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Moments out of Time

Moments Out of Time 2019

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

* Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), on the roof to repair Rick’s TV antenna, leans into the California sun and the music Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) is playing in the nearby house. Once upon a Time…in Hollywood
* “Now is not the time to not say.” Angelo Bruno (Harvey Keitel) to Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), The Irishman
* Joker: Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) meets gaze of clown in passing taxicab….
* Marriage Story: the Invisible Man watching a horror movie on TV…
* Richard Jewell: “Why did Tom Brokaw say that about you?” Bobi Jewell (Kathy Bates) to person-of-interest son (Paul Walter Hauser)…
* It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: Minute of silence in Chinese restaurant; Mister Rogers (Tom Hanks) looking us in the eye…

Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers in It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

* Tigers Are Not Afraid: goldfish in the river in the floor…
* The Kims all smell the same—Parasite…
* Playing off profiles at cliff’s edge—Portrait of a Lady on Fire…
* Jojo Rabbit: seeing his mother’s shoes…
* James Stacy’s (Timothy Olyphant) discreet look away as Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) repeatedly muffs a line; his diffidence both in character for the Lancer scene underway and a gesture of sympathy for fellow actor’s distress. Once upon a Time…in Hollywood
* A Hidden Life: Tyrolean rhapsody of opening sequence…
* Permanent tsunami around Death Star, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker…
* Heat haze obscuring most of port, Atlantics…
* The Lighthouse: flash image, Willem Dafoe as lunatic Poseidon…
* The downed plane from over the hill, 1917…
* Steel chrysanthemums whirling down rainswept street, Shadow…
* Parasite: the curvy hill street you go up to get to the Parks house…
* Pain and Glory: Sitting in front of wall-size landscape photo in waiting room, Salvador (Antonio Banderas) looks up through skylight at tree branches….
* Ordering lunch at the lawyers’, Marriage Story…
* Uncut Gems: folding aluminum foil around the late-night leftovers…
* Dark Waters: cold-day sound of cord wood being chucked off a pickup…
* The Art of Self-Defense: family raising car windows against assaultive heavy metal music…
* The Irishman: Skinny Razor (Bobby Cannavale) tossing away a cigarette…
* Héloïse (Adèle Haenel) stepping out from behind beach fire, Portrait of a Lady on Fire…

Adèle Haenel in Portrait of a Lady on Fire

* Thready clouds moving above woman atop cliff, Midsommar…
* In Little Women, light and sand drift as Beth (Eliza Scanlen) and Jo (Saoirse Ronan) speak of dying…
* The Souvenir: the walk between the fields, with dogs…
* Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) snatches Rey’s necklace long distance—Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker….
* Once upon a Time…in Hollywood: “Can’t ya do something about that heat?” “Rick, it’s a flamethrower.”…
* Depraved: Accosted by monster, Asian investors go to their cellphones to video it….
* “I ain’t no hobo. I’m a repository of African American folklore.” Ron Cephas Jones as Rico, Dolemite Is My Name…
* “Wallpaper’s chippin’. People are killin’ this house.” Jimmie’s face peering through frosted door, The Last Black Man in San Francisco…
* Introduced to windowless workspace, Daniel Jones (Adam Driver) turns on desk lamp to see if bulb is good—The Report….
* Joker: camera moving, seemingly out of curiosity, after Arthur gets into fridge…
* A Hidden Life: bike messenger passing on hillside, at once everyday and portentous…
* Overheads of quiet suburban intersections, the interstate, byways—The Irishman…
* In Richard Jewell, the almost subliminal image of Jewell passing across or nicking the corners of crowd shots at the Olympics…
* Zhao Tao moving across deep backgrounds of a changing China—Ash Is Purest White…
* The urban movie outside the Kims’ window—Parasite…
* Once upon a Time…in Hollywood: Cliff driving, anywhere, anytime, either car…

Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

* Walking Le Mans track in rain the night before, Ford v Ferrari…
* Midsommar: inversion of car and highway, and passage into upside-down forest…
* “If we start from a position of crazy”—Marriage Story…
* For Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) returns to say another “I know”….
* “Shall we?” “Yes.” High Life…
* “Am I dying?” “Yes, I think you are.” 1917…
* “They’re burying me. I’m cold.” Tigers Are Not Afraid…
* Breath on prison windowpane—A Hidden Life…
* White sand feathering edges of undersea sinkhole—Sweetheart…
* Once upon a Time…in Hollywood: Sharon’s blond hair blowing as Polanski (Rafal Zawieruchka) drives through the evening to the Playboy Mansion…
* “‘I don’t want any Mickey Mousin’ on these grounds.’” Quoting the dean back to him, Richard Jewell…
* “Mister Rogers knows my name!” Andrea (Susan Kelechi Watson), It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood…
* Craig Robinson launching into an exuberant “There’s Gotta Be a Morning After”—Dolemite Is My Name…

Craig Robinson in Dolemite Is My Name…

* Comical/Horrifying shout-out to “The Interview” in The Shining? First meeting with divorce attorney Jay Marotta (Ray Liotta), with daffily grinning associate (Kyle Bornheimer) as prop—Marriage Story…
* The Nightingale: Arrant gunshot dusts aborigine (Baykali Ganambarr) with flour….
* Grieving woman and red windmill vanes, Domino…
* Carrie Bufalino’s little gold cigarette pouch, The Irishman…
* Joker: Robert De Niro’s entrance, as Murray Franklin, is compositional and sickly-TV-color match for Jerry Lewis/Jerry Langford’s in The King of Comedy….

Robert De Niro in The Joker

* Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Ben’s Harrison Ford-y gesture before taking up lightsaber against six Imperial Troopers…
* Painter (Noémie Merlant) wearing green dress to study folds in mirror; exits; lower half of the lady to be painted (Adèle Haenel) steps into mirror frame. Portrait of a Lady on Fire…
* Midsommar: dream image of an SUV wending through a village that might be medieval…
* Pain and Glory: dream of dead friend, who looked the same, “except she was a mite transparent”…
* Parasite: window a CinemaScope frame within CinemaScope frame, two families brawling and dogs run amok…
* Rick’s game go at participating in the “Behind the Green Door” dance number, Once upon a Time…in Hollywood…
* Jojo Rabbit: the kids’ bursting into dance at the end…
* Imploring a dead man to breathe, Ad Astra…
* Wounded hand plunged into rotten corpse, 1917…
* Midwife’s baby touching Sophie’s face after abortion—Portrait of a Lady on Fire…
* Little Women: Ecstatic, absurd, indomitable—the anarchic romp of Jo and Laurie (Timothée Chalamet) in the wintry chill outside the French doors as a staid cotillon unreels within…
* Greta: dancing feet and the needle…
* Fingers clasped against sky, A Hidden Life…
* The Irishman: glancing at the door to the murder-house kitchen, after…
* Us: comic shadows of family on sand as they cross the beach; an anticipatory clue, as it turns out…
* Seabird feast, The Lighthouse…
* “I wouldn’t expect too much from that cat.” Alan Alda sublime in Marriage Story…
* The Art of Self-Defense: dog advised “I won’t be petting you anymore.”…
* Midnight sun? “Oh fuck, I don’t like that!” Will Poulter in Midsommar…
* Pain and Glory: “I don’t understand why they like me in Iceland.”…
* Ash Is Purest White: Bin (Fan Liao) drops his gun while dancing to “YMCA”…
* Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) reassuring Frank, in The Irishman: “‘Motherfucker’ didn’t apply to you!”…
* Bruce Lee (Mike Moh): “Did I say something funny?” Cliff: “Yeah, ya kinda did.” Once upon a Time…in Hollywood…
* Joker: Garish color design that comes to seem normal…
* Tan bamboo roof introduces the first note of color into the filmworld of Shadow….
* Little Women: autumn backdrop to Jo and Laurie breaking up…

Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet in Little Women

* Claire Mathon’s night paintings of Dakar, Atlantics…
* Night run by flare light through hellish ruins—1917…
* The Kims running through, and eventually on, torrential rain—Parasite…
* Crawl: boating into and through flooded house…
* Hauling out the dory, and the door opening behind—The Lighthouse…
* Woman in white at end of hall, Portrait of a Lady on Fire…
* The Souvenir: when she hears about the heroin…
* Closing the gate that wouldn’t close—Marriage Story…
* Queen & Slim: changing cars in foggy predawn…
* Argument in snowfall, Dark Waters…
* Cryogenic forest in space, High Life…
* Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: In re: Storm Troopers: “They fly now.” “They fly now?” “They fly now.”…
* “Simmer down there, hot sauce.” Watson (Sam Rockwell) to Nadya (Nina Arianda), Richard Jewell…
* Manson (Damon Herriman) leaning past Jay Sebring (Emile Hirsch) to see Sharon—Once upon a Time…in Hollywood…
* Us: “Family” at head of drive; kids break to the sides….

