The Discreet Bourgeois

Possessed by an urgency to make sure all this stuff I love doesn't just disappear


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The Last Ten Films I’ve Seen

  1. Greta (Neal Jordan)
  2. Isn’t it Romantic (Todd Strauss-Schulson)
  3. Farewell to Dream (Keisuke Kinoshita)
  4. The Little Foxes (William Wyler)
  5. To Be or Not To Be (Ernst Lubitsch)
  6. Us (Jordan Peele)
  7. Jezebel (William Wyler)
  8. Cold War (Paweł Pawlikowski)
  9. Dumbo (Tim Burton)
  10. Vanya on 42nd St. (Louis Malle)

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1 – I really wanted to like Greta. It is by the great Neal Jordan, of The Crying Game fame. A beautiful film maker. Not sure what happened here. I think the problem for me was that I saw the trailer for this so many times before I saw the actual film, and for a film with such an integral plot twist having that twist revealed in the trailer is an unforgivable breach of faith with the audience. It is fun to see Isabelle Huppert as a maniacal crazy woman, but I wish I didn’t know that it was coming.

2-Isn’t It Romantic is a delightful little riff on what is so terrible about RomComs. It tackles them on their own turf, with a very clever gimmick. Rebel Wilson is terrific and her presence and character really add dignity to the whole procedings. I thought it was tremendous fun, even though I tripped at the theater when I went to see it and broke my glasses. I had to watch the whole thing holding the glasses together. Even so, it was great fun.

3- If Farewell to Dream had been made by Yasujiro Ozu, the Chekhovian sense of devolution and tragedy would have been poignant. As it stands, it is more melodramatic than I am used to from Japanese films of this era.

4- I’ve been having a mini-festival of William Wyler/Bette Davis films. Jezebel is better than I remembered, mostly because of Davis. The Little Foxes is as stupendous as I remembered it. Is there anything that Bette Davis can’t do?

5- There are three tiers of Lubitsch. First tier has films like The Shop Around The Corner, Trouble in Paradise and Ninotchka. I think To Be or Not To Be falls into a second tier. It is almost sublime, but not quite. I can’t figure out what keeps this from soaring into the Lubitsch heavens, but I suspect it is Jack Benny. He was enormous at the time the film was made and so I am sure it was quite a box office coup to have him star. But Carole Lombard is so perfect, one of the greatest comedians ever and next to her, Benny is only semi-perfect. What if she had been cast opposite John Barrymore in this one? One could only imagine.

6- Us is the realized promise of Get Out. The latter is tighter. The political message is clearer. Us is more ambitious and as a result messier, but wow, is it ever accomplished. What do we get next from Jordan Peele? I know he is doing a reboot of Twilight Zone. Would love to see what he can do out of the spooky/creep genre. But hey, if he keeps turning out stuff like this, I’ll keep going.

7- I just don’t believe people when they tell me that the liked Ida. I feel the same way that Elaine on Seinfeld felt about the way everyone was rhapsodizing about The English Patient. She was horrified to find that the film she found excruciatingly boring was being fanatically praised by everyone. That is the way I felt about Ida and even moreso about Cold War. They both look great and have all the trappings of “Art House Film. But they are both skin deep and cold as ice. If you disagree, please tell me why. I want to understand this phenomenon.

8- I loved Dumbo. I love the movies of Tim Burton, even when they are not ‘good’. He is an auteur in the true Andrew Sarris sense of the word. There is no mistaking who made this movie. The look is fantastic and the new riff on the old Disney film is so imaginative.

What upset me most was all the knee jerk commenting about the fact that the ‘lamentably racist crow scene’ from the original was thankfully left out of the remake. I take huge exception to this. This is an example of when ‘sensitivity’ is taken too far. The original song, When I See an Elephant Fly, is the best number of all the classic Disney full-length cartoons. The song is jazzy and the lyrics are beyond clever. Yes, it is performed by crows who are supposed to be African American types, but does that axiomatically make the whole thing racist? If you look at the scene, you realize that these crows are hep cats of the 1940s in the manner of Cab Calloway and Louis Jourdan. Far from being stereotypes, they are the smartest characters in the film and they are just so damn cool! I thought a lot about what they could have done to include the song in the remake and I realized if they had done a hip-hop version it would have been today’s equivalent of what the Calloway/Jordan crows represented to the popular culture of the time the original Dumbo was released. Not Stepin’ Fetchit. Just great examples of what was happening in African American popular, cutting edge culture of the time.

