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🎬 "You wouldn't like me when I'm ... hungry."

🎬 "You wouldn't like me when I'm ... hungry."
By Eric Johnson • Issue #100 • View online
History has been made — after months of anticipation, the fateful number has been crossed and the Associated Press can now project that I have watched more than 200 movies in 2020.
I’ve also watched all of The Great, Never Have I Ever, Schitt’s Creek, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and The Legend of Korra this year, and I’m keeping up with The Mandalorian, The Great British Baking Show, and about a dozen YouTube channels.
Do I spend too much time in front of the TV? ………… Nah!
Anyway, I should have planned better for when I’d be crossing the 200-movie threshold, because my 200th movie of the year was (drumroll please) The Incredible Hulk! a.k.a. the Marvel movie so mediocre that even Disney pretends it doesn’t exist.
If you’d like to support this ongoing effort to watch way too many movies, including the mediocre ones, then you can make a one-time donation at Buy Me a Coffee.

🤰 Kahaani
Kahaani is a solidly entertaining Indian crime thriller with a really strong sense of place. Vidya Balan stars as a woman from London who arrives in Kolkata following the trail of her missing husband, and crosses paths with a federal agent looking for a suspected terrorist. As it turns out, that terrorist at least looks like the man Balan seeks, and the city is teeming with secrets and liars.
I loved Balan’s performance and was consistently invested in the huge cast of characters around her, although I wished the story was a bit tighter and more focused. In particular, one of the antagonists is absolutely terrifying (you know who I’m talking about if you’ve seen this), but their implausible exit from the story robbed the movie of a lot of its sense of danger.
Despite my nitpicks, I enjoyed Kahaani and would recommend it — if only to have more friends with whom I can discuss the ending with spoilers. ★★★½
Kahaani Theatrical Trailer | Vidya Balan
Kahaani Theatrical Trailer | Vidya Balan
Kahaani is currently streaming on Netflix.
🤢 The Incredible Hulk
The Incredible Hulk is a fascinating artifact within the Marvel Cinematic Universe — and not just because it’s Edward Norton’s only turn as the Hulk before he was recast with Mark Ruffalo.
Released almost back to back with Iron Man, it takes a much more serious tone than that movie, which makes some sense because the title character’s super-abilities here are more of a liability than a privilege. Norton is a good fit for this tone, depressive and nervous, albeit rarely heroic; I was not as convinced by his doe-eyed, unquestioning love interest, played by Liv Tyler, who seems to have no issue with the fact that he almost killed her.
Also unlike Iron Man, which very gently criticizes the military-industrial complex, this movie doesn’t even engage with themes that would have been germane to its story, such as military overreach, toxic masculinity or science ethics. I did appreciate that this is not a straight origin story — all of that is covered in the opening credits — but I can’t fully recommend this one. ★★★
The Incredible Hulk (2008) Official Trailer - Edward Norton, Liv Tyler Movie HD
The Incredible Hulk (2008) Official Trailer - Edward Norton, Liv Tyler Movie HD
The Incredible Hulk is not currently streaming anywhere, but you can rent or buy it on these digital platforms.
🤖 Iron Man 2
I went into Iron Man 2 with very low expectations; the last time I saw it in its entirety was when it hit theaters in 2010, and I remember walking out of that theater thinking the whole Marvel experiment was a bust. What did I know?
There are certainly problems with this movie that still bother me 10 years later: The hastiness imposed by having two main villains, the sudden and unearned romance, and the unnecessarily contrived way Tony Stark escapes from his lowest point in Act Two. That said, I liked this movie a lot more than I expected to, perhaps because I know now how the character arcs of Iron Man and the other Avengers will resolve. But I appreciated the character development for Stark, the hilarious performance Sam Rockwell as his foil Justin Hammer, and the dynamically animated action scenes.
Plus, this movie gives us brief but entertaining introductions to both Scarlett Johansson’s character Natalia Romanoff (née Black Widow) and Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury; if you’re the sort of person who at least admires the Marvel conceit of interconnected movies, this is a model of how to do it pretty well. ★★★½
Iron Man 2 Official Trailer #1 (2010) - Marvel Movie HD
Iron Man 2 Official Trailer #1 (2010) - Marvel Movie HD
Iron Man 2 is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video and Disney+.
