Screening Room: ‘A Ghost Story’

In A Ghost Story, Casey Affleck plays a ghost who haunts the house he once shared with his beloved, Rooney Mara.

It opens this weekend in limited release. My review is at Film Journal International:

A good rule of cinematic thumb is that when a ghost movie isn’t trying to scare you: Watch out. Hijinks or romance are sure to follow, and not with good results. It’s also generally best to avoid movies whose specters are visible, since what one can’t see is almost always more terrifying than what you can see; invisibility just leaves open too many possibilities. Somehow, David Lowery has aggressively flouted these rules in A Ghost Story—by first not caring a whit whether you are scared and then giving his ghosts highly unusual corporeal form—and come out the other side with a truly spectacular movie…

Here’s the trailer:

Now Playing: ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’

Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck fiercely in love in 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints'.
Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck fiercely in love in ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’.

aintthembodiessaints-posterThe award for this year’s least likely to be remembered movie title goes to David Lowery’s Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, a Terence Malick-inflected story of a young Texas couple (Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara) separated by prison after a crime spree. Keith Carradine and Ben Foster also star in this gorgeously photographed but rambling film.

My review ran in Film Racket:

Sunsets flood David Lowery’s soulful robber-on-the-run story, lens-flaring the screen and painting everything in a rustic ochre patina. It’s beautiful but gets in the way, as though distracting writer/director Lowery from getting to the business at hand. The cinematography is by Bradford Young (Pariah), whose patient lens captures the dusky halo of tree-shaded Texas streets and grassy fields under a humbling sky. What it can’t do is transform Lowery’s stretched-out short of a piece into a full-fledged story…

Here’s the trailer: