Sunday, July 21, 2013

Seen in June 

photo of Michelle Williams
Michelle Williams in Meek's Cutoff

I'm late posting this by almost three weeks. I guess June wasn't about watching too many movies. In fact most of June was taken trying to avoid spoilers from Game of Thrones, but the film that stuck with me is still the quiet and still Meek's Cutoff. Sadly, two of three films were seen on a seat back display of a plane but I don't think it made them any worse.

Meek's Cutoff
Three couples are being led west in 1845 via the Oregon Trail by a hired guide, Mr. Meek. At some point in their wanderings they've run low on water and are beginning to doubt that their guide knows anymore about where they are going than they do. This is a time when the menfolk speak quietly amongst themselves to determine their fates while the women watch from a distance. Yet, these hardened women are no dummies and this is more their story. Michelle Williams plays Emily Tetherow who turns out to be the only one with the fortitude to put their guide Meek (an almost unrecognizable Bruce Greenwood) in his place. Curiously this is shot in 4:3 aspect ratio. The director, Kelly Reichardt has said it was to convey the point of view of the women looking out from their bonnets and the feeling of despite having no privacy, the journey remained almost an internal one. I can't speak to that but it reminded me of old silent films and photos of the West (which I guess were really 1:1). The film has very little story other than the trance-like quietness of walking in the wilderness and it ends ambiguously but I think we know the truth. The great Western frontier was peopled by women with the strength of Mrs. Tetherow.

Game of Thrones, Season 3
Spoiler alert - there is nudity and graphic violence and dragons but on the bright side there are notably fewer characters to keep track of.

Identity Thief
Funny in a funny-ha-ha kind of way but predictable in a saw-it-coming kind of way.

Gangster Squad
Almost as cartoonish as Dick Tracy but not quite cartoonish enough to erase some of the fetishistic violence.

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