Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 1:32 pm 
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Again I'll provide thumbnail reviews of all I see outside of Rendez-Vous with French Cinema and New Directors/New Films at Lincoln Center, covered elsewhere.

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OSCAR NOMINATED DOCUMENTARY SHORTS, PROGRAMS A & B
Program A:
Body Team 12 – dir. David Darg, Liberia, 13 mins. a direct report on the group who collected the corpses of ebola victims in Monrovia, Liberia narrated by the only female member of the team. It's intense, and touching.
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, dir. Sharmen Obaid-Chinoy, Pakistan, 40 min. follows the young woman who was shot in the face and dropped in a river in a bag by her father and brother for marrying a young man she chose. She survived, and went to live with her husband's family. Key fact: all pressure is on women to "forgive" in court in such cases and she does. More principled lawyers and policemen hate this.
Last Day of Freedom dirs. Dee Hibbert-Jones & Nomi Talisman, USA, 32 min. This is available streaming on Netflix and I reviewed it fully elsewhere.

Program B:
Chau, beyond the Lines. dir. Courtney Marsh and Jerry Franck. USA 34 mins. The story of a young Vietnamese man whose mother was exposed to Agent Orange when she was pregnant. Despite dramatic birth defects to his limbs he is determined to become an artist and ultimately a fashion designer and after being in a home, then with his parents in the country, he strikes out on his own, and succeeds in becoming self-supporting as an artist. It is hard to see how anyone could watch this film without being profoundly moved: Chau's spirit and will are incredible. This follows him over a period of years. A remarkable, unforgettable film.
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah Adam Benzine 35 mina. In German, French and English with clips and interviews with Lanzmann, this sheds light on the making of his epic 9 hr. 26 min. documentary about the Nazi slaughter of the Jews, Shoah. A must-see for fans of Lanzmann and his film, which I am, so I was intrigued with the greater detail about two key moments in the making of Shoah, the insight into Lanzmann himself; the surprise (to me) that he had a long affair with Simone de Beauvoir and was a good friend of Sartre. But this seemed to me more a homage than a remarkable documentary. The remarkable documentary is Shoah.
*** ***
Apparently there's no universal agreement on which of the five will win. I've seen Body Team and A Girl in the River favored, but Variety now lists the Lanzmann film. Despite their newsworthiness I still tend to feel Last Day of Freedom is more complex and interesting than those first two; Chau, beyond the lines is remarkable. This is a outstanding set of nominees. Watched at IFC Center 14 Feb. 2016.

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GLASSLAND (Gerard Barrett 2015), 93 mins. A little kitchen sink Irish film about upright 20-something John (the handsome, luminous Jack Reynor) who drives a taxi and lives with his mother (Toni Collette), whose raging late stage alcoholism is driving him nuts. His best friend is a naive kid (an excellent Will Poulter). He has a younger brother, Kit (Harry Nagle), just turned 18, whose mental disability his mother can't face. At considerable personal cost and effort, involving some potentially dangerous illegality to raise the money, he gets his mother into private rehab, and there is hope. Nice use of diagetic music. I could have done without some of the longeurs and the oddball cinematography of shots of knees and backs of heads; but the sincerity and truth of the film and its informed approach to the disease of alcoholism make this a winner. At Cinema Village 14 Feb. 2016.

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DEADPOOL (Tim Miller 2016). Ryan Reynolds in the main role makes this semi-self-satrical superhero comic offshoot lighthearted and the writers, Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, et al. pack ribald, trendy wit into the fast dialogue, so this movie is funny and fun - for about 20 minutes. For the additional 88, it's the samo-samo, and more pedestrian than many. As Wade/Deadpool's chief competition/adversary, Brit Ed Skrein of last year's TRANSPORTER REFUELED has a chiseled, sexy edge. With its overt sex and nudity and sex talk, this is not for kids and outside the comfort zone of the usual Marvel movies, in a good way, but the wit can only survive for a while. At Regal Union Square 15 Feb. 2016.

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BAD HURT (Mark Kemble 2015). About a family in Staten Island with multiple issues this painfully downbeat and somewhat clichéd story adapted by Kemble and Jamieson Stern from Kemble's play (as one can tell), nonetheless is well written and has an arc toward resolution. Summary: "A secret from the past threatens to tear apart the lives of a Vietnam War veteran (Michael Harney), his wife (Karen Allen) and their children." It does tear apart at least one of the lives, and it is hard to watch. The messed up grown kids are too busy but Harney and Allen deliver solid, grounded performances. At Cinema Village 15 Feb. 2016.