🥃 Lost in Translation
I accidentally had a ScarJo double feature on Sunday, because I realized just hours before showtime that my girlfriend and I had tickets to a drive-in screening of Lost in Translation.
Directed by Sofia Coppola and starring Johansson and Bill Murray, this is a beautifully shot and meditative movie that is a Rorschach test for your insecurities. Both main characters are Americans staying at a fancy hotel in Tokyo, and both feel stuck in different but comparable ways — ScarJo is young and directionless but already married and wrestling with ennui, while Murray is an aging movie star whose career and 25-year-marriage have become perfunctory.
By the end of the movie, there is tremendous satisfaction in feeling like you know these people exactly as well as they know each other, and no more. And I love the fact that their relationship is not exactly a romantic one. Although the two sometimes act like new lovers, in my interpretation they’re searching for something else — a reassurance, a validation of their personhood. Recommended. ★★★★½
Lost in Translation | Original Trailer | Coolidge Corner Theatre
Lost in Translation | Original Trailer | Coolidge Corner Theatre
Lost in Translation is currently streaming on Peacock.
🔨 Thor
Despite some dubious directorial choices, Thor is a crowd-pleasing “yes and” to the formula established by the Marvel movies that came before it, expanding the horizons of the franchise to include gods and aliens.
In particular, it deserves credit for its gorgeous digital production design and the cast, which ranges from the Shakespearean (Anthony Hopkins as Odin) to the fun (Chris Hemsworth as Thor) to the about-to-be-a-cultural-icon (Tom Hiddleston as Loki). The first half of the movie is quite strong, and my problems with the second half are not with the size of the battle scenes; unlike many critics of this movie, I really like the fact that we get a showdown that’s not in a big city and a conflict that hinges on family drama more than big guns.
However, there’s no denying that the emotional connection needed to appreciate the climactic character moments is … lacking. For example, although I like Natalie Portman’s character, I never really buy that her relationship to Thor is more meaningful than lust (nothing wrong with that — I mean, have you seen Chris Hemsworth?). Still, there’s enough here that I’m glad I revisited it. Recommended. ★★★½
Thor - Trailer (OFFICIAL)
Thor - Trailer (OFFICIAL)
Thor is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, DirecTV, and Epix.
🎩 Broadway Melody of 1940
Having never seen a Fred Astaire movie before, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Broadway Melody of 1940, but it snuck up on me.
The three leads — Astaire, Eleanor Powell, and George Murphy — have great chemistry, both while dancing to Cole Porter’s songs and just while talking. Some time is filled with shenanigans involving a theater baron courting younger blonde women, and the performances of wannabe Broadway stars that include an intense juggler and a parodist opera singer; despite how all that sounds, these gags hit more often than they miss, and reinforce the film’s lightly satirical sketch of New York’s performing arts scene.
The sequences that have aged the worst are the ones that are just there for spectacle. This includes (unfortunately) the final few dance numbers that take place after the characters have worked out all their issues, which have some impressive choreography but minimal emotional stakes. I liked Broadway Melody enough that I’ll happily seek out more Astaire movies in the future. Recommended. ★★★½
Broadway Melody of 1940 Official Trailer #1 - Fred Astaire Movie (1940) HD
Broadway Melody of 1940 Official Trailer #1 - Fred Astaire Movie (1940) HD
Broadway Melody of 1940 is currently streaming on TCM.
🔢 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. Get Out
  5. Do the Right Thing
  6. Knives Out
  7. Parasite
  8. Arrival
  9. My Neighbor Totoro
  10. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  11. Airplane!
  12. The Silence of the Lambs
  13. Dick Johnson Is Dead
  14. The Lives of Others
  15. Hot Fuzz
  16. Boys State
  17. Hamilton
  18. Groundhog Day
  19. All About Eve
  20. Ocean’s Eleven
  21. West Side Story
  22. The Farewell
  23. Vertigo
  24. 12 Years a Slave
  25. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  26. What We Do in the Shadows
  27. Spotlight
  28. Booksmart
  29. Her
  30. Moana
  31. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
  32. The Matrix
  33. Moonrise Kingdom
  34. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  35. Your Name.
