Sils Maria


I’m beginning to think there’s something wrong with me.

Here I was, sitting on my love seat, easing myself into a Saturday morning and thinking “Geez, I really didn’t watch much this week”. Cut to me opening my Letterboxd diary and going over ten entries in seven days.


Oddly enough, things started with two Lightbox screenings in one day (HOOK and BLOW OUT), but the week that followed was so busy that I sorta managed to push that out of my memory. Maybe my recollection is just getting spotty in my old age. The irony is, that this was a week where my movie habits felt more in-line with what I’ve come to see as “normal” these last few years (multiple screenings, a double-digit tally), and yet it didn’t make an impression. Maybe that means something…


#52FilmsByWomen continued this week with THE INVITATION directed by Karyn Kusama.


The film itself was pretty cool in a SACRAMENT or YOU’RE NEXT sort of way, especially in the way the film delights in going off the rails during its final act.

What watching THE INVITATION got me wondering about was what happened with Karyn Kusama’s career track. Karyn made her breakout with the critically acclaimed GIRLFIGHT in 2000 (which, full disclosure, was the movie I wanted to watch for Kusama’s entry in this series). After that, she made two high-profile projcets back to back with ÆON FLUX and JENNIFER’S BODY.

After them? No features for six whole years. Why?

I can understand the hesitation after ÆON FLUX, since the film underperformed. However, as I brought up two weeks ago when discussing Lexi Alexander – why in the world is it fair to lay that at the feet of the director? ÆON FLUX was probably too niche of a property to warrant the big scale treatment…but try arguing that to a studio with visions of the next MATRIX dancing in their heads. Odds are actually pretty high that Kusama delivered the best ÆON FLUX that ever could have FLUXED.

JENNIFER’S BODY? An unquestionable hit that doubled its money and took advantage of its star at a point that one could easily call “Peak Fox”. But even then, it didn’t exactly set the world on fire (leading one to wonder what truly qualifies as a “success” in Hollywood), and that underperformance gets laid at the feet of the filmmaker.

It’s a question that nobody in Hollywood seems to be able to answer; that male filmmakers can regroup after financial failures like JOHN CARTER, LONE RANGER, or JONAH HEX?

It’s not like Karyn Kusama has been relegated to bagging groceries to make ends meet or anything (like many other directors I’ve come across in this series, she’s been doing a lot of TV)…but when one looks at the talent on display in the films she has unleashed, one can’t help but feel like she might have brought something wonderful to screens if she’d had a chance to do a few more low stakes/high reward projects like THE INVITATION and GIRLFIGHT.

It’s a point of conversation that has come up a lot between Lindsay and I, and many other friends. Hollywood needs to stop pointing at high budget failures like ÆON FLUX as an example of why women don’t get these plum jobs. In addition, the studios also need to stop greenlighting the smaller projects just because the plum job didn’t work out.

Lord knows, I’d rather have six more GIRLFIGHTs than whatever it is Andrew Stanton, Gore Verbinski, or Jimmy Hayward are working on now .


Here’s the week at hand…

HOOK – I’m at a weird place with this movie. The kid in me still loves it, as does the fan of Peter Pan. The film critic though sees every last flaw…and there are many!
BLOW OUT – You guys…this movie!
ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE – Make this the first time this week I missed a chance at an entry into the #52.

Streaming/Blu-Rays/DVD’s I’ve Never Seen
MR. & MRS. SMITH (1941) – Hitchcock should have done more screwball comedies. The man had a gift.
INFINITELY POLAR BEAR – Make this the second time this week I missed a chance at an entry into the #52
THE INVITATION – Well, that was messed-up

Streaming/Blu-Rays/DVD’s I’ve Seen Before
THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE (1974) – TCM had a 1970’s NYC night on Thursday, I gave serious consideration to staying up until 5am on a work night
DOG DAY AFTERNOON – In the end I got through this and 3/4 of SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER. 5am wasn’t happening.
DOUBLE INDEMNITY – Anyone else ever notice the mistake with Neff’s apartment door?


Boxscore for The Year
135 First-Timers, 89 Re-Watched
44 Screenings
224 Movies in Total

How’s about you – seen anything good?