You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger ★★★★

Expected -- even hoped, given the #zeitgeist -- that I would find that I'd been wrong about this on my one previous viewing, but nope, its bleak ironies are still wickedly funny to me, except the lackluster Watts-Banderas subplot, and it manages to escape the usual late-period Allen epidemic of tin-eared dialogue for the most part. (Major exception is the "flirty" dialogue written for Josh Brolin; no one speaks to a near-stranger like that without getting slapped, and rightfully so, and certainly the idea it would result in a come-on is nothing but male fantasy.) The performances are excellent; Anthony Hopkins is placed in such an atypical role and is particularly riveting, working through Lon Chaney-style emotional rollercoasters in his face. The disembodied voiceover remains a weird choice, as in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, but the way all of the stories except the one Allen would seem to find most ideolologically repellent remain up in the air in moments of unhappiness is, in its own strange way, an admirable self-own. More than anything, though, the way he blocks scenes is catnip to me; those apartment scenes are glorious, especially a few days after revisiting Rope.

Review of this film ends here; the rest of this post is meant more broadly for my regular followers.

Since I resumed writing about movies in 2011, I've planned to put together a proper and hopefully well-informed end-of-decade list when the time came; a strange life goal, perhaps, but the kind of thing I enjoy and I've looked forward to it. My current plan is to have a draft of this up somewhere in a little under a year, probably in midsummer 2019. Here's the problem: I have 95 films I hope to rewatch in order to construct such a list, this being the first of them; and meanwhile, because I've been erratic about keeping up with new movies since I moved to a smaller town with no good theaters (and frankly, had a series of awful experiences in the nearest decent multiplexes that largely turned me off on the theatrical experience anyway) in 2015, and also because -- as you've probably gathered -- I tend to be more interested and wrapped up in older movies, there's a list of 260 (!) films from 2010-present I've wanted to see and have an opinion on that I've yet to get around to. And this list is kind of a bare-minimum, frankly, comprised of stuff that's received almost near-universal praise from avenues I trust -- in an ideal world where I didn't have a full time job and an equally demanding second hobby of music writing, I'd see even more stuff to try and be as informed and to catch more esoteric titles that might not automatically drift up to the top, which I've always regretted tend to be a blind spot for me with newer cinema. Running the numbers, it's almost hopeless. But I'm going to do what I can. I have a system in place for this and will be working to prioritize certain titles dependent on availability and other matters -- probably going to worry less about things like Marvel movies, even though my preference would be to give even those a chance, as my firm belief is that a surprise can spring from anywhere -- but if any of my followers see something from the last 8.5 years that doesn't have a star rating from me, that means I haven't seen it. Do I need to, in your opinion, before I pass judgment on the cream of the crop from this period of time? Maybe leave a comment. I may also put together a Letterboxd list of the movies I once marked as musts to try to get an idea from all of you fine people on which ones I should make a beeline for first. In the new year, I'm probably going to put other stuff on the backburner for a bit and concentrate on this -- at least a lot of the time -- so we'll see how it all pans out then. Thanks for your patience!!