I think I may have seen too many movies. That's the only reason I can think of to explain why I did not like Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Studios' 2014 money machine. It hit all the right notes when it comes to action, pacing, and story. It kept things simple, avoiding all pretension, and at no point did it strive to be something greater than it was. But...
Thief, the debut feature film from writer/director Michael Mann, is a bit of a relic. The 1980s were a weird time, when the progressions of style were suddenly upended and everything went day-glo. Even music changed, utilizing the cost-effective yet grating sound of synthesizers. Michael Mann embraced this decade with gusto, finding a ready home in all the glitz and glamour. His style of filmmaking is so intertwined with the 1980s that I can't figure out which informed the other. The style is a distinctive one that viewers can readily recognize. But it all had to start somewhere.
I love a good post-apocalyptic tale. I have a pessimist's fascination with the myriad ways everything can go wrong. Global catastrophe for the human race holds the same place in my mind as standing at the edge of a precipice and picturing flying off into the void. This isn't a sign of some psychological damage or misfiring neurons. This isn't a mental illness or a death wish. It's just human nature to be drawn in wonder to these things. Some of us feel the pull more than others, but that doesn't mean we want it to happen.
I miss movies like 1979's Disaster on the Coastliner. Once upon a time, before they started getting killed by cable, American TV networks used to fill empty spots in their schedules with homegrown shitty movies. Turn on one of the networks on a Sunday night and there was likely to be some quickie disaster flick or an epic miniseries adaptation of a Gore Vidal or James Clavell novel. This stuff was absolute garbage but also absolutely unmissable. Shogun, North and South, The Thorn Birds, The Big One, The Day After...on and on. The networks developed a short-form storytelling pedigree that they seem to have abandoned overnight.
When The One I Love was getting set for release, its star, Elisabeth Moss, was making the rounds of the talk show circuit. I caught one of her appearances, I forget which show, and she was cagey about the plot. She was concerned about giving away the big spoiler in the film. The trailer, having gone through the hands of a marketing department, does everything short of spoiling the big reveal. In the trailer, a troubled couple, Ethan and Sophie (Mark Duplass and Moss), take a weekend retreat to one of those gorgeous houses that so many dream of, and only a few have. There's a guest house on property, and something weird is going on inside. Throughout the trailer, the idea that something is going on inside that house is pounded home again and again and again. Okay, we get it! There's a unique plot twist ahead and you don't want to tell us potential viewers what it is, but calling so much attention to it makes you seem desperate for viewers. I hate the trailer for this movie. It crows at the audience like a child on a diving board, calling out for mom or dad to watch the sick cannonball they're about to do. Just jump in the pool, kid. Mommy's having a grownup conversation.