Not since The Shape Of Water have I been motivated to put up my ray-of-light sensors for more and better movies made for adults, intellects, those who prefer to think rather than have their wits dimmed and numbed by krappy, brain-dead comics come to digital albeit boring life. Yeah, I’m sick of blockbuster movies. Thank goodness my son is old enough that I can tell him I don’t want to go to the movies with him anymore. And allow me to qualify that a bit.
I actually re-watched Captain America a few weeks back. Reason? Well, I have to admit that the first Iron Man movie caused me to give all my cynicism (about comic book films) a break after all the failures I’d watched so far. The Hulk movies, the darkness of the Dark Knight series of Batman movies, the reinvention of Superman, etc. They all sucked bat balls big-time. But I got off my high horse for my son and went to the cinema to watch the first Iron Man movie. Guess what? It blew me away. It was really well done. Of course, that also meant I had to watch the subsequent Iron Man 2 and 3, which were/are mediocre at best and the left me disappointed once again. All the other comic-book blockbusters in turn also sucked. But then came Captain America. Captain America was one of the comics I read as a kid. Of all the digital comic book films made in the past fifteen to twenty years, including the surprise of Iron Man (1), the first Captain America really blew me away. For me it is the best of them all. That worst-written, obviously Hollywood has no interest in boring the krapp out of this ageing former comic book reader.
Yet, my sensors are still spread out far and wide for a great flick to watch on account Hollywood should be able to make one or two great ones a year–among the hundreds of krapp films they make. Yeah, baby. Great movies are few and far between. Or? And even though I don’t have much respect for The Oscars, I do utilise that freak-show as a kind of guide. It’s how I came to The Shape Of Water–a film I adore. It’s also how I recently came to BlacKkKlansman. Speaking of which. I rented it the other night, too, you know, thinking it was part of this years Oscars? The problem is, I couldn’t get past the first thirty minutes of BlacKkKlansman. Indeed. But who knows, maybe some day I’ll rent again and give it another try. At the least BlacKkKlansman has to go on my Oscar shit list. But. As usual. I’m off subject.
Enter First Reformed with Ethan Hawke. Wow! I watched it last night as an iTunes .99c rental. The first thing that hit me–or I should say threw me for a loop–is that it’s shot in 4:3 format. During the first few minutes of the movie I kept thinking that Apple/iTunes was sending me a funny copy of it on account I’m still playing movies using an AppleTV3. But then I realised that there was something different about what I was watching. The old TV box format was working just fine. After the movie was over and I researched it (using DuckDuckGo, of course), the odd and antiquated format was actually chosen by the director because he thought it the better format to show bodies–as opposed to landscapes–or something like that. And good for him for doing so.
As soon as First Reformed was over I stood up from my chair and started clapping. I then looked to the Hollywood heavens and praised the cinema lord. Thank goodness that these kinds of movies can still be made. That is, I’m putting it in the same movie, story-telling greatness as The Shape Of Water. Add to that the crushing if not devastating social commentary about the religious nutbaggery that is my beloved & missed #Americant that is threaded through the whole film is almost mesmerising–if it weren’t for the realities that are actually being portrayed. Whether it’s the fcuk up right-wing politics or how all of the fcuk up is intertwined with religion, Ethan Hawke manages to tell a story of woe without all or any movie kitsch.