Wednesday, January 31, 2018
"The basis for the film, specified in an opening title card, is Kiarostami’s photography work. Looking over his stills archive, the filmmaker was apparently overcome with a desire to witness more than what his images could offer, and thus set about resurrecting, with some mixture of memory and projection, the 'scenes' leading up to and succeeding the click of the shutter—an undertaking that deflates Henri Cartier-Bresson’s famous idea of 'the decisive moment.' If one 'decides' on immortalizing a single instant with photography, Kiarostami seems to posit, then one has robbed a moment of its life and complexity, qualities that can only be revived through cinema. It’s no accident that whenever a death occurs in 24 Frames, the vignette comes to an end; movement and progress are the organizing principles here."
My full review of Kiarostami's final, posthumously released film is live on Slant now. I anticipate this being at or near the top of my 2018 year-end list.
Monday, January 29, 2018
"For The Commuter, director Jaume Collet-Serra shrewdly casts longtime collaborator Liam Neeson, who recently announced (again) that he's retiring from action movies, as a middle-class man struggling through a sudden layoff. In what's surely no coincidence, the justification that Neeson cited for his retirement to reporters at last year's Toronto International Film Festival—'I'm sixty-fucking-five'—has found its way into The Commuter's dialogue almost verbatim. 'I'm 60 years of age,' pleads Michael MacCauley (Neeson) when given the axe by his boss at the Manhattan insurance firm where he's worked as a salesman for more than a decade, implying that he's not yet old enough to weather his remaining years without financial stability. Where the real Neeson appears to be resolute in his decision, MacCauley is a bundle of nerves as he's booted from the deceptive comfort of a high-rise office building to the grimy swarms of a New York gripped by recession-era anxiety."
Full review continues at Slant.