Happy Christmas -- How nice that we have a director like Joe Swanberg working today, you guys. That's all I could think while watching Happy Christmas. How nice that somebody's getting movies made with complicated roles like this for terrific actresses, and who seems to delight in pointing his camera at terrific actresses so much. He really might be the closest thing we've got to a John Cassavetes (certainly closer than his son, whose godawful latest movie we're reviewing third in this post) - I kind of wish Joe would reunite with his Gena Rowlands (that'd be Greta Gerwig) now that I'm placing things in probably blasphemous to some of y'all terms and give us the Great Film he's probably capable of making, but spending a somewhat slight hour and a half watching Anna Kendrick and Melanie Lynskey and Lena Dunham push at the edges of likeable, stretching it towards something more human than just that, is nothing you're gonna hear me knocking. Same with his Jane Adams movie All the Light in the Sky last year - this is a good place, Joe Swanberg. Keep doing these movie things you're doing.
Begin Again -- Speaking of directors I just enjoy swimming in the head-space of, John Carney once again (ha ha see what I did there... cuz he made Once, get it get it?) makes the act of creating beautiful music akin to, well the act of creation itself - he makes me feel alive. Okay I am alive, last I checked, but more alive. You know what I mean. He sways his hands to and fro and clears out the cobwebs, and let's in some guilt-free sunshine - I never even care that we're following the tried-and-true-and-trudged-into-oblivion tropes of the genre because dammit, he's got me humming. A la the poster for Last House on the Left he's got me repeating - I won't be ashamed that I've been listening to an Adam Levine song on repeat for a week ever since I saw this movie, I won't be ashamed that I've been listening to an Adam Levine song on repeat for a week ever since I saw this movie, I won't be ashamed... you get the point. If it's not quite a Once for me that leaves plenty of room for goodness - the fact that I can say that I'm in a place now that it seems weird that I ever disliked Keira Knightley testifies to all kinds of wiggle-room here, on the right side of that.
The Other Woman -- One of those movies you watch where you're just eyeballs agape at how anybody thought what they were making was in any way a good idea. Who are the human beings who make such things? I think, first and foremost, they are not human beings. I think this might be a plot. Movies like this, these expressions of bizarre inhuman tics played for inexplicable hollow laughs, they are a plot like Invasions of the Body Snatchers was a plot. These movies are the demonic cocoons that aliens of ill intent mean to destroy us with. Rise up, actual humanity! Put an end to this before it's too late! Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is for loving, he is not for stapling gigantic nipples to and pushing through glass walls! I feel like that's just a basic test that any actual human being would pass, and it's how we can sort out the aliens from the rest of us. Ask them what Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is for, and if they say the nipples-and-glass thing, shoot them in the head.