A Ghost Story

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.

War for the Planet of the Apes

War for the Planet of the Apes. Kind of a bummer. At first I was really into the melodrama. Eventually, it became very tedious. It seemed like they were stopping for a sappy moment every 5-10 minutes. The Gollum/Jar Jar ape didn’t help. I also don’t understand why a crucial character uses a crossbow in a world with guns. Another hang-up was that I couldn’t figure out how the world fit together. That’s one thing I liked about Rise… and Dawn… – the geography was clear. You knew who was where. This one started in those awesome rainforests, then moved to a snowscape, and then to the Sierras? Or Tahoe? The previous ones were strong in that they felt like our world. I don’t know what happened to it here. Bummer. Filed under: Planet of the Apes.

Margaret

Margaret. The first film of the new year was so damn good. Takes the everyday and shows its operatic moments. The surly, volatile teen protagonist is all of us at some point, many points – heroes of our own story, center of the universe, disappointed by and disappointing those who care about us. One especially nice touch is the sound. Throughout there are interludes where you hear snippets of other conversations, city life, sometimes even more clearly than the main characters. Loved it. Bright Wall/Dark Room did an entire issue about Margaret; lots of good reading there. The only other Lonergan movie I’ve seen is Manchester By the Sea. Solid, but I’d rank this one way, way higher.

Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler. Third viewing. (First, second.) What a creep. Not sure if it’s coincidence or foresight, but this movie anticipated so many of today’s headline issues – journalism and technology, display over discernment, race, class, economics, sexual misconduct in the workplace, narcissism, freelance desperation, moral compromise. It’s all there. And Bill Paxton is so great. RIP.

Noah

Noah. I didn’t know much going in (except for, you know, one of the most famous Bible stories). There was a good bit of fantasy-type and action-hero stuff that, uh, I wasn’t anticipating. Overall, pretty darn good. The flood scene juxtaposing the Ark and the small spit of land – completely gutting. And I don’t know how that Creation scene works so well, but it’s such a genius interlude…