A Serious Man feels muscular. I sensed my jaws clench in delight at its restless and tumultuous rhythm. A fantastically crafted network of causes and effects. Super tight form, brilliant trade marked Coen dialogues.
When the American filmmaking market allows room for its auteurs, it is gems like The Florida Project that sparkle out. Sean Baker, already known for the great 2015 Tangerine is a highly kinetic director, moving both camera and story with great craft between characters, plot and subplots, text and subtext.
We’re in the middle of profound America, led by the small steps of a crazy group of 5 year olds, living with their single mothers in the classical American motel, on the outskirts of a Disneyland park. The colours are saturated, highly controlled, the settings feel surreal, the camera shoots from ground level-up and you’re experiencing a 2 hour sugar rush. It’s a film about childhood in Trump’s America, a commentary on everything fake, on hustling and sneaking and sweet-talking (or shouting) your way out of trouble.
Innovative, consequence-free, editing: scene 2 after scene 1 doesn’t push the story forward but rather enlarges it to capture more of the universe. Bravo!
Joy, a feast for the senses this last Star Wars is! Exceptional production design value (best throne-hall design, kudos to Kurosawa), coherent and gorgeous visual style, multidimensional characters (Luke & Kylo Ren swing between + and - dragging the audience along), a new focus for action films centred on the characters’ reactions. Otherwise, Carrie Fisher, may her soul rest in peace, sums it best: “It’s about family, and that’s what’s so good about it”. The Last Jedi is plants its hooks strongly into a new generation of movie goers.
Noah Baumbach, of Frances Ha & Wes Anderson collab fame, matures in The Meyerowitz Stories. Thematically, he meets Anderson in being drawn to building complex family structures, whose members are mildly neurotic. (Hard not to have the feeling that the Meyerowitz are the Tenenbaums’ neighbours.) But where the Tenenbaums felt highly stylised, a collection of perfectly designed characters, Baumbach’s imaginary family feels more raw, authentic and unpredictable. The dialogue’s fluidity and dynamic is a joy to follow. And Adam Sandler feels back in his Punch-Drunk Love shoes.
Funny business memory is. I don’t remember anything fromthe plot inside Into the Night. Maybe because I remember too much of its outside:
- seen it at the 74th Venice Film Festival aka Mostra Internazionale D’arte Cinematografica on the island of Lido
- amazed to see how accessible and welcoming to public the festival was. Unlike Cannes, you can just buy your way in the cinema - 5euros got me in for this one. Unlike anywhere probably, coffee’s 1 euro / spritz’s 3.
- bonus gift: John Landis, the director (The Blues Brothers being his most famed) introduced the film, reminiscing about how he cast the unknowns at the time Michelle Pfeiffer and Jeff Goldblum
La La Land’s second viewing felt so much better. With the pressure on being a hater gone, I simply loved it. In a cat-lovin’ grandma kind of way. I almost purred.
2 simple reasons:
- David Wasko - production designer extraordinaire (with Pulp Fiction and The Royal Tenenbaums under his belt). The frigging colour palette is da bomb. You gotta be a hater to hate it!
- Justin Hurwitz - piano themes written in piano theme heaven.
Plus, for real, did you actually know the title means something? As in “an euphoric dreamlike mental state detached from the harsher realities of life”. Yet another burst of purring.
Anthony Weiner, for all of us non-US, is an American politician. Some long years ago he was a promise, then he got caught with sending nudes & stuff to women other than his own wife. This documentary probably started with the man thinking it would be a nice idea to let a film crew film his comeback, after the first wave of nudes came out, as a candidate for the Town Hall of NY. And get that glimpse of humanity politicians die for us to see.
Indeed, we get that, PLUS an extra new batch of nudes which sends his comeback to a dead still.
I myself am guilty of the pleasure of seeing a politician in full meltdown.
Trump, don’t keep us waiting, man!
True that I’ve seen this one during an overnight flight, but still, the food wasn’t served yet.
Hell or High Water was selected at Cannes, in Un Certain Regard. As for me, - can’t get any closer to a quick reaction - I thought it was crap. And I’m so busy these days that I can’t summon any argumentation skills, which makes this small text just as crap. Characters were one dimensional stereotypical, bleeding cliches. The script explored nothing.
My American family loved it.
I’m torn. That’s a good story.
If Greeks invented it, Americans perfected it. The craft of the story.
There’s a particular genre that must be defined, the Great American Tale, linking Frank Capra to Robert Zemeckis. The Founder sits effortlessly in between, due to the story’s main character typology (underdog winner takes it all through shrewd wits and persistence). Michael Keaton is on top of his comeback since Birdman and simply commands the pictures he acts in. The script works the beats like magic and even if you feel them coming from miles away, they’re delicious to consume in their perfect timing and force of persuasion. I’m a 5 year old vegetarian but I just can’t quit a large plate of American cinema.
Even without seeing the famed original manga film of the ‘90s you feel that the new Ghost in the Shell is a rip off, whose name couldn’t have had a sweeter and more ironically revenge turn.
Due to a misguided focus on action, rather that gritty mistery, the film is just this - air, a puff, a ghost in a cool package. It’s a jet that never takes off. The production value is brilliant, but as in absolutely all cases, it fails in creating emotion.
© Bogdan Stamatin 2020