Judge for yourself: When I See an Elephant Fly

9- Vanya on 42nd Street is probably the most successful version of (non-Russian language) Chekhov on film that I will ever see. The characters are well thought out. Some of the scenes are questionable, like the flirty intimacy of Vanya and Yelena, but it is always interesting and always valid. I think the concept of a rehearsal really gets around the problem of how to film a stage play. I don’t know that Chekhov is well-served by opening up the plays to ‘natural’ settings. The conceit of it being an ongoing rehearsal project allows the artificiality of the stage to be preserved while not making it slavishly theatrical. The Sonya is perfection.

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Roma

I have put off writing about Roma even though I have seen it twice (and intend to see it many more times).  I have seen it at home on Netflix and also in 70mm at the beautiful Chicago movie palace, The Music Box. Let me say that both modes were wonderful.  Roma is a film for the ages and its brilliance comes out in both formats.  So if someone tells you that the only way you can appreciate it is on the big screen, just smile and walk away.

You don’t need me to tell you why this movie is an instant classic. It has been written about endlessly. But I can tell you how I feel about it.

What makes me so happy about the success of Roma is that it is such a cinematic movie.  I know that sounds redundant, but most mainstream films are basically illustrated stories, and they are approached and discussed at the plot level only.  You can’t do that with Roma. There is not enough ‘plot’ to discuss. What there is, is pure cinema.  The characters, the story, the sense of place and history, these are all conveyed in purely cinematic terms. Something to make Hitchcock’s heart sing.

And it is amazingly popular.  You would think such a cinematic film would be too austere to be so beloved. What I encounter is people telling me how much they love it, but they don’t know what to say about it.  I think that is wonderful.

It is the triumph of image over dialogue.  Norma Desmond is smiling on us from wherever she wound up.


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The Last Ten Films I’ve Seen

  1. Get Me Roger Stone (Dylan Banks &c.)
  2. That Uncertain Feeling (Ernst Lubitsch)
  3. They Shall Not Grow Old (Peter Jackson)
  4. Henry V (Laurence Olivier)
  5. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Marielle Heller)
  6. The Third Man (Carol Reed)
  7. A Letter to Three Wives (Joseph Mankiewicz)
  8. If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
  9. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Morgan Neville)
  10. Everybody Knows (Asghar Farhadi)

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1- I have revered Ernst Lubitsch mostly based on three movies: Trouble in Paradise, Ninotchka and the perfect The Shop Around The Corner.  I find that when I stray from these three, the other Lubitsch films are not great or, more often, downright bad (I’m looking at you Cluny Brown!).  I watched That Uncertain Feeling hoping it would join the immortal 3, but, alas, it is really the bottom of the barrel.  The thing about The Shop Around The Corner that makes it so splendid is the perfect comedic timing beautifully blended with a dash of vinegar and sentiment.  I have seen the three stars of That Uncertain Feeling before but as comic actors they are flat-footed. Plus the story is just nasty. And it’s good that Burgess Meredith is already dead, because otherwise I couldn’t be responsible for my actions.

2- They Shall Not Grow Old is stunning.  It is one of the most visceral and magical films I have ever seen.  There is such an immediacy. You are in World War I.  It is no longer a remote set of images, blurred with time and primitive camera technique.  I always bristled when silent clips were shown with added sound.  It just seemed so artificial. I also felt insulted as if they were implying that modern audiences couldn’t handle a film without ambient sound.  Why do I admire this so much? It is done with such care and obvious love (Peter Jackson is a WWI fanatic).  It never feels like it is cheating the way that CGI always seems to me.  CGI is there to dazzle you, but more often winds up numbing you. What Peter Jackson does here is to completely remove the barriers of time between us and the participants of the war.  The voice dubbing is remarkable and for once 3D is an enhancement.

3- Thanks to the amazing AMC A-List deal I have been seeing a lot more movies in the theater than I ordinarily would.  And even though I think the Oscars are stooooopid, they were a good excuse to see contemporary films.  Can You Ever Forgive Me? was a great surprise, and it is a film I probably wouldn’t have gone to see.  An adult character study of a protagonist who is absolutely unsympathetic played beautifully by Melissa McCarthy.  I don’t understand the glowing reports for Richard E. Grant.  I usually love him but not here, through no fault of his.  His character was such a cliched, bitchy queen (and stupid on top of it) that there was not much sympathy from me.

