1. “Collateral.” For EW, Darren Franich in praise of Michael Mann’s action odyssey, a decade later.
“This could just be a stylish director doing a stylish experiment, like Alfred Hitchcock trying to film Rope in the equivalent of one long take. To me, though, the more accurate comparison is Hitchcock filming Psycho, on the cheap, with his TV crew. It’s the perfect merging of style and content. Just as Psycho had to look a little cheap—had to feel like a snuff film directed by a painter—so Collateral needs all those skylines, all those lights in the distance. You’re constantly aware that those lights represent real people—and that those real people don’t notice the horrors being perpetrated by Vincent.”
2. “Bombast: Gone Finching.” Nick Pinkerton on David Fincher’s Gone Girl.
“Fincher is a throwback all right, but he doesn’t go much further back than the release of Pretty Hate Machine. For all of Fincher’s marvelous control, I can’t look past the accumulation of Nineties tropes that riddle his filmography, a particular form of PTSD that comes with having gone through adolescence in that era. It’s in his ex-music video director’s fetish for urban/industrial desolation. It’s in his serial killer chic. It’s in his marketable, unreflective conception of female agency—when Amy gives her ’Cool Girl’ speech, apparently lifted verbatim from Flynn’s book, I swear I heard Jagged Little Pill fading in on the soundtrack. It’s especially in his elevation of cleverness and snark, as epitomized in the zingy patter between Nick and his twin sister, Margo (Carrie Coon in the Janeane Garofalo part—and while we’re on the subject, does anyone buy this sibling relationship for even a second?)”
3. “Muted Golden Sunshine.” Michael Nordine on David Lynch’s Los Angeles.
“A dream road for a dream movie, perhaps, one with an equal number of dangerous twists and turns. One must be especially cautious when traveling on Mulholland Drive, as the film’s first scene and a real-life ’auto graveyard’ known as Dead Man’s Curve amply demonstrate. Located below a deadly hairpin curve near Laurel Canyon, Dead Man’s Curve is home to numerous wrecks, dating back to the 1950s, that have never been removed—perhaps that’s what Lynch means by ’locked back in time,’ regressive gender politics and all.”
4. “Shock Treatment: The Knick.” Having “retired” from Hollywood, Steven Soderbergh is applying what he learned in cinema to his TV medical series The Knick.
“As in Haywire and Side Effects, Soderbergh mixes an oversaturated colour palette with a cool emotional tone (one reason the soapy dialogue feels so blunt). The Knick is fuelled by an economic understanding of shots as narrative data, so that every composition and edit feels methodical and essential. In a mid-season episode, unruly ambulance driver Tom Cleary and nun with a dark side Sister Harriet sit down at a local bar. As they finally come eye to eye, Soderbergh shoots their conversation as Ozu-like portraiture. Later, Thackery presents a new surgery technique to a colleague after two straight days of research (plus prostitutes and cocaine); the camera circles around them in a manic handheld long take, matching the doctor’s own delirious state.”
5. “Mistrial and Error.” Wesley Morris on the messy The Judge and the highs and lows of what was new last week.
“Whatever is happening with Hollywood movies at the moment, you can feel it in The Judge. It’s not that it doesn’t know what kind of movie to be. It’s that it wants to be many movies, and fails at being even one of them. Hank’s been dredged in a batter of glibness, then deep-fried in a vat of need. One of the story’s father-son showdowns can be accurately reduced to I needed a hug and you never gave me one. It’s embarrassing to see the filmmakers trying to connect the Palmers’ dysfunction with the legal matters at hand.”
Video of the Day: The trailer for the Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour:
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