Movie Diary 11/26/2022

Tar (Todd Field, 2022). An ambitious and measured film about a celebrated conductor whose life is already in various stages of unraveling as the movie begins. Have to sit with this one a while, but it’s a luxurious pleasure to watch, and it will probably come as no surprise that Cate Blanchett is huge in the central role – although the role is a tricky one, and requires Blanchett to be inauthentic in her presentation of a complicated character. One thing to love about it: It requires that you actually know how to watch a movie, to be alert, to think critically.

Men (Alex Garland, 2022). A wigged-out number from the director of Ex Machina, with Jessie Buckley in good form, as expected. Have to sit with this one for a while, too. At the very least, Rory Kinnear deserves some Supporting Actor attention for a turn that is even more effective if you don’t know anything about it beforehand.

Catherine Called Birdy (Lena Dunham, 2022). A regularly funny coming-of-age story from the Middle Ages, part spunky YA novel, party Monty Python. There should be more oddball movies like this.

Funny Pages (Owen Kline, 2022). A regularly funny coming-of-age story from New Jersey, part Repo Man, part Safdie brothers. The kooky 70s vibe seems like a dead end, but one has to admire the commitment to its peculiar tone and grody milieu.

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