall asleep, then maybe I’ll finish the movie in a couple of months. But recently, there’s been an increased motivation in recent months to finish movies due to the miracle invention of FaceTime. Watching movies over FaceTime has returned at least a sliver of the warm feeling you get with someone right there, reacting to the twists, enjoying the turns, reveling in each other’s company. The whole nine yards. Anyway, the last movie on FaceTime cinema was A Quiet Place, which features a number of engaging details including a massive beard on John Krasinski, representation for the deaf community, and a particularly pesky nail. At the brisk run time of an hour and a half, there’s no let up in the action, which is very helpful for me because I get bored quite often. Also, the apocalyptic setting of a world overrun by blind, noise seeking monsters runs an uncomfortable parallel to the bleak future of our pandemic world run by idiots. The bleak outlook highlighted by a righteous self-sacrifice based on love and family does nothing to quell anxieties for the future. Good movie though. Better company. – Ritchie

The Last Black Man In San Francisco

On my rewatch of The Last Black Man In San Francisco, I was struck by the concept of lateral movement in the visual style and story. Joe Talbot’s vision of time moves with reckless abandon as the film traces through locations, pausing for no one. Horizontal camerawork is dense, from Jimmie’s skateboard coasting the city hills to ominous yellow caution tape running along bayside streets. The Golden Gate Bridge itself stretches across the screen left to right. Talbot subscribes to an explicit linear and destructive view of time. The roots of gentrification are exposed through Jimmie and Mont’s adventures. Their desire to restore Jimmie’s house is realized in beautiful fashion. The tranquil and indulgent moments spent in the house are amplified when the dream is shattered, revealing a devastating metaphor of San Francisco’s swift rise and fall through time. As a street car whips across the frame, so does the tragedy of a city broken – JT Chipman

Good Time

After watching Uncut Gems for my 3rd time the first week of quarantine, I began to seek out the Safdie brothers. Whether it was an interview with movie pod The Big Picture (highly recommend) or the Lenny Cooke documentary, I wanted to binge all Safdie brothers content. That’s when I found Good Time. I had such a visceral engaging viewing experience while watching much like I had for Uncut Gems. If I had to equate it to something it would be like having a panic attack off a bad high and being chased for an hour and a half throughout New York City. Robert Pattinson gives an amazing performance playing basically a wolf in sheep’s clothing doing whatever he can to survive with his mentally challenged brother. The movie includes a pulsating synth-heavy score, well known city locations, and a whole lot of cool neon colors. The all-night odyssey that ensues throughout leaves a lasting effect while also assessing why are you even rooting for this person to begin with. Good Time walks the thin line between someone in a really good dream and a daunting neon nightmare. I love it. – Kee Diaz

Michael Clayton

Michael Clayton is the type of movie that burns in your head for days after you see it. It is bound to make you walk gingerly if it was still in theaters. George Clooney plays the titular character, a man that has seen so much dirt around him that he wears it on his face. He owes money to loan shark because of a failed bar venture with his brother. He’s a fixer for the prestigious Keener, Bach, and Leeden.  He’s weary of the job that he has that he is ten plus years in. He’s too dirty to be a real litigator and too upscale to be a cop. He seems to know this, as does everyone around him, and it is eating at him. One day, Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson, raging and excellent), a senior litigator for the firm, has an episode during a deposition in Milwaukee. Arthur wants to take on the world. He’s working a case that the firm knows the client is guilty of and knows how ugly the crime is. This is the way the world works. ‘’I gotta tell you how we pay the bills around here,’’ says senior partner, Marty Bach, played by the incomparable Sydney Pollack. Clayton, whom is very close with Mr. Edens, is sent to try to assess the situation and get him in line. This is a movie that is angry at capitalism. It is dark in its worldview. It is a thriller that, even in payoff, will leave you still feeling cold. Too many bad things happen in the movie for you to be hopeful at the end. The world is full of lawless corporations and weed killers: You would be outraged as well if you were Michael Clayton. – Jayson Buford

Above the Rim

Above The Rim is a great casual movie that I like to sit down and rewatch when I’m not looking to sit down and watch something too serious. There’s definitely flaws, Duane Martin isn’t all that great in the movie and the writing made some of the characters look like idiots. But the stuff that I like? Pure excellence. Tupac was a natural as an actor and is easily the best part of the movie. The soundtrack is one of the best ever and it’s always incredibly satisfying to watch Shep drop 40 in 5 minutes. I guarantee you Shep would’ve been running Michael Jordan out of the arena every matchup. He could hit the three, the mid-range, and could effectively drive to the rim. He showcased all that in UPS clothes. Damn shame really. Anyways, it’s a really fun movie that makes up for its flaws with a fantastic soundtrack, an excellent performance from Tupac, and Shep with a hall of fame basketball showcase. – Caleb Catlin

Togo

I recently watched Togo, which revealed that Balto (immortalized as a bronze statue in Central Park) has received undue attention for his role in the 1925 serum run to Nome, Alaska. I sympathized with Togo, who has been deprived of the limelight he deserves for almost a century. The movie was not only adorable but it also underscored society’s tendency to efface underdog. Amid an unprecedented pandemic, it is important for us to show our gratitude for unsung heroes like Togo. – Rudy Malcom

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