Mar 3 – 23 2020
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,
Judex (1963) – Such a strange film with everything you’d ever want in a weird kind of quiet maelstrom. Jim Jarmusch must’ve watched this a hundred times. It’s got this dour playfulness to it. A seemingly evil, rich man who came by his money nefariously, obviously. A woman who works as the help plans a daring heist. A noble ball held where all the attendees wear bird masks. An underground layer and magic mirrors. In the end it’s about the failure of capitalism. Strange, huh.
The Invisible Man (2020) – Elizabeth Moss is constantly climbing in this movie. Over walls and up ladders to plant an envelope on top of a book case or into a dark attic to discover her boyfriend really isn’t dead but invisible. She’s crawling out of this mental abyss, trying to discover a reality where people believe the things she says she’s going through. Cause nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors. In fact, we use the phrase, behind closed doors, as way to ignore things like domestic terrorism. We chose not to see these things. What goes on between a man and a woman in a relationship is their business. It’s a great metaphor to be sewn into this Sci-Fi/Terror/Horror mash-up.
The Standoff at Sparrow Creek (2018) – Most of this seems like an inscrutable mess. A pitch-black noir where no one and nothing makes sense. Which is right where you wanna be when watching noir. Prairie Noir, or Rural Michigan Noir. Or yet a new sub-species; Militia Noir. It’s a richly put together film. Every shot is assured and every cut is Coen-esque. Everything means something here. It’s a meticulous time piece attached to the core of the militant white male. Cops and militiamen, where’s the line that separates them? Who’s who in that dark warehouse?
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) – Interesting position they put Vera Farmiga in. Is she with the bad guy Charles Dance? Is he even a bad guy? Maybe he’s an environmentalist, looking to right the Earth ship by unleashing Myth on the globe. Not a bad idea, really, but with a lot of these tentpoles the ideas load up in the sink and when you’re too far down the road to course correct and the only thing left to do is throw it all in, including the sink. Hence, the journey through Atlantis towards the end and King Gidorah being otherworldly. And I’m tempted to say it all somehow works, but I won’t. It might all work, even Bradley Whitford’s snarky one-liners.
Homicide (1990) – It’s Mamet’s best film. Bobby Gold his best character. What are you when you’re all alone in the world? You’re that lone wolf cop and what you would call your family is a bunch of other cops. Guys who just wanna get the bad guy. But who’s the bad guy here? Black guys selling drugs? Downtown Jews with deep pockets? Neither. It’s a mystical cop movie about Jewish resistance. Or about what it is to buy into something too late. To see what you want to see and then find out it was just your usage that was needed. It’s a movie about life and being alone in the world. Because what are you without your tribe? What are you without your mother’s belief in you? Maybe the answers to some of those questions have to with the systems we’ve built. The systems we’ve built that twist us up and make us work against each other. The great American tragedy.
The Rover (2014) – You just know there’s something in the car. He’s not doing all this, going through all this, just for the senseless barbarism of it all. But for most of the movie, that’s exactly what it is about. Testing the boundaries of intellect? Pattinson plays his character on the very edge of a person “touched in the head”. It’s an amazing performance. Whereas Pierce plays his character like some mangy, rabid dog whose biscuits have been stolen. Is it devolution after the “Collapse” (that’s all we’re given for the dystopian set-up)? Yes. I suppose that’s the point of every dystopian story. Testing the boundaries of civilized human beings.
The Beach Bum (2019) – There are times where you are completely stunned(stoned) by the filmmaking. And then there are times where you’re left completely befuddled by some of the choices made. It’s amazing to see Korinne find a pocket in the cinema of weird he’s branded, that’s equal parts pop-accessible and oddly quirky. He’s made two films in the wilds of Florida and I hope he makes a trilogy out of it.
In the Mood for Love (2000) – It doesn’t seem like anybody’s in the mood for anything put posing in this movie, much less for love. This was a thought that kept hitting me while watching this. And what beautiful posing. But then it hit me. They’re both trying to be loyal to something that’s totally ripping them apart. And they seem to be flies trapped in a jar for most of the movie. Living in a strange flat that seems to defy any kind of layout I’ve ever seen. It’s often confusing to try and figure out who lives where and what is shared space. And the characters only seem to be going through the motions.
Shutter Island (2010) – This is dealing with postwar fallout and the advent of the hydrogen bomb, and the mass psychological hysteria that follows. Our culture was changed after the Second World War. We dropped two bombs on Japan as a message. A message that said we had the capability to obliterate the human race. That act of violence on such a large scale defies logic. Whatever logic exists after such an extinction level incident. And that’s what lies underneath this movie. The threat of violence. Ted Levine shows up toward the end as the warden and he’s equal shades Kurtz and Judge Holden, proselytizing the one true gift from God. Violence.
It Comes at Night (2017) – This movie hits like a ton of bricks right now. Currently writing this in a city under quarantine. The utter madness of being in a situation where you have no idea what is going on. What is true and what is false? Who do you trust? It’s a massive tome to paranoia and a movie that could serve as a guide to social distancing.