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  • Never Look Away

    Never Look Away

    So, this film contains a pivotal scene wherein the protagonist takes a turn from the abstract art he's been trying to conceive and has a go at rendering paintings copying photographs. (He later distorts them a bit, but that is not part of this scene.) The music that plays here is "What Power Art Thou? (The Cold Genius)" from Henry Purcell's King Arthur. This makes something of a kind of sense, as the painter is going "back to basics", and…

  • Eighth Grade

    Eighth Grade

    Small moments that accumulate on a re-watch:

    - the band director's braided rat tail hair.

    - the mother of the popular girl glancing up to see if Kayla's dad is still there as she lets her in; the only evidence of her unseen husband is an off-screen argument about the delivery of the birthday cake. There's another potential movie hiding here. Franchise!

    - Kayla finally gathers the courage to go to the pool -- only for the sliding door to…

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  • Eyes Wide Shut

    Eyes Wide Shut

    One of the more persistent aspects of Kubrick's films is that the immediate critical response to them, particularly in the latter half of his career, was mixed, but their consensus reputation improved over time. I think there are two reasons for this.

    One, each film from, say, 2001 forward, is in several respects a reversal of the previous film. Dr. Strangelove was an encapsulation of his most notable prior work, crossing the savage critique of inhuman bureaucracy from Paths of…

  • Knight of Cups

    Knight of Cups

    It was once asserted to me in conversation that movies with complicated worlds lent themselves to simple stories, whereas movies set in more easily-understandable worlds are more available for complicated stories. As such, fantasy films often have Manichean characters pursuing basic goals -- find The Grail, destroy The Ring -- and stories set in contemporary times, thus needing less effort to explain the world and its rules, can spend more time developing more elaborate characters and stories (obviously, this conversation…