Mistress America (2015) (dir. Noah Baumbach) (84mins) (viewed 07/28/2015): As was the case with While We’re Young, Baumbach had me for ¾’s of the running time. Great comic rhythm, sharp dialogue, with performances by Gerwig, Kirke, et al to match. Then he goes for emotive summing-up with a side-slather of malaise and I don’t believe any of it. (I do, however, believe these gals would spend Thanksgiving at Veselka.) One-note hermetic narcissism is Baumbach’s thing. I’d like him to just keep tappin’ that gas.
Irrational Man (2015) (dir. Woody Allen) (96mins) (viewed 07/14/2015): Joaquin leads with his gut, Emma Stone the eyes. Parker Posey does her best from beneath what (seems?) a bad wig. Most Woody films post-Husbands and Wives have a sketchy feel (as in slight/superficial, not disreputable/shady—though, maybe the latter?) I’ve lost interest in reading the artist’s life into his work, and I’ve gotten used to (and am occasionally taken by) the Woody malaise. He’s his own man: Greatness eludes him, though rarely in the profound ways I get from e.g. F.F. Coppola. Preferred the Darius Khondji cinematography in Magic in the Moonlight; he works best in period. The same Ramsey Lewis Trio needle drop (which begins with the end of a round of applause) is reused throughout, so many scenes clap for themselves.