Avengers: Infinity War. It was mildly distracting to see the movie’s first major battle taking place in my downtown Atlanta neighborhood, just blocks away. Is this how New Yorkers feel all the time? Thanos is a great villain. Maybe knowing they’d have him around later let them invest more and give him some motivation beyond destruction? I like the several scenes where loved ones are torn between hard choices – Vision and Scarlet Witch, Thanos and Gamorra, Starlord and Gamorra, etc.. My main frustration with the movie was the big Wakanda scenes. We are convinced this is the most technologically advanced civilization on the planet, and they are fighting a crucial battle… with infantry, hand-to-hand? It’s a shame. They could have done something more interesting. The giant roto-tiller machines were cool, though.
Wind River. Man, this was great. I’ve been catching up on 2017 movies, and when I see ones like this and The Lost City of Z and Good Time, I start to wonder why we weren’t talking about them all year long. Wind River sits with its pain, a steady undercurrent of mourning, and explores how we accept loss, or find ourselves in some other endless form of pursuit, resignation, denial. Native American mistreatment is also a big theme, shown with visuals – contrast modest homes vs. trailer parks – or just ignorance, like when our well-meaning FBI agent bumbles through an interview with a victim’s family. At times the script feels more written than spoken, but that’s not so bad when the words are great. Director Taylor Sheridan also wrote the excellent Sicario and Hell or High Water.
Martha Marcy May Marlene. I loved it the first time I saw it. Now I’m even more convinced that it’s pretty special. We have the privilege of seeing all sides, and how hard it is for each to understand the other. Another awesome movie that explores the gap between what one person feels and what others experience is Take Shelter, which has been on my re-watch for way too long. Watch that one, and this one.
Godzilla (2014). This movie precisely met my expectations, which is kind of a treat in itself. I like how you end up rooting for the big guy. That said, I’m not sure I can describe how tired I am of seeing monsters roar at the screen. We’ve worn it out. The HALO jump scene is one of my favorites this year. Elizabeth Olsen is criminally under-featured. No good reason to waste all that talent, unless you’re also doing it with Watanabe, Binoche, Hawkins, Strathairn, Cranston… This movie is probably better overall, but Pacific Rim had better fightin’. I liked it.
Martha Marcy May Marlene. Wrenching. You just want to know, is she going to be okay? I’m not sure of other movies that deal with the dazed, overwhelmed confusion of self like this one. I also realized a while after movie started how refreshing it is to see a rural setting on film again. So many of our movies are urbanized, you don’t see a lot of love for those greens and browns. Elizabeth Olsen is impressive. John Hawkes, equally awesome (see: Winter’s Bone). This is absolutely worth seeing, but just know you probably won’t come out happy and refreshed.