A Ghost Story. I loved this movie. I will probably put it on my favorites-of-2018 list. I like this view of ghosts as sort of outside of time, in both directions. Ghosts as unfinished business. Ghosts with flaws and hang-ups. And the idea that places are saturated with history, and by the same token history isn’t just events in time but in a space. Solid soundtrack, too.
Ocean’s Eleven. It’s decent! It doesn’t have the same zany charm as the first time I saw it, but holds up well enough. Filed under: Steven Soderbergh.
Manchester by the Sea. Emotionally exhausting, slow reveals, full of heart.
Gone Baby Gone. Second viewing (I like my first write-up). One thing I hate in this movie is how a disfigured villain character distances us. Seems like kind of a weasel move. You see similar in True Detective, which also really bothered me. So much of the series lingers in mundane evil and violence, and then… the final villains are freakshows. Lame. I suppose it’s a bit different here with the denouement, but the earlier raid still gets under my skin.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. It’s an odd one. Absolutely gorgeous at times. I like the olde-timey lens distortion and sepia tones. And the slow-burn obsession is awesome. Reminds me a bit of Public Enemies, with the possessive attraction to a charismatic criminal.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. Really enjoyed this one. Love the soundtrack, trimmed down to strings and clapping. There’s some DNA of tense Texas slow-pursuit films like No Country for Old Men, crossed with strains of outlaw lover flicks like Badlands and parts of Days of Heaven.
Gone Baby Gone. I kinda wish the movie had stopped after the second voiceover. It would have been amazing (if maybe predictable in an ambiguous, artsy way). But it’s a genre film, so it kept going, and while the second, twisty act was a little mystery-novel page-turner-y, Ben Affleck does a great job with it. I assume he was being more or less faithful to the source. Great, great cast. The end offers an interesting tension between Monaghan’s ethic-of-care/consequentialist perspective and Casey Affleck’s ethic-of-justice/deontological take. I also like the sound in this one, working with the full range. I’m not sure whether it’s better or worse than The Town, which I mean as a compliment to both.
Other great movies that are heavy on the Boston: