Movie Diary 12/13/2021

The Card Counter (Paul Schrader, 2021). A loner (Oscar Isaac) with a damaged background makes the rounds of casinos, bringing in just enough so that the management doesn’t mind his ability to count cards and reliably win. Schrader’s antiseptically neat style (which is flagrantly violated in flashbacks) fits his character, and the movie is compelling even when its ideas seem to fall into predictable channels.

C’mon C’mon (Mike Mills, 2021). New one from the director of Twentieth Century Woman and Beginners, which is another way of saying, a filmmaker on whose wavelength I almost never find myself. Thanks to the efforts of Joaquin Phoenix and Gabby Hoffman, plus the engaging kid actor Woody Norman, this one is more tolerable. It’s in black-and-white, for reasons that are obscure to me.