fresh. b-side is fresh too.
Movie Log 2014
13. The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2013) (Netflix Instant)
Are you at all interested on contemplating the effects that horrible violence can have on the collective psyche of a nation? Woof. This is maybe a masterpiece.
14. Frozen (Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, 2013) (screener)
Olaf is Dug from Up on crack, but it kind of really works. And, yes, Elsa is a lot more interesting than Anna, but still, even that kind of works. It’s good, y’kno?
15. Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Chantal Akerman, 1975) (BAM)
I was very excited to see this at BAM - 3+ hour of hyperrealism is the type of thing I’m much more likely to enjoy in a theater than on my couch. It’s somewhat numbing, but never in a way that makes you want to look away.
16. A Short Film About Killing (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1988) (Lincoln Center)
I’d seen the Decalogue version of this and the full version of this back in college, and the moral weight I remembered. But I hadn’t remembered how saturated, yellow, and kind of visually extreme it looks.
17. Philomena (Steven Frears, 2013) (Screener)
It’s all fairly whatever. The tone is kinda odd though, in that there are a lot of plot twists that in different movies would have been treated as big, dramatic reveals that here are so low-key and matter-of-fact it feels odd. Also I could have done with about one fewer moment of Judi Dench playing silly, folksy old lady, and the movie happens to end by redoing one of the early moments of just that.
18. The Red Shoes (Michael Powell, 1948) (TCM)
So last Saturday morning I noticed the invaluable Next on TCM posting that this movie was on at night, and I was like, yeah, I love that movie, but I’ll prolly go out tonight. But I didn’t go out, and I ended up watching it, and it’s prolly one of my 10 fav movies or so. There’s a performance of The Red Shoes, a ballet adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen tale, in the middle of the movie; it’s a really special way of showing ballet while interpreting a story in a way that dancing clearly could not (not to say the scene is better than ballet, cuz what could that even mean, just that it’s amazing cinema).
19. Nebraska (Alexander Payne, 2013) (screener)
The acting, especially by Forte and Dern, is pretty good, but Payne as sentimentalist still doesn’t work for me at all. Plus this is ugly as hell.
20. The Croods (Kirk Dimicco, Chris Sanders, 2013) (Netflix)
Would have watched it sooner if you had told me Nic Cage was one of the lead voices. As it is, thanks, The Oscars, for having me watch this, because it does some really wonderful visual things (those piranha birds goddamit!) and is good fun throughout.
21. Cutie and the Boxer (Zachary Heinzerling, 2013) (Netflix)
Actually kind of a nice balance to the love/art story in The Red Shoes. Also, this has my fav score of the year, by Yasuaki Shimizu who, I noticed on IMDB, also scored Hitoshi Matsumoto’s batshit Symbol, which I reeeeealllly hope I have floating around on some hard drive somewhere.
Whoooooooooa this is gorgeous.
Movie Log 2014
11. Adaptation (Spike Jonze, 2002) (iTunes rental on a projector)
I wish I could remember what the crowd was like when I saw this in theaters in 2002; I watched it with like 20 co-workers on Friday and it was downright uproarious. Cage does a billion wonderful things (two billion) that I had forgotten about and eats a sandwich better than anyone has in a movie before. Screenplay and acting are 100% pure love.
12. Enough Said (Nicole Holofcener, 2013) (screener)
Funny as hell, warm as hell, and, once the irony comes home to roost, cringe-inducing as hell. A lot of Enough Said is about how our opinions of people develop based on what other people say about them. JLD and Gandolfini are predictably excellent.
Movie Log 2014
8. Before Sunset (Richard Linklater, 2004) (DVD)
I have Before Midnight waiting for me on Blu-ray, but I figured I’d do this again first. I don’t know if Sunset is better than Sunrise, but its sequel-ness - the games it plays with both Celine and Jesse’s memories of their first encounter and their stories about it, both in their art (Jesse’s novel, Celine’s waltz) and in their conversation - is like candy to me.
