Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

21 November 2017

Song to Song

It took me a while to like Song to Song, but then I really warmed up to it. To my mind it is the best film Malick has made since Tree of Life. It's about indecision and betrayal, but then it is quite hopeful, really, and the film moves from being a series of disconnected images à la King of Cups into steady shots of locations – a shift that signals the characters' own groundedness.

Gates of Paris (1958)

Porte des Lilas (Gates of Paris) – which was released in France in 1957 and the U.S. in 1958 – was great.
But there is a sequence at about the 20-minute mark that is just luminous. It's an incredibly clever and beautiful section of film. Porte des Lilas is worth watching just for this sequence of storytelling. It's perfect.

The Exception

The Exception is a kind of romantic thriller that pretends to be about ethics and Nazis and, oh, I don't know, something important. But David Leveaux's film is really a good-and-evil melodrama that felt to me like a bad, sentimental novel, in fact, I'd wager that it is a bad, sentimental novel. Jai Courtney is breathtakingly handsome, as always, and I am as delighted as everyone else that Christopher Plummer is having this late-career resurgence, but this film was silly.

If I Were King

If I Were King is not great or anything, but it is rather fun.
Basil Rathbone gives a festive performance, and Colman is, as always, both very good looking and quite entertaining. I've been sort of obsessed with Colman lately.


Thunderbolt is really brilliantly directed by Josef von Sternberg. It moves into saccharine melodramatic territory after awhile, but the photography in it is just so good, and Fay Wray is fabulous. Thunderbolt also contains rather a lot of African-American music, including a sequence in a black speakeasy.

04 November 2017

The Big Sick

The Big Sick is really funny. Holly Hunter and Ray Romano are great.
And I laughed a lot. Also, turns out this is super queer: it's totally about killing your parents.