It’s been a dark week but also not entirely unpleasant. Got a lot of work done writing biographies and business blogs, but it’s still pretty cold outside, despite the temperature increasing almost 50 degrees over the last two days.
I’ve watched a few interesting films this week, which is what I want to talk about. I’ll start with today and move backwards.
Electrick Children is about Mormons, I guess, but not the kind we think of. These ones live cloistered off in the middle of nowhere. They seemed like Mennonites and it’s only the internet that told me they’re Mormons. A young girl becomes pregnant after listening to a voice on a tape recorder, and no one knows who the father is but they arrange a marriage so she runs away and meets a Culkin. It’s an okay film. It never really struck me though. It’s a nice enough film but it doesn’t seem to have much to say about anything, not even naivety, which is what the whole affair relies on.
Inside Llewyn Davis is pretty great. It’s the Coen brothers doing a comedy, so it has all those elements you’re looking for. The script is amazing and the acting is awesome and it’s great to watch, to laugh at, to laugh with. It doesn’t really have much to say either, which seems to be a thing about 2013’s films. They don’t have much to say but they have great characters doing interesting enough things. And then there’s this other trend of not resolving anything but just cutting out. I don’t typically mind the lack of a resolution but I think they should be earned, or there should be something there, if only a punchline, which is how Burn After Reading goes about it. Blue Valentine has a great unresolved ending that ends with just life continuing, and it sticks with you because it haunts you. Same with The Master or even There Will Be Blood or No Country for Old Men, and maybe especially Blue is the Warmest Colour, if we’re talking about 2013. But Inside Llewyn Davis, for all the things it does well, ends sort of haphazardly.
It makes me think of American Hustle, which I watched last week but I think I forgot to talk about. Great characters doing interesting things, but all we seem to be left with is a sometimes humorous heist story that wants to be Goodfellas but is mostly just a pastiche of things we’re meant to think of as great. And I think that’s why it’s getting such great reviews. It feels like something that’s the best the year has to offer. It has a great cast, great characters, awesome acting, a cameo from a genre legend, all kinds of odes to older, better films, and there are cops and robbers and gangsters and politicians and funny hair, but it feels–I don’t know–just off. It’s not right and it comes off as just a movie when it could be something more.
Side Effects was pretty interesting, though I’m not sure how I feel about the good guy being a member of the establishment who ultimately abuses his power to clear his name and then enact revenge. But it’s a very interesting film with more twists than American Hustle, which sort of telegraphed everything to the point of the ending being about twenty minutes before the ending. But Side Effects is great and it all feels so real that it’s sort of disorienting when the rug gets pulled out.
Post Tenebras Lux is one of the most interesting films I’ve seen in a while. It’s a collection of moments and scenes and so much seems like it’s disconnected and about nothing, which, of course, is its greatest strength. It feels and looks like life, though I could’ve done without the distracting effects the director used when filming outside shots. But it’s a very personal film with real beauty happening.
The Talented Mr Ripley is a film I somehow haven’t seen, and it’s very cool, but maybe I already talked about it? I feel like I did, but I’ll just say that I love how it ends, unresolved [another example!] and you’re just holding these fragments of ruined lives.
Tonight is Scout’s birthday celebration so tomorrow’s going to hurt. I’m already ready to feel absolutely miserably hungover all day.
We’ll see how tonight goes.
Oh, also, been reading lots of comic books. I don’t know why I never read any of these before, but I’m glad the library’s so close and I can request whatever I want from it because it means I have the whole history of comics just a few blocks away, if I put the requests in.
Till next time.