Director: Tom Ford
Writer: David Scearce, Christopher Isherwood
Stars: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode, Nicholas Hoult
My one-paragraph take: At the cinema, there’s no equal that can generate in me intensities of incoherency and stunning clarity all at once. Every frame of the film is meticulously thought out, but moreover, felt out, as though the camera caresses both what is in front of it and that which remains momentarily off-screen. The pacing is incredible, like taking deep breaths but rolling inexorably like storm clouds taking shape. One watches and becomes drawn in to the inner space of the protagonist, Professor George Falconer, who is overcome by a conflagration of many memories, thoughts, and emotions. We feel him weighing his words with the complexity of histories and connections. It is beautiful, poignant, humanistic. It is something sacred and true to heart, true to life.
It’s quite the fine moment to realize that I’ve just experienced one of my favorite films.
Director: David Fincher
Writers: Aaron Sorkin, Ben Mezrich
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake
My one-paragraph take: The Social Network comprises of witty and fascinating storytelling, particularly due to the quick lines and the pacing of the settlements. At its heart, it’s a story of friendship and its fragility under the unenviable pressures of better connections and profit. The cinematography and the editing are brilliant and coherent. We really see this in action when the editing matches Zuckerberg’s frenzied programming talent when he cobbled together the Facebash.com. Jesse Eisenberg as Zuckerberg was an intense, unrelenting performance, crafting a character that effectively courts both my contempt and sympathy in multiple successions. This was a portrait of Zuckerberg that isn’t out to vilify him, but shows his uninhibited determination to get what he wants, with the intellectual capacity and belligerence to see it to its end. He is the antihero par excellence of our decade. No one really leaves The Social Network with their initial reputations unscathed – Harvard University’s elitism perhaps the most irreconcilable negative portrayal of all – and perhaps that’s just the point.
Director: Marc Webb
Writers: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Stars: Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Geoffrey Arend
My one-paragraph take: I keep expecting melodrama considering the number count on the days “left” with Summer, and Gordon-Levitt’s well-nurtured dumped and decrepit expressions. In a good way. But I’m glad that this expectation did not borne itself out. Both Deschanel and Gordon-Levitt were charming and comfortable with each other, and their characters’ courtship really grew on me. The quirks and the impromptu scenes of falling in love were wonderfully heartfelt, from the happy-dance to the Ikea to the especially nifty mockumentary intermission, which actually made me more involved in the characters even though it interrupted the existing film aesthetic. The climax felt alien and jarring and leaves open many questions. Indeed, the film’s refusal to offer not some overarching grand moral narrative but snippets of experience made the narrative all the more consequential. The cinematography was lovely and familiar, so much so that I rewinded on a few occasions to see if I recognized a building or a landscape. Perhaps it speaks very much to the careful craftsmanship of this film that I felt like I could be in Tom’s shoes, where his perception of that significant other ignored the grayer points of reality. Worth seeing for its meandering and sensible storytelling alone.