The Lobster. Oof. This is brutal. Deadpan funny and dark as can be. Seems like so it’s fully thought through and considered. I need to find more by this Lanthimos guy.
Miami Vice. I love this movie. The pathos was stronger this time around, the resignation. On each watch I also become a little more resentful that Foxx doesn’t have a bigger role. His relationship with Crockett has something to offer the story, but we don’t see it much. I’d be up for another 12 minutes with the two of them on screen. Filed under: Michael Mann.
Miami Vice. This second time around, I was more struck with 1) the noir-iness of the whole thing, and 2) the emphasis on non-verbal communication (gesture, expression, eye contact exchanges, posture, observation & reaction) instead of dialogue. It’s pretty compact storytelling. My first review – I might bump it to number 4 or 5 in my Michael Mann rankings now. Roderick Heath’s review is a must-read.
Miami Vice. It’s not nearly as good as his best, but it’s good corny fun. I mean, it’s Miami Vice. Visually, it’s also the most Michael Mann-ish thing I’ve seen (see Pinnland Empire on Mann’s motifs). It’s also got the typical cop/criminal dynamic he loves. Best analogy I read somewhere was this movie would happen if Malick decided to make a cop film (from the general reverie to the looser, drifty handycam shooting). Sadly, the score is merely functional, but Mann knows when to turn the music down and let it ride. I feel like if I watched it again, I’d like it even more. I really, really like this dude’s movies. Updated Michael Mann rankings:
The New World. In which the title is a metaphor. Terrence Malick is a seductive director. I thought it started a little conventionally, but partway in, it turned into something special. You’re forced to set aside Disney memories and whatever historical précis you’ve got leftover from school. Interesting to see what expected bits of history and relationship development that he delays or leaves out completely, or proceeds quickly through and moves on. Lots of amazing nature scenes and life out of doors. I love the contrast of Smith’s time in the lush forests, and then the return to grey, denuded, muddy Jamestown. Malick uses narration again, which is kind of a clever cheat. You allow characters to voice their thoughts over visuals, and that keeps you from having to dialogue all the time. Couple that with the often elliptical camera–characters rarely face to face, often staggered in distance or in gentle motion, seen over-the-shoulder or trailing behind–you just get to gaze and treat your eyes and ears. I like Ebert’s observation: “The events in his film, including the tragic battles between the Indians and the settlers, seem to be happening for the first time.” Right now I think Days of Heaven is still my favorite Malick, with Badlands coming in close third.
In Bruges. Plenty of dark humor presented in a carefree manner. You’re never too far from a laugh, but the pace isn’t manic. There’s a willingness to draw a scene out, let a situation linger. I liked it a lot.