Considering Gondry’s reputation, born out of these inclinations and affinities, a certain expectation might exist when going into a film titled, Microbe & Gasoline; a film centering around two adolescent males and their budding friendship that leads the two of them to construct a homemade gardening shed/go-kart hybrid vehicle to gain independence, spending the summer gallivanting around France in search of adventure.
The passion behind Nicholas Bateman’s feature-length debut, The Circus Animals, is certainly evident throughout; one could go insofar as labelling the passion palpable or tangible, in a way, since it saturates every character interaction within every scene. It’s a film that admittedly wears its heart on its proverbial sleeve as every opportunity to thrust the emotion to the forefront is met with an eagerness that is situated as one of the film’s main strengths and, ultimately, its weakness all at once.
An unidentified war rages in the vicinity of an unidentified location within an unidentified time period in Aaron Schimberg’s directorial debut, Go Down Death, a cinematic adaptation based on the fabricated writings of folklorist Jonathan Mallory Sinus; a fluid traversing of vignettes, punctuated by mortar shells and rocket explosions, hosted by a collection of eccentrics killing time in their own ways.
With Green, her directorial debut, actress/producer Sophia Takal has taken the surface-level simplicity of the film’s thematic frame and transformed it into a nuanced exploration of inferred motivations and assumed objectives through a gradual probing of seemingly harmless interactions (both verbal and nonverbal), examining the psychological impact of insecurity, envy and jealousy.
Manatos buries the addiction thread underneath the reconnection attempts of two estranged siblings - Cullen (Leo Fitzpatrick) and Ian (Cris Lankenau) - tentatively groping for entry-points with little to no success, sub/consciously hopeful that nostalgia and adolescent replays might broker the reparative bond they are after.
1950’s In a Lonely Place marks the second film from Nicholas Ray’s oeuvre to garner the Criterion treatment (Bigger Than Life from 1956 being the other) and one can only hope that the Criterion Collection are working their way towards acquiring more of Ray’s work.
Collatos presents a man in the throes of recovery, pinned in between a collection of loved ones concurrently assisting and compounding the difficulty inherent within because of their mutual affections of shared coping mechanisms, within a healthy dose of naturalism; scripted scenes are almost indistinguishable from the rawness of the realism-infused ones with drunken antics and familial dialogues accompanied with the debris of reality playing out in faithfulness rendering identification of the borderlines a murky endeavor.
Last year, writer/director Doron Max Hagay dramatized the details of Monica Lewinsky’s life as seen in a New York Magazine article. And, back in March, he then condensed that six-episode miniseries into a film, titled Monica - Chapter One. And now, he’s back with the first 3 episodes of Chapter Two
The opening three films of Whit Stillman’s directorial career are now all available on The Criterion Collection as a Bluray box set which includes Metropolitan (1990), Barcelona (1994) and The Last Days of Disco (1998); although, for whatever reason, I’m only covering the release of his sophomore effort - Barcelona - the follow-up to his critically-revered debut Metropolitan which garnered him an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
All aspects float between points of serviceable and above-average, yet Rubino fails to mark the original source material with any semblance of an original signature style of his own which renders the entire affair needless, in a sense.
The visual style of The Tourist is a shuffled deck of tandem suits - realism through hidden-camera-uncomfortable and soft-focus travelogue/introspection - in a back and forth succession as Sonnenblick’s inner monologue pulsates with a seething resentment and anger that, at first, appears surface level given his current situation before gradually revealing itself to be a much more deep-seeded operating mode. Though, Sonnenblick is able to periodically meld that resentment and anger into some genuine comedic expressions during his rambles.
In his debut, Cameron Bruce Nelson has managed to present an effective portrait of humility in slow burn, a case study on the matter of adaptability as the nature of Sal’s situation remains in a constant state of flux, trying in earnest to readjust until finally realizing that he may not belong or be able to make do as nature decisively states its dominance emphatically. A bittersweet tale occupying the margins of the in between, in between the dusk of unrealized, cast off dreams and the threshold of promise and new beginnings.
The purview of the visuals consists of Akerman’s new residency, New York City; but, unlike city symphony films of the past wherein the experimental, poetic structure of the images are meant (in most instances) to enlighten the viewer as to the spirit and overall culture of the city itself and its citizens (which is still incidentally captured), Akerman inverts the intentions of these images by employing them as a signifier of her circumstances, the emotional landscape she finds herself in while attempting to carve out a path for herself in a foreign country, away from those she loves.