4- I had the same feeling about A Letter to Three Wives as I did regarding the Lubitsch films above.  This film is an earlier product of most of the same people who gave us the masterpiece All About Eve, but this one never takes off for me. The snappy dialogue seems too self-conscious, the characters are not very appealing or funny (except, of course, for Thelma Ritter).  Plus the Macguffin of which husband has run away, turns out not to be a Macguffin at all.  When it is revealed, it is such a disappointment since you feel the movie could have been so much more.  Maybe it needed Bette Davis. Maybe every movie needs Bette Davis!

5- I was so happy to see a foreign language film in wide release.  I had high hopes for Everybody Knows. I mean, come on! Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Ricardo Darin?  Plus a friend had told me the director is  fantastic. Well, it was good, beautiful to look at, and kept you pulling along, but the plot/mystery became so top-heavy and red-herring-laden that at the resolution I wasn’t sure what was resolved and I felt just glad that it was over. But Penelope Cruz is gorgeous and a great actress much in the same vein as Sophia Loren. And too bad Darin is not better known here.

 

 

 


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The Last Ten Films I’ve Seen

  1. Mary, Queen of Scots (Josie Rourke)
  2. Vice (Adam McKay)
  3. Beautiful Boy (Felix Van Groeningen)
  4. The Letter (William Wyler)
  5. Pauline at the Beach (Eric Rohmer)
  6. Roma (Alfonso Cuaron)
  7. Now Voyager (Irving Rapper)
  8. The Freshman (Andrew Bergman)
  9. Black Panther (Ryan Coogler)
  10. Green Book (Peter Farrelly)

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1- Why does every biopic about Mary, Queen of Scots include a climactic scene when she and Elizabeth I finally confront each other, setting the way for the denouement? It never happened in history. One would think after 100 years of films, someone would care about accuracy, right?  Well, Schiller didn’t in his Mary Stuart play, so why should Josie Rourke, I guess. What bothers me most is that there is a kind of anti-feminist twist to this false history, because the confrontation usually is between a vibrant, beautiful and sexually active Mary and a powerful, grotesque and decrepit Elizabeth.  Elizabeth wins this round in history, but not to the way the movies see it.

2- I am hearing a lot of curious backlash against Vice. Most of it is evidence of the worst sin of film criticism: knocking a movie for what it’s not. Vice is not a documentary.  It is not historical drama.  It is somewhere between the two, and it is unashamedly biased in its portray of Dick Cheney and his evil circle.  It is also hilariously funny and inventive in its narrative style.  It is its own kind of movie.  Deal with it or move on.

3- I always think it is unfair to compare and contrast two films, but when they are as similar in form and content as Beautiful Boy  and Ben is Back it is hard not to.  Ben Is Back is the more nuanced of the two ‘good upper middle-class teenager becomes tortured drug addict’ movies.  It does devolve into a police procedural in the last act, and ignores all the interesting character development it made up until that point.  Beautiful Boy is just pretty self-righteous. Knowing that it is the memoir of the father and the son, it is hard to see the two of them as not being self-aggrandizing.  The titles at the end tell us that the kid has been sober for 8 years, but how he got there is never explained. All we see it the kid continually falling off the wagon, the father using it for book fodder, the two of them reconciling and then the whole mess happening again. Frankly, don’t watch either of these and see Boy Erased instead.  It is a powerful meditation on the limits of parenting.

4- Ah, Bette Davis.  The more I see of her, even in her not so great films, the more I realize that she is the greatest actor in film history.  Histrionic? Sometimes. Brilliant? All the time. And she could do tragedy and comedy and history.  Sad that we never got to see her do Shakespeare.  Could you imagine a Bette Davis Lady Macbeth or a Bette Davis Goneril or a Bette Davis Volumnia?  The Letter is endlessly wonderful. William Wyler gets the most out of every actor in this film.  Bette Davis is so overwrought at the end, but the performance has been so carefully modulated that the final explosion is cathartic.  Plus you have the terrifyingly disdainful glare of Gale Sondergaard. Unforgettable.

5- I love the films of Eric Rohmer.  They are little, perfectly polish moral problems played out among beautiful, talkative people in beautiful French locales. Pauline in the Beach is almost Talmudic in how it sets up its conflicting takes on what is just, what constitutes a good kind of love, and how people justify bad behavior to themselves.  I want to see all his movies.

