Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father. At some point last year I polled friends for movies that most reliably make them cry. They were right on this one. It’s completely gutting. Interesting how often documentaries can become their own subject, the creator becoming aware of and changing/reacting to the story in front of them as it goes along.
Faces Places. What a lovely documentary. I like the odd couple, clearly affectionate while also finding time to needle each other. I especially liked the mixed reactions to their art that they got from their collaborators. Some proud, some uncomfortable!
Lady Bird. I like the momentum. Great in its cuts and edits and how it skips through time. Like our heroine, it refuses to get stuck.
Paranormal Activity. This was really fun. Ending seemed inevitable, but I suppose there’s not much else you could do. Weird that being creeped out can be so fun. Filed under: horror.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Mise-en-scène will tell you what you need to know! I liked The Lobster more. Colin Farrell is slowly sneaking up the ranks of favorite actors.
The Incredibles. Long overdue! Pretty, pretty good. Not as funny as I’d expected, but that’s alright. I like the nimble score and playing off genre tropes.
Murder on the Orient Express. I think my favorite part was the extended opening, gathering up all the players before the journey starts. Mostly entertaining. The final act/resolution seems a bit over-cooked. I wonder if it comes across better in the book, though.
Hours. The parts focused on the central gimmick are tense and focused, as they should be. The rest (long intro and flashbacks) adds some meandering softness that undermines it. Good one-man show, though.
Uptown Girls. It’s not great but I love that it makes the effort to be better than it strictly needs to be to get the job done. Like the high-energy opening setpiece, around the room and out the building to grab a taxi. Small touches like the quick cut when looking at the mirror in horror; the Road Runner cartoon playing during the break-up scene; the use of mirrors and blocking during the ballet practice; the cuts between street fights; the train reaction shot transitioning to Coney Island; the spin of the teacup echoing the spin at the beginning of the movie. It all adds up. Brittany Murphy is completely charming.
Source Code. It’s good clean fun!