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Creative Control (Benjamin Dickinson 2015). This sophomore effort (his first was 2012's First Winter) is glitzy and hip with handsome b&w lensing and strong use of classical music. A futuristic treatment of successful Brooklynites' urban malaise; but underneath it's mainly just a portrait of confused young people struggling with jobs and relationships. It's set in a near future where i-devices are transparent and keyboards are virtual and sex with holograms is becoming possible. Protag David reps an ad campaign for Augmenta, a new virtual-reality program involving Oliver Peoples-ish clear plastic glasses. Playing with them, alcohol, and drugs leads him to get involved with ad agency co-worker Sophie, shagging, or virtual-shagging at a boutique hotel, the Wythe, neglecting his yoga instructor gf-roommate Jennifer. There are refs to the Antonioni of Blowup and Kubrick of Clockwork Orange. If the conventional plot and somewhat shallow characters can't earn comparison with such masters, Dickinson nonetheless evinces "creative control" enough of his own to be a director worth watching. I didn't see his low budget debut First Winter, about a hippie commune-ish group gone wrong, but this too -- it has a NY State sequence and a shaggy yogi who starred in the first film -- for some reason reminded me of Sean Durkin's spooky Martha Marcy May Marlene, suggesting that is maybe this is good territory for Dickenson to return to. At Magno Screening Room 16 Feb. 2016.

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A STRANGE COURSE OF EVENTS (Raphaël Nadjarni 2013). In this unmemorable little Franco-Israeli production (MK2 sponsored) by a French-born director (he has won awards and this is his sixth film), we get to watch some pretty neurotic people involved in a pretty inconsequential series of events as Saul (Ori Pfeffer), a moody, peculiar, divorced hospital worker with a little girl who lives with his ex-wife Ronit (Maya Dagan), goes to Haifa to see his dad Shimon Moni Moshonov) after a five-year absence and deals with his dad's new-age-y nutcase new girlfriend Bathy (Michaela Eshet), and slips on a fish and has a bad fall. Squabbling and a slight reconciliation follow. It debuted at Cannes 2013 in Directors Fortnight. Screened for a Kino Lorber showing which starts 26 Feb.at Cinema Village, but this movie isn't going anywhere. It's charms are too few and its appeal is too narrow. In Hebrew. Watched on a DVD screener 20 Feb. 2016.

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LAST MAN ON THE MOON (Mark Craig 2016) This simple little inspirational film, sort of a space capsule, is just what the title says. Astronaut Gene Cernan narrates his own story, up to and beyond the time when he was the last guy who has gotten to follow in the footsteps of Neil Armstrong's "small step" and "giant leap." Judging by snapshots, films and meet-ups Cernan might be the handsomest guy to don a NASA space suit, even now at 80-something, a Clint Eastwood type. The filmmaker has access to wonderful NASA footage, most notably of space, to document Cernan's narrative. A sad recent visit to the now abandoned launching area is almost the only reference to the discontinuation of US manned space voyages as ambitious as the ones of the Sixties and early Seventies, and the film leaves many questions such as why, unanswered. This film depicts a very different time and lifestyle, a very different America it's hard not to be nostalgic about. Cernan does talk openly about his ego and all his space bros' neglect of family and other things in their ambitious and intense lifestyle. He got divorced and says 50% did (same as everybody in California?), and he admits his post-NASA life has been just as driven and family-neglectful. But he has a raft of handsome children and grandchildren. Post-lunar activities are not detailed. Craig's previous films have been about racing car drivers. 95 mins. Watched on DVD screener 22-23 Feb. Release Fri. 26 Feb. 2016, at the Roxie and Elmwood Theaters in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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A BRIGHTER SUMMER DAY (Edward Yang 1991). Criterion has done a 4K digital restoration (237 mins.) and I watched it at Criterion's nice headquarters in NYC on Park Ave. South off Union Square. Just a Blu-ray projection on a small screen; for a real cinema experience of this new restoration one will have to go to BAM-Cinematek 11-14 Mar. prior to the 22 Mar. DVD & Blu-ray release. For details see Criterion's website. Anyway, the subtitles and images are considerably better than on the weird bootleg-ish DVD I used for my 2012 review, which appears to be videoed at a theater projection. This is a hard movie to watch at one sitting -- with no intermission! (My DVD has one.) But it is a movie worth rewatching. I realized this time more fully how very sad it is. I still prefer the much later Yi Yi. But as you watch A Brighter Summer Day you realize it's iconic, and at the same time unique, with a relation to Wong Kar-wai, Tsai Ming-liang, and Hou Hsiau-hsien as well as other Chinese filmmakers like Jia Zhang-ke. Lovers of film and especially of Asian film must watch this and if they collect disks should buy it; Criterion's "store" offers knockoff prices of $24 (DVD) or $32 (Blu-ray), and the bonus material looks excellent. At Criterion, 215 Park Ave. S., NYC, 27 Feb. 2016.

