by Ryland Walker Knight
—Get your atlas
- Les dames du Bois du Bologne [Robert Bresson, 1945] Somehow had never seen this one yet. Definitely stands out from the others with its professional actors, but the timing and the cynicism are the same. Sure, we reach a moment of grace, too, however you can't say Bresson exactly trusts people. Some beautiful mise-en-scène, as ever, as well, like the moment I tried to replicate below (gifs don't always work...) and every scene with a car. The start-stop will-he-go post-nuptial back-and-forth breakdown is about as perfect a visual representation of Jean's idiocy as imaginable.
- Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call: New Orleans [Werner Herzog, 2009] This isn't a conversion, nor a remake. But boy is it good and fun. Cage is beyond "good" here (on the good-to-bad scale), and I'd like to think it's something about the hairdo, first, that gets it going. More surprising, though, is what Steve already alluded to: at bottom this is a love story. Just makes me wish Eva Mendes was a better actress; Werner can only do so much. In any case, I really wish it had a different title if only becuse then we wouldn't be forced to compare it to Abel's movie. That said, what else are you gonna call it? —Iguana cam is the best joke of the year?
- The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou [Wes Anderson, 2004] # So special. Made me feel lonely, but also whole, which is nice; I think that's the goal with these fableish jamborees Wes makes. Such a true image movie, too, with all that (pace DC) unmoored madness. Easily Wes' freest film. And just about every line of dialogue is a zinger, a knee-slapper. [BTW: I put it on my list of Five Favorite Comedies of the 00s, hosted by my buds Mike and Sean at the Metro Classics blog.]
- Star Trek [J.J. Abrams, 2009] So much lens flare it's hilarious. And so much bathos lit like that that it almost becomes real pathos. I won't lie: it was really easy to get wrapped up in, and buy into, because the cast is good and the storytelling damned efficient and the "cool factor" is pretty spot on. The coolest thing, though, is the conceit of "alternate realities" as a way to address the new cast reboot ballyhoo. This Abrams guy may not know how to shoot anything, but he sure does know about structure, and myths.
—The light that failed