A thoughtful movie rec discussion thread


i recently watched both ari aster feature lengths (and half the shorts) and have been reminded of how enjoyable discussion can be surrounding great stuff. i wanted to share thoughts/engage up here but was struck feeling there was no clear place to do so (that i could find). there are many threads that touch on some aspect of film inclusion but none dedicated to film discussion.


consider this thread one to cater to those flicks you felt provocative enough that days later you were still mulling over significance. stuff that really sits with you. link dumps are discouraged. respect humans and opinions other than you/your own. spoilers may be present but try to minimize and clearly warn if included.



Really enjoyed Midsommar - beautifully unsettling! The score and sound I also thought was great. Seeing that The Haxan Cloak was invloved was one of the main reasons I went to see it in a cinema rather than just waiting for general release. The shot tracking the car along the road and flipping upside down was a really nice transition into the madness of the following events.


been wanting this here too, something to go a bit deeper than “what are you watching?” thanks for starting this thread! I’d encourage app-minded movie loving ppl to check out letterboxd its free and i like it for logging movies ive seen and id love to follow ppl from here if yall are on there/get on there :slight_smile:

I really loved midsommar as well, much more than I was expecting to actually because hereditary left me feeling a bit flat – it felt like the end wasn’t all the way there and ended up treading into cliche’s. Some people I know felt similarly about Midsommar but I thought it was both inevitable and surprising which are traditionally the two elements of a good ending! I did think the opening was a bit over the top – basically fridging her family and playing into a mental illness trope that ended up being less interesting and I think less important than the grief and loss aspect. When I was in it I was blown away because the way it was shot was very impressive, but afterwards I was like… was that really necessary?

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recently watched Can You Ever Forgive Me?, the Lee Israel biopic (aired on HBO) … I wasn’t familiar with Lee Israel’s story, and I don’t dislike Melissa McCarthy’s acting, but I’ve only seen her in 3-4 films–mostly middling comedies. I thought this was pretty well done. I was moved by both McCarthy’s and Richard Grant’s performances, and there’s an understated feeling of bittersweet sentimentality, of the sort of ‘Old New York Romance’, that reminded me of movies like Manhattan, or The Cruise, but it wasn’t necessarily the focus of the film. I could sympathise with the character’s sense of disillusionment and frustration, and I couldn’t help but identify with her struggle with herself and her seeming inability to connect with others, however abrasive she may have been. As for her crimes, it was amusing at first, and the writing made it feel like a realistic (however dubious) course of action, given her circumstances.

It’s an interesting sort of meta-story, retelling a story (a Hollywood movie; the extent to which the events have been embellished or sensationalized, i don’t know) about a person who took to forging (and eventually stealing) treasured correspondences of famous authors, and selling the made-up documents to collectors and bookshop owners, in order to survive a supposed difficult period of her life, ultimately writing her own biography and account of the events. Pret-t-ty interesting (j/k) … curious if others here have seen it, and care to share their thoughts on it.


i saw midsommar prior to hereditary and i went in fairly cold based on jordan peele rec though i am a total sucker for cult as psych horror concept. i have a ‘horror movie crew’ consisting of my father and my sil. this time it was just w/sil. that was big to me as i think get out and us were the best stuff ive seen from any director in terms of back/back films.

i left midsommar laughing evil laughter, at least in my head. certainly jaw-dropping. i was in awe at the place my my mind was brought to. i wasn’t hung up on details. i thought the movie was beautifully shot and the arc to me was inarguably transcendent. so then sil n i happily went back and watched hereditary (this time with my dad (so the whole crew was amassed))and the same exact thing happened in the end. everybody loved it. just fucking transcendent, but this time i saw ari asters distinct attention to detail style being the prize of the movie. i really felt that was the protagonist. for days afterwards i was digesting what had happened. i haven’t encountered a movie like that in ages. so the whole compound is getting together on sunday to rewatch hereditary even my psychologist mother and maybe i can even get my wife on board? i am sure plans to watch midsommar again (it will be first watch for pops) will ensue. ive gone back through some of his shorts. fascinating stuff.

that these movies came out in 2018/2019 is herculean imo. i don’t believe necessarily that they were better than jordan peele’s deep thoughtful semi psych horror duo but they were no worse. so, if you like thoughtful horror ( and i do hesitate in calling any of those true horror)… i can’t recommend more strongly get out, us, hereditary and midsommar

i love that “wait…what was that???” and i know rewatch of midsommar will do the exact same thing. hopefully i can avoid overuse of pause button.



For anyone on the Disquiet Junto slack, the relevant channel is pretty active. Scratches a slightly different itch, in that it’s necessarily more chatty. I’d second letterboxd too. I’m jet on there.

Of recent mainstream American stuff, I’ve found the most thoughtful and enjoyable director for my tastes is Jeff Nichols. What he’s done so far is all “just” drama, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of them. I’ve rewatched Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter (3 times?), Mud and found them all equally rewarding. In particular I found Take Shelter fantastic. His last movie, Loving, looks like a classic worthy Oscar pitch but still felt very sincere to me. (I had a bit of a smile when the male lead and antagonist in this very Southern story were facing off - one actor an Australian, the other a NZer! AFAIK they do well. :smiley:)

Then he spent two years developing a reboot of chalk and cheese 80s SF cop drama, Alien Nation, only to have the project shelved when Fox was bought. Oh well.

