Moments out of Time 2016

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

* Green Room: Hillside Astoria street, spike-haired dude texting at curb…

* Death notice at hockey practice, Manchester by the Sea: at a distance, the rhythms of bruised recognition and awkward sympathy…

* Thrilling camera follow in Hell or High Water as the brothers Howard race home from the first bank heist. Then, after a moment, a capper: crane up to see the ditch prepared to receive getaway car…

* Things to Come: Riding on bus, weeping after learning of her mother’s death, Nathalie (Isabelle Huppert) sees her ex-husband (André Marcon) walking on the sidewalk with the new woman in his life, and bursts into laughter….

* Elle: Michèle’s (Isabelle Huppert) reaction to her mother’s bombshell that she intends to marry her boy toy: half tickled and wholly appalled…

* In Arrival, Amy Adams’s preternatural stillness: in sync with the unknown, whether endangered alien or doomed child…

Arrival

* Men rising out of water to receive blessing, Silence…

* Lights of Doc’s bar, Paterson: Technicolor glow as oasis…

* Cemetery of Splendour: In the sleeping soldiers’ ward, bedside arcs like candy canes change to blue to meet the gilding dusk….

* Hell or High Water: Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges), wrapped Indian-like in a blanket, walks out of the motel and through the twilight, blanket streaming behind him on the wind…

* Whether brushed, pony-tailed, or loose, Sonia Braga’s black mane becomes a testament to her character’s ageless sensuality and strength—Aquarius…

* La La Land: four girls on a night out saunter down center of street against dirty bronze sunset….

* Newly anointed fashion model (Elle Fanning) walks the runway into the camera eye, to be both demonized and deified: Neon Demon…

* In Hail, Caesar!—and Hail, Caesar!—George Clooney’s/Baird Whitlock’s hearty Roman tribune chortle: triumphantly Fifties fatuous…

* “The heart has its … strangeness … or words to that effect”—Sir James Martin (Tom Bennett) in Love & Friendship

* Certain Women: frosty wind crawling on Livingston, Montana sidewalk…

* Autograph in the rain, A Bigger Splash…

* Overhead of rocker van’s curving swath into cornfield, a progress achieved some time before the beginning of Green Room

* Sully: The plane’s descent onto or into the Hudson imminent, a passenger lowers his windowshade….

* In 20th Century Women, Dorothea (Annette Bening) to Abbie (Greta Gerwig): “You get to see him out in the world, as a person. I never will.”…

* Little Men: shoutdown in Mauricio Bustamante acting class…

Little Men

* Moonlight: Juan (Mahershala Ali) pulls frame of boards off window, climbs through to greet the startled but curiously unafraid Little (Alex Hibbert)….

* American Honey‘s sensuous hunger for America: land, light, color, bug life, dogs, road dust, light on flesh…

* The Eyes of My Mother: driving through the night toward a bar…

* Shooting of donkey beyond thropping of wiper blades, The Lobster…

* Certain Women: Albert (René Auberjonois) at window, only dimly seen behind reflection of clouds…

* Hanging in abeyance, The Handmaiden…

* Leaves stirring, ever stirring in Cemetery of Splendour, as a man takes a dump in the forest…

* Aquarius: In the midst of celebrating a septuagenarian birthday, the grandmother looks past the partygoers at a chest of drawers, and remembers herself having her college-age pussy eaten thereupon….

* Avuncular cluelessness in Manchester by the Sea: “Am I supposed to tell ya to use a condom?”…

* A lacquered and bejeweled matriarch predicts that sooner or later her idealistic daughter (Amy Adams) will become her. Laura Linney as Fate in Nocturnal Animals…

* Free-spirit mom Dorothea leaning against VW Bug, 20th Century Women…

20th Century Women

* Rain shimmer of broken orange light beyond aged face of grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) as she sits in her car, A Monster Calls

* “Who is this child?”: the anguished query that instantly redraws the whole circle of time in Arrival…

* “Take the baby downstairs. It annoys me.” Nicolas Cage, Dog Eat Dog…

* “We’re not keeping you, you’re just staying.”—Green Room

* “Only assholes drink Mr. Pibb.”—Hell or High Water

* Christian wife and mother contending with a cocky young con artist (Shia LaBeouf as Jake) who’s barged into her haut-bourgeois home, American Honey

* Return from exile: Mildred’s face, drinking in the fields of home, opens like a sunflower. Ruth Negga in Loving…

* Divorce between philosophers, Things to Come: he took book with all her notes!…

* Hail, Caesar!: Miscellaneous Roman Wayne Knight’s conspiratorial mugging is more conspiratorial than we realize….

* “Tell yourself whatever you need to know.” Advice from J.K. Simmons, passing through La La Land as a cameo…

* “I know a lot o’ shit about a lot o’ shit.” Doc may; Barry Shabaka Henley surely does. Paterson

Paterson

* Toni Erdmann: Over drinks, desperate company woman Ines (Sandra Hüller) twists and turns, trying to anticipate her big client’s desires and opinions…

* The Lobster: betrothal/betrayal by olive pit in hot tub…

* Waking up in a sleazy L.A. motel room to confront the attentions of a visiting mountain lion—Neon Demon…

* A cat watches its mistress’s brutal violation, its gaze as flat and disinterested as Michèle’s, post-rape—Elle…

* A tableau mort featuring entwined nudes, elegantly arranged on a filthy couch: dump art in Nocturnal Animals…

* Shit on the stairs, Aquarius…

* Sea of Trees: near-comic take on flash flood…

* Cemetery of Splendour: Moviegoers filing to escalator. Jenjira (Jenjira Pongpas) appears, followed by men carrying Itt (Banlop Lomnoi), who has narcolepsed. A good show, all in all….

