Song to Song. Rooney Mara might be the best dizzy princess Malick’s ever had. This one also has some of the best music. It’s also one of the few Malick’s to ever make me laugh multiple times. I was surprisingly swept up for the first hour or so. And yet… the staying power wasn’t there for me. Still good, though.
Updated Terrence Malick power rankings:
- Days of Heaven (as if!)
- The New World
- The Thin Red Line
- The Tree of Life (maybe one spot higher?)
- Song to Song
- To the Wonder
- Knight of Cups
That is a solid body of work.
A Ghost Story. I loved this movie. I will probably put it on my favorites-of-2018 list. I like this view of ghosts as sort of outside of time, in both directions. Ghosts as unfinished business. Ghosts with flaws and hang-ups. And the idea that places are saturated with history, and by the same token history isn’t just events in time but in a space. Solid soundtrack, too.
Her. Third viewing. Just as compelling as the first time, though these days the hook seems more unlikely and even more unappealing. Filed under: Spike Jonze.
Kubo and the Two Strings. Absurdly gorgeous for stop-motion animation. I’m so impressed. The plot drags at times, but always dazzling in some way or another.
Carol. I feel like there’s enough there for me to like it more than I do, but it wasn’t for me. I don’t regret watching Blanchett and Mara for a couple hours, though.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I loved the trippy oozy music video opening. Seemed like they were trying to kick off a brand. (I’m glad Fincher didn’t get sucked into a trilogy though). Dunno. It’s good. A little cold. Might as well try some David Fincher rankings. I’ll go with…
- The Social Network
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
- Fight Club
Her. I still like it! (Previously.)
Her. I expected to love it, I did, and I still was pleasantly surprised with some of the mordant humans-are-screwed humor and the science-fiction-y, speculative thoughtfulness. It’s pretty wonderful. Shout-out to movies that rely on conversation and subtle music. Also neat to see a movie set in the comfortable future – nothing crazy here, just a few plausible tweaks that have had some time to settle in. Some of the writing and face-acting didn’t work for me, but for ideas and smarts, I will forgive many things. Also, seeing Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams on screen together again made me want to re-watch The Master.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. Really enjoyed this one. Love the soundtrack, trimmed down to strings and clapping. There’s some DNA of tense Texas slow-pursuit films like No Country for Old Men, crossed with strains of outlaw lover flicks like Badlands and parts of Days of Heaven.
Side Effects. I made this a Soderbergh-takes-on-controlled-substances double-feature with Traffic. Hitchcockian psycho-thriller here. It gets too clever in the final act, but I like that you see new facets of these characters all the way up to the end. I think his understated style helps manage those swings. Soderbergh can be pretty overt with his themes, especially with some side characters that are basically there for social commentary. The leads are strong, though. I totally forgot about the intro and did the jaw-drop forehead-slap thing with the kitchen scene. Good soundtrack tends to linger and push things along, like in Contagion.
And now to catch up on rankings for all the Soderbergh movies I’ve seen:
- Out of Sight
- Magic Mike
- The Girlfriend Experience
- The Informant!
- Ocean’s Eleven
- Side Effects
- Ocean’s Twelve
- Ocean’s Thirteen
Seriously, what a great director. I don’t think you can credibly use the word “mediocre” or even “average” about any of those movies until you get down to number 10 or 11 maybe.