The Truman Show. So, so great. Really lovely blend of comedy and drama. Everyone is perfect in their role.
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.
Snowpiercer. I keep thinking about this one. There are plenty of logical flaws, loopholes, heavy-handed messaging, whatever. But it’s so cool. The railroad car constraint lends to some great invention with sets and storytelling and form. Evans shows some range you don’t get to see in the Marvel movies. Swinton drives me nuts sometimes, but I really appreciated her role here for both evil and levity. I rank this highly among 2014 releases, in the good company of Edge of Tomorrow, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and The Lego Movie.
Gravity. It’s definitely worth seeing. Very stressful in an entertaining way. Gotta respect a movie with moments where just grabbing a rail feels like the most important thing in the universe. It’s a steady sequence of disasters and new problems. The special effects are just tremendous. I love the way Cuarón plays with the sound, changing with the environment or how the camera or the viewpoint would experience it. The score is omnipresent, for better or worse, depending on how you feel about that sort of thing, but I liked its spacy abstraction.
The writing is a real weakness I was willing to ignore in the moment, but made me sour a little bit when thinking back. The plotsplaining was a bit tedious at times (“But now we have to do X, but we have to look out for Y.”, or “It’s getting really hot in here!”), and there’s some backstory and associated melodrama that probably could have been excised, but it’s a popcorn genre film, sooooo whatever. Deal.
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: