[What Did Jaci Think? Early March]

Thoroughbreds should totally have been my jam, high school girls with a side of murder, but it didn’t quite work for me. I needed it to be either darker or camp, & it played it too safe. I dig both actresses, Olivia Cooke from Me & Earl & the Dying Girl (which Film Twitter hated but I loved because I will always cheer on too-rare girl-boy friendship stories) & Anya Taylor-Joy from The Witch. Also, the score & sound design was terrific.

It reminded me a lot of Lady Macbeth, another murderous young lady movie which I wanted to love but found too clinical. (It occurs to me now that Anton Yelchin is the Naomi Ackie of Thoroughbreds, in his case the more unlikely moral center.)

Also, a warning on Thoroughbreds: A horse is killed in the movie. We don’t see it, but we hear a pretty intense description.

I didn’t grow up reading A Wrinkle in Time* because I didn’t read fantasy as a kid, so I don’t have that childhood emotional attachment to the material, but it’s a film where I can see all the flaws and basically I don’t care. It has a big heart and it made me cry and when Oprah tells Meg she can do it, she just chooses not to, it knocked me into next week.

Continue reading “[What Did Jaci Think? Early March]”

[Love, Simon]

To be honest with you all, I kind of rolled my eyes at the first trailer I saw for Love, Simon. Then I registered for two preview screenings & blew off both of them. But finally I took my tiny stone heart to see the first Thursday night screening, and Reader? It is adorbs.

Love, Simon is a romcom of the teen fantasy movie variety: the well-off white family with the house straight out of a magazine, the supportive parents, the cute friends, all that jazz, all very palatable. That’s the point; this is a gay movie that kids can see at the mall.

At! The mall! Not just at a queer film festival, not just at an art house in ten markets across the country, not just on Netflix, maybe eventually if they’re lucky, but at the mall! It doesn’t have death or violence or abuse; it’s not saddled with an R rating because the mere idea of two boys kissing gives the MPAA palpitations.

It’s just a fluffy teen movie you can see & then go get fries & milkshakes. A gay movie at the multiplex so if you have to you can tell your mom you’re seeing something else instead. It’s a sweet, funny, comfort food romcom, it was exactly what I needed this week, and I can’t imagine what it would have been like to have a movie like this as a teen.

Continue reading “[Love, Simon]”

[What Did Jaci Think? Late February]

First & most importantly I saw Black Panther opening night. No one needs to read a white girl on it, but obviously I loved it & I’m looking forward to seeing it again. (Also, I’d never seen a Chekov’s rhino before, so well done there.)

This half of February was dominated by Noir City, which is always a treat. This year was a strong festival for librarians and lady booksellers, from the library noir Quiet Please, Murder, to the bookseller who let down her hair & spent a rainy afternoon with Bogart in The Big Sleep.

A-List faves include Mildred Pierce and Shadow of a Doubt of course, plus The Maltese Falcon for the very first time (Peter Lorre has my heart) and The Man Who Cheated Himself (for Jane Wyatt, femme fatale, & the turnabout is fair play school of murder).

Continue reading “[What Did Jaci Think? Late February]”

[What Did Jaci Think? Early February]

I spent most of the over-long runtime of Hostiles thinking about why this story was being told in the first place, and even more so, why it was being told from this perspective. I think about this a lot, but this year I’m going to start talking about it more, so beware.

After a cold open of a brutal attack on a white pioneer family which leaves only the mother alive (the always-terrific Rosamund Pike), we’re introduced to Christian Bale’s Captain Blocker. He’s being charged with the task of escorting Chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) and his family home to Montana after seven years in prison for the crime of … I have no idea, actually, so I assume it’s for being Native American. Blocker doesn’t want the job, but he takes it, and he hates it, and he doesn’t open up exactly but he does sort of begin to understand that maybe he might be a little wrong but only a very little and…

I hate it. I don’t want another damned story about a racist white dude who gets to redeem himself and get the girl and (if timed correctly, which this wasn’t, thank god) the Oscar nomination. I would have much preferred even to have watched this exact story, but from the perspective of Chief Yellow Hawk. I’m over *~complex~* racist white guys. I want the Native actor to get the complex role for a change. I mean, just think about that story for a minute: you’re the chief, you and your family are stolen and taken far away from your home, then you’re locked up, unable to save them, for seven years? And then this too-old-for-this-shit jerk takes you home (only because you’re dying, btw) and treats you like you’re nothing and likely worse than nothing.

