Traffic. It took a good hour before I realized I’d seen it before. It took a good two seconds before I remembered that I have a huge man-crush on Benicio del Toro. He’s so good. Don Cheadle, too. The movie as a whole is pretty straightforward, docudrama-ish style, not played up for emotions like Babel or other multi-storyline, “highbrow globalist tearjerkers”. A few interesting things… the cool blue tint for U.S. interiors vs. the overexposed yellows in Mexico; the tension between identity and professional image; and the anecdote about Khrushchev and the two letters:
You know, when they forced Khrushchev out, he sat down and wrote two letters to his successor. He said, “When you get yourself into a situation you can’t get out of, open the first letter, and you’ll be safe. When you get yourself into another situation you can’t get out of, open the second letter”. Well, soon enough, this guy found himself into a tight place, so he opened the first letter. Which said, “Blame everything on me”. So he blames the old man, it worked like a charm. He got himself into a second situation he couldn’t get out of, he opened the second letter. It said, “Sit down, and write two letters”.
Haywire. I love when genre films are cooler than they need to be. There’s plenty of moments of playing color and camera angles and audio cuts. The long shots of just running or driving in reverse (!). Quiet fights. Shower-time rummaging. The house with the lights out. The sunset beach scene. The careful, cautious rooftop chase was a nice change from the insane parkour we often see. The use of moody soundtrack reminded me of Manhunter. Carano is a little bit of a robot. It fits, though. Dialogue isn’t too special, but there’s a certain magic that a recognizable ensemble cast brings. I need to see more Steven Soderbergh. Out of Sight was great.
Wall Street. First movie I saw in 2012, because money never sleeps. Michael Douglas and Martin Sheen are really good. I like how Oliver Stone worked in a couple small moments of respite–the sunrise on the beach, the “Who am I?” on the balcony–and then gets right back to business. The only other Stone-directed films I’ve seen are Platoon (pretty good), The Doors (eh), and Natural Born Killers (ugh). I felt a little sad to realize I have little interest in anything else he’s done.