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  • Boyhood 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 17 Feb, 2015

    Tempting to pull a one liner from the film and turn it into a hot take:

    "So what's the point of all this?"

    or

    "I thought there would be more!"

    But this film can't help but stumble on interesting moments because, yes, they do seize us.

    I like when Mason Jr. is with other people who are wiser than he is, even if the movie doesn't always seem to think so. Something great about the scene when he's confronted in…

  • Selma 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 31 Jan, 2015

    Two things stand out to me about MLK Jr.--two of his emphases--that, when taken together, make for an especially provocative film in SELMA.

    1. The idea of "presenting our very bodies" to make a case before the consciences of people.

    2. "Creative tension" as the purpose of nonviolent protest.

    Taken together, it's a frame that, for me, makes sense of a lot of choices that DuVernay makes. It also makes for effective narrative filmmaking.

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  • The Tree of Life 2011

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 21 Nov, 2014

    Showed the film to students this week.

    I've written quite a bit about The Tree of Life, but I have still often felt that I've not yet articulated why the film's so important to me on a more personal level.

    In the middle of the film when Malick is drawing the obvious contrast between the mother and the father--between the way of grace and the way of nature--he concludes the mother's sequence of scenes with young Jack praying by his…

  • The New World 2005

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 25 Jan, 2014 2

    Maps. Paths. Trees. Faithfulness.

    Post-Rolfe there are two shots in the film of Pocahontas sitting--almost fixtured--in a tree. The first takes place in the midst of a series of edits: wedding ring on finger, sky, Pocahontas in the tree's branches. She's had a branch break (Smith) but she's still reaching toward the light until: "Mother, now I know where you live."

    It seems on the surface obvious to say so, but Bordwell emphasizes that the quickest way to get a…