Neon Music (This Week’s Movies)


Paul Williams in Phantom of the Paradise, a film by Brian De Palma

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly.

De Palma. “A hugely enjoyable seminar on How to Solve Moviemaking Problems.”

Dheepan. “An intimate view from ground level.”

The Music of Strangers. “96 minutes of uplift is a lot.”

The Neon Demon. “You won’t be indifferent.”

Movie Diary6/22/2016

The Neon Demon (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2016). Even if you don’t like his movies, aren’t you grateful Refn gives you something to argue about? This is a look into the fashion-model world of L.A., which is not true, because it’s not “about” anything other than its own aesthetic existence. And as far as that goes, it’s a lulu, even if it doesn’t make very much sense. (full review 6/24)

Movie Diary 6/21/2016

Dheepan (Jacques Audiard, 2015). The winner of last year’s top prize at the Cannes Film Festival arrives for a regular run. Three strangers leave Sri Lanka on bogus political-asylum visas, and land in a gang-ridden French suburb. It’s a strong, sincere movie, if not Audiard’s best. And it’s not hard to infer that this was probably a compromise choice for the Cannes jury. (full review 6/24)

Movie Diary 6/20/2016

The Flapper (Alan Crosland, 1920). The engaging Olive Thomas stars in a story of a small-town girl who won’t behave. Very pleasant to see a film that isn’t a masterpiece but is simply a very well-tooled comedy. Showed with live organ accompaniment at the Paramount Theatre.

The Music of Strangers (Morgan Neville, 2016). Documentary about Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble project, in which musicians from various countries come together to blend their sounds. This is a very upbeat film. (full review 6/24)

Finding Other Intelligence (This Week’s Movies)


The existential dilemma: Finding Dory

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

Finding Dory. “Are there other Hollywood blockbusters that probe the indifference of the universe the way Pixar does?”

Central Intelligence. “Skidding above the plot and subsisting entirely on a diet of shtick, these two well-matched performers make a flimsy premise into generally good company.”

The Other Side. “These drifting lives need the resentment to provide purpose.”

Genius. “A compendium of clichés.”

Movie Diary 6/16/2016

The BFG (Steven Spielberg, 2016). A Roald Dahl book gets the CGI. This one finds Spielberg in his Tintin mode maybe a bit much, but casting (especially Mark Rylance and Ruby Barnhill) go a long way toward rectifying that. (full review 7/1)

Movie Diary 6/15/2016

De Palma (Jake Paltrow, Noah Baumbach, 2016). An illustrated monologue from the director, quick-paced and amusing. The clips are well-chosen, although the whole thing is more a work of enthusiasm than insight. (full review 6/24)

Florence Foster Jenkins (Stephen Frears, 2016). The tale of the world’s worst singer, a real person embodied here by Meryl Streep, who does what you expect with the dish of a role. The movie properly belongs to Hugh Grant, however, as the lady’s husband, a man who proves it is possible to be unfaithful and utterly loyal. (full review 8/12)


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