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THE WAVE (Roar Uthaug 2015). There is something quite endearing about a natural disaster movie that repeats all the old formulas with complete conviction, and this one from Norway about a tsunami among the fjords and mountains works, is nerve-wracking and terrifying, touching and beautiful, and at 104 minutes, highly economical. All you need is a family of four, squabbling but loving parents, cute little daughter, and cute adolescent son; and a disaster waiting to happen. Everybody has to mention last year's Scandanavian film based around an avalanche, Force Majeure. Yes, that one is more unnerving and original; but this one provides more simple comforts and satisfactions. What happens in a tsunami? You drown, right? Well, The Wave (original title Bølgen) got me closer to the feeling of drowning than I'd ever been at the movies. This was at Toronto and Norway's official Oscar entry. This is a corker, and beautifully made. Roar Uthaug is a director to watch. Viewed on a screener for review from Magnolia 3 March 2016. Opens wide in US 4 March 2016.

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THEY WILL HAVE TO KILL US FIRST (Johanna Schwartz 2015). Vibrant color and pulsating soundtrack of live performances of African pop blues, ballads, rap and soul, plus score by Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeah mark this documentary debuted at SXSW about Malian musicians driven into exile by invading jihadists, and a partial comeback. The latter includes a successful London album by the Songhoy Blues quartet plus a brave return to perform in Timbuktu by divas Khaira Arby and Disco (Fatimata Walett Oumar), which climaxes this immensely hopeful film. The joy and excitement of these musicians and their music jump off the screen. I cried. We also see the quiet Tuareg singer Moussa ag Sidi; he left his wife behind and the jihadists put her in jail. Scenes show atrocities, destruction of radio stations, etc. Interviews with the musicians and singers provide narration throughout. Western musical luminaries (Damon Albarn, Marc-Antoine Moreau, Brian Eno) also help out. The images and editing are fine. Watched at Village East Cinema 5 Mar. 2016 where it had its theatrical premiere 4 Mar.

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EDDIE THE EAGLE (Dexter Fletcher 2016). Biopic with fictionalized elements about Eddie Edwards who competed in the 70m and 90m Olympic ski jumps at the Winter Games in Calgary in 1988 despite only one year of ski jumping. With versatile everyman Taron Egerton of Kingsman as Eddie and Hugh Jackman as his reluctant coach and a cameo by Chris Walken. I also liked Edvin Endre as the very young Norwegian world champion ski jumper. The presence of Jim Broadbent as the BBC radio announcer shows Fletcher is well connected for casting. Everybody is good. A simple inspirational film about having faith in yourself and competing for the pleasure of the struggle not for medals, and the spirit of amateurism that is an essential part of English culture. This is Dexter Fletcher's third directorial outing after many, many acting gigs (98) since Bugsy Malone at age ten. I love him in Caravaggio and The Rachel Papers. He has had BAFTA nominations for his two previous outings as director (2011 and 2013). This reads as a very minor, not very original, film here, but Eddie's fame in the UK would mean more attention there and I'm betting it will get somewhat better reviews from the Brits upon its UK release 28 March. Opened wide in the US 26 Feb. 2016, watched at Village East Cinema 6 Mar. 2016.