The Family in Us

* Raccoon and Hulk on back of pickup, Avengers: Endgame…
* The other Whispers, The Irishman…
* Enchanting, shiveringly right music cues in Once upon a Time…in Hollywood: “Here’s to You, Mrs. Robinson” under the first exchange of looks between Cliff and Pussycat (Margaret Qualley); “The Circle Game” transition from Rick’s encounter with 8-year-old Trudi (Linda Butters) to Sharon happy in her car; “California Dreamin’” to set the capstone on February…
* It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: closeup of “Daniel” rubbing his eyes…
* Joker: Bleeding corpse and madman behind him, the midget (Leigh Gill) can’t reach the door lock….
* Clipboards for last words, A Hidden Life…
* Retrieving ghost dragonfly with iPhone—Tigers Are Not Afraid…
* Little Women: The second time the camera accompanies Jo downstairs to see who’s at the kitchen table….
* Uncut Gems: Actress in school play spits gold coins, eliciting an unfeigned “wow” from Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler)….
* In Fabric: clunking of pneumatic tube as fingers explore red cloth…
* Face broken on rock, Midsommar…
* “The pie makes it worse.”—Marriage Story…
* Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) emerging from behind frosted glass after Hoffa walks away—The Irishman…
* Ocean waves seen through/melding with rippled glass windows—Atlantics…

Jimmie Fails in The Last Black Man in San Francisco

* The Souvenir: “Please tell me what I’ve done”—deception/self-deception in a mirror frame, tiny in center of suddenly large-seeming screen…
* 1917: the falls…
* Masterclass in filmmaking and film imagining, screenwriting and editing, performance and choreography: Spahn Ranch, Once upon a Time…in Hollywood….
* “It makes me feel like a brown belt to wear this brown belt!”—The Art of Self-Defense…
* Queen & Slim: the second dance, after “I think we’re safe here”…
* Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) at the window—Us…
* The stillness at the core of Jimmie Fails, The Last Black Man in San Francisco…
* Bobi’s Tupperware returned—Richard Jewell…
* It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: Episode finished, the movement from Mister Rogers exiting the back door, passing the monitor, and sitting at the piano as the crew shuts down for the day. Then he plays that chord…
* “I’m going there to see my Mother…” Soldier boys in a grove listening to a mate sing “Wayfaring Stranger,” 1917…
* Adam Driver, “Being Alive,” Marriage Story…

Adam Driver in Marriage Story

* Address inked on Frank’s palm, The Irishman…
* Sunstroke, Pain and Glory…
* The last smile, Transit…
* Pirandellian grace notes: the sadness of the late Bruno Ganz leaking through his A Hidden Life role as the judge who must pronounce a death sentence; in Once upon a Time…in Hollywood, Jim Stacy’s casual departure, by motorcycle, at the end of a workday; and moments earlier, Luke Perry, unexpected ghost…
* At the climax of 1917, more than one charging soldier crashing crossways into Lance Corporal Schofield (George MacKay), and vice versa…
* For the last time? On Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the trapezoidal crawl preparing us to drop in medias res…
* Dark Waters: Bill Camp’s utter inhabitation of a West Virginia farmer (though I knew this guy in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania)…
* Midsommar: Mesmerizing tradeoff of graphic images for three-dimensional space, landscape master shots for subjective closeups, interior life for assimilation in an inscrutable epic…
* Marriage Story: tying the shoelace…
* “It’s what it is.” The Irishman…
* One more music cue, the best for last. As benediction at the end of his Once upon a Time…in Hollywood, Tarantino summons Maurice Jarre’s theme for the John Huston-John Milius The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean. That film’s epigraph: “Maybe this isn’t the way it was … it’s the way it should have been.”

RTJ

George MacKay in 1917

With thanks to Kathleen Murphy and Sean Axmaker.

Copyright 2020 Richard T. Jameson

Moments Out of Time 2018

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

* At the movies, Roma: German slapstick on screen in deep distance, a pair of lovers in closeup silhouette in left of frame, gray ranks of anonymous filmgoers in between. The space is familiar, auspicious, yet somehow fraught. Camera does not move, but things come undone….
* “I felt like I was Jacob wrestling all night long with the angel, fighting in the grasp. Every sentence, every question, every response a mortal struggle. It was exhilarating.” Rev. Toller (Ethan Hawke), First Reformed…
* Leave No Trace
: the myriad intonations and valences Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie can get into “Dad”…
* Pirandellian rewrite: At the outset of The Other Side of the Wind—begun 1970, completed 2018—Peter Bogdanovich speaks with old-age voice….
* The Death of Stalin: body tumbling down stairs in background as Lavrentiy Beria (Simon Russell Beale) makes his rounds…
* Hereditary: rooms that suggest dollhouse miniatures, and may be…
* Filial love in You Were Never Really Here: Joe’s honk honk honk mock hammering of Mom; Joaquin Phoenix and Judith Roberts
* The endless, obscuring, occasionally decapitating frames of civilization in Zama; maddening protocols and deflections…
* The Old Man and the Gun: Forrest/Robert Redford’s “yeah it’s for real” shrug after slipping note to bank teller…
* The Ballad of Buster Scruggs: the Wingless Thrush (Harry Melling) catching snowflakes in his mouth…
* Lisa (Regina Hall) almost falling asleep in the midday sun—Support the Girls…
* Widows: Dog in arms blinks as Veronica (Viola Davis) enters husband’s workshop….
* If Beale Street Could Talk: moving “furniture” in the loft…
* Bohemian Rhapsody: cats in window watching Freddie’s limo leave for the concert…
* Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) petting a rabbit while having her hair brushed—The Favourite…
* Michael Myers mask rising out of car trunk—Halloween…
* Border: yearning through windowglass—werewolves in love?…
* A Quiet Place: Creature that can’t see and one who can’t hear pass in the night….
* “Being dead” up on the roof, Roma…
* “Go for a cruise,” the horseman proposes, and his steed breaks into fluid glide, camera tracking right along. Brady Jandreau, The Rider

Brady Jandreau in ‘The Rider’

* “Shoot her before him and make sure he sees it.” Beria’s instructions for disposition of politically superfluous married couple—The Death of Stalin…
* Recurrently in First Reformed, the sound of footsteps on bare wooden floors. Such sense of place, community, ethos…
* Private Life punctiliousness: “The seltzer comes from one place, the syrup from somewhere else.”…
* Blake Lively to Anna Kendrick post-sudden-kiss, A Simple Favor: “You’re OK. You wanna order pizza?”…
* The Little Drummer Girl: in mid-interrogation, need 50p to turn lights on again…
* The Favourite: “Must the duck be here?”…
* Film freak: “I’m Marvin P. Fassbinder!” Jake Hannaford/John Huston: “Of course you are.” The Other Side of the Wind…
* Bad Times at the El Royale: Far across rainswept parking lot, Jon Hamm’s glasses reflect lightning….
* Small plane like a dragonfly over arctic waste, Hold the Dark
* November, an Estonian ghost story: flying skull carries cow over treetops…
* The reservoir and what might be in it—Burning…
* Dying man singing along to ambient music; his killer lying down beside him and joining in—You Were Never Really Here
* Hereditary: papers blowing out through backseat window just before … you know…
* Bird Box: Woman steps into blazing car and takes her seat….
* Les Affames/Ravenous: cow eating lawn along suburban street…
* Zama: squeak of native-operated wood fan behind ambiguous flirtation…
* Candles on railing of borrowed porch, Leave No Trace…
* BlacKkKlansman: Flip (Adam Driver) and other cops turning as they hear Ron (John David Washington) on the phone listing all the types of nonwhite Americans he hates…
* Motherhood is hard. “I am so sick of that face on your face!” Toni Collette, Hereditary…
* “So grandma only wanted their money, not me?” Could be, kid. Then again, what’s family anyway? Shoplifters…

