GENERAL UPDATE II, 19 JANUARY: With the arrival of the nominations for this years’ Online Film Critics Society awards, things got a bit shaken up: I have a hell of a lot of movies to catch up with in not very many days, several of them on these polls. So a lot of movies have jumped the line, and some films I wasn’t really planning to watch at all have at least come up as possibilities for review.
GENERAL UPDATE: With the new year upon us, Bergman almost done, and new releases dropping to a trickle of maybe one interesting thing a week, I’m hoping to plow through some of these in January at top speed – wrapping up the art films list by the 31st is, I would say, my most active priority right now, especially since I won’t be publishing my year-in-review list until that list is done (spoiler: I will be declaring that the year was shitty). Thanks to all who have voted for your ongoing patience with how slow I’ve been in carving through these.
It’s been a weird year, in so, so many ways, and really, this month isn’t any particularly weirder. Except that, for the first time since this all started, I’m a little thrown by what to do. On the one hand, movie theaters are “open” and new movies are being “released”. On the other hand, they’re kind of not really. And I’ve run out of silly little themes to construct mini-marathons out of, and Lord knows I’m not starting a new filmmaker retrospective while I’m still carving my way at such a glacial pace through Ingmar Bergman.
So there’s only one thing left: playing catch-up. At the start of August, I posted some polls of the various movies I was thinking about reviewing, and asking you all to help me prioritise them. I’m pretty much solely writing this blog post so that I can have a cleaner, simpler place to keep those polls in one place, so I can keep bumping this more readily. Also because I’m not going to let a once-a-century pandemic keep me from posting a monthly preview, even if there’s really nothing to preview.
Films that did, or were supposed to, open wide – POLL CLOSED 11 JANUARY 2021
The final ranking was pretty stable for months: Honest Thief and The War with Grandpa are next, followed by Downhill, and The Photograph in no particular order, and then wrapping things up with The Lovebirds. When The Empty Man and Monster Hunter become available to me, I will drop everything to review them on the spot. I may yet also review The Last Full Measure, I Still Believe, The Broken Hearts Gallery, and Fatale, since 2020 has presented an unusually good opportunity to review every single film that opened in wide release in a single calendar year, even the ones that literally nobody alive gave a shit about.
Art films about which I am excited, or for which I have loyalties to the director – POLL CLOSED 19 JANUARY 2021
It’s obvious as hell how this one is going to play out: you all care about the narrative films way more than the documentaries, the exact opposite of what I’m most interested in, and this is the reason why a poll was worth doing. The order is pretty well locked, though, so I’m killing the poll: Beanpole, Joan of Arc, Mr. Jones, in no particular order, then Kajillionaire, Young Ahmed, The Truth, Liberté, A White, White Day, The Roads Not Taken, Vitalina Varela, The Cordillera of Dreams, Graves Without a Name, and Sunless Shadows, probably in exactly that order. When this list is cleared out, you can start watching for my year-in-review blog post.
Smaller films that look interesting to me for this or that reason
Coming next, in no particular order: The Jesus Rolls and Wendy, and after those Tesla. Beyond that, I’m probably just going to pluck films out one at a time, until I get to VFW or grow bored, whichever comes second.
It’s very obvious that there is a population of films people are curious about, and a population of films people aren’t so much, and so these are the films that are coming up for sure, in pretty much this order: The One and Only Ivan, Happiest Season, Howard, Horse Girl, The Last Days of American Crime, Radiocative, The Willoughbys, Project Power. That might also be the end of this poll, but if anything starts to really jump up in the rankings (or if Pieces of a Woman and/or The Life Ahead get Oscar nominations), I might revisit that decision.