The Gift. Second viewing (the first). Very nicely done. Love the characterization through costume. Edgerton’s character consistently has something in the wardrobe that’s on the border of “uncool” and “unsettling”. Love how it shows people wrestling with intuition vs. manners, protection vs. politeness.
It Comes at Night. It’s great! Movies like this remind you of what a simple, almost primal pleasure it is just to watch how light fills and moves through a dark place. I also like that it doesn’t bother with answers about the general state of the world, and doesn’t waste time with half-hearted attempts. People seek and accept what’s practical, and move on. Backstory is irrelevant to a degree. The red door in the house – like a church, perhaps? I’ve really come to love this survival-cabin subgenre. Other recent ones that are worth a look: 10 Cloverfield Lane, Into the Forest, Z for Zachariah. What else?
Wish You Were Here. I really like that Joel Edgerton. The movie is fine. Plot gets a little tooooo thick and I wonder if the timeline-chopping hurts it.
Felony. I like a story where people goof up and cover it up. But this was kinda bland. Jai Courtney surprisingly good as a straight-arrow type?
Midnight Special. This was one I liked so much in previews and during the majority of its runtime that there was probably no way for it to conclude in a way that I loved. Good ride. Jeff Nichols is on a roll.
The Gift. I loved this movie for 90 minutes and then I hated it so much. There are a couple late plot decisions that totally broke the spell. But, credit is for a spell-binding run up to that point. It’s amazing how much tension Edgerton wrings out of thin air. I liked it.
Warrior. I’ve raved about this movie before. A few things I appreciate on third viewing… 1. The efficiency of the startup. A few bits of dialogue, usually barbs hinting at old wounds. Some are too vague to be effective (“That shit you pulled”), but some are so wincingly perfect for character and delivery (“Must be tough to find a girl who could take a punch nowadays.”) 2. Shot, reverse-shot. Sports movies have to deliver on dialogue when you’re not at the relevant events. This is why you care about Rocky or Rudy. Style-wise, these shots reminds me of Michael Mann, peering over the shoulder. 3. Obstructing the shots. I’m thinking of the husband-wife conversation in the bathroom and the father-son scene in the hotel room. Doorways and bodies block the view, so you instinctively want to tilt your head a bit. It also works in the fight scenes cage, where you’re trying to peek through the fence to get closer to the action. In a way, those shots feel more like you’re “there” in the arena than when you get the clean close-ups. 4. This movie is now 3-for-3.
Warrior. So good, you guys. I love this movie so much. (My first review.) It does nothing you don’t expect but it does it all so well. Like Umberto Eco says:
When all the archetypes burst in shamelessly, we reach Homeric depths. Two cliches make us laugh. A hundred cliches move us.
Warrior. Some plot points are about subtle as a kick to the head, but the power is there, too. Much, much better than I expected, thanks to a great cast (A.O. Scott: “These are tough guys, but you can only care about them if you believe that they can break.”) and a great pace. Ebert:
This is a rare fight movie in which we don’t want to see either fighter lose. That brings such complexity to the final showdown that hardly anything could top it — but something does.