Mockingjay Force (This Week’s Movies)

Jennifer Lawrence, idling for most of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

Jennifer Lawrence, idling for most of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Links to reviews I published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. “The movies have always felt a little off – the satire mixed with straight melodrama, the cartoonish touches set next to heart-tugging sentiment.”

Force Majeure. “Ruben Ostlund’s conception of the movie is ingenious.”

And a holiday preview thingie. (Link to come.)

At the Overlook Podcast, Steve Scher and I eventually get around to discussing Mockingjay, although it seems fitting to spend time talking first about John Cleese, Steve’s interview subject from a few days earlier. Listen here.

On the non-movie front, my wife and I recently contributed recollections of living with Meniere’s Disease to the Vestibular Disorders Association website, which published them here. Please consider giving a donation to this helpful organization.

Movie Diary 11/20/2014

Foxcatcher (Bennett Miller, 2014). The weird story of millionaire John du Pont, Olympic wrestling, and murder. The movie’s glazed atmosphere seems to key off Steve Carell’s performance as du Pont, which makes even a simple scene of a man eating ramen in his apartment seem full of the creeps. Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo play wrestling siblings – they walk with the same muscled gait – who come to stay at the rich man’s place. (full review 12/19)

MovieDiary 11/19/2014

Horrible Bosses 2 (Sean Anders, 2014). Well hey, even at this lowbrow level it’s good to be able to say that a sequel is better than the original. And this one is, especially with its energetic, comedy-savvy trio of Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis riffing their way through raunchy set-ups. (full review 11/26)

Movie Diary 11/18/2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay–Part 1 (Francis Lawrence, 2014). Well, this is undeniably the first part of a two-part finale for the big franchise. Yep. One thing about seeing the screening tonight: A burned-in title, the kind you see on preview DVDs, appeared on screen at the beginning and remained there for the entirety of the film. Technical glitch or the way these things will happen from now on? I assume it’s an anti-piracy thing, but this is not good. (full review 11/21) Postscript: The publicist says the watermark was a one-time-only glitch, and this is not the wave of the future.

Movie Diary 11/17/2014

Force Majeure (Ruben Östlund, 2014). This one is a droll and discomfiting study of a seemingly perfect family on vacation at a ski resort. That’s as much as you should know before you see it, but you can anticipate a great ending. (full review 11/21)

The Velvet Underground Tarot Cards (Andy Warhol, 1966). The Seattle Art Museum showed this 65-minute opus in 16 mm. Lots of snap-zooms, indecipherable conversation, and Andy’s attention-deficit camera be-bopping around the room. It’s a test of patience, but there’s something interesting going on, too – you realize that the point of attending this party isn’t to engage in conversation or hear anything especially interesting, but just to be there and watch and take it all in. Which is what Warhol does. The members of the VU, including Nico, are in it.

The Theory of Rosewater Camp (This Week’s Movies)

Kim Bodnia and Gael Garcia Bernal, in Rosewater.

Kim Bodnia and Gael Garcia Bernal, in Rosewater.

Links to my reviews this week in Seattle Weekly and the Herald, and etc.

The Theory of Everything. “Catches a frank, worldly view of the way things happen sometimes.” (In case of Herald paywall, Seattle Weekly version here.)

Rosewater. “Irony is the only thing standing between us and madness.” (Weekly link here.)

Camp X-Ray. “Watchable for its minimalist style and its dedicated performances.”

Sunday November 16 I’ll be at the Frye Art Museum presenting “Time as a Character in Contemporary Film,” a look at how filmmakers such as Richard Linklater, Bela Tarr, and Tsai Ming-liang incorporate the idea of Time in their movies. That’s at 2 p.m., and the talk is free. More info here.

Two episodes of the Overlook Podcast to catch up on. In the first, Steve Scher and I talk about Interstellar and other spacey things; listen here. The second is a take on Rosewater; drop in here.

Movie Diary 11/11/2014

Camp X-Ray (Peter Sattler, 2014). A guard (Kristen Stewart) at Guantanamo comes to know a prisoner (Peyman Moaadi, from A Separation) – oops, a “detainee.” What follows is sincere and expected, although the two performances and the expressive use of closed-in spaces make it interesting. (full review 11/14)


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