Breathe, Loving Snowman (This Week’s Movies)

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Loving VIncent (courtesy Good Deed Entertainment)

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

The Snowman. “Fassbender is weatherbeaten and completely convincing, and Ferguson and Gainsbourg are excellent in support. But they are fighting against a story that might have been confusing even if the movie didn’t appear to have been edited with an immersion blender.”

Loving Vincent. “There is something psychedelically exciting about seeing the action unfold, so wild are the colors and designs.”

Breathe. “A stubborn strain of unsentimental, even sarcastic, humor.”

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Movie Diary 10/19/2017

Human Flow (Ai Weiwei, 2017). A documentary made by an artist will likely be different from one made by a journalist, and this is proved by Ai Weiwei’s lyrical, haunting film. The subject is the global refugee catastrophe, which you have heard about but not quite “seen” in this way before. Understandably, Ai Weiwei doesn’t provide all the context for every situation (he shot in 23 countries), nor the solutions to the problem. Instead, the film seems to chart how the human soul is withering.

Movie Diary 10/18/2017

Breathe (Andy Serkis, 2017). True story of Robin and Diana Cavendish (played by Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy), who brought disability issues out of the shadows after Robin’s bout of polio in 1958. A worthy offering in this kind of subgenre, with a dash of bitters in the inspirational cocktail. Shot by Robert Richardson, so it looks very nice, too. (full review 10/20)

Movie Diary 10/17/2017

Girl with a Suitcase (Valerio Zurlini, 1961). A big role for the very young Claudia Cardinale, as a woman – dumped unceremoniously in the opening sequence – who is taken up by the ex-boyfriend’s dewy-eyed younger brother. A strange film, but certainly distinctive, and CC is very alive in it.

The Square (Ruben Östlund, 2017). The winner of the Palme d’or at Cannes this year. Not the taut gem that the director created in Force Majeure, but a constently funny, sometimes discursive, occasionally puzzling satire on the art world and how people live today. Claes Bang is a Scandinavian Marcello Mastroianni, maintaining a jaded distance as he navigates the many bizarre curves in the story.

Movie Diary 10/15/2017

Daphne (Peter Mackie Burns, 2017). Impressionistic portrait of a young woman who drifts through a variety of not-very-helpful-to-herself behaviors. These are rendered with empathy and accuracy, and leading lady Emily Beecham puts it all over in a very convincing way. This will undoubtedly make the movie a “tough sell” because the protagonist is “unlikable,” but that makes me think that some people have a funny idea of what likable means.

Lucky Power (This Week’s Movies)

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Harry Dean Stanton: Lucky (courtesy Magnolia Pictures)

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

Lucky. “The makers of Lucky clearly incorporated many of Stanton’s own attitudes into their film, and the result—though completely fictionalized—feels like a tribute to a singular friend.”

The Film Comment site has my piece on the 1968 Byron Haskin-George Pal oddity The Power, part of the TCM Diary. Read it here.

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Movie Diary 10/12/2017

Fort Apache (John Ford, 1948) and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (John Ford, 1949). They hold up rather well. Ford’s great gifts of indirect dialogue and the movement of bodies in the frame (among other great gifts) are amply on display here. You almost don’t notice how well the stories are being told, because of everything else that’s going on – Fort Apache unrolls for about 45 minutes before the puff of smoke appears that actually kicks a plot into motion; everything up to then has been careful character-building and mood-setting and life-establishing.