Voyeur

1. Should the statute of limitations be allowed to run out on sick fucks like this guy?

2. If it was this easy way back then, how much simpler must it be today, with all of our miniaturized cameras and other electronics?

3. Is Gay Talese as guilty in his own way, a bit overly eager for the salacious tidbit, to the point where fact-checking becomes an afterthought?

Magic Mike

Channing Tatum cancels out Matthew McConaughey. I always like the former, and I’m always annoyed by the latter. Not what I’d expect from Steven Soderbergh, but this is pretty fun – more for the energy than for the depth of the material.

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.

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!

Moonlight

The most quietly powerful film you are likely to see this year. Very, very well done. There is nothing fancy here, and the director has restrained himself at all the right times. And yet this movie sears itself into your memory.

The three actors who play Chiron at various ages need to be jointly nominated for Best Actor, and this film is my choice for Best Picture at the Academy Awards this year…

X-Rated – The Greatest Adult Movies of All Time

Um, yeah, this felt like it was made for like $10,000. Interesting to get the views today of those who make these “greatest adult movies of all time,” but ultimately not the most exciting doc I’ve ever seen, whatever the subject matter…

Fifty Shades of Grey

When you cast two relative unknowns as the leads in your film – particularly when they are the only ones onscreen for 80% of the time – it’s important that they be able to act. While Dakota Johnson is not terrible – she can at least emote, and has expressive eyes – Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey is simply awful.

And then there’s the script… but I won’t waste time here…

Simply compare this film to something much more compelling, interesting, challenging, and, yes, titillating, such as Gaspar Noe’s Love

Love

Gaspar Noe can make a memorable film, I’ll give him that.

There’s been a lot of press about how Love is a pornographic film, and to classify it as such and dismiss it would be the easy way out. But I do think it goes deeper.

“I want to make movies out of blood, sperm and tears,” and “My dream is to make a movie that truly depicts sentimental sexuality.” When Noe has his lead actor spouting lines like that, you might expect super cliché. But Noe means it.

The clincher is having relative unknown actors actually having sex on camera. This, together with voice-over to give us direct insight into what the lead character is thinking, make Love pretty much impossible to stop watching.

Despite my extreme dislike of the character of the main character, I give this a thumbs-up.

 

Anomalisa

I think the best one-line description of this movie that I read was something to the effect of “the most human movie of the year, and it doesn’t star a single human.”

A much deeper analysis of the film is given here. This is a brilliant explanation of the film through the lens of Schopenhauer’s philosophy. For example, what he thought of puppets:

“The human race…presents itself as puppets that are set in motion by an internal clockwork…. I have said that those puppets are not pulled from outside, but that each of them bears in itself the clockwork from which its movements result. This is the will-to-live manifesting itself as an untiring mechanism, as an irrational impulse, which does not have its sufficient ground or reason in the external world.”

We are puppets who alternate between desire and, when those desires are fulfilled, boredom. From the above NY Review of Books review:

“One way of dealing with the boredom of our own needs might be to complicate them unnecessarily, so as always to have something new to desire. Human needs, Schopenhauer thought, are not in their essence complex. On the contrary, their “basis is very narrow: it consists of health, food, protection from heat and cold, and sexual gratification; or the lack of these things.” Yet on this narrow strip we build the extraordinary edifice of pleasure and pain, of hope and disappointment! Not just salmon, but wild-caught Copper River Alaskan salmon almandine! And all to achieve exactly the same result in the end; health, food, covering, and so on:

[Man] deliberately intensifies his needs, which are ordinarily scarcely harder to satisfy than those of the animal, so as to intensify his pleasure: hence luxury, confectionery, tobacco, opium, alcoholic drinks, finery and all that pertains to them.”

Is it the guilty recognition of oneself in these characters – or at least the principle character Michael – that makes the film so poignant?

Michael sees everyone outside of himself as basically the same person. You notice that – until Michael meets Lisa – all the other characters have the same voice, and all seem interchangeable, even down to the face plates that could be swapped out – a kind of mask that we all wear? Is there a simple explanation?

“…notice the name of the hotel Michael has just checked himself into: the Fregoli, a reference to the Fregoli delusion, a rare psychiatric disorder in which a person believes that many different people are in fact a single person. But a narrowly neurological interpretation of Anomalisa (i.e., the trouble with Michael is he has a brain lesion) can’t account, I don’t think, for the profound identification the viewer feels with Michael’s experience, or the strong part desire plays in the scheme of his suffering.”

Desire. Want, and the fulfillment of that want, leading to an endless cycle of wanting more. Again, Schopenhauer:

“Desiring lasts a long time, demands and requests go on to infinity; fulfillment is short and is meted out sparingly. But even the final satisfaction itself is only apparent; the wish fulfilled at once makes way for a new one.”

“Still, amid Schopenhauer’s pessimism there is this shred of light: compassion. Even if the idea that we have separate bodies at all is a form of illusion (only enabled by the supporting illusions of space, time, and causality), these bodies of ours still feel pain, still suffer when they are subjugated, oppressed, exploited, or simply laughed at. For Michael (and Kaufman) certain women are both a vital source of this compassion and the unique recipients of it. Lisa, for Michael, is an anomaly. An Anomalisa. And this compassion, this choosing of each other, is objectified in their miraculous voices: David Thewlis’s Northern English mix of reticence, pragmatism, and despair, and Leigh’s cloud-free all-American innocence.”

Makes me want to read some Schopenhauer…