The Place Beyond the Pines. This was my second viewing (cf. the first), and I really really liked it. The whole thing hung together for me better this time. One thing I noticed the second time around that I appreciated: the movie opens with the sound of Gosling’s breathing prominent; the second main chapter opens with Cooper’s. I would watch a feature film made entirely of those tracking road shots.
The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. It’s an odd one, and that is enough sometimes. Unexpectedly dark/funny. No one measures up to Cage, so if you can ride along with his zaniness, you’ll probably like it.
2 Fast 2 Furious. Not as good as the first one, bro. Seemed more exploitative, more dopey, more juvenile. Tyrese is funny and charismatic, whereas Paul Walker’s performance reaches new levels of… subtlety (Ebert perfectly describes him as Don Johnson lite). BUT, those chases are fun. Nice to see them driving in legitimate traffic this time around. Also: Luda + Eva Mendes. Out of Sight and Miami Vice are far better Miami movies. I still haven’t seen either of the Bad Boys films, unfortunately.
The Place Beyond the Pines. It’s a bummer that the wind goes out of the sails when Gosling leaves the screen, but that’s still to his and the director’s credit for those parts of the movie. And Mendes was fantastic. What a talent. I just wish the third act hadn’t run out of gas. But, then again, I think that’s partly me being snob-weary-dreary-bonehead, “Oh, another fathers and sons tale” and not wanting to give in to it. It’s good, though. Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine is pretty sharp, too.
Holy Motors. Incredible. Amazing, amazing performance from Denis Lavant. There’s no traditional plot, but the structure involves Lavant’s character being driven around Paris in a limousine to a series of appointments, each one requiring a different costume, makeup, identity, and performance. The logic is bent and ambiguous. A couple hours of mad and weird invention, wholly invigorating. Here’s Richard Brody. Ebert. Another good critical reading.