Feb 3 – Feb 28
I’ve stolen this idea from Film Comment. The only thing that’s different is that I’m not a known filmmaker giving you a list of the last ten movies I’ve seen.
Ford vs Ferrari (2019) – Tracy Letts and Josh Lucas play Ford Demi-Gods. They eat souls and shit out salami and cheese and wonder bread sandwiches. You can see they’re mutual emptiness in the shake of Letts jowls as he turns his head toward Damon’s Shelby and says nothing. He doesn’t need to, he’s said it all with his emptiness. You can see it in the too blue eyes of Lucas, which seems to have no room for the sclera, as he tell Bale’s Miles to ask his son not to touch the new Mustang. They engulf everything they come in contact with, even war. But there is this little race with these big motors they can’t quite digest. Mangold is a master here. From the very first shot you’re gripped like a vise and never let go with his angles and compositions. It’s a movie to behold and go back to again and again.
Marriage Story (2019) – There’s that scene towards the end. It’s the one everyone talks about who’s seen the movie. Where they burn each other to the ground with searing, gut-emptying brutality. You can’t help but cry with them. To feel that body-shuddering finality of love. That scene encapsulates all we know of love. To know someone enough to love them so much will one day lead to this melting, muck of mutilation. You can only do this to someone you know so well. You can only do this to someone you’ve projected everything in your bowels onto. It’s really you you’re trying to tear down. And hopefully you can recognize this and a small tendril of growth will root forth and you’ll get to a place where you’ll still want smile at this person and make sure they’re shoe is tied.
Color Out of Space (2019) – Cosmic Horror in Pink! This movie does more for contaminated water and it’s destructive affects on human DNA than any Erin Brockavitch or A Civil Action or Dark Waters could ever dream of in technoscope. While it’s way more colorful I’m sure it never reaches the emotional depths those previously mentioned. But it tries. It’s tries with another loopy performance from Nic Cage which in turn curls itself around everyone else in the film and seems to scare them into frightful performances the end it crashing sounds and light.
King of New York (1990) – Schooly D asks Are you black as me? Frank White would think he’s inclusive enough to say so. Hip/Hop is so intertwined in this movie, it’s the first of its kind. The first Hip/Hop gangster movie and Fishburne is its gobsmacking heart. And Walken is its NASferatu. He’s a vampire, lit in blue, melancholy light, dancing around with a nine-millimeter shooting ancient Italian gangsters, bringing in the new school and flattening rogue cops. It’s a truly Gothic delight.
Toni Morrison : The Pieces I Am (2019) – She says something towards the end, an interview with Charlie Rose, I think, asking him to examine himself without the benefit of propping himself up with race. Where would he be then? Where would all white people be without the subjugation of others? It’s the only question that needs to be asked.
The Gentleman (2019) – McConaughy is a lion of an Oklahoma weed gangster in London. The insights into his business and its logistics and what it’s future holds is the most fascinating thing here. And everyone is giving their all and Ritchie’s just really good at this. And it’s definitely a time for some filmmakers to make movies where they examine their own work.
The Laundromat (2019) – Meryl Streep’s walk. I don’t know if I’ve never noticed her walk before or it’s just been so long since she’s been in a movie where she’s walked. Has she been sitting down in movies for years now? Or is it just Soderberg’s camera hanging back and letting us watch Streep move and act. Giving her a shotgun and walking into an office and blasting the place up. It’s just spellbinding and a pleasure to see her move in a loose, saddened way. Someone who’s tired of it all. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen her this way. She’s such a brilliant actor.
The Longshot (2019) – I am worthy of love. The unyielding, bearded guy who dresses like he’s in seventh grade is given this mantra by his friend, who’s black and a Republican. He’s given the mantra because Oh yeah, Charlize Theron is Secretary of State looking at a run on the presidency. It’s all very ridiculous,but somehow, that simple mantra grounds the damn thing and you go flying along with it. It helps that Theron is so good in a roll you don’t see at all for women these days. A woman who rediscovers what she stands for on a political stage. A powerful, funny, thoughtful woman as President is just too much for us now, though.
The Breaking Point (1950) – One of the most haunting endings. A little black boy left alone on a dock, waiting for his father. His father being the first mate on this little boat this white guy owns for like three seconds before creditors and criminals crawl out of the swamp trying to sink him in some Florida Everglades. The first mate is just a stupid casualty at the end of a gangster’s fun. The movie’s not about him per se, but in the end we’re left wondering what his life is really worth.
Domino (2019) – It happens early on when Jamie Lannister is in bed with a girl and his phone rings and he gets out of bed to answer it. It’s a shot that looks like the camera is set up in a loft, looking slightly down. DePalma zooms in ever so slowly. And you know immediately it’s a DePalma film. The shot ends, close on Jaime’s gun, which he leaves in his apartment and dutifully becomes the first domino. You’re welcome, says DePalma.