Northfork. Third movie I saw at Ebertfest. It’s really bizarre and I really liked it. In this one, there’s a small town that’s about to be flooded as a new lake is constructed. Some G-men types are hired to evacuate people (a pair of lovers; a guy who nailed himself to his front porch, waiting gun in hand; a man who built an ark for himself and his two wives). There’s also a storyline with a small dying orphan boy who has dreams with imagery that draw from the knick-knacks on his bedside table: a cup of tea, a model plane, a Bible, pillow and its feathers, a model hand, a music box. So, a story of transitions and leave-takings. But for all that, it has its light moments like some really droll, straightfaced wordplay delivered without a hint of knowingness (“fowl play”, “What are you talking about Willis?”), a quartet of angels looking for a chosen one, and some weird gags like the guessing game at the diner. There’s a blend of Catholic, Mormon, and Amish local influence along with some magical realism. So, a really, really odd one. Some of the drama is a little flat, but I love the imagination.
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. 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.