The Neon Demon. This is Nicolas Winding Refn‘s best movie, haters. I think it was More Than One Lesson, their episode on this movie, where Tyler Smith talked about this being a perfect pairing: Refn loves image and surface and sheen, and here he finds characters to match. Mirrors everywhere, all-consumptive. Don’t forget it’s a horror movie.
My Refn power rankings:
- The Neon Demon
- Only God Forgives
- Valhalla Rising
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.
Silence. I confess: I got bored. Maybe someday a different me will have a better go of it. Filed under: Martin Scorsese.
All the Money in the World. It’s perfectly fine! I didn’t know until afterward they re-shot so much of the movie. I respect it for that more than I actually enjoyed it. I will probably never see it again, which always feels a little bit bittersweet. Filed under: Ridley Scott.
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.
The Lost City of Z. I had my eyes on this movie for so, so long. It was the one 2017 film that I was really craving. And I’d loved the book when I read it a few years back, so I had high hopes. All hopes fulfilled! I will watch this one again.
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.
The Village. I’d heard it was among the better of Shyamalan’s but I wasn’t expecting such a… masterpiece? So very, very good. Imagery and structure and theme and camerawork and characterization is all dialed in and thoughtful.
Into the Wild. Man, this dude, as portrayed, was insufferable. Awesome cast.
Once Upon a Time in the West. Third viewing. (First, second.) I heard a snippet of Jill’s Theme and there was no looking back. I had to watch it ASAP. One of my favorite movies, top 5 for sure. Filed under: Sergio Leone.
The Fountain. Second viewing. (The first.) I think I have to bump this up to my favorite Aronofsky. Izzy’s lines drive me a little nuts. Thematic bludgeons. But the visuals, the score, acting, tone, mood, and everything else that’s supporting the themes: on point. Filed under: Darren Aronofsky.
L.A. Confidential. I think I’ve re-watched this on accident two or three times. Somehow it just doesn’t stick, slides right out of my memory.
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. 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…