What I watched in May

by Mr. Nobel

  • The Avengers: Age of Ultron [1]
  • Where the Wild Things Are (rewatched)
  • Ex Machina [2]
  • Blue Velvet [3]
  • Mulholland Drive
  • After Hours 
  • Mad Max: Fury Road [4]
  • Enter the Void (rewatched)
  • Visitor Q 

[1] – I came into this with very low expectations (more or less hated the first Avengers), left with confused, mixed impressions. Probably a worse movie than The Avengers overall, but it’s much, much more interesting: every character gets an actual arc (for better and for worse), the collateral cost of all the city leveling mayhem is explicitly dealt with/part of the story and Stark’s preoccupation with replacing the Avengers with robots is a neat extension of his character’s journey through the Iron Man and Avengers movies.

That said, holy fuck is this movie overstuffed. The entire barn sequence was ripped straight out of some awful Avengers sitcom spinoff, and what the fuck was up with the Black Widow/Hulk romance thing?

[2] – Surprisingly undramatic. Points for not going with the obvious plot twist, but that also means not much about Ex Machina is unpredictable. The experience of watching, then, is more cerebral and intellectual than emotional or guttural. It’s a cold, cold movie. Major props to the production design team for the meticulously crafted mansion and props to Oscar Issac for giving my favorite villain performance of the year (so far).

[3] – Honestly, didn’t really like it. Better in parts than as a whole. Mulholland Drive was a much better fusion of Lynch’s surrealistic impulses and semi-conventional narrative design.

[4] – If I saw this movie when I was, like, 12, this would be my favorite movie of all time. Admirable commitment to showing not telling. Not wholly perfect – Max’s hallucinations were distracting because they weren’t the same kind of crazy as the rest of the movie and some of the movie’s sparse dialog was poor. Also have the sneaking the suspicion that a good chunk of the movie won’t hold up to repeat viewings. Even so, it’s damn near the platonic ideal of a summer blockbuster.