Browsing Tag

2018

#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Widows | Steve McQueen

November 16, 2018
Widows

After celebrated prestige pictures like Shame and 12 Years a Slave, you’d be forgiven for expecting something less disreputable from Steve McQueen than Widows. But McQueen’s normal tendencies toward making “important” work (not to mention his gorgeous, tactile images) add essential texture to what’s basically a rambunctious exploitation movie dressed up in classier clothing. The action kicks off after Harry (Liam Neeson) and his thief club get blown up by the cops.…

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#StreamingScene by Matthew Lucas Film

Shirkers | Sandi Tan

November 16, 2018
Shirkers

In 1992, a group of teenage cinephiles in Singapore set out to make a film, gathering their friends and neighbors to assert their country’s place in the cinema world at large. That film, Shirkers, was written by aspiring filmmaker and critic Sandi Tan — whose friendship with a mysterious, married, middle-aged American ex-pat named Georges would have a lasting impact on her life. A film professor full of tall-tales and dubious motives, Georges eventually absconded with the complete footage…

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#StreamingScene by Daniel Gorman

Outlaw King | David Mackenzie

November 15, 2018
Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 9.14.55 AM

Outlaw King cribs elements from every other medieval epic you’ve seen before — and that pandering is probably the point. It’s safe to assume that Netflix is backing this film in the first place because of the successes of Starz’s Outlander and HBO’s Game of Thrones; their algorithm must’ve crunched some numbers, cross-referenced demographic information, and — voila. What’s less obvious is why David Mackenzie would choose to helm this project.…

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#StreamingScene by Daniel Gorman Film

You Were Never Really Here | Lynne Ramsay

November 9, 2018
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There’s nothing in You Were Never Really Here that you haven’t seen before — but as the saying goes, it’s not always what your story is that matters but how you tell it; we’ve never seen Lynne Ramsay tell this story, and her perspective gives it new dimensions. Ramsay’s conception of the damaged male psyche is on a continuum with The Searchers’ Ethan Edwards and Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle — like those anti-heroes, Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) has been shaped by conflict. But instead of violent colonization of the American…

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#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

The Girl in the Spider’s Web | Fede Álvarez

November 9, 2018
girl-dragon-claire-foy

David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was less about the mystery of a serial killer picking off women, more about investigating its lead character, Lisbeth Salander. Nearly a complete enigma, Salander nevertheless served as a nodal point for Fincher’s obsession with digital/analog contrasts and his penchant for leaning into pulp tropes with a knowing, pandering smirk.…

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#ObscureObject by Paul Attard Music

Sun Kil Moon | This Is My Dinner

November 7, 2018
sunkilmoon

If you’ve listened to any Sun Kil Moon album released in the past decade, then you know what to expect going into their latest, This Is My Dinner: Frontman Mark Kozelek plodding on endlessly about a microdrama that consumes his life; minimalistic instrumentation that teeters between simple elegance and tedious monotony; and a bloated length that only the most hardcore of fans can get behind. It’s a formula that benefited Kozelek’s first band, slowcore pioneers Red House Painters,…

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#PopRocks by Paul Attard Music

Robyn | Honey

November 2, 2018
Robyn (2018)

Publicity

If Ariana Grande’s Sweetener was the feel-good pop project of the (late-ish) summer, focusing on the catharsis of newfound love (at the time…), then Robyn’s Honey is the melancholy-ridden antithesis, appropriately dropped in the middle of fall. The Swedish singer’s eighth album streamlines emotional distress into a series of mini-narratives that ruminate on the subjects of loss, endurance, and recovery — sometimes simultaneously. Opener “Missing U” telegraphs its volatile feelings through a whirlwind of glittering synthesizers, with the steady, thumping bassline providing a sense…

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#StreamingScene by Daniel Gorman Film

The Night Comes for Us | Timo Tjahjanto

October 29, 2018
Night Comes

Genre fans tend to experience a palpable delight the first time they lay their eyes on a new classic, getting them thinking about the first time they saw, say, Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead 2, John Carpenter’s The Thing, John Woo’s holy trinity of A Better Tomorrow, The Killer and Hard Boiled, Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive, or Dario Argento’s Suspiria. Timo Tjahjanto’s The Night Comes for Us may not be quite at that lofty level, but damned if it doesn’t feel like it gets close.…

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by Zach Lewis Retrospective

The Day After | Hong Sang-soo

October 26, 2018
The-Day-After-s.-Korea-Masters

Hong Sang-soo‘s first black-and-white film since 2011’s The Day He Arrives (which is indeed quite a while, considering the rate at which he works), The Day After comes at a time when Hong’s films have garnered unprecedented levels of attention. Veteran festivalgoers are by now plenty familiar with Hong’s set-ups and punchlines, and neophytes have at least heard of what to expect. Hong can’t even prevent his private life — specifically, his affair with actress Kim Min-hee…

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by Sean Gilman Retrospective

Claire’s Camera | Hong Sang-soo

October 26, 2018
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Of the three films Hong Sang-soo made in 2017, with actress and romantic partner Kim Min-hee, two were released in the U.S. in the spring of 2018 — shortly after his latest film, Grass (which also stars Kim), premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. As always, the hyper-productive Hong outpaces the capabilities of the international arthouse distribution system. But Claire’s Camera was made in a rush, even by Hong’s standards: Shot over a few days at the 2016 Cannes Film…

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#StreamingScene by Kathie Smith Film

The Kindergarten Teacher | Sara Colangelo

October 26, 2018
kinder

While bigscreen superheroes may stoke our fantasies of being something greater than we are, seeing more empathetic characters in that same space allows for an amazing amount of intimacy and discomfort. Lisa Spinelli is just such a character — a middle-aged kindergarten teacher finding little satisfaction in her well-worn routine, both at work and at home. She has a yearning for something that’s just beyond her reach: a husband who might understand her intellectual restlessness…

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#StreamingScene by Sam C. Mac Film

Let the Sunshine In | Claire Denis

October 26, 2018
Let the Sunshine In

Let the Sunshine In is an exquisite romantic comedy in part because its laughs are sad and its sadness is funny. Claire Denis isn’t a filmmaker to let the complexity of the human emotions she either captures physically, or insinuates psychologically, settle into easy interpretation and understanding; her latest shades its relationship dynamics with existential panic, insecurities, unabashed biases of class, and, of course, an intimate understanding of the sexual politic. Juliette Binoche provides the perfect gateway drug for Denis…

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