098. Goodnight, and Good Luck (Directed by George Clooney, 2005): George Clooney's lovingly crafted take on Edward R. Murrow taking on Senator Joe McCarthy with the express purpose of taking him down. Everything looks fantastic, there's something so timeless about cigarette smoke curling up slowly into the air in black and white, and David Strathairn's performance as Murrow is something that belongs in a time capsule. When Murrow worries that the medium of television has no use above entertaining, amusing, or insulating the public, one can't help but imagine what he would think of the current state of television. And in that wondering, lies exactly what makes this film timeless, rather than a simply a historical piece.
097. Far From Heaven (Directed by Todd Haynes, 2002): I already feel like I slighted this one as I rewatch it this week. It's a sweepingly gorgeous film that takes the conventions of the 50s melodrama, especially of the Douglas Sirk variety, and uses it to explore issues that one couldn't touch in the 50s without heavy, heavy metaphor or just ignoring altogether. Julianne Moore is terrific in the lead, never getting that impassioned speech moment that wins you the heavy hardware, but instead lending the lead role of a wife with a husband who doesn't love her (Dennis Quaid in a spectacular performance), and fighting her feelings for her coloured gardener (Dennis Haysbert, before he started doing insurance commercials). The cinematography is gorgeous, all beautiful autumnal vistas and changing leaves. If I'd rewatched it sooner, it would have gone substantially higher.