Movie Diary 4/1/2015

Welcome to New York (Abel Ferrara, 2014). Ferrara disowns this cut of his film, so we’ll keep that in mind. Still, there are a number of strange elements to the picture, including the evidently improvised dialogue in many scenes (the main character, a piggy Dominique Strauss-Kahn type, gets a voiceover monologue late in the game that – its “To Be or Not to Be” value aside – is a relief for actually sounding as though it’s been written). In other news: Gerard Depardieu is still totally fearless. (full review 4/3)

Movie Diary 3/31/2015

Long Live the Republic (Karel Kachnya, 1965). A kid sees the last days of WWII in a rural area of Moravia, along with flashes of his fantasies and his past. Is this harrowing Czech film considered a classic? It needs to be. Big ambitious imagery, energetic New Wave cinematography (B&W widescreen), brilliant music, and a great child performance. Exciting to know that movies like this are still around to discover.

3 Hearts (Benoit Jacquot, 2014). Benoit Poelvoord plays a tax accountant who falls – separately – for sisters played by Charlotte Gainsbourg and Chiara Mastroianni. A very passionate movie in Jacquot’s quiet way, and the ghost of Truffaut seems to hover over the whole thing. (full review 4/3)

Serena Spring (This Week’s Movies)

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Lou Taylor Pucci, Nadia Hilker: Spring

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

Serena. “Simply a one-off botch.” (In case of Herald paywall, Seattle Weekly version here.)

Spring. “What if you were watching one of those walking-and-talking indie romances in the style of Richard Linklater’s Before series, and it suddenly turned into a horror flick?” (Weekly version here.)

At the Overlook Podcast, Steve Scher and I talk about binge-watching and, you know, the meaning of all that. Check it here.

Movie Diary 3/25/2015

Gett: The Trial of Viviane Ansalem (Ronit Elkabetz, Shlomi Elkabetz, 2014). The movie almost never leaves the courtroom, as an Israeli wife tries to convince a religious tribunal to let her divorce her husband. A skin-crawling movie, superbly acted (Ronit Elkabetz also plays the wife), and hewing to the cramped confines of the limited-perspective film. (full review 4/3)

Movie Diary 3/24/2015

Children of No Importance (Gerhard Lamprecht, 1926). A screening at the Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema, in Bo’ness – the Hippodrome is Scotland’s oldest surviving purpose-built cinema. A beautiful film about the plight of foster children, made with a neo-realist attention to detail but also with great craft. The image of a carousel is repeated, to beautiful effect, and the faces onscreen are remarkable.

Spring (Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, 2014). It would be cool to see this movie without knowing what was going to be sprung upon you, but even knowing that it’s a slacker romance that becomes a horror picture won’t diminish some of the nuttiness. It’s not all there, but the idea is both amusing and sincere. (full review 3/27)

Movie Diary 3/23/2015

Serena (Susanne Bier, 2014). An apparently troubled production finally arrives on screens, with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in a Depression-era melodrama. One would like to embrace this kind of snakebit project as a misunderstood gem – but that will be difficult here. (full review 3/27)

It Follows Honest (This Week’s Movies)

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Maika Monroe, not yet aware that It Follows.

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

It Follows. “Nervously peering at dark corners of the screen.” (In case of Herald paywall, Seattle Weekly version here.)

An Honest Liar. “An unexpectedly fun (but sneakily forceful) portrait of a rationalist.” (Weekly link here.)

Over at the Overlook Podcast, Steve Scher and I continue our conversations with a look at An Honest Liar, and the value of skepticism. Listen here.

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