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10 CLOVERFIELD LANE (Dan Trachtenberg 2016). A young woman called Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) whom we've followed up to to a car accident wakes up confined in a bunker by survivalist control freak called Howard (John Goodman), who tells her there's been a massive chemical or nuclear attack and everybody but them is dead. Turns out there is a guy, Emmett (John Gallagher Jr. of Newsroom), also confined here. The question is whether it's armageddon or just a sick game by Howard. Michelle "has some fight in her" so she aims to find out, with Emmett as her secret ally. Described as a giant "Twilight Zone" episode this reps an able debut by first-timer Trachtenberg, backed for a super-wide release by mega-producer J.J. Abrams, who produced Matt Reeves' less well-received over-the-top 2008 sci-fi found footage monster invasion flick Cloverfield to which this is only a distant cousin; the similar title was tacked on only later. I found Reeves' movie more fun and this distinctly unfun -- but its confinement and menace and mystery are powerful ingredients. From an original idea by Whiplash auteur Damien Chazelle, and Howard has something in common with J.K. Simmons' character. Released (NYC) 8 Mar. 2016, watched at Regal Union Square 12 Mar.

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BARNEY THOMSON (Robert Carlyle 2015). Lead in some important films (Trainspotting, The Full Monty, etc.), Carlyle debut-directs himself in this adaptation of the Long Midnight of Barney Thomson by Douglas Lindsay. It's a horror-comedy about a loser Glasgow barber (Barney, Carlyle) who accidentally kills his boss and becomes prime suspect in a serial killer case pursued by Ray Winstone under supervision of Tom Courtenay--and a criminal when he hides the body. Barney's mother (and accomplice) Cemolina is a hilariously hideous, and deliciously scene-stealing, Emma Thompson in a fright wig. The film, whose look is drenched in yellow-filtered atmosphere, seeks and occasionally finds a mix of Ealing comedy and early Coen brothers. The profane jokes may be lost on American viewers struggling with the Glasgowegian accents, but anyone can appreciate the stylish look and the droll mood. In the US on VOD 2 Feb., theatrical release 11 Mar., watched on a screener 13 Mar. 2016.

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BLEAK STREET (Arturo Ripstein 2016). (La Calle de la Amargura in Spanish). Ripstein dramatizes in striking and dramatic black and white the true story of two diminutive, and as is the custom, perpetually masked twin Mexican wrestlers accidentally murdered by a couple of aging prostitutes who only mean to rob them. Everybody is just doing their job, but fate has a sick sense of humor sometimes. Though Ripstein once worked with Buñuel, the material feels more like Fellini, but comes from the daily news, and is taken realistically, and fatalistically. Opened 19 Jan. in NYC when it was well reviewed then in the NY Times by A.O.Scott, who mentions David lynch as a "kindred spirit." Fassbinder may also be mentioned, and I thought of Genet. Boyd van Hoeij, writing about it in Hollywood Reporter, says with reason that Ripstein is struggling to turn two-dimensional characters into "real" people but that his strong point is cinematography (by Alejandro Cantu) too gorgeous not to view on a big screen (Alas, I didn't.) It comes 11 Mar. 2016 for a brief run at Landmark's Opera Plaza (SF) and Shattuck (Berkeley). "I imagine Diane Arbus and Luis Buñuel sharing stale popcorn sitting third row center watching Arturo Ripstein's latest melodrama La Calle de la Amargura (Bleak Street, 2015)," writes Michael Guillen in his knowledgable review on The Evening Class. Watched on a screener for this review 13 Mar.

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HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS (Michael Showalter 2015). In this sort-of rom-com, Sally Field's sixty-something old lady falls in love with Max Greenfield's thirty-something at the office, and it's okay, till it's not. An enjoyable ride, even if it may not get to the depth of anything. My longer review is here. Released 11 Mar. 2016. Watched at Angelika Film Center, 13 Mar. 2016.

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KNIGHT OF CUPS (Terrence Malick 2015). A disaster almost beyond description in which Malick, who had been sliding in that direction in To the Wonder, finally descends all the way into empty and meaningless self-parody. There is a man (Christian Bale) who wanders around Hollywood back lots and palatial McMansions where sometimes parties are going on featuring some people we recognize and plenty of classy, well-dressed babes. Sometimes Bale takes babes to bedrooms. He runs into a guy (Wes Bentley) who says he's his brother, and also Cate Blanchett, who's his divorced or estranged wife. Once there is an earthquake. Sometimes he's on the road with a spiffy black Lincoln Continental convertible. Natalie Portman appears, and Antonio Banderas, and plenty of other people. The movie is divided up with headings drawn from the Tarot deck, which is also the source of the title. The shaky-cam fish-eye cut-up cinematography might cause brain damage. At first I thought this would be like an art piece shown in a museum, pointless, but pretty images. But it's not as good as that: the images are too repetitious. The mumbled or whispered phrases don't add up to anything much this time. There are no sustained scenes. It's deadly. Watched at Landmark Sunshink 14 Mar. 2016.

