Tuesday, February 8, 2022

2022

 2/6/22 I watched Felicity Morris' The Tinder Swindler.  Fairly compelling story on Netflix told in a thrown together manner.  

6/12/22 I watched Jeremiah Zagar's Hustle.  I will be the first to admit.  When it comes to sports films, I am willing to ignore and let slide stylistic elements I normally can't get past.  If you are like me and can be moved by Hollywood sports films like Hoosiers, CreedEddie the Eagle or The Way Back, this Sandler vehicle will most likely hook you in.  It is the type of underdog story and story of redemption that Hollywood can really deliver.    

9/1/22 I watched Claire Denis' Both Sides of the Blade.  Although I have not rewatched most of Denis' films, I have seen the following at least once - Chocolat, S'en fout la mort, J'ai pas sommeil, US Go Home, Nenette et Boni, Beau travail, Trouble Every Day, Vendredi soir, L'intrus, 35 rhums, Let the Sunshine In, High Life and Both Sides of the Blade.  It seems that her work can be divided into at least two categories, films that make for fairly comfortable viewing (for instance, I place Nenette, Vendredi35 and Let the Sunshine into this category) and work that is as up there with some of the cinema's most harrowing.  In this latter category, to begin with I would list J'ai pas sommeil, Trouble and Both Sides of the Blade.  It isn't gratuitous, there is a fearlessness at times with the way that Denis films the body and her ability, like Lynch, to burrow into raw and deeply disturbing situations involving her characters.  I am thinking about the long murder sequence involving Dalle or almost any moment with Camille or nearly second Colin is on screen.   

9/2/22 I watched Jordan Peele's Nope.  I was a huge fan of Get Out, much less so of Us and I would rank this one a distant second behind Peele's debut.  Peele has important ideas that he explores around race and even around the cinema's history.  While his dialogue at times is as sharp and cool as Tarantino's, he lacks Tarantino's ability at creating cinematically affecting visceral moments.  Peele also could have really benefitted from someone this time out editing and paring the whole thing down.

9/14/22 I watched Barney Douglas' McEnroe.  McEnroe is one of the great talkers and that part of the documentary is enjoyable even if there is very little new that emerges.

10/9/22 I watched James Gray’s Armageddon Time.  Gray comes back to a smaller canvas after Ad Astra and The Lost City of Z and the result feels personal.  Gray has always been adept at treading in familiar territory with touches that keep his work from feeling cliched and predictable.  Often he does it by privileging character over plot even at the risk of losing a certain forward momentum in his work.  There is mention of Kandinsky and abstract art and ultimately that is what Gray seems to be doing, holding up certain impressionistic moments in pursuit of a more liberated form.

12/18/22 I watched Olivier Assayas' Irma Vep.  There is no film I have seen made in 2022 that has as much to say about what cinema has been and what it can be as it turns 127.  Of course there are remnants of Feuillade but in this opus it would be hard also not to think of Lynch's work in TV, Jarmusch's approach to music in Dead Man and Rivette's career of exploring meta.  Vincent Macaigne embodies the greatest and most complex depiction of a filmmaker the medium has ever given us while Assayas inhabits the specter of JLG to give us a work that manages all at once to flood us with emotions and ideas.   

12/24/22 I watched Alain Guiraudie's Nobody's Hero.  It has much to say about France's current racial issues even if I found it a bit muddled in its subtext and conception.  

12/26/22 I watched James Cameron's Avatar: The Way of Water.  Way too long.  I admire Cameron's ambition and ability to transport us somewhere else but he overstays his welcome by about an hour.

1/24/22 I watched Steven Speilberg's The Fabelmans.  Spielberg's most autobiographical film to date is full of a few touching moments like the final scene with John Ford but mostly I found it unsure in its acting, tone, and emotional arc.  

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