Shoplifters

* Roma: Seriously stressed Galaxie pulls into frame below Aztec entablature….
* All the good doctors in Moscow having been liquidated, how to get medical assistance for Stalin? Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi) rationalizes: “If he recovers, then we got a good doctor, and if he doesn’t recover, then we didn’t, but he won’t know!” The Death of Stalin settles that….
* Night Eats the World: man contemplates suicide, nods off, accidentally discharges shotgun in his sleep….
* The Ballad of Buster Scruggs: creak of Leone windmill that isn’t there…
* Gray church, gray sky, gray dusk—First Reformed…
* The Old Man and the Gun: Forrest, horseback on hilltop, watching caravan of cop cars on road below…
* Torch-bearing riders spread into the night, The Favourite….
* Pact under red umbrella, If Beale Street Could Talk…
* “I can take fuckin’ up all day but I can’t take not trying”—Support the Girls values…
* The Sisters Brothers: riding through cemetery of discarded luggage on seashore…
* A scattering of rocks in a green graveyard: rough memorials for Border’s deformed dead…
* The Rider: Cat Clifford’s talking prayer by campfire…
* The food no one ever gets to eat in You Were Never Really Here, until someone does…
* “Kentucky Fried Chicken—in Kentucky! When’s that gonna happen?” Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) open to delight, Green Book…
* Llama kibitzes at dashing of Zama’s (Daniel Giménez Cacho) hopes…

Daniel Giménez Cacho in ‘Zama’

* Vigil in rain with two geese—Happy as Lazzaro…
*
The grandmother at the beach, setting about dying. The late Kirin Kiki, Shoplifters…
* John Carroll, Norman Foster, Tonio Selwart; shades tenderly at large in The Other Side of the Wind…
* Burning
: The bewitching Haemi (Jun Jong-seo) slips out of her shirt to dance in the warm light of a setting sun; two young men watch (Yoo Ah-in, Steven Yeun), curiously impassive….
* The towering blond distraction of Elizabeth Debicki, Widows…
* Kayli Carter’s misconstrued “OK,” Private Life. (Watch this young actress. And, to be sure, Thomasin McKenzie.)…
* The Favourite: Emma Stone’s imposing lexicon of sniffles, snorts, head wags…
* Zoe Kazan as Miss Longabaugh … Has Sarah Vowell seen The Ballad of Buster Scruggs?…
* Cabiria-like, the unsought power to balance on one foot: Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) at the martial arts field, Roma
* Night run through corn shocks, A Quiet Place…
* Leave No Trace: Truck driver (Art Hickman) who has to know he’s doing the right thing…
* The Armstrongs’ laughter at “kinda neat,” First Man…
* Touching the nose, A Star Is Born…
* Ants crawling over head as oblivious motorists drive past, Hereditary…
* Elder doctor pursued across white plaza, The Death of Stalin…
* Rooftop sleepwalk under full moon, November…
* The Quake: shattered skyscraper like a tyrannosaur profile…
* Nocturnal greeting from/to reindeer, Border…
* Cold Skin: mermen climbing down off lighthouse in first rays of sun…
* First Man: Pre-launch, bird flies past porthole….
* “You’re starting to harsh both of our mellows”—Sorry to Bother You…
* “You know you’ve missed me.” The return of Frank Underwood. Kevin Spacey on YouTube. OMG….
* Zama: coy menace of Vicuña Porto (Matheus Nachtergaele)…
* Ron’s karate-chop war dance in front of Records counter, BlacKkKlansman…
* The Old Man and the Gun: Tom Waits’s reminiscence about why he hates Christmas…
* Bad Times at the El Royale: Father Flynn (Jeff Bridges) and the right/wrong jukebox tune: “you’re just too good to be true”…
* The Ballad of Buster Scruggs: the Impresario (Liam Neeson) walking back from the gorge…
* “She died. Or maybe she didn’t die. Maybe she just moved back to the suburbs.“ Jack Hock (Richard E. Grant) can’t be expected to remember everything. Can You Ever Forgive Me?…

Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant in ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’

* Eighth Grade: Dorky father (Josh Hamilton) wants to “say one thing.” She (Elsie Fisher): “Dad, this is more than one thing.” He: “It’s a chunk of things.”…
* “Same thing that’s wrong with you isn’t wrong with me”—Leave No Trace….
* Dog running out to chase truck, Les Affames/Ravenous. Life goes on, even in zombie apocalypse.
* The Favourite: hand job disquisition on realpolitik…
* Avengers: Infinity War: Dr. Strange saying douchebag…
* Brotherhood of the toothbrush—The Sisters Brothers…
* In Support the Girls, stormin’ Cubby (James LeGros) popped in stomach. Did not see that coming….
* Hold the Dark: Offered soup, sorely wounded Slone (Alexander Skarsgard) asks, “What kind?”…
* President Pierce’s accommodation to change, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
* Park Chan-wook’s red and green rooms, The Little Drummer Girl…
*
What rough beast sinks into the depths with its tender burden—You Were Never Really Here
* A Star Is Born: Ally’s final, hieratic closeup; Lady Gaga indeed…
* Wig? No wig? Sharon (Regina King) calculates her best approach in Puerto Rico. If Beale Street Could Talk
* “Has anybody got a Swiss Army knife?”—First Man…
* Somewhere Don Gabriel Figueroa smiles: in Roma, thundercloud light on cactus as mommy drives her family home from vacation….
* Schrader’s use of the classical 1.33:1 format in First Reformed: initially startling; effective at setting the tone of austerity; then disconcerting as, what, the whole film is going to be in this shape? Yes, and rightly so….

First Reformed

* Hulk towering darkly above parkway, bisecting Scope frame—You Were Never Really Here…
* Cliff fall without end—Happy as Lazzaro…
* Zama: ambush by red-painted phantoms amid the long grass…
* Outlaw King: apples rolling in the road under horses’ hooves…
* Molly Shannon murdering roast turkey, Private Life…
* Daniel Kaluuya, stone cold malevolence in Widows…
* “First time?” The Ballad of Buster Scruggs…
* Hereditary: house swallowed in night, silver tree trunks shining above…
* Atavistic thrill of that music coming on as Michael Meyers once again walks the streets of Haddonfield—but there’s still only one Halloween
* Border: smelling smartphone…
* Cellphone call among tombstones, First Reformed…
* Kid in hospital to fellow survivor of 22 July: “Cigarettes would be nice … except I don’t smoke.”…
* Hold the Dark: Vernon reclaiming cigarette from windowsill after killing rapist…
* Erramentari: torment by chick pea…
* Apostle: the silhouettes around “the purification”…
* Car painted pink by neon sign, Bad Times at the El Royale…
* Suicide in white lake amid white trees, November…
* Sarah (Golshifteh Farahani) appears to have won approval of zombie Alfred (a new frontier for Denis Lavant)—Night Eats the World….
* The Death of Stalin: breathtaking precision of comedic ensemble…
* Unsettling, unexpectedly heartbreaking memento mori: in The Favourite, Olivia Colman’s final closeup, the Queen’s voice the slurry growl of a stroke victim…
* “Cut” (The Other Side of the Wind). “Shantih Shantih Shantih” (Roma). Things Netflix didn’t want you bothered by…
* Apollo 1 mission: the two shots of the cockpit hatch—First Man…
* Ferocity of the Cheeon shootout, Hold the Dark (Julian Black Antelope as Cheeon)…
* Emily Blunt cocking a pump shotgun, A Quiet Place…

