In Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, a title so laborious and specific that it can’t help but get stuck in your head, Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) rents out three billboards (they haven’t been used in years, not since the highway went up) and plasters a notice up on them. Black on red. A question aimed at Police Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) asking for justice for Mildred’s dead daughter.
A confrontational pitch-black comedy about reactionary culture and life-altering emotional extremity, Three Billboards delivers one of the Continue reading Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) Movie Review
The teenage bildungsroman is a common narrative formula. Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig’s directing debut (she also serves as screenwriter), may be another addition to the list, but it does not feel like another tired addition. If anything, it exists in this long line of coming of age films as as much of a standout as the film’s eponymous role: a personality so bold and big but also honest that it demands to be taken on its own merits.
This is undoubtedly caused by Gerwig’s distinct presence. Even as a first-time director, it is clear that this is uniquely Continue reading Lady Bird (2017) Movie Review
Loveless, Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s follow up to the Oscar-nominated Leviathan, truly lives up to its name. Bleak in both style and tone, the epic drama follows the disappearance of a young boy (Matvey Novikov) and the effect it has on his mother Zhenya (Maryana Spivak), his father Boris (Aleksey Rozin), and their respective lovers.
The film implicates its audience in its social commentary—the gratuity of the film’s elongated final shot makes that pretty clear. But it is Zvyagintsev’s sense of Continue reading Loveless (2017) Movie Review
With a title like Brawl in Cell Block 99, one might think that S. Craig Zahler’s second directorial effort is an exploitation film filled with B-movie action. There are elements in the script and set pieces that signal toward grindhouse action, sure, but Brawl in Cell Block 99 is more than just a B-movie. It is a clever, exploitation action pastiche.
Following Zahler’s first film, Bone Tomahawk, which seamlessly blended genres without sacrificing the artistic beauty or history of those genres, it is no surprise that Continue reading Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017) Movie Review
The Florida Project, director Sean Baker’s follow up to the highly acclaimed Tangerine, takes place on the outskirts of Disney world, an Orlando-area that is plagued by poverty. In the Magic Castle—a motel named loosely off of a Disney property, seemingly as a way to drum up more business—children run about in the Summer heat doing whatever they please.
One of these children is Moonee (Brooklynn Prince). We are introduced to her when she and two of her friends decide to run off to a neighboring motel and spit on someone’s car.
It doesn’t feel like a fitting introduction to a child character who we are about to follow for the next two hours, but that’s how it is. There’s no Continue reading The Florida Project (2017) Movie Review