British Independent Film Awards Nominations: 2019

The BIFA nominations are, for me, the true beginning of awards season; I’ve been profiling them for several years now, and while I don’t always agree with their choices, I think they generally show good taste. This year’s nominees are, all in all, no exception. For more about all the nominated films, I recommend consulting…

MONOS Review – ***½

Alejandro Landes’ Monos is an extremely cynical film, but it doesn’t spell out precisely what it’s cynical about. On the surface, it might seem to be saying that modern revolutionary movements are doomed by the human constants of ego, power-lust, and violence. But it might just as easily be saying that giving adolescents paramilitary training,…

THE LIGHTHOUSE Review – ****

I don’t know that much really needs to be said about The Lighthouse, because so much of what makes it so delightful to watch is in the sheer experience of watching it, in the textures of its images, in its sounds, human and inhuman alike, and in the implied smell and taste of its environment….

FREAKS Review – ***

Freaks is an incredibly difficult film to evaluate objectively, only in part because it’s objectively not very good—thinly plotted and marred by heavy re-cutting, for the most part stiffly acted, and outside of a few high points, not especially well directed. But does that matter? Or has a film like Freaks, for better or worse,…

THE CURRENT WAR Review – ***½

That I was able to see The Current War in a theater at all is a bit of a miracle; that it’s a fairly solid film as well is another. After it premiered at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival—in a version re-edited by its producer Harvey Weinstein—to mostly negative reviews, it seemed almost merciful that…

IFP Gotham Awards Nominations: 2019

And so awards season begins. I thought it wouldn’t be until next Wednesday, when the British Independent Film Awards announce their nominees, but I hadn’t figured on the Gothams. Not that the Gothams are a huge factor in the awards race, but they’re worth noting. The nominees and winners are selected under the aegis of…

LUCY IN THE SKY Review – **

Lucy in the Sky is the kind of film which has clearly gone wrong from the very start. It opens with astronaut Lucy Cola (Natalie Portman) floating above the Earth on a spacewalk, lost in transcendental wonder. The sight of the Earth from space is supposed to upend Lucy’s perspective so completely that when she…

My Favorite Books v. 1.0

I’ve had books on the brain lately, having really rediscovered my love of reading over the last couple of years. College frankly killed my appetite for it (or at least my appetite died off during those years), even as my appetite for book buying—especially at clearance prices—was undiminished. So I accumulated books far quicker than…

FIRST LOVE Review – ***½

A sullen young boxer (Masataka Kubota) afflicted with a life-threatening tumor. A drug-addicted prostitute (Sakurako Konishi), selling herself to pay off her father’s debts. A scheming Yakuza (Shōta Sometani), plotting to bring down his boss with the help with a crooked cop (Nao Ohmori). The vengeful girlfriend (Becky) of a murdered criminal. And a Chinese…

GEMINI MAN Review – **½

I didn’t see Gemini Man in any kind of High Frame Rate projection; there wasn’t a 120 FPS screening anywhere near me, and I didn’t especially want to shell out the extra money to see it in 3D at 60 FPS. Not that I think it would’ve made a major difference, although there are a…