9. Dirty Wars (Rick Rowly, 2013) (Instant)
From a journalistic standpoint I think a lot of the stuff here is well-arranged and important, so I’m not willing to condemn it straight up (Matt was, btw. We argued a bit. It was fun), but there are a lot of weird aesthetic choices (“let’s make his eyes really pop in this shot”, “how about a long shot of the J train here”, “they should have this conversation in a blue tint”) that derail it from a cinematic standpoint. Please read about JSOC, drones, and the like if you haven’t been, but maybe skip this doc.
10. Her (Spike Jonze, 2013) (Bowtie Cinemas, Chelsea)
I really like the world-building in Her (and not just the pants). The opening office scene, through sound design and set design, really lays down a very interesting near-future. I kinda wish I knew what real 2014 LA is like to compare. Her takes the sci-fi stuff seriously, while not actually having much of anything to say about our relationship with technology, which was totally fine for me, cuz I’m not sure I really need much more writing to be about our relationship with technology. The last shot is both gorgeous and sort of complicates the movie for me in a way I haven’t quite figured out yet.
Movie Log 2014
6. Flowers in the Attic (Deborah Chow, 2014) (Lifetime)
It’s Flowers in the Attic, y’kno? And it’s slightly toned down Flowers, but a slightly toned down Flowers is still totally batshit. Heather Graham’s eyes are operated by a different spirit than the rest of Heather Graham; Ellen Burstyn is beyond reproach in her insanity.
7. August: Osage County (John Wells, 2013) (screener)
I think I might just be growing to enjoy yelling more? This wasn’t half bad, though I pretty much don’t care one iota what it has to say about family or love or anything else. Chris Cooper and Margo Martindale might be pretty affecting in a movie where they have some more room to breathe, but I’m kind of fine with them as breathing room between manic Streep/Roberts crescendos.
µ-ziq’s remix of “All is Full of Love” from Fact’s list of hidden Bjork gems. Let it be your blanket.
Movie Log 2014
4. Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen, 2013)
Cate’s great/tremendous/Nicolas Cage-esque/whatever. She makes a face during the scene where they’re drinking on the shore that looks like a horror movie mask, and I really do genuinely appreciate a good horror movie mask. Sally Hawkins and Andrew Dice Clay are great together once in a while too (the scene in which they go to party with Cate and the dude from the Capitol One commercials and then go back to the hotel!), but can you imagine Woody sitting down to write the working class characters? Yeesh. Cate drags this into an interesting character piece and out of being just another Woody Allen movie about how people are stupid and shitty, but just barely.
5. Saving Mr. Banks (John Lee Hancock, 2013)
You’d think I of all people would be moved by a film about how pop entertainment can bring out emotions more successfully than British psychopaths. This is almost Julie & Julia-esque in that one half is much worse than the other, but the good half is much much worse than Julia and the bad half is almost as bad as Julie. The scene where the two halves combine and the movie makes some attempt to transcend its boringness in a way that, I don’t know, Mary Poppins might have actually works and I found myself thinking that BJ Novak was oddly good throughout, but this is almost as bad as expected overall. Emma Thompson has to derisively snarl “your themed park” at Tom Hanks at one point, f’real.
pretty geeked that the chances of me getting to see this live one day have increased a whole lot today
Movie Log 2014
2. Out of the Furnace (Scott Cooper, 2013) (screener)
A bunch of people that I like in a movie shot through the Appalachian Poverty Instagram Filter. When it goes into thriller mode (Affleck/Defoe in the car, Bale on the hunt, to a lesser extent the Silence of the Lambs rip) it gets ok, but when it’s wiping from Bale looking sad on a bridge to Bale looking sad on the side of the road there’s not much for me here.
3. Short Term 12 (Destin Cretton, 2013) (at MoMA)
It’s not surprising that a big theme of a movie about twenty-somethings working in a foster care facility is the importance of empathizing and letting people empathize with you, but the balance of realism peppered with character-based melodrama used in Short Term 12 to hammer that theme home is terrific to watch. Brie Larson is as good as everyone says she is, too.
Movie Log 2014
Let’s try this again.
1. What A Girl Wants (Dennie Gordon, 2003) (on PIX11 right now)
So this is not one of those turn-of-the-century teen comedies that holds up. It’s so bad and Bynes is so bad and it’s making my hangover worse and I’m gonna go to a bar.