Tag Archives: A24

The Souvenir (2019) Movie Review

Honor Swinton Byrne is phenomenal in The Souvenir. The film from Joanna Hogg presents a coming of age story for Swinton Byrne’s Julie, who is in the process of making a feature for film school. If you don’t recognize Swinton Byrne’s talent by this late juncture of the film, then you will see it when she looks directly at you, through the camera, following filming a take of her own. It is a shot that really shouldn’t be this powerful. It is too reflexive, too direct. But Swinton Byrne carries the weight of the film that has played out before her, and she puts that weight on you when she goes direct-to-camera.

Julie’s relationship to the audience may be as fraught as her romantic relationship with Anthony (Tom Burke) is. For one, it becomes increasingly hard for Continue reading The Souvenir (2019) Movie Review

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Midsommar (2019) Movie Review

Ari Aster does not care if you’re comfortable. If his first two films are any indication, it appears that he prefers the opposite. With his debut, Hereditary, Aster approached grief with a macabre twist that winds up making the weight of grief seem feathery by comparison.

With Midsommar, Aster approaches grief with a macabre twist that winds up making the weight of grief seem…am I repeating myself?

Aster’s two films take staid, empty, and largely silent burdens and makes them bleed into

Continue reading Midsommar (2019) Movie Review

How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2018) Movie Review

It is 1977. Croydon, London. Enn (Alex Sharp) and his two punk friends sneak into a club and subsequently search for the after party they weren’t invited to. Instead, they stumble upon a much different party. A much stranger party. Men and women, clad in leather suits that accent their genitals, mill about. People in blue body suits dance robotically. People in yellow body suits enjoy their individuality and physical form.

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It’s all a bit, dare I say, alien.

It isn’t hard to put that together when Enn falls in with one of the yellow-suited lot. Zan (Elle Fanning) makes reference again and again to Continue reading How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2018) Movie Review

Eighth Grade (2018) Movie Review

Bo Burnham is a stand-up comic with a distinct style. Semi-musical, semi-poetic, always frantic and unpausing, he skewers media and self-reflexively dissects the public perception of artistry. “Art is dead,” he sings in one song. “Some people think you’re funny / how do we get those people’s money?” His seemingly cynical take on the entertainment industry is curbed by his indictment of self. He implicates himself—“My drug’s attention / I am an addict / but I get paid to indulge in my habit”—in order to subvert the creator-as-god mentality.

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Some of the conversation around Eighth Grade, Burnham’s debut as a feature film director, is about the Continue reading Eighth Grade (2018) Movie Review

Hereditary (2018) Movie Review

There are some horror movies that make you jump. There are some that make you squirm. There are the rare ones that raise questions about the human condition. And there are the few horror movies that do all three and manage to conjure images that stick unshaken in your head long after you’ve left the theater. Hereditary is of this latter breed.

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To be fair, Hereditary does some of these things much more effectively than others. Namely, the questions it raises about the nature of grief and the things we do or do not say about tragedy fall by the wayside when Continue reading Hereditary (2018) Movie Review

It Comes At Night (2017) Movie Review

It Comes At Night is a terse family drama disguising itself as a horror film. Still, it remains the scariest filmgoing experience of 2017 thus far.

The film takes place in an idyllic cabin hideaway in the woods. It is the sort of place that you would run off to on a lazy Summer weekend. But this house also has wood boarding up its windows. It has a pair of doors—one prominently red—locking itself off from the outside world.

This is no vacation. It is survival.

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This contrast that director Trey Edward Shults plays with is crucial to the thematic understanding of It Comes At Night. In the film, a family of three have just buried Continue reading It Comes At Night (2017) Movie Review