  36. North by Northwest
  37. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  38. The Incredibles
  39. Lost in Translation
  40. Looper
  41. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
  42. The Wrong Trousers
  43. The Old Guard
  44. American Psycho
  45. Thank You For Smoking
  46. Little Women
  47. Marriage Story
  48. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  49. La La Land
  50. Sunset Boulevard
  51. Ford v Ferrari
  52. A Fish Called Wanda
  53. Bringing Up Baby
  54. Gremlins
  55. Apocalypse Now
  56. The Hidden Fortress
  57. Hell or High Water
  58. Moneyball
  59. Hacksaw Ridge
  60. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
  61. The Lunchbox
  62. Heat
  63. Little Miss Sunshine
  64. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  65. Coming to America
  66. Hustlers
  67. Shrek
  68. Wet Hot American Summer
  69. It Follows
  70. Dolemite Is My Name
  71. Good Will Hunting
  72. Palm Springs
  73. The Grapes of Wrath
  74. Fantasia 2000
  75. First Cow
  76. Kedi
  77. Honey Boy
  78. The Great Escape
  79. Ed Wood
  80. Isle of Dogs
  81. Annihilation
  82. The Hunt for Red October
  83. Wordplay
  84. Boyhood
  85. The Hunger Games
  86. 1917
  87. Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood
  88. The Philadelphia Story
  89. Dark Waters
  90. Hail, Caesar!
  91. The Death of Stalin
  92. The Irishman
  93. Zoolander
  94. 50/50
  95. Hannah and Her Sisters
  96. Horse Feathers
  97. Enemy of the State
  98. Captain Phillips
  99. Uncut Gems
  100. Independence Day
  101. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
  102. 9 to 5
  103. Frost/Nixon
  104. The Incredibles 2
  105. How the West Was Won
  106. Almost Famous
  107. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  108. Broadway Melody of 1940
  109. Bad Education
  110. Godzilla
  111. Just Mercy
  112. Kahaani
  113. Midnight in Paris
  114. Da 5 Bloods
  115. High Fidelity
  116. Guardians of the Galaxy
  117. My Fair Lady
  118. Iron Man
  119. The Invisible Man
  120. Iron Man 2
  121. The Hateful Eight
  122. Happy Gilmore
  123. Gates of Heaven
  124. Emma.
  125. Men in Black
  126. Thor
  127. Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
  128. Home Alone
  129. Gremlins 2: The New Batch
  130. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
  131. Braveheart
  132. Bicycle Thieves
  133. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  134. Bottle Rocket
  135. The Addams Family
  136. Frankenstein
  137. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
  138. Hugo
  139. All the Money in the World
  140. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  141. Live From the Space Stage: A Halyx Story
  142. John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch
  143. Onward
  144. Hidden Figures
  145. Pain and Glory
  146. Bambi
  147. The Great Dictator
  148. Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events
  149. Anastasia
  150. Hot Rod
  151. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
  152. Animal House
  153. You’ve Got Mail
  154. The 39 Steps
  155. The Princess and the Frog
  156. Elysium
  157. (500) Days of Summer
  158. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  159. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  160. Modern Romance
  161. The Incredible Hulk
  162. H.M.S. Pinafore
  163. Shakespeare in Love
  164. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
  165. 3:10 to Yuma
  166. The Big Country
  167. Ghost
  168. 28 Weeks Later
  169. History of the World: Part I
  170. The African Queen
  171. Greyhound
  172. Bamboozled
  173. Bullitt
  174. Dracula
  175. The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer
  176. Bride of Frankenstein
  177. Howard the Duck
  178. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  179. The Descendants
  180. The Hangover
  181. Joker
  182. Kingpin
  183. 28 Days Later
  184. Bridesmaids
  185. The Great Gatsby
  186. 13 Assassins
  187. Creature From the Black Lagoon
  188. Benny & Joon
  189. Bad Moms
  190. High Anxiety
  191. Kentucky Fried Movie
  192. Hang ‘Em High
  193. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
  194. Ice Age
  195. Romancing the Stone
  196. Crocodile Dundee
  197. The 40-Year-Old Virgin
  198. Hard Ticket to Hawaii
  199. Gods of Egypt
  200. The Gentlemen
  201. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
  202. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  203. The Last Airbender
  204. 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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