watching n reading
Premium Rush

An exquisitely stupid action movie in the best way. The big stakes of the plot never feel that impressive (despite a child being on the line) but the immediate stakes (wrecking a bike in Midtown traffic) are VERY palpable.
Michael Shannon proves once again, for the nth time, that he can elevate almost any material. Give him a glowering crooked cop heavy and suddenly he’s got a high-pitched squeal of a laugh. The menace then comes not from physical intimidation but from this weasely jerk who will do anything to get out of his pathetic gambling bind.

Mauvais Sang

I was SHOCKED at how bad I found this. Denis Levant is not fun to watch when he’s a young thug. You don’t really buy that he’s any sort of romantic street tough which, when you think about it, seems crazy. The plot (and I know it’s Carax and plots can be porous) is so stupid. The direction seems so ostentatious. When someone speaks derisively of the stereotypical ‘French Art film’, they’re talking about this.

The Braindead Megaphone by George Saunders

The Dubai and titular essays are so great. The more conceptual ones could just as easily find a home in his regular short story collections but I’m not complaining too much.

Snowpiercer

Surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Bold camera decisions, interesting climax that lead to a lot of discussion. It’s a dumb action movie, sure, but it’s a smart dumb action movie.

Altman

SO BORING.
The interstitials regarding ‘Altman-esque’ are so terribly written and delivered. Like we’re actually supposed to believe these people are thinking these things? So ham-fisted.
Altman deserves better than Ron Mann.

Will Not Attend by Adam Resnick

Dark and funny and lovely.
Especially The Strand Bag story.

UNREAL.

Liv and Ingmar

Not essential viewing at all. Extremely handsome and beautiful but nothing new is discussed.
Ullman’s eyes are insanely blue. Don’t know how I’ve missed that all these years.

The Bourne Supremacy

Damon fighting that dude with the rolled up magazine gets a lot of ink for being so badass. And it’s totally deserved. He fights a dude with a ROLLED UP MAGAZINE.
Also, Joan Allen is great and should be in more stuff. These movies have superlative casting for their ‘villains’. Chris Cooper, Brian Cox, Joan Allen, David Straithairn? It’s a goddamn master class.

Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan

In the vein of DFW’s non-fiction work. Funny, weird and hyper-literate.
As good as DFW? C’mon now.