Way behind on posts. I’ve got a recap of the Brooklyn Film Festival upcoming. In the meantime, here’s a lot of stuff I’ve seen recently, with one quick thought on each.
Mississippi Grind (Boden, Fleck, 2015)
The closest I’ve ever come to really liking Ryan Reynolds in a film, Mississippi Grind starts really promisingly (California Split indebtedness is quite obvious) but then peters out into not much.
Broadway Danny Rose (Allen, 1984)
Woody Allen is one of the few American directors I can think of who really and truly eschews close-ups and doesn’t care if actors’ backs are to camera. Here, like in Annie Hall, he favors wides and long takes and it’s really great (as is Mia Farrow).
The Eyes of Laura Mars (Kershner, 1978)
Nice turns from Tommy Lee Jones and Faye Dunaway make this American giallo worth watching, though, like many-a-giallo, its plot is pretty ridiculous. It does feature plenty of great fashion industry-takedowns though.
A Tale of Two Sisters (Kim, 2003)
I think this movie is terrifying. It’s sophisticated in both production design and camera, and there’s a truly fantastic sequence involving a seizure of sorts and a girl under a kitchen counter.
Mother of George (Dosunmu, 2013)
The film gets overwrought, but it is damn gorgeous. The first 15 minutes are worth it alone!
Swimming With Sharks (Huang, 1994)
Everything about this fun and nasty movie – costuming and production design, in particular – is so 1990s! Great throwback for some early Kevin Spacey.
The Ones Below (Farr, 2015)
The Ones Below so desperately wants to do Polanski, but it doesn’t get there. It’s neatly written for awhile – and certainly well-acted – but it gets tired and out-twists itself.
Sister Stella L. (De Leon, 1984)
I understand that this is an important film within Filipino cinematic history, but it’s boring. The story of a nun who fights alongside a group of striking workers has its moments and has a nicely emotional core (and De Leon’s camera is interestingly mobile) but it starts to feel redundant quickly (and the montages drag).
Triangle (Smith, 2009)
This reminds me a bit of the superior Timecrimes, though Triangle is a lot of genre-fun. There are great set pieces (body pile…), though if you’re familiar at all with any other film of this conceit you’ll be able to figure it out fairly quickly.
Amy (Kapadia, 2015)
A documentary that’s worthwhile if only for the intimacy and sympathy, this look at Amy Winehouse is also unique for its lack of basic interviews.
Horse Money (Costa, 2014)
Ok, a full paragraph here: I’ve (always) never seen a film like a Pedro Costa film aside from the last Pedro Costa film I saw. It’s hard for me to love his films. They’re important, I think, and definitely unique. And I like the realism and the photography a lot. But they’re slow and sometimes too difficult for what I want at the time. I suppose I really love Ossos. And Horse Money is beautifully hallucinatory. And it does stick with me. Maybe that’s a sign that I really like it?
The Purge (DeMonaco, 2013)
Surprised I liked this as much as I did. It’s nicely political though on the nose, and the three cameras used throughout – the “director’s” camera, the security camera, and the toy POV camera – are a nice way for DeMonaco to switch up technique and ramp suspense.