Moments out of Time 2013

Images, lines, gestures, moods from the year’s films

‘Enough Said’

• Inside Llewyn Davis: Llewyn (Oscar Isaac) sits by in the Village club, uninvited, as “500 Miles” is performed by Jim & Jean (Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan) and Troy (Stark Sands). You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles….
• The opening thirteen-minute shot of Gravity, during which you never think about special effects because everywhere you look, it’s real…
• The straight backroads of Nebraska. Doesn’t hurt to have those black cattle standing in the widescreen distance under a leaden sky….
• The curve of a tree limb above two lovers (Adèle Exarchopoulos, Léa Seydoux) embracing on a park bench, in Blue Is the Warmest Color
• The first time the ladies set eyes on each other, American Hustle. Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) to Sydney (Amy Adams) and then to husband (Christian Bale): “I know who you are! I know who she is, Irving!”…
• The peculiarly pastel density of the air in which Her’s islanded Angelenos swim…
• The fat gray worms of industrial smoke — especially from ground-hugging trains — that trail across Miyazaki’s green world in The Wind Rises
The Counselor: Leopard (Cameron Diaz) contemplates lamb (Penélope Cruz): “What a strange world you live in.”…
• Sternbergian ballet: the duel between Ip Man (Tony Leung) and Gong Er (Ziyi Zhang) at The Grandmaster’s last train stop…
• Post-coitus in Enough Said, Albert (James Gandolfini) wondering whether he’s too heavy for his diminutive lover (Julia Louis-Dreyfus); enough to break your heart…
• At the beginning of Before Midnight, the look on Ethan Hawke’s face as his kid goes to board the plane…
All Is Lost: The beautiful, ravaged craft about to sink, there’s no resort to closeup as the line that’s connected Our Man (Robert Redford) to his boat leaves his fingers….
• Near the beginning of Inside Llewyn Davis, the cut from the hostile stranger stalking out of the alley, to that cat, tail jauntily erect, bopping up an apartment hall…
• The first reel or so of Bullet to the Head, a welcome return of the clean, storytelling visuals of Walter Hill (eventually beaten to earth by the insistently dumb script)…
Prisoners: skin of rainwater flowing the entire width of a suburban street as people cope with sinister news on Thanksgiving Day…
• A heaving slope of zombies about to crest the city wall — World War Z
• “I’m detached!” Unimaginable that that cry could evoke terror more absolute than in Gravity….
• The brittle notes of Amy Acker’s Beatrice rattling around Joss Whedon’s black-and-white California kitchen — Much Ado About Nothing
• Barbara, New Jersey ball-breaker (Scarlett Johansson), dressing down her tidy boyfriend (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in Don Jon: A real man doesn’t clean his own digs!…
• “You need to water these plants. These are … plants.” Nebraska…
The Call: Up ahead on a busy freeway, a hand judders in the hole of a broken taillight….
• Omar … Chalky White … Michael K. Williams. Fierce, fiery, and untimely snuffed in 12 Years a Slave
• Mr. Tellegio, the brilliant cameo by Robert De Niro in American Hustle — a payoff decades in the steeping…
The Company You Keep: Brit Marling as unsuspected starchild of Robert Redford and Julie Christie? Not out of the question….
• In The Act of Killing, dry heaves on a killing ground: gut-guilt or performance art?…
Berberian Sound Studio: When did the Englishman (Toby Jones) start speaking Italian?…
• Rejected, a podgy suitor blames Sapphic love, to the delight of his audience, Adore‘s careless mothers (Naomi Watts, Robin Wright)….
Frances Ha: Summer counselor Frances (Greta Gerwig), coming upon one of her girls sitting in a corridor weeping, slides down to take a seat against the opposite wall….
• In Byzantium, Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan), solemn as any priest, shares communion and last rites with a grateful old gentleman….
• After The Fall in Blue Jasmine: sweat circles in the armpits of Jasmine’s (Cate Blanchett) silk blouse…
• In Captain Phillips, Muse (Barkhad Abdi) ponders and grimly rejects the possibility of a life beyond piracy: “Maybe in America.”…
