Will we be among The Beguiled?

Lots of pros in The Beguiled.  I dug the lush homestead and the tight story.

Cons: Colin Farrell is a fine actor, and did a fine job here.  But there could be a more enigmatic, a more beguiling, if you will, character there.  His character was easy to read early on, which made the direction of the plot, i.e. its gradient, too easily discernible at any moment.

I look forward to Sofia Coppola’s films.  She may not always knock it out of the park, but she has an idea what she’s doing, and her films have a unique feel to them — if this one less than others.

* * *

A small movie like this must open up more dimensions, unless the one it chooses forges an exceptionally strong vector.  Still, compelling and entertaining.  7/10

Comparison Notes: the considerably more potent films Dead Calm and Misery

A Certain Something Somewhere

Somewhere posterSofia Coppola’s Somewhere (2010), speaks much the same language as her terrific film of 2003, Lost in Translation.  It is about a fictional A-list movie actor, Johnny Marco, who would seem to have everything — great success in his career, great wealth and fame, and a bright, vivacious 11-year-old daughter.  But Johnny Marco is a man adrift; his existence is almost entirely hollow.  Almost, because there is one thing saving his soul from complete emptiness:  his daughter.

I am continuously surprised to find that these sporadic little titles that I like have been given Roger Ebert’s top recommendation:

Coppola is a fascinating director. She sees, and we see exactly what she sees. There is little attempt here to observe a plot. All the attention is on the handful of characters, on Johnny. He has attained success in his chosen field, and lost track of the ability to experience it. Perhaps you can stimulate yourself so much for so long that your sensitivity wears out. If Johnny has no inner life and his outer life no longer matters, then he’s right: He’s nothing.

Coppola presents Johnny Marco’s existence in a matter-of-fact, deadpan way that will remind you of Bill Murray in Lost in Translation.  A lot of people might really hate this movie: there is no big car chase explosions, or high-stake drug heists, or vengeance killings — or anything even a tenth so dramatic.  But I found Somewhere compelling and entertaining.  8/10

Two Andersons a Coppola

from email 30 May 2008

Hello all,

I’ve been wanting to write a little on what I know of the films of Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas (credited as p.t. in earlier films) Anderson.  As I said before, these are two very different directors not related to one another, at least not by “Blood” (I’ll explain that later).  However, I pair them because they started making films around the same time, in the mid to late ’90s, which is also when I became aware of them, and because that they each have unique characteristic filmmaking styles.  As different as they are I always think of them together.  Somehow like a “Bizarre Love Triangle” I fit Sofia Coppola into the mix – sort of a female counterpart to the two Andersons, with a style and perspective as different from the Andersons as they are from each-other.   Coppola shares some actors with at least one of the Andersons, so a link there too.

A couple notes: I’ve added Erik to the distribution on these as he expressed an interest.  And again, unless I specify otherwise, I am writing only about films that I recommend, and usually greatly so, as long as you’re in that sort of mood.  Because there are so many films I want to touch on, I am not going to provide much of a review or analyis on any one film, but hit a couple key points. Continue reading