Emily Blunt and Millicent Simmonds in ‘A Quiet Place’

* Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Parting after dinner, the shy dynamics of Lee (Melissa McCarthy) and Anna (Dolly Wells) wordlessly wondering what this might lead to…
* Burning: The cat with no name has one….
* Queen passing offstage, leaving the screen to the vast crowd. Bohemian Rhapsody…
* You Were Never Really Here: suicide skip on the check. “Have a nice day.”…
* Profile, pirogue, endless carpet of green—Zama…
* Seahorse frond, Leave No Trace…
* “Whistle for him when you walk away, please”—The Rider….
* The Death of Stalin: furtive glances of the next men in line who suddenly, inexplicably, just avoided getting executed…
* The Ballad of Buster Scruggs reaches its destination, the prairie precursor of the Hotel Earle….
* Roma’s transcendent final shot. Stay for the last plane….

RTJ wishes to acknowledge the contributions of Kathleen Murphy to this year’s edition.

Copyright © 2019 Richard T. Jameson

Relive past “Moments” at Parallax View here…

Thomasin McKenzie and Ben Foster in ‘Leave No Trace’

Moments Out of Time 2017

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

* Dunkirk: lapping of leaflets as they fall in quiet street of a seaside town…
* Imperceptible bleed of newsreel and movie, Detroit…
* Post-first-kiss, Christine’s (Saoirse Ronan’s) milestone-marking scream in middle of suburban street, Lady Bird…
* Bobby (Willem Dafoe) fires up a cigarette; lights come on all over The Florida Project….
* Super Dark Times
: interior-lit plastic snowman, no snow, rain sheen on blacktop driveway…
* Ben Bradlee’s (Tom Hanks’s) voice changing on the single syllable “Jack” during a recitation of Presidents who have lied—The Post
* Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) and Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) going at each other hammer and tongs. Suddenly he coughs up a spray of blood and she says, “I know, baby!”…

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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

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’69: A Good Year (for movies…)

Rummaging in cartons on the top floor of our house—a process that has gone and will go on for years—I recently found two crumbling pieces of newsprint that mark, among other things, the beginning of what became “Moments out of Time.” The “Moments” stuff comes at the end, the entries for any given film clumped together. Only a few anticipate the way such things would be composed in later years. Still, I’d like to enter them into the Parallax View record.

While I’m at it, please indulge the year-end remarks which precede them. (The venue was the counterculture weekly Helix, which expired not long afterward.) Seattle film year 1969 was a remarkably rich time, not least for the fact that it included some local and/or personal premieres from the preceding five decades of cinema. And happily coincident with a landmark restoration this current film year is my top choice for 1969, the year it first played in the greater Seattle area. —RTJ

[Originally published in Helix, January 15, 1970]

’69: A GOOD YEAR (for movies…)
by Dick Jameson

It’s a few minutes past Ten Best time again, and while I’m usually champing at the bit preparing tentative lists as early as November, this year I held off. Not that movies were less interesting in Seattle in 1969. Movies were too interesting. Trying to cull ten titles out of the wealth of fine films making their first appearance in Seattle last year is a hellish prospect, and maybe a leetle bit impossible.

So I sympathize with Johns Hartl and Voorhees of the Times, who made it easier on themselves by limiting eligibility only to released-in-1969 pictures. That does make things a lot easier; I can manage that standing on one hand:

1. TRUE GRIT (Henry Hathaway)
2. THE WILD BUNCH (Sam Peckinpah)
3. STOLEN KISSES (François Truffaut)
4. IF… (Lindsay Anderson)
5. BOB & CAROL & TED & ALICE (Paul Mazursky)
6. MIDNIGHT COWBOY (John Schlesinger)
7. CASTLE KEEP (Sydney Pollack)
8. ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (Sergio Leone)
9. A WALK WITH LOVE AND DEATH (John Huston)
10. I AM CURIOUS—YELLOW (Vilgot Sjoman)

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Moments Out Of Time 2015

‘It Follows’

It Follows: A classroom reading of “Prufrock”—”and in short I was afraid”; old woman seen slowly approaching across schoolyard…
• In Bridge of Spies, Jim Donovan (Tom Hanks) instructing CIA man Hoffman (Scott Shepherd) on what makes them Americans: “the rule book”…
• The head-scratching guys, Spotlight: Marty (Michael Keaton) post-golf and Mike (Mark Ruffalo) post-run, beginning to have a sense of how big the story might get…
• Indian stepping straight out of dark screen into firelight, The Revenant
Timbuktu: walking through haze glare of sun while getting away from the suddenly dead Amadou…
Carol: steam off the road caught in headlights at night…
• A fetal form curled up in bright green grass, the little boy (Jacob Tremblay) who has just fallen out of his Room into a great ocean of world…
• An exquisitely manufactured Eve (Alicia Vikander) contemplates iterations of her own visage, displayed on her creator’s wall in Ex Machina….
• Tour-de-force directing and acting in Clouds of Sils Maria: Maria (Juliet Binoche) running lines with Valentine (Kristen Stewart), the two slipping back and forth between the dynamics of the script and their relationship, between roleplaying in and for Oliver Assayas’s movie and acting out as themselves…
Keep Reading

Moments Out of Time 2014

[Originally published in Keyframe, January 14, 2015]

We perpetrated the first “Moments Out of Time” in ecstasy over the cinematic splendors of 1971—The Conformist, The Last Picture Show, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Straw Dogs, Dirty Harry, et al. It ran in our Seattle Film Society journal Movietone News (“The trees creaking in the wind: the murder in The Conformist…“), where it became a much-anticipated annual feature ’til the journal wrapped in 1981. We’ve missed memorializing a few years since, but have enjoyed at various times the hospitality of Film Comment, American Film, Steadycam, Movies/MSN, and Cinephiled. A comprehensive “Moments” library is maintained at Parallax-View.com.

‘Cold in July’

  • Under the Skin: disembodied face lies in a lap, gazing upward, its eyes blinking…
  • SQÜRL’s banshee screech, “Funnel of Love,” over the first ravishing images—including turntable as flat circle of time—of Only Lovers Left Alive
  • “I was once considered a great beauty,” confides Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes), concierge extraordinaire, The Grand Budapest Hotel….
  • A dollhouse town and the relentless cheer of a minister’s wife (Meryl Streep), on the edge of the crazy-making emptiness of the American frontier, The Homesman
  • What to say, politely, to an Iraqi woman after your team has burst into her Fallujah home? “Hello….” Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, American Sniper
  • Birdman: After Mike (Edward Norton) blows up the performance, Riggan (Michael Keaton) storms offstage snarling, “Get him out of here!” Annie the P.A. (Merritt Wever) softly asks, “How do you want me to do that?”….
  • Threesome rocking out to “Gloria” on car radio: a rare communal moment of joy in Two Days, One Night
  • The Better Angels: Abraham Lincoln’s second mother (Diane Kruger) balances on one foot, wavering over a fallen tree trunk, the sun blazing a bright halo around her head….
  • In Exodus: Gods and Kings, a tiny white stallion, rearing beneath a heavens-high curve of tsunami….

