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Month: April 2022

Letterboxd Movie Reviews

I’m experimenting with posting my Letterboxd reviews here, since eventually you have to learn your lesson about hosting your own content. We’ll see how it goes. I’d prefer to filter out the ratings without reviews.

Slow Horses, Episode 5

Saskia Reeves is awfully good in Slow Horses. As with more or less everything in both the original novels and the TV show, it’s a slow reveal. They show us the failures that the Slough House denizens have become, and you have to be patient to see the talents — however rusty — that balance out the failings.

So up front, Catherine Standish is an aging grey haired alcoholic. I’ve just finished episode 5 of the first season, which is where she lifts her head and sees a chance and takes it. The really good bit is when Reeves makes it clear that her character is incredibly pleased to have gotten this one right, with the slightest shy smile.

I won’t spoil the books but I did say that the talents “balance out” the failings, didn’t I? Not “overcome.” Such a good series. I’ve read them and can promise that reading them won’t mar your enjoyment of the TV show.

Episode 5 shows that transition for a few characters, actually, protagonists and antagonists alike. People get serious. It’s a nice inflection point before the season finale, in which much of that seriousness will be at cross purposes.

The Gleaners and I, 2000 – ★★★★½

What a tapestry. To glean is to take that which is discarded and make use of it. That’s food. That’s the raw materials of art. That’s the delightful flexibility of Varda’s new-found digital camera: specifically, to make the point, the accidental footage of the lens cap dancing at the end of a string. That’s the aging human body, not just her own, but the weathered faces of those who’ve lived rough most of their lives.

That’s people themselves. Varda wasn’t done being creative. The Senegalese immigrants weren’t useless. Nobody is.

The Northman, 2022 – ★★★½

Adored this but I did want more grim psychedelia. It’s not a plot driven movie, it’s a journey driven movie, and I wanted to feel that journey in my gut. Which, to be fair, I did some of the time.

Really cool seeing Eggers open and expand his visual sense. Iceland was amazing.

…And God Created Woman, 1956 – ★★½

Criterion Challenge 2022
Progress: 18/52
Prompt: Watch a movie from Ana Lily Amirpour’s Top 10

Well, I haven’t seen any Vadim movies except a dimly remembered Barbarella at a Boston SF con at like 2 AM, and I’d seen most of the other ones on Amirpour’s list, so…

No regrets, actually. It’s a beautiful movie even if it doesn’t have much of worth to say, and I feel like I’ve got a handle on both Vadim and Bardot now. I wouldn’t call the ending optimistic, but I do appreciate that Vadim didn’t take the obvious path.

Election, 2005 – ★★★★½

What a finely tuned political movie! This is a total masterclass in producing tension with a minimum of violence and bombast, plus the soundtrack is really good. The juxtaposition of the ceremonial initiation followed by that final scene is a really tasty deconstruction of tradition.