Monthly Archives: January 2016

Anomalisa (2015), Charlie Kaufman ★★★★★

I did my usual ‘Anomalisa Ebert’ google search to see which rogerebert.com reviewer reviewed it and how many stars they gave it. And as luck would have it, Matt Zoller Seitz did the review. I don’t really care for the others who now work the rogerebert.com reviews, but I always pay sit up and attention to what Matt says, and his first line got me out the door and to the theater to see this:

There’s everything else happening in America cinema, and then there’s whatever Charlie Kaufman is up to.

And I’m sitting there, and there’s maybe 5 or 6 other people in there for the first showing of the day. And knowing that Kaufman did the screenplay for Being John Malkovich, I kind of got the gist of what was going on, slowly, though there are subtleties that freaked me out. He also wrote Adaptation, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and wrote and directed Synecdoche, New York.

An example. There’s a scene in Meet the Parents toward the end when Focker is fed up and is getting out of town and is standing in front of the ticket lady at the airport who’s typing away seemingly endlessly, and it’s a similar scene but the guy typing keeps eye contact with the customer and never looks down once, and you’re thinking, touch typing – he’s good, but it goes on and on and the guy’s printing and doesn’t look at the paper coming out, it’s just freaky. And that’s the tip of the iceberg, if you pay attention.

[spoiler]Watch Lisa’s roommate when they first meet, her face, then see what she looks like at the end when they are driving home.[spoiler]

For me, this film didn’t earn it’s 5 stars immediately, it was cumulative, if that makes any sense. My mind may be slow, but it finally recognized what I was seeing for what it was.

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last week’s films…

Youth (2015), Paolo Sorrentino ★★★★★

Some scenes need to be seen on the big screen. Soylent Green, the closing credits when we once again see what Sol (Edward G. Robinson) saw during his closing moments. Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty has a similar scene during the credit roll down the canal that glues you to your seat, I imagine, as I missed it at the theater and had to settle for a DVD viewing. Youth has a few, including the final scene, which is breathtaking.

Far from Heaven (2002), Todd Haynes ★★★★★

In the middle of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happaning when Elliot (Mark Wahlberg) and his wife (Zooey Deschanel) take refuge in an elderly woman’s home and are sitting down to a meal, the old woman says:

So what’s with you two? Who’s chasing who?

I’m sorry?

Ain’t no time two people staring at each other, or standing still, loving both with their eyes are equal. Truth is, someone is chasing someone. That’s the way we’s built. So, who’s chasing?

Most will miss the melodrama going on behind the scenes in The Happening.

Which leads to Todd Haynes’ signature shot; an alternating close up of two people staring into each other’s eyes. This shot in his latest film, Carol, is more than memorable, and The Happening’s question applies. In Far from Heaven, there are two such shots, and Julianne Moore nails it, both times opposite Dennis Haysbert (The Unit, 24).

last week’s films…

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Biutiful (2010), Alejandro G. Inarritu ★★★★★

13 Hours (2016), Michael Bay ★★★★

Carol (2015), Todd Haynes ★★★★★

Tomorrowland (2015), Brad Bird ★

Starts out ok, then I almost succumbed to the urge to hit eject.
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last week’s films…

2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967), Jean-Luc Godard ★★★★

The Awful Truth (1937), Leo McCarey ★★★★

The Revenant (2015), Alejandro G. Inarritu ★★★★★

Alexander Nevsky (1938), Sergei Eisenstein, Dmitri Vasilyev ★★★★★

Sherlock Jr. (1924), Buster Keaton, Fatty Arbuckle ★★★★

Our Hospitality (1923), Buster Keaton, John G. Blystone ★★★

last week’s films…

The Courtship of Andy Hardy (1942), George B. Seitz ★★★★

The Age of Adaline (2015), Lee Toland Krieger ★★★★

Where the Wild Things Are (2009), Spike Jonze ★★★★★

Detour (1945), Edgar G. Ulmer ★★★

Vera reminded me of that other lady in Fargo. You know, what the heck do you mean? Maybe the Coen Brothers cast her in homage to Ulmer’s Detour?

Olympia (1938), Leni Riefenstahl ★★★

Hitler, Jesse Owens; the 1936 Berlin Olympics.