FOXCATCHER
‘Foxcatcher’

  • Foxcatcher: To celebrate her dying, John du Pont (Steve Carell) drives his mother’s stable of prized horses out into the cold….
  • Roads in mist, Blue Ruin
  • As Force majeure’s vacationers trek down an alpine highway, their long walk imperceptibly morphs out of the everyday into a Bergmanesque pilgrims’ progress….
  • Mocking fellow painter John Constable’s fussing over a tiny brushstroke of red in a packed canvas,Mr. Turner (Timothy Spall) casually rubs a smear of scarlet into the merest suggestion of a buoy in one of his impressionistic seascapes….
  • On some other planet, what looks like a towering cliff becomes a frame-filling wall of water bearing down on Interstellar’s astronauts….
  • J.K. Simmons’s hotwired muscularity in Whiplash
  • The abiding, ever-so-slightly pixilated serenity of Gyp DeCarlo (Christopher Walken), Jersey Boys
  • Under the Skin: the first time the shiny black floor turns liquid, and the guy’s calm descent…
  • “America for Me,” Alex Ebert’s perfect bluesy coda to A Most Violent Year
  • Katniss Everdeen’s (Jennifer Lawrence) soft-voiced crooning of “The Hanging Tree”—the closestMockingjay, Part I gets to something like genuine feeling, even if the performance is “propaganda”…
  • Longtime lovers and newlyweds John Lithgow and Alfred Molina serenade each other—“You’ve Got What It Takes”—in Love Is Strange….
  • Only Lovers Left Alive: Giving Eve (Tilda Swinton) a tour of Detroit, Adam (Tom Hiddleston) points out Jack White’s home. She: “Little Jack White … nice.”…
  • Hilarious chest-baring, acrobatic hoofing all over a picturesque waterfall, by a pair of princely twits (Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen) warbling about the “Agony” of love, Into the Woods

SKELETON TWINS
‘The Skeleton Twins’

  • The Skeleton Twins: the decisive moment when Maggie’s—and by all means Kristen Wiig‘s—lips begin to twitch, and she gives herself up to “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” as joyously lipsynched and boogied to by brother Milo (Bill Hader)…
  • In Inherent Vice, Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) watching “Bigfoot” Bjornsen (Josh Brolin) work a Fudgecicle…
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel: Zero (Tony Revolori) penciling on his lounge lizard mustache….
  • At the grand party in Magic in the Moonlight, Sophie (Emma Stone) “makes a rather surprising entrance” in Twenties headband….
  • “She just quit by accident.” Josh (Jesse Eisenberg) accounting for Dena’s (Dakota Fanning) exit fromNight Moves
  • Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) contemplating a curl of cream in a cup of coffee, The Theory of Everything
  • Guy Pearce bringing it as The Rover: Is he gonna shoot that old woman in the face? … No, he wouldn’t … wouldn’t shoot that old woman in the face … Oh good, he’s putting the gun away … Oh. Just changing hands…

THE ROVER
‘The Rover’

  • Conferring elbow to elbow with Monsieur Jean; Jude Law and Jason Schwartzman early in The Grand Budapest Hotel…
  • An old seadog (Michael Parks) spins a wicked-strange story about an intimate encounter with a walrus, in Tusk….
  • The visceral horror of Maleficent’s (Angelina Jolie) rape-castration: stumps where wings once grew…
  • Headboard as gravemarker for eleven-year-old girlchild, tilting over in the middle of nowhere, The Homesman
  • Under the Skin: in a backcountry Scottish town, a girl (Scarlett Johansson) in maroon shirt walking down grey road made perpendicular by perspective…
  • Into the Woods: “I’m in the wrong story!” protests baker’s wife Emily Blunt, finding herself hotly wooed by Cinderella’s Prince Charming…
  • Penny Dreadful: Sudden sundering of Dr. Frankenstein’s gentlest creature (Alex Price as Proteus)
  • In Get On Up, James Brown (Chadwick Boseman) and his backup singers costumed in red-and-white Christmas sweaters, with snowflakes: “I’m in honkie hell now!”…
  • Winking Groot-sprout, happy survivor of Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Eminem in The Interview: “I pretty much just been leaving a breadcrumb trail of gayness.”…
  • “I can hear your pants growing.” Penny Kimball (Reese Witherspoon) over the phone to Doc, Inherent Vice….

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE
‘Only Lovers Left Alive’

  • After the last slippery coming and going of “Dr. Faust” (Tom Hiddleston’s Adam) at the hospital blood bank, Dr. Watson (Jeffrey Wright) opines, “Cat gotta be from Cleveland.”—Only Lovers Left Alive
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies: Galadriel’s (Cate Blanchett) chilling transformation, in closeup, from ethereal elf into berserker-demon…
  • Leviathan: Outside the window that has landmarked so much of the film, beyond a kitchen table still cluttered with homely dishware, the bucket of a steam shovel rises into view, swings with the languor of a grazing cow, and demolishes a home, the last vestige of shattered family, and any relic of what passed for social order….
  • Heartstopping materialization of a giant arachnid in Enemy‘s toxic-yellow world…
  • The Homesman: Mary Bee Cuddy (Hillary Swank), bending to slip naked into George Briggs’s sleeping bag: “Don’t make me lose any more of my dignity.”…
  • Coitus interruptus, in Under the Skin, when a not-entirely-human (Scarlett Johansson) leaps to aim a flashlight between her legs, shocked to discover a way something might get inside her…
  • The startling apparition of an avenging angel (Sam Shepard), filling the driver’s-side car window, inCold in July
  • A couple of war-weary soldiers (Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman) breakfast with two German women, the moment of fragile community soon shattered by a tribe of savages, in Fury….
  • Two Days, One Night: Despairing, Sandra (Marianne Cotillard) leans way too far out her car window, until the buzz of a seatbelt alarm pulls her back….
  • A woman falls out of a window, into the common grave that is Ida….
  • Midway through Birdman, the rapport of two fallen angels (Emma Stone, Edward Norton), perched on a roof-edge above Broadway and lit from below by marquee light, quietly trading hard truths about themselves…
  • A Most Wanted Man: Annabel (Rachel McAdams) has given up smoking. “Good luck with that”—Philip Seymour Hoffman….

A MOST WANTED MAN
‘A Most Wanted Man’

  • Hercules: soothsayer Ian McShane’s insouciant shrug when it’s clear his death, which he’s predicted at every turn, just isn’t happening…
  • Mr. Turner: Without looking, the seated J.M.W. (Timothy Spall) places his hand flat on his hovering housekeeper’s (Dorothy Atkinson) breast, as though settling a horse….
  • 3 Days to Kill: Needing to get into nightclub, Dad (Kevin Costner) reaches behind him and shoots bouncer in foot….
  • After an old-school hitman (Willem Dafoe) engineers his own bloody demise to avoid prolonged torture, his erstwhile tormentor (Michael Nyqvist) applauds, “Well played, old friend”—John Wick….
  • Nightcrawler: Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) enters the murder house minutes after the crime, and finds himself right at home….
  • Study in beige: Scarf drawn across lower half of her face, Eve (Tilda Swinton) walks down a Tangier street, owning the night—Only Lovers Left Alive…
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel: A prison guard looking for concealed contraband cannot bring himself to ruin an exquisite Mendl confection….
  • Selling sunshine (The Homesman), mining the dark (Into the Woods)—Meryl Streep casts her spells….
  • Eva Green in excelsis, as Vanessa Ives in mortal combat with Lucifer, Penny Dreadful
  • Empty Fifties roads under robin’s-egg-blue sky, Big Eyes
  • Cold in July: blood spatter on the beyond-bland painting that hangs over Michael C. Hall’s couch…
  • Amid snowfall reducing the known world to white-on-white, Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) achieves perfect chaos—Fargo….
  • The bullet across the curve, Snowpiercer
  • Night Moves: From their rowboat on the lake, the would-be dambusters watch as headlights enter the parking lot where their car sits alone….
  • Aural climate throughout Under the Skin; what bone-deep Otherness sounds like…
  • Pacing paving stones slicked by rain, Ramses (Joel Edgerton) worries he won’t have time to get his tomb built. Behind him, curtains billow in a wet breeze, portending worse weather to come inExodus: Gods and Kings….
  • “The sun is God.” Amen, Mr. Turner….
  • In American Sniper, sudden red flag as Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) breaks bread with a friendly Iraqi family: the host’s scraped-raw elbow, marking him as a fellow sniper…
  • Out on the American frontier, a little girl walks in the woods, a book on her head—The Better Angels….
  • That precocious little Lorelei Linklater vamping and singing “Oops, I did it again!” at her disgusted younger brother (Ellar Coltrane), in Boyhood
  • The power of doggie love, fueling The Rover, John Wick, The Drop

