Trainwreck. Gonna sound like a total old man, but this is a mess. I walked out of the theater thinking, “Okay, that was fun here and there”, and as the week went on I got more and more annoyed. Vulgarity can be fun, but it’s not enough. There’s some super lame homophobic/racist stuff. The main character seems to despise her sister’s child and husband for no good reason. Surprisingly frosty relationship. Interesting that it opens up with strong resistance to anything resembling slut-shaming… and then tells a story leading to a very traditional redemption and triumph. Acting-wise, Schumer is better than I expected. Hader every bit as good. LeBron is magnetic, but his character is just weird. Better writing would have helped him shine. In general, the celeb cameos are lame. There is some lovely physical comedy, though. Like early on, walking down a shitty sidewalk in heels, and a triumphant moment on the boat. And later one, putting an average person next to pro perfomers, and seeing how they compare. That’s great stuff. But the scene exists as a dance ex machina (sorry), and doesn’t work. Where did she find time for that? No idea why Ezra Miller exists in this story. Blah. Cf. The Age of the Jokeless Comedy


Snowpiercer. I keep thinking about this one. There are plenty of logical flaws, loopholes, heavy-handed messaging, whatever. But it’s so cool. The railroad car constraint lends to some great invention with sets and storytelling and form. Evans shows some range you don’t get to see in the Marvel movies. Swinton drives me nuts sometimes, but I really appreciated her role here for both evil and levity. I rank this highly among 2014 releases, in the good company of Edge of Tomorrow, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and The Lego Movie.

We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need to Talk About Kevin. It’s grim, but it’s good. Family horror? The cast is solid across the board. I didn’t see the ending coming, and it’s not even a twist. Smart use of color and food and interior design to suggest other details. Score by Jonny Greenwood. And good timing on this one, as it touches on, here and there, the dehumanizing backlash that follows horrific events and how we struggle to make them meaningful when even those who cause them may or may not know why.

Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom. Wes Anderson is simply not my director. When I wrote about Bottle Rocket, I had the thought:

I wonder if I’d like his movies more if I’d seen them as serials?

I wonder about this because the structural repetition really wears on me over the course of a movie. Repetitive framing, symmetry, truck here, pan there, dolly now and then. It’s like a slideshow sometimes. I respect the precision and fastidiousness, but for most of it I just couldn’t sustain an emotion beyond “that’s kinda neat”. Because I have no heart, basically. Or I don’t function well with magical realism. Or because the script is on the bad side, and while there’s invention, there are no surprises. Everything tidy, labeled, anticipated. It’s not terrible, though. Just frustrating. I did LOL on multiple occasions. And using The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra to open the movie, and then mirroring that work, was clever. Kids run away (main theme), then we follow reactions by the group of scouts, the scout leader, the cop, the parents, and social services (variations). My rankings for Anderson’s films that I’ve seen:

  1. The Darjeeling Limited
  2. The Royal Tenenbaums
  3. Moonrise Kingdom
  4. Bottle Rocket
  5. Rushmore

I Am Love

I Am Love. Not sold on this one. Just like the film deals with genteel restraint and animal passions, there’s a strange balance in the film making where some things are left unsaid, only hinted at–and some parts of the film are maddeningly overt or silly. Good enough to finish, but…