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KING GEORGES (Erika Frankel 2015). A documentary about Lyon-born chef Georges Perrier of the recently closed Philadelphia French restaurant, opened in 1970, Le Bec Fin, once called the best in America. (The name is a French colloquialism meaning "fine palate.") Film was undertaken when it was learned Le Bec Fin was closing. Turning over the kitchen to his protege Nicolas Elmi doesn't keep the driven, aggressive Perrier from coming and yelling at everybody and working 12-hour days. This film lacks the finesse and originality of the 2013 one about Michel and Sébastien Bras, Step Up to the Plate/Entre les Bras, and so does its subject. Perrier was one of the great French chefs in America of the generation who started their restaurants in the early Seventies, yet the restaurant was retro and the chef not very flexible or, it seems, original. A better film just might have shown a more subtle or appealing side: all you get here is how much tension and pressure there is in a fancy restaurant and how abusive a chef can be toward his underlings. Nonetheless they seem to love him and learn from him. Watched at IFC Center 15 Mar. 2016.

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THE BRAINWASHING OF MY DAD (Jen Senko 2015). The filmmaker describes how a growing addiction to right-wing talk shows turned her father into a mean-spirited arch conservative. His wife eventually snuck liberal blogs into his email and he gradually changed. The larger picture is that Fox News and other conservative personalities like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Mark Levin, et al., whose material is light on fact, actually do have a brainwashing effect on American listeners and this helps explain the shift to the right: Supreme Court justices Scalia and Thomas' main source of news turned out to be such broadcasts. Not a satisfactory documentary by any means, but it us relevant and relates to Noam Chomsky's books on media control and "manufacturing consent." Watched at Cinema Village 15 Mar. 2016.

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LOUDER THAN BOMBS (Joachim Trier 2015). This film opens in three weeks and this is just a preview. I am an enthusiastic fan of the Norwegian writer-director Trier and his regular collaborator Eskil Vogt from their first two films Reprise and Oslo, August 31. In this first-time switch to an English-language production a famous photojournalist wife and mother whose memorial exhibition and New York Times profile revealing a probable suicide drives the remaining three maile family members into confusion and misbehavior. A multinational cast (Isabelle Huppert, Gabriel Byrne, Jesse Eisenberg, David Strathairn, Amy Ryan, the promising Devin Druid) and a classy production with a number of interesting scenes; but the film is spoiled by the trumped up stress and melancholy after the fact and the corny, unbelievable premise of Huppert as a hotshot photographer given the imprimatur by being interviewed on Charlie Rose. The film debuted in competition at Cannes. Watched at Magno 2 Screening Room 15 Mar. 2016. My full review which appeared when the US theatrical release began in NYC 8 Apr. 2016 is here. This qualifies as an interesting failure.

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TAKE ME TO THE RIVER (Matt Sobel 2015). In this indie debut from Sundance (Jan. 2015), California gay teenager Ryder (Logan Miller) agrees to his parents' request that he keep quiet about his sexuality with the big Nebraska farm family of his mom (Robin Weigert) that they're going to visit. His tight red shorts, plunging neckline T-shirt and Eighties sunglasses give something away though and the same-age boys hate him, but the little girls are charmed, especially precocious Molly (Ursula Parker). This moves at a glacial pace and it's hard to see what it's getting at -- till the potentially shocking "chicken fighting" sequence between 17-year-old Ryder and his nine-year-old cousin Molly down by the river that suggests, with creepier overtones, that this is about girls' pre-adolescent sexuality. Logan Miller was in Night Moves and The Stanford Prison Experiment. This film releases 18 Mar. 2016 in NYC (1 Apr. at Landmark theaters, Bay Area). Watched on a screener 16 Mar. 2016.