* Hell or High Water: Cresting a rise to discover horizonwide fire, and drovers moving cattle to safety….

* Yellow freight train running parallel as Star (Sasha Lane) smiles at Jake, in American Honey

* Two women on a horse on a quiet nighttime street: Kristen Stewart and Lily Gladstone, Certain Women…

Certain Women

* Post-sunset shot of bay, Manchester by the Sea: you can feel the bite of the New England evening in this first local-color shot, and it’s wonderful (but eventually there get to be too many of them)….

* Cameraperson: Lightning storm brewing over Missouri; camera hiccups as person sneezes….

* Silence: Cricket chirps during passage of crucifix….

* Thermostat on pink gold entry wall, La La Land…

* In 20th Century Women, Abbie’s explanation of her artifact: “a picture of a picture of my mom”; the spacey gravity of Greta Gerwig…

* The Lobster: the leader of the loners (Léa Seydoux) savoring cake in slow motion…

* Perils of “a mirthless chuckle”: in Hail, Caesar!, Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes) directing Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich) in his drawing-room comedy-drama debut…

* Ralph Fiennes’s joyously Bacchic dance, A Bigger Splash…

* The deftness with which a lawyer (Bill Camp) steps forward to save the Loving couple in court, and simultaneously conveys that although he’s helped them once before and is helping them again, from here on he’s out…

* Two great waitresses in Hell or High Water: Katy Mixon of the $200 tip and Margaret Bowman, 44 years on the job, brooking no nonsense (“What doncha want? … We don’t sell no goddam trout.”)…

Hell or High Water

* The bone-deep authenticity—and unflappable expertness—of the flight attendants on Sully‘s plane: Jane Gabbert, Ann Cusack, Molly Hagan…

* Paterson: inconsolable Donny (Rizwan Manji)…

* In Ceremony of Splendour‘s ward that appears to have reverted to abandoned schoolroom, Jenjira remembers homework she never turned in….

* Green Room: loaded gun, empty gun, reloaded gun. “Got him!” “Totally.”…

* Hail, Caesar!: hoofer Burt Gurney’s (Channing Tatum) two leaps…

* Suicide Squad: the Enchantress’s black aura (while it’s still Kiyoshi Kurosawa scale)…

* Who’s in more jeopardy, Star or the three Texas millionaires? American Honey…

* Hell or High Water: Marcus’s strangulated cry when a Howard bullet unexpectedly hits home…

* Manchester by the Sea: “Can I give you a tip?” “You mean like a suggestion?”…

* Country evening meal by lantern light, Things to Come; by grace of Denis Lenoir…

* The Lobster: Léa Seydoux by flashlight…

* The abiding glory of black-and-white fable, The Eyes of My Mother…

* Red laces glimpsed through door vent, Green Room; terror color-coded…

* A Monster Calls: two eyes on separate sheets of paper, flapping in the wind…

* Crucifixion against the tide, Silence

Silence

* A Bigger Splash: drowning smile…

* Jackie (Natalie Portman) in the funeral procession, seen under the veil…

* Mia (Emma Stone) miming “I Ran,” La La Land

* In Toni Erdmann, Ines, tricked into singing at an awkward get-together, pours herself into the song as primal scream. A curiously happy primal scream…

* Woody Guthrie car ride, Things to Come…

* Green Room: campfire against green industrial lights on river…

* Forest glade that was a royal bathroom, Cemetery of Splendour

* “Awesome. Bus driver that likes Emily Dickinson.” Sterling Jerins is a good kid in Paterson….

* In Certain Women, long hold on the Rancher (Lily Gladstone) as she drives out of Livingston and away from an abandoned hope…

* Creepiest moment in American Honey: Jake on his knees palming lotion onto Krystal’s (Reilly Keough’s) legs…

* Elle: Amid after-dinner chitchat with friends, Michèle mentions that she has been raped, as casually as she might ask for another glass of wine….

* A transgressive celebration of goddess power in Neon Demon: a woman lies beneath a full moon, her legs raised and apart to frame a tide of blood….

* Paterson: the truth about the mailbox…

* Toni Erdmann’s mysterious disappearance, an exit worthy of Renoir’s Boudu…

* As the Inquisitor in Silence, Issey Ogata channeling George Arliss…

* Manchester by the Sea: soul-shattering moment when Lee (Casey Affleck) shuts down his long-estranged ex-wife’s (Michelle Williams) redemptive outpouring of forgiveness. “There’s nothing there.”…

* “Lord of the Plains…”—Hell or High Water‘s “Made it, Ma, top o’ the world!”…

* A work-in-progress, Hail, Caesar!: “DIVINE PRESENCE TO BE SHOT”…

* Amoeba in sky, Cemetery of Splendour

Copyright © 2017 Richard T. Jameson and Kathleen Murphy

Manchester by the Sea