Films in 2018: November

With FilmStruck shutting down at the end of November, I spent most of the month watching as many of the movies in my watchlist as possible. I couldn’t get to every movie, but I did manage to watch a good chunk! I posted some of my thoughts on the streaming service shutting down a couple days ago here. With trying to get through a bunch of different movies on FilmStruck, I didn’t get to watch as much film noir as I normally like to for Noirvember, but I did have some of that overlap in my FilmStruck marathon. I also made a few trips to the theater as usual, which included seeing a couple of movies I really enjoyed that could very well end up being among my top favorite 2018 releases. And with that, onto what I watched in November…

New-to-Me: 53

Re-Watched: 8

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1920s – 1
  • 1930s – 5
  • 1940s – 11
  • 1950s – 7
  • 1960s – 6
  • 1970s – 4
  • 1980s – 7
  • 1990s – 4
  • 2000s – 1
  • 2010s – 7

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. The Insider (1999)
  2. The Street with No Name (1948)
  3. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)
  4. Drunken Angel (1948)
  5. The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)
  6. The Big Sleep (1978)
  7. James Stewart, Robert Mitchum: The Two Faces of America (2017)
  8. Westward the Women (1951)
  9. Primary (1960)
  10. Adventures on the New Frontier (1961)
  11. Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (1963)
  12. For All Mankind (1989)
  13. The Man in Grey (1943)
  14. The Wicked Lady (1945)
  15. Cry Terror! (1958)
  16. Boy Erased (2018)
  17. The Mirror Crack’d (1980)
  18. Evil Under the Sun (1982)
  19. Suspiria (2018)
  20. Time Without Pity (1957)
  21. The Getaway (1972)
  22. Up in Arms (1944)
  23. The Cross of Lorraine (1943)
  24. Days of Glory (1944)
  25. Clouds of Sils Maria (2014)
  26. Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (2009)
  27. Withnail & I (1987)
  28. Hobson’s Choice (1954)
  29. The Long Good Friday (1980)
  30. Widows (2018)
  31. The Last Seduction (1994)
  32. Beloved Enemy (1936)
  33. The Cowboy and the Lady (1938)
  34. Flamingo Road (1949)
  35. The Damned Don’t Cry (1950)
  36. Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)
  37. The Silver Cord (1933)
  38. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960)
  39. The Jazz Singer (1927)
  40. La chienne (1931)
  41. Pépé le Moko (1937)
  42. Insomnia (1997)
  43. The Man Between (1953)
  44. Enchantment (1948)
  45. Keep Your Powder Dry (1945)
  46. The Sterile Cuckoo (1969)
  47. Sunflower (1970)
  48. Love Affair (1994)
  49. A Song Is Born (1948)
  50. Ran (1985)
  51. The Last Metro (1980)
  52. The Criminal (1960)
  53. The Man Who Cheated Himself (1950)

A Few Favorite Discoveries:

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018), directed by Marielle Heller

When I first started seeing the trailer for Can You Ever Forgive Me? in theaters, I was very intrigued by the premise and thought I’d like the movie well enough, but it really exceeded my expectations in how much I’d really enjoy it. The movie’s protagonists aren’t particularly likable people, but the performances by both Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant (who are a great dynamic duo) make it easy to sit through with them as they forge and sell literary letters.

Westward the Women (1951)

Westward the Women (1951), directed by William A. Wellman

I watched Westward the Women on FilmStruck as a part of one of their Director of the Week themes on William A. Wellman, and it’s a movie I had no idea existed until I saw it was streaming on there. Robert Taylor stars in this western where he helps escort a group of women from Chicago to California to marry men who’ve settled out west. It’s a dangerous journey, but the women here show how resilient they are to the rough conditions, even as some men traveling with them abandon the trip. The movie does a great job of not only putting more focus on the women (an anomaly in the western genre), but it also gives these characters agency. A really refreshing movie of its time.

Widows (2018)

Widows (2018), directed by Steve McQueen

Widows is easily Steve McQueen’s most accessible movie to date, with the director tackling the heist thriller following his harrowing, Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave. This is such a well-made movie of this crime subgenre that mixes in some sharp commentary on racial, social, and political issues alongside the action. Viola Davis spearheads a stellar cast, which includes some standout performances from Elizabeth Debicki and Daniel Kaluuya. With a screenplay co-written by Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn, it features a few good twists, some of which I didn’t see coming. This will probably end up among my favorites of 2018.

Enchantment (1948)

Enchantment (1948), directed by Irving Reis

Another movie I watched in my FilmStruck marathon, Enchantment was featured in a theme highlighting the cinematography of Gregg Toland. It’s yet another title I hadn’t heard of before seeing it on the streaming service, so I’m glad I caught this before FilmStruck shut down. Teresa Wright is an underrated actress, always such a charming presence onscreen. David Niven matches her charm in this wartime romantic drama told in flashback, chronicling the obstacles that got in the way of their two characters being happy together. While it is as heartbreaking as it sounds, the film also offers up a more uplifting outcome in the budding romance between Evelyn Keyes and Farley Granger, who play Niven’s niece and Wright’s nephew, respectively, in the present time.

Ran (1985)

Ran (1985), directed by Akira Kurosawa

Ran was one of the very last movies I watched on FilmStruck, and it’s a movie I had been wanting to watch for a long time because of how much I enjoy Akira Kurosawa’s movies. It’s the first color film of his I’ve seen, and for a director who’s primarily known for his black-and-white films, he does a great job of using color here so effectively. I was just awestruck by the composition throughout. And just like with Throne of Blood, Kurosawa adapts another Shakespeare play to the samurai genre, making the story his own.

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