Knight of Cups

Terrence Malick just seems to be able to make whatever movie he wants, starring whoever he’s interested in filming, based solely on his reputation. Christian Bale is not the most intriguing guy for the lead here, in my opinion. The rest of the cast however seems just right.

Less intriguing I think than most of his earlier work. But still, unmistakably Malick.

Manchester by the Sea

I was told this was slow-moving. It was. And yet it never lagged. It’s a simple story, told without any flourishes. Straightforward cinematography, lighting, wardrobe, shot on location. I expected more yelling and screaming, more crying…

But it’s all about the dialogue and the acting. This is an example of ‘simple is best.’ Or almost best. I’m still glad that an equally quiet and straightforward film, Moonlight, won the Oscar for best picture this year. And Casey Affleck? He may have been the most deserving of the nominees, but I still think that Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes should have been jointly awarded Best Actor for their work as Chiron in Moonlight

I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore

This wants to be indy weirdness, luring you in with its awkward, schlumpy protagonist girl, teaming up with her equally nerdy neighbor (played nicely by Elijah Wood) to exact (very) bloody revenge on some methed-out local thieves who ransack her apartment.

And in fact it is. And not just for the shuriken in the face, or the buckets of vomit… but possibly because it syncs so well with the current zeitgeist of angst that so many of us are experiencing. Good timing for a movie whose message, according to the director, is “don’t be a dick.”

Closet Monster

Feels like a teen angst movie from the ’80s, if John Hughes had made films about a closeted gay guy in the ’90s, with a Canadian accent and a good deal of blood.

I didn’t realize that Isabella Rossellini was the voice of the pet hamster… that makes it all the better.

Love & Friendship

This should be fertile ground for Whit Stillman, that lover of manners, class mores, and dialogue. And it’s enjoyable, but somehow lacks the punch of his more contemporary efforts – watch them first!

Girlfriend’s Day

There just wasn’t enough movie here. Who thought an interesting movie could be made around a greeting card writer? Even if it is Bob Odenkirk? The material is not good enough. I lost interest, and now I can’t remember any plot details…

Eisenstein in Guanajuato

Not a major work. Not, apparently, very historically accurate. Not as interesting as basically any other Greenaway film that comes to mind.

And yet, still compelling enough to want to watch through to the end,  which says something about the director… If you like penises and food poisoning, check it out!

Minimalism

As someone who owns 18 chairs (paired down from 20), I might be considered the target audience for this film. There’s something to be said for rejecting consumer culture, and the constant lust for buying something new.

There was no mention of Marie Kondo, but her philosophy seems less extreme, more balanced, than that of the Minimalist guys, who seem to live out of backpacks, with 4 shirts and pants and socks, and little else. Yes, their goal is happiness, but might that not include things that bring joy to one’s life?

What about objects that have real meaning, or real utility. Art? A painting or a sculpture in my home… is that okay? Things that were handed down to me by my parents or grandparents, a ring or a book or a pocket knife – can I keep those?

As always, balance…

Rats

O.M.G. I’ve never been afraid of mice or rats, but this brings a whole new level of gross to the table. The diseases that they carry, and can transmit to humans so easily, make them a huge menace, whether or not you ever see them… When we destroy the planet, cockroaches and rats are going to rule…

The Seven Five

In an era when dash cams and citizens with cell phones record the worst kind of police brutality and abuse of power, this story may seem like a quaint piece of history, but in his day… there was police corruption, and then there was Michael Dowd. Wow. This guy was epic, with his cash grabs and protection of dealers, etc.

However, in his testimony, as well as in the filmed interviews, he comes across as a pretty stand-up guy. And the fact that he refused to implicate any other of his fellow officers raises him in my estimation. I don’t think he ever shot anybody without justifiable cause…