Film

#StreamingScene by Daniel Gorman Film

The Professor and the Madman | Farhad Safinia

May 22, 2019

The Professor and the Madman arrives with an awful lot of baggage for such a modest, unassuming movie. As detailed by Nick Shager in a Daily Beast article, the film has been sitting on a shelf while Mel Gibson (whose company Icon Productions bought the rights to the Simon Winchester book on which this is based) and his hand-picked director, Farhad Safinia, have fought with the film’s producers. It has now received a delayed, perfunctory release, basically straight to VOD,…

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#StreamingScene by Matthew Lucas Film

Wine Country | Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler‘s Wine Country barely qualifies as a movie – it’s essentially a vacation slideshow featuring a who’s who of industry funny women. Much like Alexander Payne’s Sideways but recast with middle-aged women, Wine Country finds a group of former co-workers out on a wine tour in the…

May 21, 2019
by Matt McCracken Film Retrospective

The Shadow Play | Lou Ye

Chinese filmmaker Lou Ye’s The Shadow Play is a vicious work that descends into the depths of corruption in both a private enterprise (the events of the film are based on those of the real company named here) and in State government (the implications…

May 17, 2019
by Matt McCracken Film Retrospective

Blind Massage | Lou Ye

Lou Ye’s 2014 film Blind Massage marked a transition for director, one that took him into broadly more commercial territory for the first time. Based on the popular novel of the same name, the film unsurprisingly concerns the lives of a Nanjing-based community of…

May 17, 2019
by Luke Gorham Film Retrospective

Mystery | Lou Ye

Despite Lou Ye’s reputation for pushing the boundaries of Chinese censorship guidelines – due to his often frank and incisive takes on politics, gender, and sexuality – Mystery proves a confoundingly tame affair. It opens with the antics of privileged, hedonistic youths racing cars…

May 17, 2019
by Christopher Bourne Film Retrospective

Love and Bruises | Lou Ye

Love and Bruises, which Lou Ye made during his five-year, government-imposed ban from filmmaking in China, is a tale of l’amour fou set, appropriately enough, in Paris. However, the grand romanticism that usually marks such stories is replaced here by a grimly repetitive pattern…

May 17, 2019
by Iris Xie Film Retrospective

Spring Fever | Lou Ye

A film built upon gay male hypersexualization overlaid with some hamfisted prose, Spring Fever turns the sadness of being gay and Chinese into a dry drama that does not say anything new about the LGBTQ experience. The film opens with a jangly driving sequence…

May 17, 2019
#StreamingScene by Daniel Gorman Film

Love Education | Syvlia Chang

It’s probably safe to say that Sylvia Chang‘s Love Education is the kind of film that is impossible to get made in America at this point in time. A quiet, patiently observed slice-of-life drama just isn’t in the works from US studios; they would turn this…

May 15, 2019
by Daniel Gorman Film Retrospective

Summer Palace | Lou Ye

Lou Ye’s Summer Palace is an exasperating experience, full of interesting ideas and an incendiary political backdrop but falling victim to clichés of poeticized romantic longing. Though not a new idea, conflating the political and the personal can be an interesting way to explore how…

May 14, 2019
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