Now that we’ve survived the snooze of January, it’s time to kick off February, which as usual features a nice little line-up of niche movies that should help liven up the unseasonably-warm doldrums of the shortest month. My limited (but exciting!) selections follow:
What is America? For many it seems to be only borders and symbols, that maybe are only truly deserved by white, Christian conservatives. For these people, the idea of “preserving” America only goes so far as maintaining the traditions and landmarks with which they are familiar, and they are willing to sacrifice or overlook a lot of moral transgressions in pursuit of that cause. But for others, America is defined by its ideals, by an evolving philosophy and clear-cut, equal lawmaking. To those of us on this end of the spectrum, moral and ethical sacrifices made to “preserve” our country only degrade the ideals that truly define it. It is the latter perspective that is strenuously advocated in Bridge Of Spies, Steven Spielberg’s latest ode to true American values. Like Lincoln before it, this film takes what could be a dry and rote exploration of legal, political and diplomatic wranglings and turns them into an energetic and tense piece of cinema that says something simple but important about the nature of America.
Right from the start, this blog has been meant to help me rediscover my artistic enthusiasm. I needed to figure out exactly what stories I wanted to tell and how, and I figured a more in-depth exploration of the films I like could help me get there. But while the blog has been pretty successful in and of itself, and I do feel a little more clear about what stories I want to tell, I still haven’t figured out a way to actually get myself writing scripts again. It’s a subject that I’ve repeatedly discussed with my girlfriend, and every time she gives me the same advice: just write.
It’s good advice but very difficult to follow, and the more I don’t follow it, the more depressed I usually get. But after our most recent talk, something changed: there was a brief spark of inspiration, right around Thanksgiving, that not only made me feel I could follow Shiran’s advice but could directly address what had been holding me back this whole time. And then of course my life got thrown into chaos for a few weeks, and I haven’t had time to even work on this blog, much less a new script. But with some time to myself over this past weekend, I found my way to two long-awaited pieces of storytelling that spoke both to where I am now and what I hope to say about it: Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George and the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis.
Okay folks, here we go: one last big rodeo to close out 2013, hopefully on a high note. After the drudgery of November (I had fuck-all to write about for the past month), it’s refreshing to have multiple movies to be excited about in a single month again. WIth several projects from high-profile filmmakers, I’m expecting at least one or two of the movies listed here to place as some of my favorite of this year. But, as the great prophet Berra would say, it ain’t over til it’s over. So let’s enjoy my anticipation while we can for the movies of December 2013…