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GREEN ROOM (Jeremy Saulnier 2015). Preview: it opens limited 15 Apr. 2016, wider 29 Apr. Full review then. Saulnier shows even more technical skill at doing realistic clumsy violence than he did in his previous Blue Ruin. That one was about a solitary man on a revenge mission. This about a young punk band fighting off angry white suprematists at an Oregon enclave is bigger, better, more violent. It will get more attention, more audience. But in story terms it's dumber and less interesting, a step backwards: it's just a movie Saulnier long wanted to make. Complicated wrangling of action and multiple cast led him to hire a cinematographer instead of shooting himself. Well received when it opened at Cannes Directors Fortnight last year, it probably will do well with US critics. But the older audience must avoid. I frankly could barely follow and don't know the music. Watched at Park Ave. Screening Room 17 Mar. 2016.

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THE CLAN/EL CLAN (Pablo Trapero 2015). A highly professional, rather than great, movie telling the chilling, astonishing story of the Puccio family in Buenos Aires in the early Eighties whose patriarch went on kidnapping folks freelance after the horrible dictatorship stopped, for personal gain, charging a million in cash dollars US, but killing the victims anyway. Victims were held at home, with sons, daughters, and wife going on as usual. Times changed, the police ally no longer cooperated, and they got rounded up and jailed for a long time. This is a handsome production, enlivened by a lot of loud period pop music and featuring excellent performances by Guillermo Francella as the patriarch Arquímedes Puccio and Peter Lanzani as his very cooperative rugby star son Alex. There are several memorable sequences, such as a brutal kidnaping sequence intercut with Alex having hot sex with his future bride in the back of his car. But really the most memorable image is just the serene, confident face of the paradoxical Arquímedes: smug sadist, dutiful family man. Watched at Landmark Sunshine on release day Fri. 18 Mar. 2016.

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KRISHA (Trey Edward Shults 2015). A woman of a certain age visits her sister's big Texas house full of family members on Thanksgiving, the first time she's been around in ten years. She has had problems she was dealing with, emotional issues no doubt, and clearly drugs and alcohol, which she returns to on site, with disastrous results. This film took top prizes at SXSW 2015 and got nominations and awards at other festivals. It was in Cannes Critics Week. The notable aspect is that Shults kept things simple and close to home with a vengeance, keeping his costs to a minimum. (It grew out of a short and it still feels like it ought to be one.) Krisha Fairchild, an actress, who plays the lead role, is his aunt; he himself plays her son. She has been compared to Gena Rowlands and the treatment to Cassavetes -- though Shults has worked with Malick and the camerawork shows his distracting influence. The house used is his mother's, and Shults persuaded other family members to play the role of family members, along with some actors and friends who fill out the cast. Obviously this film has made a very strong impression, and it has received rave reviews upon release. But I do not like it because it is a cliched, predictable, commonplace treatment of a familiar indie film subject, which lacks specificity or interesting dialogue and wallows in misery without offering enlightenment or eloquence. That it was therapy for some family members who have had to deal with addiction and alcoholism and might be therapy for viewers does not make it a good film. Though only 83 minutes it still felt interminable. Some sound effects-plus-music early on are unbelievably grating. Watched at Landmark Sunshine Sat. 19 Mar. 2016.

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MIDNIGHT SPECIAL (Jeff Nichols 2015). Again with Michael Shannon and featuring the remarkable young actor Jaeden Lieberher, also in this week's release The Confirmation, previously seen in Saint Vincent, as Alton, a boy with remarkable gifts. This is a fantasy and sci-fi film that is also a thriller involving a trio of adults and the boy fleeing from the FBI, NSA, Homeland Security, and other government agencies who suspect Alton of being a foreign spy or enemy alien, which in a way he is. This relates not to Nichols' 2014 Mud but to to his second, 2011, film Take Shelter , in which Shannon's character has apocalyptic dreams but comes to believe that they are visions of the world to come. Nichols in both plays with genre in an truly interesting way, making use of special effects, and he is a good storyteller. I felt the film went on a bit long to get to a finale we know is coming. Take Shelter benefits from greater ambiguity and is perhaps the better role for Shannon. But Lieherher is good: he's the Haley Joel Osment of these days -- more remote, less charismatic, but all the better alien. Cast is solid: Adam Driver has presence as the only government guy Alton will talk to; Kirsten Dunst touching as the wife and mom; Australian actor Joel Egerton human and vulnerable as the old friend who becomes an ally on the run. This is a movie with classic genre elements treated freshly and it could grow on you. See Anthony Lane's appreciative review and you'll see why. Watched at Regal Union Square Sat. 19 Mar. 2016.

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