Foxcatcher

FoxcatcherFoxcatcher is the true(ish) story (more details on that later) of Mark and Dave Schultz, Olympic wrestlers, and John du Pont, of The du Ponts (as they say repeatedly), a weird old super rich dude with an inexplicable interest in the sport.

Like Captain Phillips last year, this is the kind of real-life story that can accidentally be “spoiled” by googling (while you can’t necessarily spoil real life, you can spoil the plot of a movie, which this has now become). To that end, I’ve put the spoilery bits behind a link after this general section.

Foxcatcher confuses stillness with tension, and slowness for suspense. Lack of dialogue does not automatically mean we’re waiting with bated breath for the next word. Steve Carell is delivering this supposedly revolutionary performance as John du Pont, but he talks so slowly and the rest of the movie moves just as fast. If you were interested, I suppose it could be an effective use of silence, but mostly for me it was just boring.

Contributing to the general boredom factor is the lack of a cohesive plot. It feels episodic, and it doesn’t lead up to anything. There was a point about 3/4 through the movie when I realized that if I didn’t already know that something really dramatic was supposed to happen at the end, I wouldn’t have had a reason to watch anything that happened so far. It kind of ebbs and flows in terms of interest; it seems like the World Championships and later the Olympics are supposed to be key points, but they fall flat. If the parts in between are supposed to be the key points, well, then that completely failed to get off the ground at all.

At one point, Mark (Channing Tatum) says to his brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo), about his (Mark’s) tenure with John du Pont: “You and I both know I can’t stay here.” and my entire reaction was “Wait, why?” I didn’t feel like anything had happened to warrant such a statement of “Obviously something is wrong.” Perhaps the movie thought it was being subtle, but I feel like it just failed to do anything at all.

The acting is good, but Steve Carell is the least interesting part. Channing Tatum is better, I think, and it feels like he could have been a lot more interesting with more to actually do. Mark Ruffalo steals the show, for me. He’s awesome.

Not Recommended

Review continues with spoilers after the jump. Continue reading

Interstellar

interstellarWhen Inception came out, there was a headline that said something like “Christopher Nolan has done the impossible: taken $160 million dollars and made a good movie with it.” Now, pairing that with Interstellar, I’m completely on board with anything Mr. Nolan chooses to do in the future, with a budget or without. You could argue that I should have already been on board, but whatever. I’ve only seen about half his movies, and don’t remember the non-Inception ones well. I think that Interstellar and Inception together might be the best one-two punch of smart, interesting blockbusters from any director. Continue reading

This Week in the Box: A Unsurprising Programming Note

So! You may have noticed that there hasn’t been a post in, oh, a couple months on this project. While I’ve seen another handful more movies than have been posted about, I’m still woefully behind. The best laid plans of mice and men, etc.

That said, I’m not abandoning the project, because I’m far too stubborn for that. The plan as it currently stands is to not bother with the rest of this year, officially, and start up again with the first week of next year, and again trying for the perfect average of one movie a week. Therefore, you can expect the post for Dirty Harry to appear in the first week of January, A Clockwork Orange in the second week, etc. I did okay for half a year, all I need is another half a year and the project will officially be complete!

Nightcrawler

nightcrawlerThe Filmspotting podcast refers to a kind of movie they call one-timers. It might be great, but for whatever reason, seeing it once is all you can handle in your life. Nightcrawler is an excellent movie, extremely gripping and remarkably unique, and I never, ever want to see it again.

Jake Gyllenhaal–too skinny, with frighteningly bugged-out eyes and an unnerving amount of eye contact–plays Lou Bloom, a character I’m completely comfortable already calling one of cinema’s great weirdos. His ethics start out broken in a standard way- the opening scene of the movie is him cutting chain link fence to sell for scrap. But it gets way more twisted and unpleasant from there. Stumbling on to the profession by accident, Lou discovers a certain knack for what the movie calls nightcrawling and what real life apparently calls stringing, that is, listening to a police scanner and driving to the scene of accidents and shootings and getting camera footage to sell to network news shows. Continue reading

The Wire Watchalong: Season 3, Episodes 5 and 6

thewireseason3Welcome to the Inanimate Blog watchalong for The Wire. Every week we’ll be watching two episodes and posting our thoughts. We’re not recapping each episode in detail; that’s what Wikipedia is for. This week is Season 3, Episodes 5 and 6.

S03E05

Emily: We’re back! And so is Bubbles. Everything is better with Bubbles around.

Sam: It is! I was so happy to have him back in my life. He had some particularly great lines to start this episode. I, for one, am going to accuse people of “equivocating like a motherfucker” all the time now. Also, when he agrees to do the short con with the guy on the ladder, he says something like “With a white man, I better be the bad guy. Wouldn’t want to confuse him.” Continue reading

Why Can’t I Stop Watching Sons of Anarchy?

sons-of-anarchy-3This post contains mild spoilers up to and including the most recently-aired episode of Sons of Anarchy. If you do not wish to be spoiled, do not read beyond this point. You should keep reading though because maybe you’ll be able to save yourself from watching the last season of SoA even though I can’t.

I’m mad as hell and I’m going to take it for about five more episodes.
Continue reading