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2019

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

Review: Das Boot (2019)

Das Boot shares the same title as Wolfgang Petersen’s 1981 film (and is technically a sequel), but familiarity with the original is unnecessary to start the series. Also based on the novel Das Boot by Lothar-Günther Buchheim as well its sequel Die Festung, the 2019 series is set in late 1942, nine months after the film’s finale, with a new crew, a new mission, and a new vessel.

Klaus Hoffmann (Rick Okon), a young, inexperienced officer with a military hero father, is promoted to captain of U-162, much to the resentment of First Watch officer Karl Tennstedt (August Wittgenstein) and a crew loyal to the veteran officer.

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