There’s still no end in sight to the drought of new movie releases – or to the nationwide closure of movie theaters – with almost nothing left on the schedule until July, and most of what’s there hardly looking all that exciting even if it actually opens on time (which it won’t). Though I will say that, under ordinary circumstances, this is where I’d be talking about how The Green Knight looks pretty great.
So it’s more of the same: a great big interwoven series of marathons, organised by theme. I’m going to switch things up a little bit from April, introducing some different subjects, keeping some others, and including a new focus on some of my favorite directors of all time (expect new directors every month as long as our present woes continue). And they are:
SUNDAYS: The Coen Brothers
When I started writing film reviews in 2005, Joel & Ethan Coen were in what I would consider to be the only fallow period of their entire career, and when I first had a chance to write about one of their films during its first release, it was the magnificent No Country for Old Men, a thundering return to form that kicked off a run of one masterpiece after another that I would suggest make up a third distinct phase of the siblings’ career, following their earlier enfant terrible indie artist period, and their sometimes awkward middle period, during which they grappled in different ways with the success and obligations of being mainstream, in the wake of Fargo. Despite several of my all-time favorite American films coming in that 20-year, 11-film span, I have somehow only ever reviewed 1990’s Miller’s Crossing. So now is the time to officially give the world my thoughts on the other ten films, from the promise of Blood Simple to the fearless meandering of The Big Lebowski to the extremely disappointing fact that I will, at last, be watching The Ladykillers for the second time. And if you have noticed that ten is twice as many entries as there are Sundays in May, there’s a simply explanation: I have decided, in my infinite wisdom, to double-up.
MONDAYS AND WEDNESDAYS: Andrei Tarkovsky
Because what could possibly be more fun to do during a time of such extraordinary uncertainty and worldwide anxiety than plunge all the way into the filmography of a filmmaker whose work did more than any other to explore the coldness and austerity of a world full of suffering and the painful absence of God and the good? To date, the only film of his career I’ve tackled has been his second feature, Andrei Rublev, but that leaves six features, three shorts, and one documentary to plow through, and all of it sublimely depressing. Can’t wait!
TUESDAYS: Bad Movies from the 2000s
That’s going to be an awful lot of respectable, austere art cinema, so obviously I need to break it up with some reviews of real unbearable crap, for those of you who prefer that sort of thing, and I know there are many of you. Why the 2000s? Because I accidentally started off with three films from that decade, and decided to lean into it.
It’s been extremely rewarding to have something to force me to finally watch several films I haven’t ever gotten around to despite my best intentions, so I’m keeping this one in place. Plus, the idea of going a whole month without reviewing animation is just obviously not okay.
FRIDAYS: Best Picture Winners
This has been by far my favorite daily theme so far, and I think I shall keep up with it for some while, at least in the absence of the beloved (to me, anyway) Blockbuster History series.
SATURDAY: And best of all…
Speaking of Blockbuster History: having to kill that series for the first time since I started it in 2010 has cut me to the core. I like having the structure; I also like having part of the old blog at Antagony & Ecstasy live on. And there’s one obvious way to solve both of those problems with one go: it’s time for me to bring back the Summer of Blood.
However, I can’t do that. I suggested in 2015 that there would be no Summers of Blood while I was in grad school, and I’m still in grad school. And I would not be made a liar
However, it’s only summer in the Northern Hemisphere.
Therefore, it is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I announce that every weekend from now until the end of August, Alternate Ending will be celebrating the Australian Winter of Blood: 18 weeks of killer humans, killer crocs, and all the hundreds of other things that can kill you in the land Down Under. It’s a festival of Ozploitation, as we dig through Australian horror classics and less-than classics from the ’70s all the way to the 2010s in the longest Summer of Blood ever! Or it would be, if it was a Summer of Blood.