🎬 "What is the Matrix?"





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🎬 "What is the Matrix?"
By Eric Johnson • Issue #95 • View online
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Big thank you to David for buying three coffees last week. He says: “I’m usually slammed with work on Fridays, but this newsletter lets me procrastinate and write way-too long responses to you.” I can confirm that David is the closest thing I have to a reply guy, but his responses are not too long! I love reading every reply I get to these emails.

🐈 The Matrix
🐈 The Matrix
The Matrix should be any screenwriter’s bible for effective world-building.
In just over two hours, it sets up an insanely convoluted techno-fantasy world (or is it?), and pays off everything in the most entertaining fashion. Today, it seems the movie’s legacies are black leather coats, “bullet time,” and validating Keanu Reeves as a bona fide action star — which is plenty more than most movies get.
However, I absolutely love the fact that this movie is about more than action, even though the final act is driven more by guns than philosophy. That, for me, is what has ensured its cultural relevance over the past 21 years, and not the then-groundbreaking special effects.
Now I just need to decide when I’m going to watch the much-maligned sequels, which I own but have never seen. Don’t try to talk me out of it; it’ll happen. Eventually. Anyway, the first movie is recommended. ★★★★½
The Matrix (1999) Official Trailer #1 - Sci-Fi Action Movie
The Matrix (1999) Official Trailer #1 - Sci-Fi Action Movie
I watched The Matrix on Blu-Ray, but it’s currently streaming on HBO Max.
🌉 Vertigo
Beautifully filmed in shining colors, directed with the skill of a great artist, and plotted with the insanity of a serial killer, Vertigo is a brain-noodling masterpiece.
The plot is best appreciated by first-time viewers without any prompting whatsoever, so I’ll encourage you all to go in cold and focus on the aesthetics: The way Alfred Hitchcock uses lighting and camera moves in this movie is next-level, certainly by 1958 standards and even compared to many contemporary movies. Combined with Bernard Herrmann’s famously eerie score, Hitch’s work is a case study in what a director does and why it matters.
He famously repudiated Jimmy Stewart as the star of the film in hindsight, declaring him “too old” — and there are several scenes where Stewart’s age at first seems to be a liability, whether for physical or ethical reasons. However, by the end of the film I can’t imagine anyone else in the starring role, and the same could be said of Stewart’s costar, the eerily distant Kim Novak.
As a bonus, this movie is a gorgeous travelogue of San Francisco neighborhoods and landmarks, which was a special treat for me as an SF resident. Both on a local-knowledge level and (more importantly) a plot/thematic level, Vertigo resonated so much more on this viewing than it did when I was a teenager. Recommended. ★★★★½
Vertigo Official Trailer #1 - (1958) HD
Vertigo Official Trailer #1 - (1958) HD
I watched Vertigo at a drive-in movie theater (!), but it’s currently streaming on Peacock Premium.
👣 It Follows
It Follows is a suspenseful, well-shot, thematically rich, awesomely-scored horror movie where the characters mostly make smart decisions. And as if that weren’t enough, it has a killer premise.
The “it” in question is a shape-shifting monster that is slowly walking towards you at all hours of the day, and the only way to make it stop following you is to have sex with someone; if it catches and kills them, though, it will come back to you, and on and on down the line.
Writer/director David Robert Mitchell plays the audience like a fiddle, training our hearts to start beating when we hear footsteps and our paranoid eyes to scan the out-of-focus horizon in every scene, looking for the approaching walker.
The final 15 minutes of the film are unfortunately a letdown, as the teenage protagonists attempt to lay a cartoonishly farfetched climactic trap. The film is much stronger in the mostly-quiet moments, in which its young characters are suddenly and unfairly facing the prospect of their doom.
It Follows Official Trailer 1 (2015) - Horror Movie HD
It Follows Official Trailer 1 (2015) - Horror Movie HD
I watched It Follows on Blu-Ray, but it’s currently streaming on fuboTV, Peacock, Peacock Premium, The Roku Channel, SyFy, and DirecTV.
🔢 Every Movie I've Seen in 2020, Ranked
(new additions in bold)
  1. The Godfather
  2. 12 Angry Men
  3. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  4. Do the Right Thing
  5. Knives Out
  6. Parasite
  7. Arrival
  8. My Neighbor Totoro
  9. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  10. Airplane!
  11. Dick Johnson Is Dead
  12. The Lives of Others
