Movie Diary 5/10/2016

Indignation (James Schamus, 2016). The longtime writer-producer gets into the director’s chair, for a Philip Roth adaptation that does some interesting things with duration and dialogue. Tracy Letts is great in a supporting role. The movie – and Schamus – pops up during the opening weekend of the Seattle International Film Festival.

Illegitimate (Adrian Sitaru, 2016). A new one from Romania, imported for SIFF. Inside a close but suddenly unhappy family, devastating secrets are revealed about a father’s role as a doctor during the Ceausescu era and about a complicated situation involving his adult children. These secrets come together in unexpected ways, played out in small apartments and clouds of cigarette smoke.

Mad Tiger (Michael Haertline, Jonathan Yi, 2015). A documentary about Peelander-Z, the Japanese performance-art-punk band. It comes as small surprise that the crazed band has at least one crazed person in it. (full review 5/13)

Movie Diary 5/9/2016

X-Men: Apocalypse (Bryan Singer, 2016). Singer clearly has a feel for the Xers, and while this installment is very, very reliant on previous stuff from the series, it does have a lot of oomph of its own, at least for a while. (full review 5/27)

Sunset Song (Terence Davies, 2015). Life in Aberdeenshire, in the years leading up to and including World War I. It is a Terence Davies film, for absolute sure, complete with songs.

The Man Who Knew Infinity (Matt Brown, 2016). True story of Srinivasa Ramanujan, a mathematical genius so significant he got name-checked in Good Will Hunting. Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons lead the cast, and you could do worse for this kind of respectable biopic. (full review 5/13)

Family Civil War Minutes (This Week’s Movies)


Anthony Mackie, Paul Rudd, Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, Elizabeth Olsen, Sebastian Stan in Captain America: Civil War

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

Captain America: Civil War. “Our indestructible superheroes punch each other out in a series of numbing set-pieces.” (In case of Herald paywall, Weekly link here.)

The Family Fang. “Imagine having Andy Kaufman and Yoko Ono as your parents.”

11 Minutes. “Skolimowksi displays absolute confidence in his moviemaking skills.”

And a Summer Preview thingie.

At the Overlook Podcast, Steve Scher and I run through a variety of subjects, from the Marvel Civil War to Trump’s imminent Civil War, with a detour for an appreciation of an accordion VHS tape at Scarecrow Video. Hear it all here.

Early notice: Next week, Friday May 13, 7 p.m., the talkers in Framing Pictures will re-convene for a conversation at Scarecrow Video. Join us for a freewheeling conversation about movies old and new, and what you’d like to talk about. Check the FP Facebook page for updates.

Movie Diary 5/5/2016

The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2015). The director of Dogtooth creates another exceptionally strange world, which is actually best discovered without knowing too much about it, except that it has the contours of a George Saunders short story. Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz star, leading a cast that is completely dialed in to the oppressive style. (full review 5/27)

Movie Diary 5/4/2016

Crisis (Richard Brooks, 1950). Brooks’s directing debut has Cary Grant as a doctor waylaid in a Latin American country when the dictator (Jose Ferrer) requires an operation for a brain tumor. Weird idea, unusual tone at times, but Grant is quietly good. I’m sure this will shock you, but the political stuff about how leaders instill fear and baloney patriotism in the populace is completely of-the-moment today. Some of the lines are almost subliminally funny, as when Leon Ames’s American oil man proudly attests that the locals get to keep 30 percent of the oil money from their country.

Movie Diary 5/3/2016

The Meddler (Lorene Schafaria, 2016). Big performance by Susan Sarandon, as a widow bestowing her brassiness on an unsuspecting L.A. It’s sold as a mother-daughter comedy (Rose Byrne, very convincingly depressed, is the offspring in question), but it’s really Sarandon’s show. (full review 5/13)

11 Minutes (Jerzy Skolimowski, 2015). Skolimowski can’t be pinned down, I guess – he goes from being a semi-famous Polish director to playing a role in an Avengers movie to bouncing back with this very digital-age picture. It’s about intersecting lives, and is a pretty odd but skillful effort. (full review 5/6)

Movie Diary 5/2/2016

Captain America: Civil War (Anthony Russo, Joe Russo, 2016). Superheroes aplenty, plus we’ve got some new ones in introduce. You would never guess this, but they all end up socking each other in the jaw. Because they’re superheroes! More table-setting, too, of course. (full review 5/6)

A Bigger Splash (Luca Guadagnino, 2015). Just as ridiculous as Guadagnino’s I Am Love, and nearly as much trashy fun. The character traits described in the script don’t match up at all with the people we see on screen, but it’s fun to look at an unlikely quartet of actors and their decadent Antonioni-meets-Losey existence on a pretty Italian island. (full review 5/20)


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