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.
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.
Doron Max Hagay is back with Chapter Two of his Monica the miniseries, picking up where Chapter One left off after the fruition of her HBO Documentary; new episodes are in post-production with streaming availability set for this spring. In the time being, Hagay has condensed the first six episodes of the miniseries into a 35-minute film.
The films of Jacques Rivette have long been a proverbial white whale for many a cinephile, that is up until recently when the majority of his oeuvre finally made their way to physical media formats with Out 1 recently released as a box set through Kino Lorber as well as a collection of his work presented in an 8 disc set by Arrow Films. Now, the starting point of his career, his debut Paris Belongs To Us, has found a home on the shelf of the Criterion Collection.