Movie Annotations: February–March

It’s that time in the semester when I feel like all I do is grade stuff. Even when I read The New Yorker now I start to feel compelled to comment in the margins –– right hand twitching as if on cue.

But I have taken time to see a few interesting films in the past two months which I wanted to jot down so that I don’t forget them, and in case you need a recommendation. (Sorry, The Artist! –– you didn’t make the list.)

1 & 2. Moneyball and Drive. I watched these both on OnDemand the same day –– a few days before the Oscars last month. Neither film won anything, I don’t recall. I love Aaron Sorkin’s writing; it’s fairly consistently smart, and Brad Pitt’s acting seems to get better as he ages (at least I think so; excepting Ben Buttons or whatever that was). Jonah Hill was great too. And Drive was more compelling than I was expecting it to be. I confess, I mostly watched it for Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. I think I would watch them in anything, so perhaps I’m a bit biased there.

The film had this lovely 80s noir feel that I’m quite keen on. I wasn’t expecting that.

3. Heartbeats. The next three movies I watched on Netflix Instant Watch. (No, I don’t get out much in the winter –– or at least not to the cinémathèque.) Heartbeats (written/directed/starring Xavier Dolan) is about two friends (Marie et Francis) who both fall in love with the idealized/unattainable Adonis, Nicolas. The three of them are just so achingly beautiful on screen. As I was watching it, I felt like I was in a spell: like their triangulated desire had transferred & ensnared me; that I had fallen in love with all three of them.


4. Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and The Magnetic Fields. I mean –– but you know I quite like The Magnetic Fields, so. And seeing Carrie Brownstein pop up at one point alleviated a bit of my current Portlandia withdrawal.

5. Last night I watched Obselidia, which I had been quite excited to see for awhile, ever since hearing about it on NPR (wow, was that already two years ago?); about a librarian creating an encyclopedia of obsolete things. (Sort of like Defunct magazine; oh, look!) George, the librarian, collects and interviews people whom he believes are going extinct (like Sophie, a film projectionist); his apartment is filled with view-masters, slide projectors, and rotary telephones. But: I dunno. I quite liked the first third with meditations on libraries and antiquated objects and a mention of Sebald’s Rings of Saturn. And the last ten minutes were nice: with the refrain that something isn’t obsolete if at least one person loves it. But there was a large chunk in the middle –– when they’re out in the desert –– that I just found a little too-too, you know? But at least watch the first 30 minutes, before it gets so pedantic.

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