Sahara

Sahara. Really dumb, but also kinda subversive! There’s some, uh, provincialism and casual violence that doesn’t age well, but it’s fun overall. Love the big reveal moment. Normally in these sorts of adventure movies it’s a room full of treasure. Here, it’s toxic waste.

Frailty

Frailty. A father reveals to his sons that God has called them to kill demons. I really like the use of sound in this one, the full range from silence to full intensity at just the right moments. Also some smart visuals, like how we see humans get killed, but when demons are destroyed, we don’t. It doesn’t give away the truth, because it’s not the point.

Interstellar

Interstellar. First time I’d seen anything on IMAX. Lives up to the format. It’s one of the best Nolan films since The Dark Knight, probably. But it’s very Nolan: he can direct the crap out of some spectacular action/space sequences, but it rarely moves me. (The truck/rocket scene above in the above screencap is a glorious exception). And it could use some trimming. I have to give him credit for directing original material though, and working with smart ideas. No one is doing crazy stuff at that level like he is. Maybe my second favorite after Memento? I need to re-visit The Dark Knight and The Prestige to see where it fits in.

Magic Mike

Magic Mike. Soderbergh! Best movie ever about the economy and strippers. I’d rank this one behind only Haywire and Out of Sight. You’ve got Tatum’s stripper-slash-roofer-slash-artisan muddling through, but it’s hard to change course when he’s great at something he doesn’t love that’s still addicting in its own way. You’ve got Pettyfer’s teenage socially-tone-deaf bro drifter who’s having a great time being showered with money and attention–at long last! You’ve got McConaughey’s (too?) serious entrepreneur-impresario-emperor. There’s the promise of Miami as the great mythical somewhere else where things are different, some future day. Just a few more nights and then…? Contrast these three with Horn, who takes a more cautious, realist, rooted approach to every day’s compromise. She’s awake in daylight, she works and reads and goes out to dinner and enjoys a glass of wine at home. Hard and boring is okay. Pairs well with Spring Breakers.