6- As a victim of a somewhat abusive childhood, it thrills and amazes me each time I watch Now, VoyagerThe portrayal of family cruelty and its damages is unrelenting in the first part of the film.  That is what makes Charlotte Vale’s self-healing and triumph so satisfying….you’ve been with her in the depths and are there to watch her surpass ever other character in the film. Her life will be wonderful.  As I have written before, I believe it is quite a feminist message. Charlotte is helped along the way by sympathetic men but she moves beyond them and the final line is, to me, a manifesto that she has grown beyond the need of a relationship to be whole.  Who else but Bette Davis could play this role.  She so embodies the earlier tortured Charlotte, that her transformation is awe-inspiring.

 

7- I have successfully avoided all superhero films up until this point.  The rapturous response to Black Panther coupled with its cultural imperative made me curious to see it.  I was right to be avoiding it.  It took me three sittings to get through it.  It is hailed as empowering. But does giving the same kind of dumb entertainment and exploding cars and incomprehensible plots really mark an advance of some kind? Watching this I felt the same way I felt watching Brokeback Mountain. I felt I was being told, “Here is a film that can make you feel proud about yourself.”  Uh, no. Here is a poorly written cliche-ridden film pandering to Gays disguised as a breakthrough. Same here.  I will admit that super-hero films are not my genre, but man, can’t a movie be coherent at least?

Let me just say, finally, that I really wanted to love this film and I really wanted to celebrate its notion of empowerment. I felt the opposite

8- There are comedies that become immortal because they created a self-contained universe that is not dependent on the real world. I am thinking of Palm Beach Story (as I often do), as well as Shop Around the Corner and Broadcast News.  I would add The Freshman to this list.  Yes, a lot of the surface humor is derived from Brando’s self-parody of Don Corleone.  But the world it creates rivals Alice in Wonderland.  The performances are perfect. Maximillian Schell, for goodness sake! And let us not forget the Komodo Dragon being serenaded by Bert Parks.

9- Although I did get sucked into its feel-good ambience and happy ending, I think Green Book is an embarrassment.  It is the kind of self-congratulatory race relations story that would have seemed daring in 1970 but now seems painful. Viggo Mortensen’s portrayal of a Bronx Italian borders on insulting and Mahershala Ali looks like he can’t wait for the whole ordeal to be over.  You’ll feel like that too


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The Last Ten Films I’ve Seen

  1. Night Train To Munich (Carol Reed)
  2. A Quiet Passion (Terence Davies)
  3. The Color Of Pomegranates (Sergei Paradjanov)
  4. Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig)
  5. The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
  6. Roma (Alfonso Cuaron)
  7. Ben is Back (Peter Hedges)
  8. Mary Poppins Returns (Rob Marshall)
  9. The Last of Sheila (Herbert Ross)
  10. Christmas in Connecticut (Peter Godfrey)

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1- Terence Davies has created few but miraculous movies, starting with the remarkable mood pieces Distant Voices, Still Lives and The Long Day Closes.  See a scene analysis of the latter here.  His latest film is about Emily Dickinson. A Quiet Passion is aptly titled. You get to ‘know’ Dickinson  as you get to know the working class Liverpudlians in the aforementioned films: obliquely and thoroughly. How does he do it? The same way Mike Leigh works his magic, I guess.

2- Talking about pure cinema, I had a chance to show The Color Of Pomegranates  my brainiest friends, Kathleen Rooney and Martin Seay.  They even brought a kale salad rife with pomegranates for the occasion. Often, when one loves something quirky and gets to know it intimately, one is hesitant to share it for fear a) that people won’t like it and b) maybe they will make you realize it is not as good as you think, no matter how you love it.  Luckily this didn’t happen here. Paradjanov remains as beloved as before.  Watch him if you haven’t. Read my post on him if you haven’t.

3- Lady Bird is a perfect depiction of teenagers in all their exasperating glory. At first, that made me stop watching it because, yuck, teenagers in all their exasperating glory.  But, it is well done, the acting is good, except for a very wrong-headed last act which totally clashes with the rest of the film.

4- I pride myself on being a huge liberal and very open-minded, but The Favourite actually nauseated me.  And not just because this (as well as Mary Queen of Scots) feature cunnilingus luridly in their plots. I don’t mind the act per se, but as a plot device? Is this a new trend?

5- With Ben is Back I continue my Lucas Hedges admiration society. This kid can act and is not a one-trick pony. Four powerful and very varied performance in this Manchester by the Sea, Lady Bird and Boy Erased.  Of the four, this film is the least, starting off promisingly as an insightful family analysis, but slowly dissolving into a police procedural.  The nuance of the parents in Boy Erased is not here, but that is not Ben Is Back’s problem.  It’s not that kind of movie.  It was pretty satisfying.   The second of the glammed down performances by Julia Roberts I have seen recently, the other being the Netflix series Homecoming.  Oscar and Golden Globe baiting?

