Movie Diary 12/4/2017

BPM (Robin Campillo, 2017). Catching up on things I missed this year. This one – a hurtling story of some ACT UP agitators in Paris – is coming closest to getting on a Top Ten list for me. It has an incredibly fluid forward motion, and a marvelous sense of how people can be something other than heroes or villains (the ACT UP protestors are the movies’s protagonists, but we are allowed to see the excesses of their protests). It’s a true ensemble, with Nahuel Pérez Biscayart in a commanding performance at the center of it.

Nocturama (Bertand Bonello, 2017). The first half is a David Fincher-like execution of a terrorist attack by a group of young people in Paris; the second half is a Breakfast Club-like interlude as the conspirators wait out a long night in a department store. Fascinating idea for a movie, and never less than engrossing.

Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig, 2017). Lovely performances and lots of keenly bittersweet observations in Gerwig’s solo directing debut. I guess this has a 100 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and is near-unprecedented in that score. That makes sense – there is very little here to dislike, which is one of the things that makes me suspicious about it.

Last Flag Flying (Richard Linklater, 2017). Something of a long-delayed sequel to The Last Detail, with Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell, and Laurence Fishburne in roles that echo (but have different names from) the roles played by Jack Nicholson, Randy Quaid, and Otis Young in the original. An interesting experiment, although you really miss the screw-loose quality of Hal Ashby’s film, especially as embodied by Nicholson’s indelible personality.

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