JOHN WICK
‘John Wick’

  • Mockingjay, Part I: During the mutual jamming of video signals, Peta’s and Katniss’s signals crackle over each other and the separated lovers both call out, as if each felt the other passing….
  • Swapping funiculars, The Grand Budapest Hotel…
  • “Exterminate! Exterminate!”: Hawkings goes Dalek, The Theory of Everything….
  • The start of Fury: lone German officer riding a white horse through gray, cratered wasteland…
  • Mad hornet motorcyclist buzzing tinily over the Highlands, Under the Skin…
  • Something corpsey-white sliding under thinnish ice, soon to be the death of Thorin Oakenshield inThe Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies…
  • The Guest’s (Dan Stevens) amused appreciation of the impact his super-buff torso is having on the teenaged daughter of the unsuspecting family he’s moved in on…
  • Enemy: the shadow of the doppelgänger under the hotel room door…
  • Jax (Charlie Hunnam) fires a bullet into the back of his mother’s head, as Gemma (Katey Sagal) lingers in a rose garden. The last act in a long-running Jacobean tragedy called Sons of Anarchy
  • Rape and fiery death in a Palestinian prison, terrorist theater in which everyone is playing a role except The Honourable Woman (Maggie Gyllenhaal, magnificent throughout)…
  • Boyhood: A guy who once worked on her septic line pops up in a restaurant to thank Mason’s mom (Patricia Arquette) for her life-changing advice years ago….
  • Sliding through Detroit’s deserted yellow-gold streets, Only Lovers Left Alive; Henry Ford’s factory that became the palatial Michigan Theater that became a car-park…
  • The doctor’s (Aidan Gillen) awful parable of the human condition, flaying a priest (Brendan Gleeson) who’s just fallen off the wagon, in Calvary
  • Tom Hardy as Locke: “You don’t trust God when it comes to concrete.”
  • “L’aire de panache,” Gustave H.’s shield against mortality and bad manners—The Grand Budapest Hotel…
  • Late in Edge of Tomorrow (now commercially retitled Live Die Repeat), the general (Brendan Gleeson) and the audience more or less simultaneously catch on that Cage (Tom Cruise) and Rita (Emily Blunt) have been here before….
  • Birdman: Starting to play mad scene after finding his wife in bed with a guy, Riggan notices Mike has a raging hard-on. Theater audience notices, too….
  • Unbroken: after the strafing, underwater view of life rafts against the sky, light showing through bullet holes…
  • What happens on that beach, Under the Skin, and the kinds of sense it doesn’t make…
  • Blue Ruin: color horizontals of a carnival at night…
  • Cousin Marv (James Gandolfini), spread out on his recliner, reminiscing about the days when he was somebody—The Drop

THE DROP
‘The Drop’

  • The long fall of Smaug, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  • Scritchy plastic couch contributing to the year’s most distinctive and unsettling sex scene, inInherent Vice
  • Love Is Strange: Aging lovers, too long apart, spoon in the bottom deck of a bunkbed….
  • Boyhood’s gutsy mom (Patricia Arquette) abruptly overwhelmed at life passing her by: “I thought there would be more.”…
  • George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) and other assorted dregs jigging to fiddle music on a river-raft, slowly swallowed up in darkness, The Homesman
  • In Only Lovers Left Alive, Adam and Eve lean in the doorway of a Tangier dive, drinking in Yasmine Hamdan’s unforgettable performance of Moroccan blues….
  • Monsieur Gustave, The Grand Budapest Hotel: “There are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity.”…
  • Under the Skin: small quick blaze in snowy woods…

Kathleen Murphy has written about movies for most of her life (Movietone News, Film Comment, Steadycam, MSN/movies.com, et al.), curated film festivals (Women and Cinema, Irish Cinema) and taught film at University of Washington. 

Veteran film critic Richard T. Jameson served as editor of the journals Movietone News (1971-1981) and Film Comment (1990-2000). 

Moments out of Time 2014

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

We perpetrated the first “Moments Out of Time” in ecstasy over the cinematic splendors of 1971—The Conformist, The Last Picture Show, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Straw Dogs, Dirty Harry, et al. It ran in our Seattle Film Society journal Movietone News (“The trees creaking in the wind: the murder in The Conformist…“), where it became a much-anticipated annual feature ’til the journal wrapped in 1981. We’ve missed memorializing a few years since, but have enjoyed at various times the hospitality of Film Comment, American Film, Steadycam, Movies/MSN, and Cinephiled. A comprehensive “Moments” library is maintained at Parallax-View.com.

‘Cold in July’

  • Under the Skin: disembodied face lies in a lap, gazing upward, its eyes blinking…
  • SQÜRL’s banshee screech, “Funnel of Love,” over the first ravishing images—including turntable as flat circle of time—of Only Lovers Left Alive
  • “I was once considered a great beauty,” confides Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes), concierge extraordinaire, The Grand Budapest Hotel….
  • A dollhouse town and the relentless cheer of a minister’s wife (Meryl Streep), on the edge of the crazy-making emptiness of the American frontier, The Homesman
  • What to say, politely, to an Iraqi woman after your team has burst into her Fallujah home? “Hello….” Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, American Sniper
  • Birdman: After Mike (Edward Norton) blows up the performance, Riggan (Michael Keaton) storms offstage snarling, “Get him out of here!” Annie the P.A. (Merritt Wever) softly asks, “How do you want me to do that?”….
  • Threesome rocking out to “Gloria” on car radio: a rare communal moment of joy in Two Days, One Night
  • The Better Angels: Abraham Lincoln’s second mother (Diane Kruger) balances on one foot, wavering over a fallen tree trunk, the sun blazing a bright halo around her head….
  • In Exodus: Gods and Kings, a tiny white stallion, rearing beneath a heavens-high curve of tsunami….

Continue reading at Keyframe

Moments Out of Time 2009

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

By Richard T. Jameson & Kathleen Murphy

The blood beginning to spread on Reb Grosskover (Fyvush Finkel) just when we thought there wouldn’t be anyA Serious Man

The Hurt Locker: rust and scale popping off a derelict car when an IED explodes nearby…

• Middle Atlantic States summer heat and humidity visible in the air, the color, the softness—Taking Woodstock

• At the beginning of Summer Hours, the country house pulsing in and out of shadow, coming to light in memory; Olivier Assayas’s farewell to one small citadel of art, civilization, community…

Public Enemies: the thrill of seeing a piece of Manhattan Melodrama big as a movie-palace wall, with the luster of the brand-new. Worth dying for…

• Ghost on the smoke: the Giant Face, Inglourious Basterds

‘Inglourious Basterds’

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans: iguana sharing screenspace with Nicolas Cage; both rampant…

• In 35 Shots of Rum,” people know things about each other we don’t know. Father (Alex Descas) and daughter (Mati Diop) exchanging glances as he dances with Gabrielle (Nicole Dogué)…

• Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) mishearing the stewardess twice, when she inquires, “Do you want the can, sir?” Intimations of mortality, Up in the Air

Liverpool time: riding a log truck up a mountain, long enough for us to shiver in the freezing air, share the stoic discomfort of a nowhere man (Juan Fernández) heading for home…

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Moments Out of Time 2008

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

By Richard T. Jameson & Kathleen Murphy

A Christmas Tale: In a house otherwise teeming with family, a black dog appears in the empty sitting room, then lunges out, curling the corner of the rug as it goes….

