Fall film season is here. While I caught a couple forgettable summer blockbusters (although missing the sleeper hits), my film nerd heart lies with the spring and fall releases. The ones this year have particularly caught my eye, even after hearing Soderbergh’s “cinema is dead” rant in-person at SFIFF last year.
Jumping on the bandwagon, we caught Gravity a couple of weeks ago. It just didn’t sit right with me, apart from the stunning use of 3D in the cinematography. I mean, it wasn’t Avatar-bad in that it solely relied on that, but it didn’t resonate. The acting was decent, the pacing fairly okay. But the story just seemed too trite and emotionally manipulative, a little too dumbed-down for my tastes. I found this really disappointing as Children of Men really blew me away when I saw that years ago.
Fast forward to tonight. At a fellow film nerd friend’s urging, we went to see All Is Lost. I loved absolutely every second of it. The film captured the timelessness of what good cinema should strive to achieve. The cinematography was stunning, and I actually caught myself thinking about really specific things like the sound editing. Even though I’m sure there were plenty of CGI/computer effects, the same film could’ve been made in the 1940s or 70s (in a weird way it even reminded me of Hitchcock’s Lifeboat a bit in some shots and tones). The story didn’t at all dumb itself down and the visual clues plus Redford’s performance allowed the audience to USE THEIR IMAGINATIONS (*gasp*) and fill-in-the-blanks with their own narrative. Slow fucking clap.
I’ve decided my new rule for films is “Will I be able to watch this in 10, 20, 30 years and will it hold up?” I am encouraged by a few films this year embracing this approach. It’s what I love about my likely “film of the year,” Frances Ha and the latest in the Before series, Before Midnight. I suppose the meta-example (since it’s another adaptation of the timeless Shakespeare) is Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing.
Still on my list this fall (and I’m sure I’m missing some I haven’t yet seen previews for):
- 12 Years a Slave
- Captain Phillips
- Blue is the Warmest Color
- The Wolf of Wall Street
- Dallas Buyers Club
- Inside Llewyn Davis