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
This review of Catherine Breillat’s Anatomy of Hell is part of the New French Extremity Retrospective series.
In Anatomy of Hell, a woman (Amira Casar) pays a homosexual man (Rocco Siffredi) to watch her in her bedroom. This is after she saunters through a gay bar, committing herself to the tragic isolation of none of them wanting anything to do with her, and slits her wrist in the bathroom.
The things she has him experience in her room are sexual, to a degree. They are pornographic only insofar as they extend to Continue reading Anatomy of Hell (2004) Movie Review
This review of Catherine Breillat’s Romance is part of the New French Extremity Retrospective series.
“You don’t deserve my faithfulness”
The complicated sexuality of Romance is problematic. Not entirely so, as the film explores a side of sexuality that is often left unexplored. But the screenplay reduces sexual philosophy to a binary matter. Even when the shoe is on the opposite foot, entering the perspective of Continue reading Romance (1999) Movie Review
Good Time opens on a brutal scene in which the mentally handicapped Nick (Benny Safdie, who also co-directs) free associates with a psychiatrist. It is a scene told entirely in tight closeups. Nick stares on at the therapist, at first emptily as he struggles to answer the questions in abstract ways. Then, his still blank face breaks into tears. It is a truly engaging scene that effectively draws you into the film.
In this scene, it is not immediately clear where Nick is or why he is there. All we have is the claustrophobic moment of Continue reading Good Time (2017) Movie Review
For the sake of maintaining the integrity of the Brigsby Bear story (penned by Kevin Costello and star Kyle Mooney) it is difficult to go into a review without a spoiler alert. This is namely because there is a story twist inherent in the premise of the film.
Given that marketing of the movie has not been too widespread, I think it is best to throw out a spoiler warning just to be safe, even though this review will only get into a basic summary of the film’s premise.
James Pope (Mooney) is obsessed with Continue reading Brigsby Bear (2017) Movie Review
After his fiance’s (Alison Brie) untimely death, Joshy’s (Thomas Middleditch) wedding is called off, but the house reserved for his bachelor party is still available. Not able to get their deposit back on the house rental, Joshua and his friends decide to have a “boy’s weekend.” As light as they want the weekend to be, though, reality threatens to impede on the proceedings.
Joshy is the bachelor party movie for sad folk. It is an addition to the ever-increasing genre of Continue reading Joshy (2016) Movie Review
Ben (Viggo Mortensen) raises his children under a strict survivalist patriarchy in the woods. They wear caked mud as camouflage to stalk and hunt game. They train in knife combat. At night they read books on quantum mechanics and high literature. It is an extreme form of home schooling, in a way, if home was a forest and school taught you how to skin a deer.
Ben is trying, but he is a loving father. The family’s life appears serene in its isolation and in spite of nature’s harshness, but, like the ever-pressing power of globalization, the outside world Continue reading Captain Fantastic (2016) Movie Review