View profile

🎬 "Yer a wizard, Harry"

Happy Juneteenth! After the eight movies I watched last week, this week felt like I saw almost none .
🎬 "Yer a wizard, Harry"
By Eric Johnson • Issue #74 • View online
Happy Juneteenth!
After the eight movies I watched last week, this week felt like I saw almost none … but actually, I watched four. Let’s go…

😸 Kedi
Kedi is a charming, relaxing, beautifully filmed documentary about the stray cats of Istanbul and the many people across the city who take care of them.
There’s not much of a story to this film, but I do not mind in the slightest. The filmmakers shoot the cats with a loving, gentle touch, and they subtly work out some clever shots: In one scene, we see a couple cats on a rooftop looking at … something; the camera then cuts to that rooftop, at cat-eye-level, and we can glimpse … a fish market! Lunchtime!
This is a sweet, funny movie for all ages and will soothe anyone who wishes they could be out in a city of strangers right now. Recommended.
Kedi - Official U.S. Trailer - Oscilloscope Laboratories
Kedi - Official U.S. Trailer - Oscilloscope Laboratories
Kedi is currently streaming on YouTube Premium and Kanopy. You can also find it on many of the big video platforms — $0.99 to $4.99 to rent and $4.99 to $14.99 to buy.
⚡️ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
(Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling is 100% wrong about transgender people; trans men are men, trans women are women, and her history of transphobic comments will be a permanent stain on her legacy).
Let’s get the criticisms out of the way first: Some of the CGI in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone hasn’t aged great, much of the kids’ acting is just OK, and despite a 150 minute runtime, it feels rushed.
All that said … gosh, I still really like this movie. It does so much so surprisingly well that would pay dividends over the rest of the series that it deserves much credit. The cast is so good — including the main trio of Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson as Harry, Ron, and Hermione — that it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Maggie Smith playing Professor McGonagall and Alan Rickman playing Severus Snape. Not that that’s stopped some people from trying, though.
More praise: The production design is near perfect; the novels’ mixture of darkness with whimsy largely survives the page to screen adaptation; and my god, the music! John Williams could’ve retired in the 80s and would have still made an enormous contribution to film music, but nah! He just kept going. Hedwig’s Theme is one of the all time great movie melodies, and the incidental music throughout is lovely.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) Official Trailer - Daniel Radcliffe Movie HD
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) Official Trailer - Daniel Radcliffe Movie HD
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone, don’t @ me) is currently streaming on HBO Max. It’s also available on a handful of the big video platforms — $3.99 to rent and $8.99 to $14.99 to buy.
👨‍🔬 Frankenstein
Frankenstein is my favorite of the monster movies I’ve been watching in recent weeks (previously: Creature From the Black Lagoon and Dracula), but I really wish it was longer.
Some great characters are set up, including the titular mad scientist, his assistant, and his former teacher, but we don’t get enough time with them to really appreciate their conflicts and history. I suspect I’d like the book much better because it might go into more detail about the town and the Frankenstein family’s place in it.
I also really liked the visual style of this movie, which begins largely in creepy darkness, but looses much of its horror in broad daylight, before returning to the darkness as the torches and pitchforks come out.
And, it should go without saying, Boris Karloff is great in the wordless (and uncredited!) role of Frankenstein’s Monster. Much like Bela Lugosi in Dracula, you can instantly see how much his choices have stuck in the popular imagination.
It's Alive! - Frankenstein (2/8) Movie CLIP (1931) HD
It's Alive! - Frankenstein (2/8) Movie CLIP (1931) HD
Frankenstein is not currently streaming anywhere, but you can find it on all of the big video platforms — $3.99 to rent and $12.99 to $14.99 to buy.
💚 Shrek
For most of the (almost 20) years since it was released, I’ve thought of the first Shrek as a movie-sized “fuck you” from Jeffrey Katzenberg to Michael Eisner, filled out as it is with jabs at the Disney company and Eisner in particular. But revisiting it this week, I really appreciated how well it works, not as a petty act of Hollywood revenge, but as a superbly fun and original family film.
Most of the animation from 2001 has held up surprisingly well, and even the soundtrack — featuring such late-90s/early-2000s icons as Smash Mouth and the Baha Men — doesn’t grate at all. Fun fact: Shrek was the movie that started a reniassance for Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” using it before The West Wing or The OC or (groan) the Watchmen movie.
The voice acting in this movie also rocks. In the post-Aladdin era, where celebrities are often miscast to voice animated characters, it’s all too common to feel like the voices are just there so that parents can go “hey, it’s that guy” while the kids laugh at fart jokes. Not so in Shrek (even though it does have fart jokes) — Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and John Lithgow all earn their no doubt hefty paychecks, believably inhabiting their characters and not distracting from the story.
Shrek (2001) - An All-Star Ogre Opening Scene (1/10) | Movieclips
Shrek (2001) - An All-Star Ogre Opening Scene (1/10) | Movieclips
Shrek is currently streaming on Freeform (no, I haven’t heard of it either). You can also find it on all the big video sites — $3.99 to rent and $11.99 to $14.99 to buy.
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.

If you don't want these updates anymore, please unsubscribe here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue