Murder She Said (1961)

Tumbling Down My history of introspection in film starts with clever mystery writers. Then when talkies fell on us there was a huge experimental breeding ground for techniques that worked. By the 40s that chapter was all over and noir was incubated. Agatha Christie played a central role in this history with her wild experiments,… Continue reading Murder She Said (1961)

The Equalizer (2014)

Tattoo Signals Standard fare: good guy is endowed with superhuman killing capability, presumably used in the past for what the Agency thought was good. In simple retirement, he is drawn by his sheer goodness into massive, efficient elimination of the bad guys. There isn’t much else to this. What’s interesting here are three stereotypes that… Continue reading The Equalizer (2014)

Ex Machina (2014)

Alpha City This is a superb film. I recommend it highly. My enjoyment of films is divided between the experience when watching and the much longer incubation time afterward. The success in the former in this case fights the appreciation in the latter. This kind of science fiction is all about abstraction. The world is… Continue reading Ex Machina (2014)

Rio 2 (2014)

People, Not Situations Getting back into thinking about how narratives get put together, I am reminded of how many radically different strategies there are in approaching a film. If you talk to the (old) Pixar guys, what you’ll hear is a focus on story, a cinematic notion of story, above all else. The story comes… Continue reading Rio 2 (2014)

Paddington (2014)

Birds Years ago, when I saw Billy Elliot, my attention was drawn away from where it was intended. I saw instead a tragic film about a little girl whose mother was more interested in a talented outsider. That mother was played by the redoubtable Julie Walters; her presence compared to the weakness of the others… Continue reading Paddington (2014)