Black Panther. Solid entry. Great villain, but our hero is kinda bland. I’m not over the moon with it. Lots of humor falling flat. I selfishly liked seeing the High Museum as a featured setting. Seemed like there’s some Star Wars influence here. Also, love to see MMA becoming a part of the action movie vocabulary. Not just punches and kicks, but the grappling, throws, chokes, holds, etc.. These people should be complete martial artists. The star of the soundtrack was the talking drums. 👌
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…
Panic Room. Nicely constrained in time and space. I like the hints for stuff that comes up in the story later on, little things that foreshadow and reward your attention. Things are often in the frame for a reason.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It’s not perfect, and I’m a little annoyed that they’re still making these… but, now that they are, I think this is the kind of story I’d like to see more of. Sort of putting some shape around the original 6-episode arc rather than extending it. I wish it were more melodramatic. Also a wee long and kind of a bad script? Dumb fan service (I assume we’re due for lots more) and the CGI Tarkin and Leia are huuuuuuge mistakes. Still, seeing Mendelsohn, Mikkelsen, and Whitaker in the same movie? What a treat! Much, much better than The Force Awakens. Filed under: Star Wars.
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.
The Crying Game. I think contemporary eyes will guess The Big Twist like I did, and it doesn’t matter because the story and characters are good enough to keep you hooked. Strange turns and odd narrative devices abound.
Bird. A pretty good Eastwood-directed biopic about Charlie Parker, though I’m not sure it’s that interesting for people who lack at least a mild enthusiasm for jazz. This is not a three-act story of redemption a la Ray or Walk the Line. This one seems more of a collage, cutting back and forth. It’s a blur, short of detail, but heavy on mood, aided in that most of the movie’s shots are so dark, murky, noir-ish. Parker–alcoholic, junkie–doesn’t seem a raging, violent, destructive artist, but one more burdened and resigned. I’ve got a new appreciation for Forest Whitaker now that I’ve seen him in a leading role. Makes me curious about The Last King of Scotland. Here’s a nice bit from Ebert’s review:
Two of the subtler themes running through much of Eastwood’s work – and especially the 14 films he has directed – are a love of music, and a fascination with characters who are lonely, heroic drifters. There is a connection between the Parker of “Bird” and the alcoholic guitar player in “Honkytonk Man.” They are both men who use music as a way of insisting they are alive and can feel joy, in the face of the daily depression and dread they draw around themselves.