6- No cunnilingus in Mary Poppins Returns. At least none that I have noticed.  Just a splendid, overwhelming good time.  Perhaps it hit me just right because I remember seeing and adoring the original when I was 7 years old. It was at Radio City Music Hall and there was a stage show featuring the Rockettes and others.   The AMC River East 21 is not Radio City, but Emily Blunt is at least as wonderful as Julie Andrews was, with a little more vinegar than her predecessor. The songs and musical numbers are fine, the plot is appropriately sweet. And you even get Angela Lansbury AND Meryl Streep AND David Warner AND Dick Van Dyke (!) and the original Jane Banks (Karen Dotrice) in a sweet cameo, and even the god-of-the-moment Lin-Manuel Miranda. I loved it.

7- Thanks again to the Rooney/Seay connection for getting me finally to make it through The Last of Sheila, and for helping me to unravel the mystery without making me feel like a total moron. Repeated viewing of this will be needed and are looked forward to.

8- Keep your depressing and misunderstood It’s a Wonderful Life. The only Christmas movie you ever need is Christmas in Connecticut.  Not only do you get the super-sexy pairing of Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan in the coziest set Hollywood ever created, but you get S.Z. ‘Cuddles’ Sakall.  But wait there’s more! Una O’Connor! and if that wasn’t enough, what every movie needs: Sidney Greenstreet.  And of course, Macushla.

9- I find it hard to write about Roma I will soon. I worship it.

 


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Coming, but Not Attractive

I have been going to the movies  in theaters a lot recently (thank you AMC A List Club).  This means that I have been seeing trailers a lot recently.  The average showing has about 20 minutes of trailers before the main feature.  You can safely arrive 15 minutes after the published showtime and not miss anything of the main event.

I like trailers, so I usually go in when the showtime says. I don’t go earlier because then you get commercials. Boo.  I say I like trailers, but it might be better to say ‘I used to like trailers’.  Trailers have changed substantially in the past decade or so.  No, I am not pining for a golden age here.  I am just baffled figuring out what today’s trailers are trying to accomplish.

Originally, trailers were a way to get the current audience to come back the next week to see the new feature. They would be splashy, have tantalizing snippets of dialogue to give you an idea what kind of film it was and a tiny bit about the story. If a prominent star was in it, the face would be featured prominently.  These are the kind of trailers you can seen in the filler between features on TCM.

The best kind of trailer and the kind that studios used to release, were called ‘teasers’.  Here is an example of one of the best, the trailer for Rosemary’s Baby   If you had read the Ira Levin novel, you would know what you were getting into. If not, you see this trailer and you think, “Hmm spooky, I heard about that book. Look Ruth Gordon! And Sinatra’s wife! And sex too. I think I’ll see that next”.  You get atmosphere but no plot points, except that Rosemary’s baby needs your prayers. Come back next week and find out why.

When you see trailers now, no teasing happens.  The whole story is delivered to you in 3 minutes.  At the end of the trailer, not only do you know what the movie starts out, but how it turns out.  If it is a comedy, you get the whole set-up and most of the funny lines. If it is a drama, the whole conflict is laid out for you.  This has been happening for a while, but now it is even worse. I was at a movie recently where they showed a trailer for the film Welcome To Marwen.  Not only can I tell you the whole plot, but I can even tell you subplot info and a fair guess at the denouement, and I have not seen the film.

So my question is, what is the point of this trailer? If I had seen the Rosemary’s Baby trailer in the theaters (but I wouldn’t have because I was only 15 and the film was rated R), I would have run to the theater to see it on opening day.

No way I am going to see Welcome to Marwen because I feel, thanks to the trailer, that I have already seen it.

Here is the question, though: I assume that trailers are designed by the studio marketing people.  These people know how to sell. Movies keep breaking attendance records every year.  So, they know what they are doing with these come-ons.  They know that they will draw in the audience the way that teaser ads used to. Is the assumption now that audiences have changed?

Is today’s audience leery to go to a movie unless it is all laid out for them beforehand? Is the satisfaction of movie-going today seeing a totally known quantity unspool before you?