Surviving that with your humanity intact is much more interesting than inflicting it. Continue reading “[What Did Jaci Think? Early February]”

[What Did Jaci Think? Late January]

It took me three tries to see Darkest Hour because I was just not motivated, and honestly, I can’t think of a reason why any of you need to see it, unless you are also Oscar completists with MoviePass. I always felt like I was watching prosthetics act, with an occasional flash of Gary Oldman behind them.

It’s a film built around the goal of getting Oldman an Oscar, & that’s not enough for me.

The high point was any scene with Kristin Scott Thomas (obviously); the low point was the irritating, fabricated Underground sequence.

Upon reflection, I only care for Joe Wright when he works with women (this is maybe like how I only dig Edgar Wright when he works with Simon Pegg). But really. I love Atonement, Hanna, and Anna Karenina, and I have a begrudging appreciation of his Pride & Prejudice, high praise from anyone who saw the Ehle/Firth miniseries at a formative age.

Well, now I’ve got that sorted.

Next up, Proud Mary, which I really wanted to love but didn’t, damn it. It’s a film that can’t figure out what it wants to be – an assassin flick or a family drama – and I needed it to pick one. And let’s be honest: I wanted the assassin movie. It’s clearly a passion project for Taraji P. Henson, & I do still love her and the idea of this character, but they both deserved better than the poorly directed, lit, written, & scored movie that they got.

Regardless, I’m happy to have thrown my dollars at it, though, because you know what? White dudes get to make bad action movies all the time and then keep on making big movies. I’m 100% going to be part of the demand for black lady action movies.

Continue reading “[What Did Jaci Think? Late January]”

[What Did Jaci Think? Early January]

Welcome to my 2018 experiment, What Did Jaci Think?, a biweekly series of quick film reactions, mostly because Twitter is a terrific distribution medium but terrible for retrieval.

The first half of January was dominated by the 9th annual Nordic Lights Film Festival, where I saw 13 of the 14 programmed films. Of particular note there: The Other Side of Hope, Borg vs McEnroe, and a strong shorts package. (The 14th film was The Square, a pretty divisive picture which I saw in the fall and dug a lot, though it’s not as tight as Östlund’s previous work, Force Majeure.)

The Other Side of Hope is allegedly the final film from director Aki Kaurismäki, but I hope that’s not true. Hope is a refugee story, delicately funny and sad, and despite the current subject matter, it feels like a film that’s been recently discovered, not recently made. It appears to be coming to the Criterion Collection this year, so look out for it there.

Continue reading “[What Did Jaci Think? Early January]”

[#lastweekslove: December]

I’m honestly impressed I finished this. Nobody cares but me, but I am going to go back and add text for these.

Time to bring on the December loves!

Week 49, Miao Miao

Caught up! For now. #lastweekslove

A post shared by jaye (@jacicita) on

More loves after the jump!
Continue reading “[#lastweekslove: December]”

[2017 Film Wrap-Up]

Total: 275 (full list)
Revival: 70
SIFF: 80 (20-odd more than usual, thanks to the once-in-a-lifetime 3P)
Free: 104
…total cost: $619.50, or $2.25 a film

Wrap-ups for previous years live under the year-end tag, & if a film is linked here, it’s probably to the Instagram post I wrote on it for my #lastweekslove project.

Films of my heart: Call Me By Your Name, Columbus, Lady Bird, The Shape of Water.

And of course: BPM, Get Out, Colossal, The Wedding Plan, Professor Marston & the Wonder Women, Novitiate, Mudbound, A Ghost Story, Personal Shopper, The Big Sick, Menashe

More after the jump!  Continue reading “[2017 Film Wrap-Up]”