I’m not of the opinion that a film absolutely needs to have a clear moral framework to have worth, but I do believe that making a film is a moral act. Even if the filmmakers pose questions to which they give no answers, the formulation and presentation of the questions themselves are loaded with a moral reasoning.

On The Vexing Moral Murkiness of “Sicario”.

Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049. Pretty. Good. Can’t say I like it as much as the original. I think they could have bumped the pace a bit without losing much. But there are far worse ways to bathe in goofy visuals.


Sicario. Second viewing. (The first.) It’s so gorgeous. I wish the soundtrack were more interesting – lots of bom bom bom military stock-issue heavy orchestra stuff. I like how they tell you in the title what it’s all about and then they distract you from it for two hours. Nicely done.


Arrival. Second viewing. (The first.) The mind-bending scifi stuff doesn’t dazzle as much, having seen it twice and read the story a few times. I like the sappiness, though, and I wish they’d play it up more. But I think if they had, I probably wouldn’t have liked it as much the first time…


Prisoners. The older I get, torture scenes in movies are just more and more unbearable. I fear we still haven’t appreciated Hugh Jackman enough. Nerdy Terrence Howard is a treat! Gyllenhaal’s character is so weird and I love that they don’t delve into it. much He just is.


Arrival. I loved the short story collection that this movie draws from. I wish they’d played the extremes just a bit more. Maybe get even more nerdy with the science/linguistics, and even more fragmented/playful with the chronology. Can’t have everything, though. It’s about as good an adaptation as you can ask for that’d still get wide release.


Enemy. Unexpectedly good soundtrack. The more chamber ensemble feel is a nice change. Even got some bassoon leading the way at times. Two Gyllenhaals contrast in appearance (leather band dress watch vs. link sports watch; chinos vs. denim; blazer vs. leather jacket; Volvo vs. motorcycle) and behavior (hunch vs. swagger). Nice how each man (emotionally) is the one the other’s wife has been missing. Also a good reminder of how objectively difficult it would be to live someone else’s life – from basics like knowing which keys to use to family history, social circle gossip, etc. – and the futility of escapism when we have our own multitudes we should be reconciling. There’s a good car scene here, particularly as it settles down with a truck-mounted camera, which then cranes down and closer to the action. Not sure about the spider imagery. Something about weaving illusions, bread-and-circus distractions from real life (like the strip club).