Allied

Allied. Second viewing (the first). The seams showed a bit more and the pastiche was more apparent and I liked it more because of it, I think. The too-clean appearance heightens the fairy tale, like memory tends to soften things. Noticed a few fun edits, like the lightning shifting to the lantern on the landing strip, and the beats of the final gunshots at the tank crew matched by the curtains being drawn open. I also liked the parallels with two big decisions happening in cars – once during the sandstorm, again in the rain at the airstrip.

Allied

Allied. Oh man. I fell in love with it within a few minutes. I wish we had more movies like this. Old-fashioned glamorous romance, melodrama. Sweeping but intimate. The stakes are high because the relationships matter.

Public Enemies

Public Enemies. I love how so many people get to “lead” in this movie, though Depp is still at the heart of it. Forgot about the brief Channing Tatum scene. The arrest/trasnport/imprisonment scenes have some nice echoes of Kit Carruthers, the charisma and confidence. “We’re having too good of a time today; we’re not thinking about tomorrow.”

Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris.

That’s what the present is. It’s a little unsatisfying because life is unsatisfying.

I really liked this one. Fun exploration of nostalgia, heroes, joie de vivre, being true to yourself, etc. And I love our hero’s giddy, can’t-believe-his-luck enthusiasm. This might be my favorite Owen Wilson performance ever. There’s a few characters who are only light caricatures for purposes of contrast, but that’s Woody Allen for you. I do love how the elements of scifi/fantasy here are a given, accepted, no explanation required.

It’s been a while since my last Woody Allen film. My updated rankings, though maybe it’s been too long a time for this to be definitive:

  1. Manhattan
  2. Annie Hall
  3. Midnight in Paris
  4. The Purple Rose of Cairo
  5. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  6. Sleeper
  7. Match Point
  8. Scoop

Public Enemies

Public Enemies. It’s a good ride, and it’s greatest charm and greatest flaw is that it doesn’t have a big arc to it. It’s not dramatic. Fine by me. This is a movie about a single-minded, short-sighted guy, told directly. I’d love to see Johnny Depp in more movies like this (i.e. non-comedy, non-Burton). Not sure about the very last scene, but I’ll give it to him.

Time for updated Michael Mann rankings. The top 3 are set, for sure. The others fluctuate day to day:

  1. Heat
  2. Thief
  3. The Last of the Mohicans
  4. Public Enemies
  5. Manhunter
  6. Miami Vice
  7. Collateral

Inception

Inception. This is a good movie. Worth seeing? Sure. Superlative? No. Interesting ideas and there’s enough ambiguity to puzzle over ‘til the End of Days. Five Ways of Looking at Inception is probably just the tip of the iceberg.

The trouble was that I didn’t care much. My first reaction was “Inception: all muscle and nerves, no heart. Interesting but probably at least 48 minutes too long.” It kinda reminded me of the situation where a writer has an awesome essay and then later writes a book on the same topic. This movie was a book where an essay (i.e. short film) might have been a tighter, more engaging experience.

Other assorted observations:

  • I think the dark, corporate angle is legit. The idea of executive-level extraction-resistance training is a nice scifi hypothetical.
  • I liked the idea of different levels of dreams operating at different time-speeds. Pretty cool.
  • Lots of explanatory dialogue…
  • Mediocre score.
  • I’d like to see more movies where not everyone is wealthy and skilled.
  • I’d like to see action movies with fewer hordes of incompetent gunmen.
  • Ski chase. Dead wife reappearing. Zero-gravity fights. Old man dying in a minimalist room. I don’t think this is a bad thing, btw.