last film I saw turned 3 today!
To the Wonder 5/14/13 living room theaters, portland ore
a rare opportunity to see film in theater for me and the mrs. I’d heard some negative impressions of this but they were all wrong. found this simple and profound all at once. exploration of love in multiple forms, all aspirational, transcendence and poetry butting against the cold reality of the everyday. very Malick-y which is either positive or negative depending on your disposition. I’m in the former camp. No one currently working comes close.
Tyrannosaur 5.3.13 home/dvd some impressive things in this - namely the performances by the leads P. Mullan and Olivia Colman (who after seeing her in this and Broadchurch is my new favorite actress. she is amazing) but this isn’t exactly a good film. something off about the narrative though I can’t pinpoint it precisely. one too many canine deaths combined with some ill-informed music choices, to my ears anyway. also, if there’s a lurking horror in the past that impacts/affects current action I think there’s some obligation to explicate it. unless you start the movie by cueing the viewer that they’re not going to get that. anyhow, not too shabby for a debut script/director but not w/o some flaws
the kid with a bike 5.2.13 home/blu-ray so fluid and seemingly effortless that it’s almost struggle to recognize how amazing it is, like the several dardennes’ films I’ve seen. love the long master shots. I could be wrong but sensed a little more design in this. subtle but there. viewer given exactly enough information narratively. no more no less. a music cue appears exactly 4 times, same piece of beethoven. watching credits there were a couple other contemporary pieces credited which must have been diagetic and i must have missed. last scene manages to be feasible and metaphoric. loved
Jiro Dreams of Sushi 5.1.13 home/streaming
mostly loved this. a portrait of devotion and servititude but in the service of what? and whom? some inner voice that can’t be quelled or satisfied. found the philip glass distracting mostly b/c I recognized it from another film and that made me start thinking about music licensing instead of watching the movie. Also had trouble seeing all those dead tuna at Tsukji Fish Market.
To Rome With Love 5.1.13 home/blu-ray
have been reading Eric Lax’s phenomenal Conversations with Woody Allen, which has re-kindled my interest in his films (an interest which has flagged admittedly over the years after some bad movies and questionable moral choices to put it generously) and so I was primed and ready for something good. This was not that. This was turgid, mis-cast, awkward, unfunny. To again put it generously
zero dark thirty 4.14.13 home/blu-ray
phenomenal on all counts: tone, filmmaking, acting, writing, music. J. Chastain is pitch-perfect. last shot of film is one of those rare occurrences that cut to black as my internal voice is saying ‘cut to black’. perfect. also, very grateful for the lack of any title cards at end, explaining what each peripheral character is up to now, underscoring the significance of everything. all you need to know is that last shot.
Flight 4.13.13 home/blu-ray
first 45 min or so work exceedingly well but things begin to loosen afterward. felt the fingers of studio interference perhaps. to me the film would be a million times stronger if a drunken hero pilot wrestled w/ his secret, if he and he alone knew his darkness and felt compelled - in the face of survivorship and hero worship - to renounce both the adulation and the shackles of his torment. good scene early on in hospital stairwell, three souls brushing against oblivion altered my expectation for a bit, but in the end things land a little ham-fisted, a little un-earned.
The Hobbit 4.12.13 home/blu-ray
enjoyed the making-of stuff more than the film which felt a touch bloated and lacking the dramatic thrust of the trilogy that preceded it. some moments were particularly not effective, to put it kindly. still, had a cumulative effect on me and by the end I was - if not exactly won over - willing to watch subsequent efforts.