A few months ago, a friend invited me to go to see The Wife.  As I was going to the theater, I realized I didn’t know the first thing about what the movie was about.  It was thrilling to see the plot unfold and be constantly surprised.  After the movie, I was able to imagine what the trailer for it would have been like. I’m glad I didn’t see it.

No this tell-all trailer style only damages plot-heavy films. But most Hollywood films have been and continue to be plot-heavy. A film like Roma, with minimal plot, would probably yield a very nice teaser trailer.

So please chime in on this conundrum.  Is this the way it’s going to be? Is it what movie-goers really want?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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The Last Ten Films I’ve Seen

  1. The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock)
  2. The Last Wave (Peter Weir)
  3. Rio Grande (John Ford)
  4. Manchester-by-the-Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)
  5. The Man Who Could Work Miracles (Lothar Mendes)
  6. The Lost Squadron (George Archainbaud)
  7. Boy Erased (Joel Edgerton)
  8. Love, Simon (Greg Berlanti)
  9. The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro)
  10. Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)

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1- The Birds is one of the films I have seen the most times in my life.  Others include Citizen Kane, Wild Strawberries, All About Eve, Nashville, The Shop Around the Corner and Celine and Julie Go Boating.  They are like little vacations for me to resort towns that I know so well.  Some of these resort towns are creepier than others. All are familiar as home.

2- I remember when the films of the ‘Australian New Wave’ hit New York City in the late 70s/early 80s.  They had the effect on me that the appearance of the French New Wave must have had on my cinephile forebears in the late 60s/early 70s.  Films like Picnic at Hanging Rock, My Brilliant Career, Walkabout, Gallipoli and The Last Wave were young, exciting and sometimes perplexing.  Out of all of these, Picnic at Hanging Rock remains the most meaningful to me.

I hadn’t seen The Last Wave since my first viewing, and always considered it a companion piece to Picnic at Hanging Rock, mostly because they were shown on double bills throughout the 80s.  Seeing The Last Wave again made me realize that it is a lesser film for exactly the reason why Picnic at Hanging Rock is a superior film: ambiguity.  The mystery of Picnic at Hanging Rock is never really solved, but you realize that that is not the point of the film.  The point seems to be the effect of disaster on the world.  You would think that the same would be true of The Last WaveI love the foreboding atmospherics and the tantalizing aboriginal hoodoo, but ultimately it is too much about a mystery that never is cleared up and it doesn’t satisfy the way the other film does. Still, it is a great watch.

3- I need to write a piece on John Ford’s Cavalry Trilogy. The Trilogy consists of Fort Apache, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon and Rio Grande, in descending order of greatness and complexity. They are all masterpieces. Stay tuned.

4- Manchester-by-the-Sea. The only word for it is ‘magnificent’.  The complex relationships are handled so masterfully and the story is revealed so artfully. I am not a big believer in a movie needing to be ‘realistic’ to be great. Most of the time when filmmakers are reaching for realism, the results are embarrassing. Here, though, I felt that I was spending time with people I knew and understood. Not necessarily liked, mind you. The cumulative effect is devastating.  The buzz before I saw it was that it was incredibly depressing.  Obviously, the people who said this have had no life experience.  Magnificent.

5- I knew that pre-code films were pretty loose with morals and conventions but imagine my surprise when I saw this in The Lost Squadron:

 

6- Regarding Boy Erased and Love, Simon I refer you to my post on movies targeted to a specific audience.  I would be selling both of these short if I were to imply that they don’t appeal to a wider audience than Gay people. But Love, Simon is incredibly sweet and mostly just a Gay rom-com (not that there is anything wrong with that!) and Boy Erased is greater in its ambitions. The portrayal of the characters is nuanced, and transcends stereotypes. Thrillingly so.  Lucas Hedges is amazing, just like he was in Manchester By The Sea.

7- The Shape of Water. Best Picture of the Year? Really? I have long ago given up on the idea of Oscars as the arbiters of anything, but this award really baffles me. Except for The Devil’s Backbone, every Guillermo Del Toro films I have seen collapses under the weight of its own diffuseness and studied weirdness. This is no exception. Please feel free to tell my why I am wrong here.

8- I went crazy for both Magnolia and Punch Drunk Love when they both came out. I also really liked Boogie Nights a lot.  Since then I have felt a huge disconnect with the films of Paul Thomas Anderson.  I hate it because I see the attention, intelligence and style that are lavished on these movies, as well as the incredible performances he gets out of his stars. But once again, Phantom Thread left me cold and confused. Not as cold and confused as The Master.  Seeking your opinion here also as to what I might have missed.