Movie #144/ New Movie #93/ 2019 Movie #11/ Seen In Theaters #16: Joker
This film is interesting beyond the larger controversy. It is a story that borrows heavily from 1970s/ 1980s crime dramas, but does get to its own story of a pathetic man who finds success doing monstrous things. Joaquin Phoenix’s main performance is terrific, as he blends together multiple personas: the troubled Arthur, his fantasy version of himself and his own take on one of the great and comic book villains.

Movie #145/ 1980s Movie #11/ BFI Top 100 #4/ Criterion Edition/ Channel #31: Withnail and I
A different than usual take on the road trip as a struggling actor and his roommate travel from London to the British lakeside, facing misunderstandings and a perverted uncle. Richard Grant shines as the self-destructive Withnail.

Movie #146/ New Movie #94/ 1960s Film #12/ Nation’s Best #2/ Spanish Language Film #4/ Criterion Edition #32: Memories of Underdevelopment
Consistently rated one of the best Cuban films ever, it takes an unusual perspective at the revolution, through the eyes of a successful middle-aged man who generally wants no part in it. It seems surprisingly relevant in the current culture where middle-class people (especially men) are trying to make sense of new standards.

Movie #147/ 1970s Movie #11/ Best Picture Winner #2/ AFI Top 100 #3: Annie Hall
This take on a failed relationship still works on so many levels. It’s really witty, allowing Allen his best starring role, but also demonstrating some self-awareness in his many flaws. Diane Keaton is fantastic as a female lead who goes from the main character’s love interest to surpassing him.

Movie #148/ New Movie #95/ 1930s Film #12/ Nation’s Best #3/ Criterion Edition #33: Limite
This is a rare film I can’t really rate after seeing it once (the only other time I’ve said that was with the original Birth of a Nation.) It’s an odd narrative with striking visuals but a story that’s intentionally hard to follow.

Movie #149/ New Movie #96/ 1960s Film #12/ Nation’s Best #4/ Spanish Language Film #5/ Criterion Edition #34: Viridiana
It’s BuŮuel’s masterpiece so it’s probably not that surprising that it takes some weird turns, but from the initial story of a novice about to take her vows visiting her deeply troubled uncle, it goes in a very different direction, pissing off an entirely new set of people in the process, while still telling the excellent story of a woman trying to make sense of the world and to do good according to her faith.

Movie #150/ New Movie #97/ 1970s Film #12/ Nation’s Best #5/ Russian Film #2/ Criterion Edition/ Channel #35: The Mirror
Tarkovsky’s take on the memories of a relatively ordinary man, shifting from the present of 1970s Russia to his childhood in the 1930s is strange but beautiful, creating a fully developed character we barely even see, while allowing Margarita Terekhova to depict two nuanced women in his life: his mother and his ex-wife.

Movie #151/ 1960s Movie #11/ Best Picture Winner #3/ BFI Top 100 #5: A Man For All Seasons
I’ve been a bit disappointed to see this on some lists of the worst Best Picture winners. It’s one of the best British costume dramas, and depicts some important philosophical ideas extraordinarily well. Paul Scofield’s Thomas More is probably historically inaccurate (the real man was more of a historical zealot), but he captures well a man trying to find some alternative to his conscience and the demands of his good friend the king, whose careful silence does lead to one loophole.

Movie #152/ 1930s Movie #11/ AFI Top 100 #4: A Night at the Opera
It’s Marx Brothers, so it’s damn funny. Duck Soup might have been a bit more relevant, but it doesn’t have the stateroom scene.

Movie #153/ 1980s Movie #11/ Best Picture Winner #4/ AFI Top 100 #5: Platoon
Stone’s masterpiece is a powerful take on the experiences of a young soldier, who slowly realizes the biggest challenge in Vietnam isn’t the Vietcong but his own side’s descent into madness and compromise. Willem Dafoe and Tom Berenger deserved their Oscar nominations as rival mentors, but this was one fantastic cast.

Movie #154/ New Movie #98/ 1930s Movie #3/ Best Picture Winner #5: You Can’t Take It With You
This Best Picture winner is definitely lesser Kapra, worth seeing for the chemistry of Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur, as well as the development of themes that are better handled in It Happened One Night, Mr Smith Goes to Washington and It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s almost like someone else’s pastiche of the great director.

Overview of this set of films…

Best Film Overall: Pulp Fiction

Best Film I Hadn’t Seen Before: Viridiana

Worst Film: Cavalcade

Best Male Lead Performance: Paul Scofield (Man For All Seasons)

Best Female Lead Performance: Dannie Keaton (Annie Hall)

Best Male Supporting Performance: Samuel L Jackson (Pulp Fiction)

Best Female Supporting Performance: Uma Thurman (Pulp Fiction)

Best Male Performance in a Foreign Language Film: Rutger Hauer (Turkish Delight)

Best Female Performance in a Foreign Language Film: Margarita Terekhova (The Mirror)

Best Cast: Pulp Fiction

I've also been watching some horror movies, so in a few days, I'll add a selection of 13 of those.