• The suffusing sense of place: MudOut of the Furnace … Prisoners … Stoker … Nebraska … We Are What We Are…
American Hustle: the hair that happened to Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner…
• Automotive fixation of the brothers Grant — Nebraska…
• Troy Nelson expressing the thorough satisfaction he’s derived from a cold bowl of cereal, Inside Llewyn Davis: “Well that was very good.”…
• A tipsy white-gowned partygirl falls backwards out of a convertible — and her creamy ride disappears into the night as though she never happened … 2 Jacks
Stories We Tell: Meta-cinematic irony — “Is this my good side?” — as Sarah Polley’s gay half-brother prepares to tell his side of the story…
• “I guess you’re handsome in a Texas white trash dumb sorta way” — Rayon (Jared Leto) to Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey), Dallas Buyers Club
• Lunch with Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey): totemic wisdom handed down in The Wolf of Wall Street
• Mud wrestling for Oscar: mother-daughter (Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts) takedown over dinner, in August: Osage County
• The inspired, bloodcurdling use of “Summer Wine,” in Stoker…
• The advance of the blacklight assassins, Spring Breakers
All Is Lost: A towering wall of container-ship crosses the horizon….
To the Wonder: Olga Kurylenko running across a rooftop, tracing the wheeling of birds against the sky…
• Meeting the former Peg Bender (Angela McEwan) at the newspaper office, Nebraska…
• Taking the bait in Bastards: Raphaelle (Chiara Mastroianni) inhales the shirt her stalker (Victor Lindon) has thrown down from his balcony….
• John Goodman on canes making his way toward a Gulf sign, Inside Llewyn Davis
• Soldiers caroming down a steep hillside, Lone Survivor; the awful thunk! as flesh slams into rock…
• Horrorshow in a drive-in while Midnight Meat Train flickers on screen above — Out of the Furnace
Blue Is the Warmest Color: the way Adèle, eyes closed, sways to music in a smoky bar, self-centered for once…
• The cheerfully selfish lust of Blue Jasmine‘s schlubby deceiver (Louis C.K.) as he coaxes Ginger (Sally Hawkins) back to his car for another boff…
Byzantium — a screen-spanning field of silver-leafed cabbages, alien eggs…
The Bling Ring: Audrina Patridge’s hilltop glass house, glowing in longshot as human coyotes slip in and out its doors…
• Mapping the void: Gravity‘s Ryan (Sandra Bullock) deciphers a Russian driver’s manual; in All Is Lost, Our Man reads up on how to use an old-fashioned sextant….
• Vagaries of the compressor, Nebraska…
• Neither Beatrice (Amy Acker) nor Benedick (Alexis Denisof) speaking as he slips away the morning after a one-night stand; a prequel emendation of the Bard sweetly imagined by Joss Whedon, Much Ado About Nothing
• In Touchy Feely, an exquisitely played scene with Ellen Page and Scoot McNairy: “Have you ever wanted to kiss someone so badly that it hurts your skin?”…
• White straw fedora in the rain … The Grandmaster
• Ben Foster’s complete inhabitation of the young William Burroughs, Kill Your Darlings
Hannah Arendt: the sacrilegious laughter of Arendt (Barbara Sukowa) at the banality of accused and accusers during the Adolph Eichmann trial…
• The presence of Walter Lassally in Before Midnight
American Hustle: Richie DiMaso’s — but really, Bradley Cooper’s — switching back and forth between manic glee at his victory and imitating the glum look on his supervisor (Louis C.K.)…
12 Years a Slave: Each day being something to be got through, the other hands on the Ford plantation set quietly about their chores as, suspended by noose from a tree bough, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) struggles to maintain tiptoe footing….
• Rayon’s look after Ron champions her to an old redneck buddy, Dallas Buyers Club
• Tears morphing into weightless pearls, Gravity…
• Slipping by on the right, the exit not taken, Akron under winter night skyglow — Inside Llewyn Davis
The Hunt: the cold, dark malevolence in a little girl’s gaze, aimed at the innocent man (Mads Mikkelsen) she’s just accused of molesting her…
