The Films of 2018 in Brief: Part III

Again, apologies for this coming so late. I wanted to wait until I’d seen Never Look Away, but after I had, other considerations kept getting in the way. No matter: this is the final clearing of the books for 2018, and if/when I see other 2018 films henceforth, my thoughts will be added to this post….

CLIMAX Review – ***½

Where is the line between freedom and abandon drawn? When does the supreme comfort of being able to be totally yourself, surrounded by those who embrace and embrace themselves, teeter over into the supreme terror of having no control over yourself or what others will do to you? In Climax, that line is drawn by…

LIFE ITSELF Review – **

When I saw Life Itself in the theater, I wrote a lengthy jeremiad against it, marking myself in writer-director Dan Fogelman’s eyes as a white man who can’t stand anything with emotion in it, but I only posted it to my personal social media accounts. While preparing my list of 2018’s worst films, I decided to make…

MADELEINE’S MADELINE Review – ***½

Madeline’s Madeline might most simply be described as a hell of a film, centered around a hell of a performance. Madeline is a teenage actress, part of a struggling theatrical collective in New York, who’s struggling with mental illness, a mother who’s clearly got troubles of her own, and a director whose sense of boundaries…

MWFF: ANDY – ***

Andreas “Andy” Cliadakis (Norman Alden) is a mentally handicapped man who lives in New York City with his aging Greek immigrant parents. Nearing 40 and unemployed, Andy, with his hulking physique, difficulty in communicating, and eccentric manner, is the target of much scorn and cruelty, and his father determines to send him to an asylum….

The Films of 2018 in Brief: Part II

Time for another batch of reviews! I’ve tried to keep each review relatively short; I’m not limiting myself to 150 words as I did last year, but I’m not getting as in-depth as I would if I really let myself go. Just sticking to the basics. Sometimes that’s all I’ve got to offer. And in…

SUSPIRIA Review – ****

In one sense, this review comes too late, as Luca Guadagnino’s remake of Dario Argento’s 1977 cult horror film has long since vanished from theaters in the face of wildly mixed reviews and, after a promising first weekend in limited release, minimal box office response. But in another sense, it might always have been too…

CLEO FROM 5 TO 7 Review – ***½

Of course a film so haunted by the fear of death would be so full of life, but can a film set in Paris in the summer be otherwise? Cléo (Corinne Marchand, splendid) lives a free-spirited, impulsive life, her mood changing from light to dark almost with every breath—and with the fear of what the…

AT ETERNITY’S GATE Review – ***½

If the trailers make At Eternity’s Gate look, all in all, like another prestigiously digestible biopic of a great artist, that notion is dispelled almost immediately by the film itself, which shows the influence of Harmony Korine and latter-day Godard far more than the Oscar-bait playbook. The distorted camerawork, fragmented narrative structure (with frequent jarring…

THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT Review – ****

While talking over The House That Jack Built with my father—who did not see and has no intention of seeing this film—he suggested that it sounded like a von Trier film for “von Trierests,” as apt a summation of this film as I could ever conjure. As a von Trierest myself, I thought pretty damn…