Selma

Selma. Amazing stuff. Mad respect for movies that take inherently interesting subjects, and then actually measure up. Not just summarizing the events, but giving them dramatic weight. Not just telling what their goal is, but something of their emotional life. (cough) One particularly refreshing thing in this movie: seeing religion treated as a source of solace and comfort. Another thing that struck me about both is the “period” look. Selma a bit sepia and has this constant lens distortion at the edge of the frame (you can see it in the still above). I saw The Imitation Game the day before, and noticed its own “historic” palette is desaturated, but with some hues just exploding, like they were manually re-tinted black-and-whites. In both cases the movies resemble some extant photographs from those times. Which is a bit odd. Like, the world itself wasn’t sepia or desaturated back then. Just got me thinking of whether that “period look” that helps transport us back in the storytelling could also over-distance us from the events and the people. Hems them in, keeps them at arms length, makes it easier to see and forget when we need to remember.

Jack Reacher

Jack Reacher. I liked it the first time, but I appreciate it so much more now. More subtlety than I remembered, like starting with a solid 8-10 minutes without dialogue. More great humor than I remembered, like Reacher sometimes acknowledging that he’s a bit ridiculous. And the mouthing off before the fight outside the bar. Love the dynamism in the car chase, great filming there. Also LOVE how he takes control of the hostage negotiation on the phone. There’s nothing else like it. This, then Oblivion then Edge of Tomorrow is a solid three-year run.