• In The Edge of Heaven, a brown ribbon of road glowing under the last shrinking patch of blue in a lowering, end-of-day sky…

• On a static-riddled miniature screen, and through the eyes of WALL•E, a scene from the 1969 Hello, Dolly takes on a grandeur it never had….

• Daisy (Cate Blanchett) dancing in silhouette on a backlit pavilion in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, her gorgeous youth and passion as yet too much for the middle-aged man (Brad Pitt) watching her

In Bruges: the twinkle and the glower: first views of the “Belgian s—hole” by, respectively, Ken (Brendan Gleeson) and Ray (Colin Farrell)…

‘In Bruges’

• With voluptuous abandon, The Dark Knight (Christian Bale) plunges off a Tokyo skyscraper into an ebony abyss … what the fall of God’s most beautiful angel must have looked like….

• “It’s very difficult for me to do everything in one shot. I’m 47 years old.”–But he just did it. Jean-Claude Van Damme in JCVD

• In Che, the most romanticized revolutionary ever (Benicio del Toro) staggers up a steep wooded hillside, wheezing with asthma….

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Moments out of Time 2007

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

By Richard T. Jameson and Kathleen Murphy

• Cellophane wrapper lately crushed in a monster’s fingers uncrimps on the counter as Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) teaches a gas station owner (Gene Jones) to appreciate what a remarkable quarter has entered his life: No Country fir Old Men….

• What pubescent Briony (Saoirse Ronan) saw in Atonement: a beautiful emerald-green butterfly impaled on the library wall…

• The naked look that unmasks spy, actress, assassin in Lust, Caution: “Go, now.”…

• Julie Christie’s puzzled but gracious, “My, you are persistent,” as she greets the stranger—her husband of 40 years—who keeps visiting her in Away from Her

• Urbanite Michael Clayton (George Clooney) come to an upstate hilltop in early morning, and facing three horses in mysterious communion…

‘Michael Clayton’

• A loop of snaky tail rising out of a cavern pool in Beowulf

• In The Savages, Wendy (Laura Linney) reaching out to touch a golden Lab’s foot while having sex with the dog’s owner…

• In a hardware store, the long, scary look exchanged by investigative reporter (Jake Gyllenhaal) and probable Zodiac killer (John Carroll Lynch): Zodiac

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Moments out of Time 2006

Images, lines, gestures, moods from the films of the year

By Richard T. Jameson and Kathleen Murphy

Flags of Our Fathers: how the whole movie is suspended between the desperate “Where is he?” and finding out who “he” is…

• The calm, ecstatic beauty of the opening shot of A Prairie Home Companion: Mickey’s Dining Car glowing in the night, the turned back of narrator Guy Noir (Kevin Kline) visible through the window as he finishes his cheap meal, pays, and rises to step out into a heartland street painted with light and color after rain…

• Business-as-usual in The Departed: Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) disappears into a back room for a while. When he comes back to reenter the conversation, he’s wearing a bloody apron. We never know why….

Brick: The Bad Guy’s (Lukas Haas) mom interrupting a rec room showdown with offers of cookies and apple juice…

Half Nelson: Ryan Gosling’s heroin-addicted teacher storms into the drug-dealer’s hangout to tell the charismatic fellow (Anthony Mackie) to stay away from a little girl he’s taken under his wing–and gets detoured by the lure of shooting up….

• A lively mandrake root swims in a pan of milk beneath a pregnant woman’s bed—Pan’s Labyrinth

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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…
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Moments Out of Time 2012

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

• Asleep in a balcony seat at the top of some golden-age movie palace, Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) is brought a telephone: The Master (Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lancaster Dodd) is calling from England….

• In Lincoln, the magnetic clasp of hands at the moment Stanton (Bruce McGill) and Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) finally receive news about a crucial battle…

• Fireflies: the compound at Abbottabad aswarm with night-vision dots, Zero Dark Thirty

• Gothic night woods, the rattle of wagon wheels on rough ground, the contrapuntal swinging of a lantern and a giant tooth: enter Dr. King Schulz (Christoph Waltz), Django Unchained

Skyfall: 007 (Daniel Craig) and M (Judi Dench) at the threshold of 39 Steps country…

• On the beach in Moonrise Kingdom: Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) tentatively boogie to Françoise Hardy’s “Le Temps de l’Amour”…

Moonrise Kingdom

• “Girl from the North Country” playing as Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) and Pat (Bradley Cooper) sit cross-legged on the floor, beginning a life-saving dance—Silver Linings Playbook

• “I would like to be cohesive” … Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis), Beasts of the Southern Wild

• Moon and Cate Blanchett sharing a frame, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

• Cat sitting atop abandoned iron lung in a dark room, The Sessions

• Coffin with memory drawer optional, Bernie

• In the sepia palette of memory, the soft, volcanic flare when (Rachel Weisz) lights, draws on a cigarette, one measure of appetite and passion in The Deep Blue Sea

Easy Money: JW (Joel Kinnaman) stares at the back of a golden girl’s neck, turned on by the erotics of privilege….

• Young Heathcliff (Solomon Glave), pressed against Cathy’s (Shannon Beer) back as they ride on the moor, breathes in her hair while his hand grazes the horse’s flank — Wuthering Heights….

• Orgiastic swell of sacred harp hymn as Bertha (Mia Wasikowska) kneels and washes Jack Bondurant’s (Shia LaBoeuf) filthy feet, in Lawless

• Deep in a Paris sewer, a perverse pietà: Beauty (Eva Mendes) and the Beast (Denis Lavant), Holy Motors

• Pietà in Robot & Frank: Frank (Frank Langella) cradling his “son,” after erasing Robot’s harddrive…

• Freddie Quell, surreally tiny, sharing a bench with his hometown sweetheart, just one of his larger-than-life Mothers in The Master

• “Name me.” Olivia Wilde to Charlie Hunnam, Deadfall

Anna Karenina: The crackling sound of Anna’s (Keira Knightley) agitated paper fan, like the wings of a moth beating against light, as she watches her lover ride in a horserace…

Hope Springs: Kay (Meryl Streep): “I’m not comfortable with oral sex.” Dr. Feld (Steve Carrel): “Giving or receiving?” Kay: “What?”…

Django Unchained: blood spattering snow-white cotton bolls…

Looper Senior (Bruce Willis) face to face with Looper Junior (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) over breakfast in a heartland diner…

• Late-night diner schmooze between two battered hockey “enforcers,” one rising (Seann William Scott), one in decline (Liev Schreiber)—Goon

Amour: a slap that, in small, shatters civilization…

• Shadows of passing soldiers flickering over the faces of Lincoln and Grant (Jared Harris) as they keep each other company on a roadside porch, post–Civil War carnage—Lincoln

• Tarantino’s uncanny instinct for setup and suspension: in Django Unchained, the hilltop vantage on a man plowing a field, as two men (Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx) argue the merits of his extermination…

• Surveyed from a distance, on high, the track that connects Prometheus and the alien ship takes on a strange immanence: an umbilical link between “gods” and men….

• Barely glimpsed in Life of Pi: the shape of the eat-and-be-eaten island softens into the form of dreaming Vishnu….

Tabu: In silent black-and-white, Portuguese colonials do the twist on a lawn in the middle of darkest Africa….

• Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) coping with horse dander, The Hobbit

The Intouchables: Driss’s (Omar Sy) amoral delight when his paralyzed employer (François Cluzet) doesn’t react to the hot coffee Driss has just poured over his leg…

• Debbie (Leslie Mann) touching Desi’s (Megan Fox) breasts in This Is 40: “They’re like memory mattresses—Tempur-Pedic!”…

• In Argo, the always Moment-ous Philip Baker Hall: “The United States Government has just sanctioned your science fiction movie.”…

• Michaels Stuhlbarg and Pitt: who better to initiate us, however unexpectedly, into the madcap zone of Seven Psychopaths?…

• Kneeling aurochs, paying homage to Hushpuppy—Beasts of the Southern Wild

• Stephanie (Marion Cotillard) summoning her orca, the great black perfect circle of its head, front on, materializing out of the blue of a screen-filling tank—Rust and Bone

• In Luck, a man falling in love: Chester Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman), seated outside his ailing horse’s stall in the night, registers a noble head swinging toward him….