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39 steps


criterion channel

had me and laura talking about storyboards
Hitchcock was good at them (don’t know if he was doing it then)
maybe that’s one of the reasons why it was so tight (good) et.al.

the movie i’ve watched the most times—at least post-childhood compulsive rewatching of “who framed roger rabbit?” (sorry, dad)—is “the zero effect”, directed by jake kasdan. i’m not familiar with his other work (which looks like stuff i wouldn’t be interested in), but this movie is exquisite.

crime/drama/comedy, with bill pullman & ben stiller in my favorites of their roles. there’s a definite holmes/watson riff going on, but taken in…more interesting directions. the dialogue is precise, sometimes hilarious, and very quotable. the cinematography is at times trance-inducing, with details i’ve only caught upon multiple viewings. the score is some excellent crossover jazz from the greyboy allstars, with soundtrack elements from heatmiser, nick cave, and some other gems. the romance element is foregrounded, but deftly managed and not overly saccharine.

there’s an odd mix of gonzo & subtle, which can appeal to different viewing situations, but i think the real value is in careful/attentive viewing. so many layers. it’s “fun”/funny, dark/disturbing, heavy-handed at times (definite liberties taken with some plot elements/details), and ultimately very satisfying.

the first time i watched it sent me down a…rabbitwormhole playing with private investigator tropes/characters.

oh, just a fair warning for any family folks out there, there’s significant use of the f-word throughout, so not recommended for young kids (or for parental units, if that would be terribly awkward).


It’s one of those “I’m not sure it’s actually good, but it holds a special place in my heart” films for me. It felt like a worse director would have switched the lead actors, but I prefer scuzzy Pullman to nice guy Pullman.

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@dude, it’s funny that you mention Midsommar and Hereditary. I’m wanting to do a modern horror binge to catch up on a lot that I’ve missed out on. I caught Get Out in theaters and loved it. I had avoided horror a bunch during the late 00’s and early 10’s when there was a huge influx of movies with tons of gore and no real point (I mean, I’ve heard people try to explain that Hostel is a subversive satire, but I’m not buying it). Midsommar is especially appealing to me from the visuals. I love that the whole thing is super colorful and done in broad daylight.

I have a list of newer horrors/thrillers that I’m going to watch at some point:
It Follows
Green Room
Blue Ruin
The Witch
It Comes at Night
The Babadook
10 Cloverfield Lane
The Cabin in the Woods

Any other recs? Is The Conjuring any good or is it just a bunch of jump scares?

EDIT: Forgot to add Annihilation. Read the book and loved it, along with the director’s Ex Machina.

a couple great vampire movies on the edge of horror genre:
a girl walks home alone at night
only lovers left alive

one from the 2000s you dont want to have missed (imo):
28 days later

a weird one i highly recommend for people interested in sound, psych horror about a british sound engineer going to italy to work on a film - the sound of it is incredible as you’d expect:
Berberian Sound Studio
^^^ anybody see that from a few years ago? I’ve never really seen a movie that used sound like that…

@abalone watching 39 steps and enjoying it thank you and thanks to lines for teaching me about vpns and opera browser - i thought i would be without criterion while abroad :slight_smile:


@renegog Yes - Berberian Sound Studio wasn’t perfect, but had some great moments in it and the title sequence to the giallo Italian horror movie made an impression.

Speaking of films of and about sound, has anyone seen that Swedish (I think) horror movie LFO? That’s been on my to-watch list for a while now.


yeah…i’ve honestly never met anyone who liked it as much as i do, so i’m definitely willing to chalk my reaction up to a) timing of first viewing, and b) the strange personal relevance/effects it had on me. still, some of that camera-work…

i’ll have a think on other recs, i can say though that i believe a wide variance in quality to those on your list is as some are much more meaningful/meaning-filled than others.

original let the right one in was surely brilliant

i intend to see the witch but i also have to rewatch carrie. and just for reference, i actually enjoyed the last (2018) version of halloween upon viewing with the horror movie crew.

upon thinking of this thread i was hoping to avoid negativity of any kind at least on my part re opinions (as i have too many) but since you asked: i thought/think the entire conjuring/nun/annabelle family/series is absolute trash (though ive seen more than i care to admit (read almost all)).

Yeah! I saw that one in theaters when it came out. It didn’t really register as horror until the end, almost like the horror equivalent of Barry Season 2 hahah.

That’s the vibe I got. They definitely look scary, but I haven’t heard of them having any meat.

Love that movie. I also really enjoyed 28 Weeks Later, but I saw it in high school. Not sure if it’s held up.

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Solid list for the most part, my favorite of those being The Witch. I’d also recommend a Korean film from a few years back called The Wailing.

As for The Conjuring, I wasn’t a fan either.


i know i inappropriately set the stage in here by name dropping ari aster but i really love that almost every post has been about horror movies in “a thoughtful movie” thread. :upside_down_face:

@merlatte you’ve got me excited re the witch!


this isn’t super recent, and it’s labeled sci-fi, but it’s very unsettling: “coherence”. i won’t discuss story details, but the production is pretty fascinating. it was shot in one location, and was improvised (obviously a lot of structure was added in post).

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The new Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is pretty amazing.

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On the topic of Midsommar, I think one of my favorite things about Ari Aster is that his films are sociological horror rather than purely psychological. It’s the relationships between the people in the films that really make them shine. I also love how in Midsommar and Hereditary he subverts the stereotype of the “woman screaming on camera” trope in horror movies, instead replacing it with real, visceral grief. His movies are refreshing and horrifying at the same time.

Some of my fav recent watches have been:

  • The Handmaiden by Park Chan-wook
  • Onibaba by Kaneto Shindo
  • Sympathy for Lady Vengence by Park Chan-wook
  • Don’t Look Now by Nicholas Roeg
  • Berbarian Sound Studio by Peter Strickland

Also if you’re after more horror with relationship at the center, definitely check out Possession by Andrzej Zulawski. Hands down one of my favorite movies and I feel like Ari Aster had to be at least a little inspired by it.