Weekly Recap 9/23 – 9/29

9/23/12 The Master (2012)

I’ll get around to seeing this again. I’ll also get around to writing more than two sentences and hotlinking some screenshot to my initial thoughts.

9/25/12 Take Shelter (2011)

Michael Shannon’s face is a leather jacket. I wouldn’t want to wear it, but I’ll watch it in anything, especially if he’s half as good as his blistering performance in Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter. But honestly, the dread psychosis Shannon’s character grapples with can be read on his facial expressions alone. He starts experiencing startling nightmares and visions of a massive storm, but the problem is everyone thinks he’s wacko. His wife is his lone ally, played marvelously by Jessica Chastain in what in hindsight was clearly a career year. Chastain is a freaking monument of tolerance and loyalty, and Nichols’ script puts her through the ringer. By its climax, different kinds of trust are demanded from both Shannon and Chastain in an effort to keep their marriage together. What’s more, David Wingo’s score sprinkles tinny echoes throughout, but I’d be lying if I said they didn’t sound like wind chimes. Although Take Shelter’s gut punch of an ending might seem cheap in its ambiguity, this remains a corrosive study of one man’s destructive psyche — a tale that mirrors the likes of Dom Cobb’s obsession with reality in Christopher Nolan’s Inception. In my own crazed mind, that’s high praise.

9/29/12 On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

Who? After five installments of Connery, George Lazenby’s one (and only) appearance in an official Bond role is disorienting at first, refreshing occasionally, and uneven throughout. A 007 veteran, Peter Hunt’s transition from the editing room to director’s chair clearly overwhelmed him as he can’t quite decide what to do with his camera, vacillating from dynamic long tracks to cheap-looking zooms, and bafflingly enough, incomprehensibly-edited action sequences. Aside from its incessant need to remind you its story takes place in the Swiss Alps, ‘The Spy Who Loved Skis’ deserves credit for its gigantic cajones. Not only does it question Bond’s ability to get a job done (via his ‘resignation’ from MI6), but it calls out his philandering and magic wiener by turning 007 into a full-time lover. The conceit doesn’t always work, especially since Bond’s fiancee in Diana Rigg eventually ditches any promise of wit, but the mere prospect of de-clawing Fleming’s iconic creation is a bold idea, and one that keeps its word til the very end. Well, just nearly.

This week was pretty… weak. I promise I’ll have more Cage soon, too. Or I’ll collapse from the weight of a hundred unfulfilled promises.

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