Ten Thousand Chinese Brothers Digging (This Week’s Movies)

Jason Schwartzman and his bulldog: 7 Chinese Brothers

Jason Schwartzman and his bulldog: 7 Chinese Brothers

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

7 Chinese Brothers. “Schwartzman’s chipper energy fuels this delightful movie.” (In case of Herald paywall, Weekly link here.)

Digging for Fire. “Hits some surprisingly enjoyable notes.” (Weekly link here.)

Ten Thousand Saints. “Hawke has mastered the art of portraying well-meaning but hopelessly addled masculinity.” (Weekly link here.)

Marlon Eyes (This Week’s Movies)

Marlon Brando, prime.

Marlon Brando, prime.

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

Listen to Me Marlon. “The interior life of an actor.” (In case of Herald paywall, Weekly link here.)

Jellyfish Eyes.”By virtue of being Japanese in the 21st century, they will at some point be visited by tiny creatures with superpowers.” (Weekly link here.)

On the Overlook Podcast, Steve Scher and I talk about another one of those lists of greatest movies that people make, and why it’s wrong again. Listen here.

Movie Diary 8/18/2015

Listen to Me Marlon (Stevan Riley, 2015). Brando speaking, with illustrations. It’s not so much a look at what made him a great actor, but what made him an interesting human being, and he really was pretty interesting. Overall, it is very difficult not to love him after you watch this. You will also wonder whether there was ever anyone so cool. (full review 8/21)

Jellyfish Eyes (Takashi Murakami, 2013). The money-making visual artist makes a movie about cute creatures that fit into backpacks and have something to do with a plot to harness the energy of teenagers. You’d think Murakami would create something that at least looks halfway decent, but not in this case. (full review 8/21)

Phoenix Farm Things (This Week’s Movies)

Ronald Zehrfeld, Nina Hoss: Phoenix

Ronald Zehrfeld, Nina Hoss: Phoenix

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

Phoenix. “A knockout of a finish.” (In case of Herald paywall, Weekly link here.)

Tom at the Farm. “More energetic than coherent. But…” (Weekly link here.)

People Places Things. “An easy watch if you’re a fan of Clement.” (Weekly link here.)

Movie Diary 8/11/2015

Phoenix (Christian Pelzold, 2014). Melodrama about a disfigured woman (Nina Hoss) returning from Auschwitz, and a complicated masquerade involving her ne’er-do-well husband. A few people have ventured comparisons with Fassbinder’s post-WWII films (along with a batch of other references, notably Vertigo), but the movie skips Fassbinder’s tough gaze and goes all the way back to the Douglas Sirk era. Albeit without Sirk’s formal rigor. Still, fine cast and a doozy of an ending. (full review 8/14)

The Wanted Look (This Week’s Movies)

Adi Rukun and his mother: The Look of Silence

Adi Rukun and his mother: The Look of Silence

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

Jimmy’s Hall. “Finds Loach working with stilted material.” (In case of Herald paywall, Weekly link here.)

The Look of Silence. “I admired The Act of Killing, but The Look of Silence is the more penetrating work.” (Weekly link here.)

The Wanted 18. “If only we would listen to the wisdom of the cows.” (Weekly link here.)

Movie Diary 8/4/2015

Jimmy’s Hall (Ken Loach, 2014). Loach and regular writer Paul Laverty return to Ireland, setting of their splendid The Wind That Shakes the Barley. This one’s about a real-life activist returning to the newly-minted Republic in the early 1930s, and while it has bright spots (Jim Norton is impeccable as the imperious parish priest) it’s also dogged by stock characters and wayward lead casting. (full review 8/7)

The Look of Silence (Joshua Oppenheimer and Anonymous, 2015). Not so much a follow-up to The Act of Killing as a full-fledged second movement – this one slow and mournful, and blessed with someone who will interrogate the murderers of the Indonesian genocide of 1965. This film is possibly less astonishing than its predecessor, but it might be better. (full review 8/7)

The Wanted 18 (Paul Cowan and Amer Shomali, 2014). A bizarre incident from the first Intifada makes for a grating documentary, complete with talking animated cows. (full review 8/7)

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