I assume “fashionably late” is out the window given today’s date in relation to this post’s title. As an excuse for the blog’s lack of diversity however, I’d like to offer the following statement: The past couple of months for me have been ones of undesirable but necessary change; ones of more lows than highs and, frankly, I’m entirely certain that my desire to view and critique contributions to the medium I’ll always love unconditionally has gotten me through. Put plainly: I love writing about film, and I’ll always love writing about film. It pains me to not contribute as regularly as I’d like to this blog for fear of not being diverse or edgy enough for you readers to appreciate. This aside, the following list contains the five best first-time viewings I’d gleefully endured throughout the months of March and April. Enjoy, and as always, feel free to comment in an effort to strike up a conversation!
With its narrative holding inanity in an unintentionally high regard, Trance is (thankfully) Boyle’s film – the script’s psychoanalytically-heavy imagery and frenetic crime thriller aura benefiting admirably from the director’s vision. Although sexually gratuitous silliness mars a pivotal latter act twist, an inexplicably gratifying reveal threw me for a welcome loop. Put plainly, it’s one of those obviously but negligibly flawed films you – or I – can’t help but liking despite its more affecting perplexities and shortcomings. Full review here.
A beguiling true crime story chronicling the build up to and verdict of the most peculiar murder trial in (quite possibly) US history, Bernie owes its likability to an inherently captivating central subject and performance. Linklater’s approach and sensitivity in handling the material shine as Bernie Tiede’s tale is recreated in an alternately tickling and questionably heartrending manner. One of the better films of its type in recent memory.
Although referred to as “tastefully derivative,” these conjoined terms are meant to function wholly as a compliment – Kosinski’s labor of love remaining a compelling piece of contemporary science fiction at frequent intervals. Recognizable inspirations aside, Oblivion‘s singular aural and visual aesthetics do wonders for the production, remaining immersive as the film concludes almost perfectly with a tastefully executed latter act; occasional narrative flimsiness becoming negligible as these events unfold. Full review here.
A unique if readily unlikable endeavor, Rick Alverson’s The Comedy is purposefully and appealingly ballsy in its portrayal if a spoiled heir’s wild irresponsibility and increasingly irreverent behavioral pattern. Biding his time in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with comparably detestable friends, the actions of these individuals and Tim Heidecker’s Swanson project their true nature flawlessly, prompting one to wonder at length just what type of generational statement about the seedier side of the human condition the film is trying to make. Confusion aside, The Comedy is – plain and simple – a unique and timely if polarizing character study.
Focusing on a proverbial “blood feud” exacerbated by three sons’ exhibited disdain at their estranged father’s funeral, Shotgun Stories fully prides itself on alternating moments of mania and modesty. While not particularly audacious, Nichols’ assured direction and sensitive storytelling methods overcome discernible low budget restrictions to help mold an all-around involving production. From believable bouts of conflict and a well-to-do wraparound bit involving the titular Son (Michael Shannon) and film’s title (in part), Jeff Nichols’ debut feature is a good deal more than adequate compared to the likes of others.
Other first-time viewings (in alphabetical order):
The Call (Anderson, ’13)
Evil Dead (Alvarez, ’13)
G.I. Joe: Retaliation (Chu, ’13)
Maniac (Khalfoun, ’12)
Olympus Has Fallen (Fuqua, ’13)
Pain & Gain (Bay, ’13)
Sleepless Night (Jardin, ’11)
Stoker (Chan-wook, ’13)
Total number of films watched (including re-watches): 15