The Night Comes For Us – Indonesia is where it’s at for modern martial-arts movies. There’s a John Woo vibe going here but without the operatic grace. This is more crunching bone and sliced tendons than surfing balustrades and cool gun play. So much so, that the gore starts to make you wonder what it is about violent movies that you love so much. Is it just an aesthetic of primal urges? Is it a form of therapeutic catharsis? Or is it just fun to watch because we’re crazed creatures? I don’t know. Maybe it just flickers on the screen faster.
Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood – The above brooding kind of leads into this one. It doesn’t seem like it until the very end, but this movie is about violence as wish fulfillment. And about how viewing it has a different meaning for everyone. This is Tarantino’s most DePalma film yet. It’s a mushy mash of nostalgia. Where’s the Pino Dinaggio score? Instead we have the interconnectiveness of the radio. Tarantino is forever trying to save the world with film and its Jungian rabbit hole of church and resurrection. TV’s are always on everywhere as well, their soundtracks are the movies soundtracks. The big thing missing. Phones. One gets brutally murdered by Cliff Booth and a Manson lady’s head. As if to say the phone has dusted us down the wrong fork in the road. Disconnected us when it was supposed to connect us like film. And hey, TV might just be rotting the brain. Ask those Manson killers where they learned to kill. You can actually see Tarantino grinning like a loon behind every frame. His most DePalma film yet. Just look at the very end. A sick, sardonic joke that gives the protagonist exactly what he wishes for. Maybe a role in the next Roman Polanski movie. Now, that’s just sick
Widows – I saw this after we all found out Liam Neeson was a a weird, violent, Irish racist. (He’d be a perfect Dudley Smith.) And here he kind of plays him in a Chicago thief offshoot. It’s Set It Off with a careful and concise filmmaker behind the camera. And Viola Davis is about as stone-faced and hard-boiled as you can get in a straight ahead crime drama.
Colossal – Not sure I quite buy this towards the end. Midway through we find out that Hathaway isn’t quite the monster she’s making herself out to be. Because there’s a more terrible monster in Sudaikus. Is that what we take away from this? There’s always someone more fucked up than you? Or is this movie really about Korean Cinema in some way? Some weird ventriloquist dance going on between American and Korean cinema? Nah, it’s probably just about reconciliation.
Aquaman – I was blown away by the Lovecraftian vibe of this movie as much as anyone else. I mean, this is Aquaman not Hellboy. It takes some belief in artistry(or desperation) to let a filmmaker like James Wan do whatever he wants and get bug-fucking-nuts with super hero movie like this. It’s all over the place and nonsensical but they never waver and that’s how it works.
The Other Side of the Wind – Somehow Welles sneaks a Jodorowsky film into his movie within a movie. And John Huston somehow holds it together while we’re subjected to the Pre-Oliver Stone mash up of film cans. It’s a lonely tale about lonely men who never seem to find love. Cause men can’t be gay. They can only make movies about the hard, sadness of men and only hint about the live they could have for one another.
Serenity – You literally SEE it coming at the very beginning of the movie. It takes this hard, goofy turn and you’re supposed to be flummoxed and angry at the nonsensical but somehow it makes sense to me. It’s an existential turn in the guise of a thumbing of the nose.
Mission Impossible: Fallout – This is up there with DePalma’s first MI film. (I know, there’s a real DePalma vibe going on in this list.) McQuarrie seems to be keeping a list of ways to out due himself. It’s not quite a film he’s making here, but something more in the line of set-piece cinema. North By Northwest filmmaking.
Alita – Battle Angel – I didn’t see much of Robert Rodriguez in this movie. It seemed all Cameron to me. It’s beautiful and compelling and a bit corny in the beginning but this movie had me thinking about female warriors and how men creators conceive them in a twisted form of women’s liberation. It’s hard to distinguish between fetish and heroism.
Glass – There’s a whole lot of flatness here. Things are just too heavy. Even the supers move with the drudgery of their decisions to make this movie. This is not a movie about heroes. It’s about the criminally insane and in M. Night’s understanding of what it would take for someone “with powers” to exist in “our” real world. Apparently, these people with “powers” could convinced that they don’t have powers by a fake psychiatrist.