EIght reasons to be thankful for the movies and TV:
1. Watching personal assistant Val (Kristen Stewart) run lines and spar with her boss, neurotic actress Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) in Clouds of Sils Maria
, Olivier Assayas’ latest and maybe best exploration of femininity, identity and performance. Stewart and Binoche are so natural and smart and supple together that their work overshadows most, if not all, of the other lead and supporting performances in most, if not all, of the other movies I’ve seen lately.
2. Relishing all the trace elements of writer-director Edgar Wright still discernible in Peyton Reed’s highly enjoyable Ant-Man
, from the multiple-narrator relay-race flashback sequences to the fight between Ant-Man (“He can’t see me”) and the Falcon (“I can see you!”) to the climactic showdown that takes place in (among other places) a little girl’s bedroom and a businessman’s briefcase.
3. Tearing up at the closing scenes of Furious 7
, which bids farewell to the late Paul Walker via an overhead shot of two cars going their separate ways that recalls the emotional elegance of finales like Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point
or Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain
4. Chuckling at that perfect escalating sight gag early in Paul Feig’s Spy
that involves a balcony, a knife and some vomit.
5. Holding my breath at You’re The Worst
(FX Network) and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
(CW network), two fall series that breathe new life into the relationship sitcom by zeroing in on mental illness and manic depression for deep, unexpected pathos as well as spontaneous, unexpected laughs.
6. Learning to love John Mulaney’s delivery—call it his theater voice for the hearing-impaired—especially when he’s onstage explaining a Back to the Future
pitch meeting, his mom’s early-90s reunion with Presidential hopeful Bill Clinton and the intricacies of the cliché “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” on his new standup special John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid
7. Binge-watching Aziz Ansari’s Master of None
, also on Netflix, which does a whole lot of things right but lingers in the memory as a bittersweet, Eric Rohmer-esque chronicle of a relationship between two people that seemed terrific at the time but may have been nothing more than one of those crazy things in a person’s dating past.
8. Waiting every week for the next episode of the classic rock-fringed, split-screen and maroon trouser-obsessed second season of FX’s Fargo
, which, if it can tie together its numerous loose ends—and, based on the way showrunner Noah Hawley has paced his twists and turns so far, I see no reason why it can’t—will supplant Mr. Robot
as my favorite TV show of the year. But like You’re The Worst
, I’m gonna wait until Fargo
wraps before writing anything else about it. If you’re not watching, it, though, well, why the heck not?
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!