Category Archives: Films & Television

The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

So I have to confess to feeling a bit tricked by this film. Some of its posters floating around prominently feature Marilyn Monroe but in fact she only has a very minor role here. I also thought that this was a noir but it’s really more of a heist film. It was directed by John Huston whose most famous work is probably The Maltese Falcon that we watched only recently.

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Moonlight (2016)

Moonlight was one of two films that swept the nominations during the Oscars earlier this year. La La Land went on to win most of them but Moonlight did win some important ones including the award for Best Picture. It’s also notable in a few other ways, such as being an all-black film, one that touches on LGBT issues even. I had high expectations for this one going in but it unfortunately was mostly a disappointment.

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Toni Erdmann (2016)

Together with The Salesman, this was one of the two front runners for the Best Foreign Film Academy Award earlier this year. My wife recently commented that we seem to watch disproportionately fewer German films and this is indeed the case. One reason might be that German film traditions feel odd even to those used to other European films given their links to German expressionism. I will certainly try to add more films to our watch list but in the meantime Toni Erdmann makes for a decent reminder how German films can be excellent and yet feel very strange to our sensibilities.

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The Chinese Mayor (2014)

One benefit of being a subscriber to The Economist and frequenting economics blogs is that I get film recommendations like this which I doubt appear on the radar of most critics. This documentary follows the efforts of Geng Yanbo who was the mayor of Datong, a small Chinese city in Shanxi province, to transform it into a cultural and tourism center. It doesn’t seem to be very well known as it wasn’t distributed widely.

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Mean Girls (2004)

Today Lindsay Lohan is perhaps the poster girl for the teen idol whose career and life crashes and burns hard but there was indeed a time when she was Hollywood’s it-girl and Mean Girls is probably her best and most memorable role. I didn’t watch it back in the day and always hesitated about putting it on the watch list because it’s isn’t exactly acknowledged as a great film. I eventually caved in when some Broken Forum members named it as one of the best comedies of the new millennium. Plus we’ve watched so many films over the past couple of years that we’ve really been running down the list.

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Horse Money (2014)

This film made the lists of some critics’ most notable films a couple of years ago but I had a very difficult time tracking it down. I think this is at least partially because while it was certainly notable, it wasn’t particularly successful. It’s a Portuguese film by Pedro Costa and one of the main reasons it was notable that it is almost completely indecipherable, being close to an experimental film with hardly any plot.

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