• During the end credits of The Great Beauty, drifting down the waters of the Tiber, beneath one bridge after another, a long, uninterrupted camera movement that’s a measure of time and mortality, as daylight dims…
• A long hotel hallway, hot and viscous with blood-red light — vaginal corridor in Only God Forgives
• “The bastards shot you in the head!” — Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg) to the brother-in-arms (Ben Foster) who hasn’t noticed, in Lone Survivor
• Life at a standstill in Out of the Furnace: two brothers (Christian Bale and Casey Affleck), the younger lounging against his beat-up dragster, pass the time on a deserted street in a Rustbelt smalltown….
• In The Place Beyond the Pines, the formal way Luke (Ryan Gosling) dresses, then strides to the circus tent — a matador whose arena is a hamster wheel…
• Chris Cooper’s quiet body language, eloquent amid the sound and fury that signifies nothing in August: Osage County…
• Joe Don Baker receiving a report, Mud…
Inside Llewyn Davis: Llewyn sings “The Death of Queen Jane” for Salieri (F. Murray Abraham): “I don’t see a lot of money here.”…
• The karaoke stylings of Stacy Keach, Nebraska … “In the Ghetto”
The Heat: Mutt and Jeff (Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock), unlikely sex bombs and gunfighters, strut out of a restroom to rule a gangster bar….
• A brutal police chief (Vithaya Pansringarm) warbles a karaoke love song to his rapt “boys” — Only God Forgives….
• The delicious artifice of “Edith”‘s (Amy Adams) apples, ripe for the picking but sartorially vacuum-packed, another “American hustle”…
• The more-than-human anticipation in Samantha’s voice as she bids farewell to Theodore Thombly … and heads for something like Wordsworthian transcendence in Her…
• Time passes while a woman lies on a couch, smoking: what thinking looks like in Hannah Arendt….
• The alien growl of an earthquake in The Wind Rises
• “I would die for you.” Theatricality that’s somehow true, as the weight of Jack Hussar’s charm (Danny of the Huston clan channeling John) bears glittering Diana (Sienna Miller) down, in 2 Jacks
• Fat German hausfraus sexually humiliating a skinny black kid they’ve rented for the night — Paradise: Love
• Creepy kid (Paul Dano) hanging a little dog, for his hidden audience in Prisoners…
The Bling Ring: rattled L.A. mom (Leslie Mann) waving off cop, photographers — “OK, thank you”….
• “Did you eat my daughter?” A considering pause, then: “When?” We Are What We Are
• Luke’s melting look at the cop (Bradley Cooper) who’s killed him, as he (Ryan Gosling) falls out of The Place Beyond the Pines
Dallas Buyers Club: tinnitus at the intersection, and ever after…
• Quaalude crawl to the car, The Wolf of Wall Street
• In The Wind Rises, Caproni’s complex castles of the imagination, aerial equivalents of Miyazaki’s animations…
• A ghost, maybe, sifting through the things she lost in the fire — Prince Avalanche
• “Well, there was that one time…” — just as the end credits of Stories We Tell are about to roll…
2 Jacks: Fresh Hollywood exile Jack Hussar Jr. (Jack Huston), sitting on the airport baggage carousel where his legendary dad once sat, may or may not take comfort from the phantom hand resting on his shoulder, two fingers forked around a smoking cigar….
• “I don’t like change. It’s very hard for me.” The bottomless daftness of Rosalyn in American Hustle. Who dreamed Jennifer Lawrence could be the new Carole Lombard?…
• As Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) drives through Hawthorne, at the wheel of a truck for the first time in years, the former Peg Bender steps onto the sidewalk and takes a long look. Was there a moment in the cutting room when Alexander Payne thought to himself, Nebraska could end there, on her face?…
Gravity: space trash become meteor shower in benediction as Ryan lies supine on the water…
• The take-me-along yearn of the cat — well, a cat — in the backseat of a car that isn’t going anywhere … Inside Llewyn Davis
Richard T. Jameson and Kathleen Murphy first collaborated on “Moments out of Time” for film year 1971 and have covered most years since.

Copyright 2014 by Richard T. Jameson


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