Thursday, November 20, 2014
"Most damningly for a film so clearly in pursuit of dreamlike illogic, Serra fails wholly as an image-maker. That cinematographer Jimmy Gimferrer's work in Story of My Death (principal photography apparently yielded over 400 hours of semi-improvised footage) has been speciously compared to Caravaggio's canvases is an insult to Caravaggio. Allegedly framed in 4:3 but re-sized for widescreen in post-production and bearing all the compositional inelegance that such an approach would imply, the film looks to have only incorporated the bare minimum of artificial lighting, in many cases using none at all—an admirable gamble when you have a genuine wizard like Emmanuel Lubezki on your team, but a foolhardy and arbitrary aesthetic handicap in this case." Full review here.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
"Encompassing secretive behaviors, boyish rebellion, early stirrings of sexual desire, extreme love/hate swings between mother and child, and macho posturing, Rondón's narrative works through the many contradictions brewing inside Junior in the wake of his personal actualization without ever feeling like a dramatic checklist. It also handles this while maintaining attentiveness to the nuances of Marta's own struggle; after all, her domineering parental tactics are as much a maternal instinct to protect Junior from the cutthroat community as they are a product of her own underlying homophobia. And yet, in spite of its generous division of focus, Bad Hair, like so many valuable social-problem films, concludes with its various personal tensions unresolved and its thorniest characters unredeemed." Full review at Slant.
Friday, November 14, 2014
"In its judicious use of long dissolves and its dwarfing of figures across the landscape, The Homesman starts to suggest the 2:35:1, snow-swept version of Meek’s Cutoff’s hallucinogenic cross-country sweep, treating the landscape as a directionless abyss littered with peculiar encounters...In a deadpan master shot that summarizes the tone of the journey, three mad women crouch over the earth defiling what Jones so admiringly photographed in the prologue. (Really, that’s the essence of this spurtive director’s style: a classically durable composition thrown off balance by some unnerving grotesquery.)" Full review here.
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
"Of course, there's nothing terribly toxic about the addition of this sort of movie to the cultural surplus; after all, Linklater's a director who arguably deserves all the good press he can get. But 21 Years fails to apply any critical thought to its subject or the documentary form—the latter being perhaps the cardinal sin." Full review at Slant.