did i ever write about Fighting? cause i tend to gush about that film so it would’ve been clear i wasn’t joking if i had.
here’s what i thought:
at its best it is a fascinating personal vision of a city montiel is fond of and he shows it in interesting ways. like the thug entering a shot, doing a backflip off a wall, acknowledging the camera with a glance and then disappearing as quickly as he appeared. then there’s the pink bunny cart and so on and so forth. montiel’s fascination with the city is only matched by that with his star, tatum. there are certainly moments of “ohbrother” and the ending was kind of the cinematic equivalent of “bang” flag popping out of a gun. the fight scenes are actually pretty awesome and tatum’s character is given this self-concious portrayal as when he follows his love interest into her room, demanding she take his money for her rent and trying to explain his feelings for her, channing lets out a genuinely frustrated “i don’t know how…” before kissing her and it works so well. i just loved those moments mixed in with these highly kinetic fight scenes. it makes a truly idiosyncratic film out of something that could’ve been totally useless.
and since i didn’t do reviews for two lovers and we own the night here i might as well (i’ve been fucking lazy lately):
we own the night -
so there’s dito montiel, who is a new found favorite of mine and one of the recently risen American directors to kind of excite me. then there is james gray and he’s been in the game since around the same time those indie-holes came out (rodriguez, tarantino) to party. except while tarantino was busy masturbating his cinematic pleasures into a blender and making a reference-sperm smoothie that goes down great and tastes good (although its still semen) gray was honing some seriously good sensibilities and personality as a filmmaker. like in two lovers, i was mesmerized by several sequences or just single shots the whole way through. he proves he can shoot a passionate and quiet moment of lust on a rooftop as well as he can a shoot-out/car chase. i mean, how fucking awesome was that scene? nothing but the sound of windshiel wipers and the radio between cars? brilliant move. he also loves his family dynamics and he turns a pretty genre adhering cop film into something beautiful about family relationships and pride and disappointment and brotherhood. its tender moments are just as great as its intense moments and when was the last time gray blew his own horn about how awesome he is? and when was the last time tarantino showed he could shoot tender maturely (jackie brown)?
two lovers -
I was pretty much in love with it from the moment that, soaked in greyish blues, Leonard confessed his love to Michelle and then fucked her against the wall on the roof. I’ve seen that a bunch of times but never so casually lacking of forced beauty. The idea of the standing fuck is that it’s raw, ugly and haphazard, what I got from this was something actually beautiful and sexual but there was no sunlight trickling in, no shot of her panties being ripped from her hips instead there was clouds, cold air, and winter jackets. Phoenix’s manic and anxiety-ridden Jewish Leonard would be treated with comic self-deprecation if this were a different film but here that tired Woody Allenish cliche is made into a real person. Someone who hurts and doesn’t like to talk about it. His pain manifests itself in nervous habits, mumbles, scars and flashes of melancholy and joy, charm and assured movements. He is truly the most fascinating thing about the film. James Gray’s direction is subdued but great with a close-up of pickles meaning as much as the longing-filled voyeuristic shots of Paltrow’s apartment. Just an incredible film.