The week in movies, 23–29 January 2015

2015-01-25/26 Senna

People say “even if you don’t like motorsport you’ll like this” and it’s true. Very involving documentary and an interesting figure, very tragic (though of course it plays that way moreso when you know they’ll die too young at the end). Would have appreciated more insight into F1 racing in general so we could have felt more educated about what was special and amazing about Senna, but they did a relatively good ‘basic’ job of it. The moment where the doctor says that he’d suggested that both he and Senna could quit and just go fishing was heartbreaking.

2015-01-26 Shame

A strange movie in its lack of “plot”, more of a character study, but a relatively engaging one. Strange subject matter, but treated seriously enough that it usually felt worthwhile. The moment of Fassbinder crouched over his sister, naked, his towel having fallen off, shaking her and shouting was disturbing and powerful. Discovered after watching that Steve McQueen is a black guy which probably shouldn’t have been as surprising as it was. I guess it’s mostly a dumb association with the white actor McQueen and also generic racism on my part.

2015-01-26 Gomorra

We didn’t finish this one. Got about 40 minutes in and were essentially bored and saw it had more than an hour and a half left, so no. That said it was interesting in its boringness. Specifically it opened with a “hit” scene with lots of gun shots to the head and action, but then the rest was kind of lethargic, which felt like a commentary on American gangster movies. The boring life of the mafia, especially the trivia of the guy going around giving ex-dons etc. their “pension” money and worrying about their plumbing. (I think this is what was happening?) The banality of evil?

2015-01-26/27 The Holy Mountain

What an amazing movie this was to watch. It’s kind of impossible to pull out any one particular standout scene because each one seemed more bizarre than the next – incredible visual design throughout. Really it was a big surprise to me to enjoy it as much as I did. Interesting how it seemed to “make sense” somehow, within its own frame. If I were picking out an image I’d say it was of a guy kneeling in front of a pile of severed arms with dead people lying crowded along a street in the background and a yellowish smoke rolling up the street and over everything. Whoa.

2015-01-27 Ouija

A paint-by-numbers horror movie ticking off the tropes. Scary figure seen through lens. Zombie-faces. Sewn-together lips. Person dragged by invisible force through dark doorway. Haunted house. Haunted object. Tragic family backstory with-a-twist. And so on. Not a shred of innovation in the piece. I maybe heard it was basically an ad for Ouija boards, so I guess it’s not so surprising.

2015-01-28 Tabloid

An Errol Morris documentary about a nutty woman who kidnaps a mormon and then goes on to be stalked by the paparazzi, gets attacked by one dog, clones a different dog, and on and on into her memoire. Very odd stuff. A real “personality”. Hard to know what to say about it though. Engaging throughout, but strange how the “plot” kind of snaked and jagged away from what I thought it was “about”, and how that irked me a bit, which is odd in itself. As if I’m owed a structured narrative in a documentary.

2015-01-28 – The Tree of Life

We’re slowly going through this. It’s kind of boring and the family-family stuff is leaving me mighty cold but I think I admire the poetry of image and the ambitions in visual aesthetic in terms of its sweep and presumed philosophical intent?

29 January 2015
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