Movie Diary 9/25/2013

Rush (Ron Howard, 2013). Sweet cars and loud sounds: Ron Howard seems pretty comfortable here. The director’s usual hero/villain schematics are upset by the presence of two complicated real-life characters, 70s drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, which means this ends up being Howard’s best movie in years. Plus, in the squaresville, early-to-bed technician Lauda, Howard clearly finds a protagonist he can identify with. (full review 9/27)

Passion (Brian De Palma, 2013). It would be nice to mount an auteurist defense of this movie and see its clumsy obviousness as self-awareness or its awkward acting as a deliberate distancing device. But I’m not going to do it. A real misfire – though at least it goes into the hothouse in the final reels. (full review 9/27)

Baggage Claim (Daniel E. Talbert, 2013). Romcom, with Paula Patton. Ends at an airport. (full review 9/27)

The Glass Menagerie (Paul Newman, 1986). This version has fallen through the cracks, but was dug up enough to serve as a tribute to Karen Allen for the Port Townsend Film Festival last Saturday night. Where it did cast a spell.

Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton (Stephen Silha, Eric Slade, 2013). A genuinely deft bio-documentary, in which the experimental filmmaker gets his proper treatment, complete with excerpts from Broughton’s films, a few lingering regrets, and the voice of Pauline Kael (she and Broughton had a daughter together). Stray thought: Kael is right when she calls Broughton’s This Is It (1970) a perfect little film.

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