• A gigantic jellyfish swimming in a night-blue sky, backdrop for silhouettes practicing lethal martial arts—Skyfall

• The erotic squeak of rubber against rubber as two figures in scarlet motion-capture suits mimic sex, replicated by writhing alien avatars on the screen behind them—Holy Motors

• “One of your vertebrae is protruding—it must be put back.” The awful craaackk! that follows marks an end to the orgy of breakage in The Dark Knight Rises

Bernie: Preparing to address the jury, pompous DA Danny Buck (Matthew McConaughey) carefully wipes his mouth with his tie….

Magic Mike: Leather-vested cowboy Dallas’s (Matthew McConaughey) deliciously dirty drawl as he explains the rules to the ladies packing his strip club: “The laaaaw says you can’t touch….”

• Mr. Tarantino blows up real good, Django Unchained

• Crate delivery at 4 a.m., Boardwalk Empire

• Flaying a man down to the soul—Carrie (Claire Danes) breaking Brody (Damian Lewis) in Homeland

Silver Linings Playbook: Just finished reading A Farewell to Arms, Pat wakes his father (Robert De Niro) to register a protest—”She dies, Dad!”…

• Aro’s (Michael Sheen) maniacal shriek of laughter at the sight of Renesmee—most welcome blasphemy in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2

3,2,1 … Frankie Go Boom: the once and future Mr. Big (Chris Noth), naked except for a leopard thong, pounding away on his treadmill…

Sons of Anarchy: On his knees, howling, at the edge of a pit, Tig (Kim Coates) watches his daughter burn alive….

• A twinkling yacht gliding under the Golden Gate Bridge at dusk: The Master‘s West Coast version of Gatsby’s green light…

The Paperboy: in the bayou at night, the eye of a gator glowing like a lantern…

• Three sick souls (Denzel Washington, Kelly Reilly, James Badge Dale) sharing a smoke and some straight talk in a hospital stairwell, Flight

Prom­etheus: Über-android David (Michael Fassbender) gravely combing his hair to look like Peter O’Toole’s do in Lawrence of Arabia

• The costumes that fail: KKK bagheads in Django Unchained (it’s the eyeholes that’s the problem)…

The Sessions: Father Brendan (William H. Macy), decked out in bandana and red-white-and-blue running gear, toting six-pack, arrives at the home of his paralyzed parishioner (John Hawkes)….

• Moral nicety in Deadfall: When a killer (Eric Bana) sneers, “Who are you, my mother?” Sissy Spacek ripostes, “Somebody’s mother.”…

• “Look upon your work, Mother”: in Skyfall, Silva (Javier Bardem) removing the scaffolding of his ruined face for M’s edification…

• The Home we must care for … Promised Land pauses to enjoy the pastoral magic of farm pond and hills as night comes on in Western Pennsylvania….

• Depending on your POV in The Deep Blue Sea: “This is a tragedy” … “Sad perhaps, but hardly Sophocles.”…

• “That’s it for me.” In The Grey, camera moves slowly in on Diaz (Frank Grillo), propped against a log, surveying magnificent forest, mountains, and what might be the big two-hearted river….

• “A lady from days gone by and a sad and melancholic crocodile,” keeping ghostly company in a moonlit jungle, Tabu

• Odalisque with kitten: Eve (Kara Hayward) in her Moonrise Kingdom

• Tiffany’s (Jennifer Lawrence) one-word eloquence in Silver Linings Playbook: that “Hey!” grenade each time she ambushes Pat (Bradley Cooper), and her flat, deal-closed “OK” after his passionate declaration of love…

• “Argo fuck yourself!” John Goodman, Alan Arkin, and Ben Affleck sharing a toast…

• Freddie Quell’s gaunted, crucified face as he listens to Lancaster Dodd crooning “Slow Boat to China,” in The Master

• Introductory CU of dead-eyed Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), a perfectly malevolent black snake—Django Unchained

• In This Is 40, Albert Brooks explaining, “You can’t use up a Jew card—it goes forever!”…

• “Make her fun! I want a fun queen!” Christian, King of Denmark (Mikkel Boe Folsgaard), demands of his personal physician and fellow-rake (Mads Mikkelsen) in A Royal Affair….

• Auntie Phyllis and Frankie—Ron Perlman and Charlie Hunnam—dreamily slow-dancing … so wrong, and yet so right: 3,2,1 … Frankie Go Boom

The Hobbit: Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) and Gandalf (Ian McKellen) dialogue with their eyes….

ParaNorman‘s ringtone: the iconic theme from John Carpenter’s Halloween

• While Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) hides from her demons under a pool table, the past starts to replay as a little girl’s legs suddenly dangle from table’s edge—Silent House

The Grey: A little girl’s long hair sweeps over a dying man’s face in benediction….

End of Watch: Every sweet, raunchy conversation—the jazzy riffs of friendship—between cop brothers-in-arms (Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña) as they cruise the mean streets of South Central…

• In Premium Rush, Michael Shannon as psycho cop Bobby Monday, nailing the kind of genial, even reasonable dementia that shrinks the world into his personal playpen; possibly American kin to Hans Landa…

• The prolonged demolishing of a man in a bathtub, The Snowtown Murders

Magic Mike: Stripper Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello), bent over a sewing machine, mending his jockstrap…

• The future Robin (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) ducking a swarm of bats just before the end of The Dark Knight Rises

• Any one of Tommy Lee Jones’ many eloquent double-takes on the therapy couch, in Hope Springs

• Bedtime reading in Lincoln: the 13th Amendment…

The Hobbit: the fingers of a statue flexing…

• Say goodbye to Miss Lara, Django Unchained

Killing Them Softly: Cogan (Brad Pitt) watching Mickey (James Gandolfini) drink a beer…

• Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale), blood-smeared and naked except for the belt wrapped tight around his neck, lurching dreamily down a hotel hallway—Boardwalk Empire

• Last man standing in The Grey, Liam Neeson shoves his great Celtic mug up into a dead-white sky and thunders at God: “Show me something real!”…

• Maya (Jessica Chastain) alone in the back of a vast transport plane, Zero Dark Thirty: where to now?…

 

Moments Out of Time 1987

[Originally published in Pacific Northwest, January 1988]

Hope and Glory: Down among the green leaves of his family’s backyard garden, young Bill Rohan (Sebastian Rice Edwards) confronts the wizard Merlin, while in the house the stillness of the adults ’round a grumbling radio signals that the Second World War has just been declared….

The Dead

• The Vietnamese woman’s voice scrapes relentlessly on our eardrums until we wish anything at all would shut her up: an unforgettable scene in Platoon makes us understand, by vicariously participating, how a My Lai might have happened….

The Dead: Gabriel Conroy (Donal McCann) turns from the snowy window to discover that his wife Gretta (Anjelica Huston), after the most intense and revealing conversation of their life together, has fallen deeply asleep….

Barfly: Returning from the hotel bathroom down the hall, Henry (Mickey Rourke) sits on the bed and slowly begins to wonder why the music from his radio should sound so muted. Oh, right. He’s in the wrong room….

• The wind drifts leaves across the road as Gene Hackman’s car and the camera crest a rise together—Hoosiers….

• “I’m gonna tell you something, Bonanza is not an accurate depiction of the West”: earnest breakfast discourse in Tin Men

• Diane Keaton singing “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To,” New Year’s Eve 1943. Radio Days

Innerspace: Dennis Quaid sees his unborn child…

• On the battlefield at the end of Good Morning, Babylon, the dying brothers film each other in order that their sons will know what they looked like….

• Jimmy Malone (Sean Connery) blows a dead man’s brains out: David Mamet’s most outrageous con job in The Untouchables

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