  13. Hot Fuzz
  14. Boys State
  15. Hamilton
  16. Groundhog Day
  17. All About Eve
  18. West Side Story
  19. The Farewell
  20. Vertigo
  21. 12 Years a Slave
  22. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  23. What We Do in the Shadows
  24. Spotlight
  25. Booksmart
  26. Her
  27. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
  28. The Matrix
  29. Moonrise Kingdom
  30. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  31. Your Name.
  32. North by Northwest
  33. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  34. The Incredibles
  35. Looper
  36. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
  37. The Wrong Trousers
  38. The Old Guard
  39. American Psycho
  40. Thank You For Smoking
  41. Little Women
  42. Marriage Story
  43. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  44. La La Land
  45. Sunset Boulevard
  46. Ford v Ferrari
  47. A Fish Called Wanda
  48. Bringing Up Baby
  49. Gremlins
  50. Apocalypse Now
  51. The Hidden Fortress
  52. Hell or High Water
  53. Moneyball
  54. Hacksaw Ridge
  55. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
  56. The Lunchbox
  57. Heat
  58. Little Miss Sunshine
  59. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  60. Coming to America
  61. Hustlers
  62. Shrek
  63. Wet Hot American Summer
  64. It Follows
  65. Dolemite Is My Name
  66. Good Will Hunting
  67. Palm Springs
  68. The Grapes of Wrath
  69. Fantasia 2000
  70. First Cow
  71. Kedi
  72. Honey Boy
  73. The Great Escape
  74. Ed Wood
  75. Isle of Dogs
  76. Annihilation
  77. The Hunt for Red October
  78. Wordplay
  79. Boyhood
  80. 1917
  81. Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood
  82. The Philadelphia Story
  83. Dark Waters
  84. Hail, Caesar!
  85. The Death of Stalin
  86. The Irishman
  87. Zoolander
  88. 50/50
  89. Hannah and Her Sisters
  90. Horse Feathers
  91. Enemy of the State
  92. Captain Phillips
  93. Uncut Gems
  94. Independence Day
  95. 9 to 5
  96. Frost/Nixon
  97. The Incredibles 2
  98. How the West Was Won
  99. Almost Famous
  100. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  101. Bad Education
  102. Godzilla
  103. Just Mercy
  104. Midnight in Paris
  105. Da 5 Bloods
  106. High Fidelity
  107. Guardians of the Galaxy
  108. My Fair Lady
  109. The Invisible Man
  110. The Hateful Eight
  111. Happy Gilmore
  112. Gates of Heaven
  113. Emma.
  114. Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
  115. Home Alone
  116. Gremlins 2: The New Batch
  117. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
  118. Braveheart
  119. Bicycle Thieves
  120. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  121. Frankenstein
  122. Hugo
  123. All the Money in the World
  124. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  125. Live From the Space Stage: A Halyx Story
  126. John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch
  127. Onward
  128. Hidden Figures
  129. Pain and Glory
  130. Bambi
  131. The Great Dictator
  132. Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events
  133. Anastasia
  134. Hot Rod
  135. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
  136. Animal House
  137. You’ve Got Mail
  138. The 39 Steps
  139. Elysium
  140. (500) Days of Summer
  141. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  142. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  143. Modern Romance
  144. Shakespeare in Love
  145. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
  146. 3:10 to Yuma
  147. The Big Country
  148. Ghost
  149. 28 Weeks Later
  150. History of the World: Part I
  151. The African Queen
  152. Greyhound
  153. Bamboozled
  154. Bullitt
  155. Dracula
  156. The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer
  157. Bride of Frankenstein
  158. Howard the Duck
  159. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  160. The Descendants
  161. The Hangover
  162. Joker
  163. Kingpin
  164. 28 Days Later
  165. Bridesmaids
  166. The Great Gatsby
  167. 13 Assassins
  168. Creature From the Black Lagoon
  169. Bad Moms
  170. High Anxiety
  171. Kentucky Fried Movie
  172. Hang ‘Em High
  173. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
  174. Ice Age
  175. Romancing the Stone
  176. Crocodile Dundee
  177. The 40-Year-Old Virgin
  178. Hard Ticket to Hawaii
  179. Gods of Egypt
  180. The Gentlemen
  181. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
  182. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  183. The Last Airbender
  184. Manos: The Hands of Fate
Did you enjoy this issue?
Eric Johnson

I'm reviewing every movie I watch, and watching every movie I own. Settle in, this is going to take a while.

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