Friday, August 31, 2018

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

2011, UK/France, directed by Tomas Alfredson

Sunday, August 19, 2018


2011, US, directed by Kenneth Branagh

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Set It Up

2018, US, directed by Claire Scanlon

Friday, August 17, 2018

Mission: Impossible -- Fallout

2018, US, directed by Christopher McQuarrie

Winter of our Dreams

1981, Australia, directed by John Duigan

A mixed bag of a film, with the central drama perhaps less interesting today than the Sydney backdrop, with Bryan Brown trying to retrace the life of an old flame in the aftermath of her suicide, and connecting with a mutual friend, played by Judy Davis. Brown's character is frustrating in his emotional closure (some critiques appear to fault the actor for this, and perhaps he and Davis didn't hit it off, but his character's affect is clearly motivated by the plot), a contrast to his usual garrulous charm of the period, whereas Davis is much more engaging even if her character lacks nuance. The sense of characters reliving and re-evaluating their youthful enthusiasms is at times quite sharp, as is the sketch of Sydney politics/development of the time, however much in the background.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


2009, South Korea, directed by Bong Joon-ho

Sunday, August 05, 2018

L'Eau froide

1994, France, directed by Olivier Assayas

A formative film for me, one I saw originally on the big screen in November 1994, and it was as impressive as I recalled, the large screen really enhancing the immersive experience, particularly in the lengthy, and quite extraordinary, party sequence. It's interesting, though, how the memory plays tricks -- that sequence looms so large in my mind that I had forgotten just how much of the film precedes it, and how much additional detail we get on the lives of the protagonists. I had forgotten entire sections, too, such as the extended scene in the police station where Virginie Ledoyen speaks with Jean-Pierre Darroussin (indeed, I had no recollection that the actor was in the film). The film is incredibly rich in detail, feeling very much of that post-1968 moment in which it is set -- the challenge to parental and social authorities (schools, doctors), the integration of various immigrant populations, the hints at the desirability of a return to the land, the apparent hopelessness of youth in the Pompidou years, etc. There are details of performance and filming structure, too, that make a big impression -- the repetition of the motif of handing something from one hand to another (records, money, a hash pipe), the way that Jackie Berroyer fretfully holds his hands together, even the contrast between how young and old dress and interact, as well as the bone-deep chill of the weather (people putting on coats even inside, never mind in the frigid final sequences). 

Friday, August 03, 2018

120 battements par minute

2017, France, directed by Robin Campillo

A fascinating fictionalized counterpart to the American documentary How to Survive a Plague; both films look at the early years of their respective countries' Act Up movements, combating official indifference or indeed active malfeasance in relation to those with HIV/AIDS. The film doesn't hew strictly to the historical record, but is deeply invested in depicting Act Up's unique, tension-filled internal debate process, never sugarcoating the robust discussions. It also gives an exceptionally strong sense of how the realities of the time period impacted gay identity (gay men are the most prominent activists, though part of the French debate was to ensure adequate representation of all affected constituencies), with the suggestion that this is very different for subsequent generations. 


List of all movies

Most of the images here are either studio publicity stills or screen captures I've made myself; if I've taken your image without giving you credit, please let me know.

About Me

Boston, Massachusetts, United States