Tagged 2016

After the Storm (Kore-eda, 2016)

With After the Storm, I can now say that I’m no longer a Kore-eda virgin. I don’t know why it’s taken this long for me to watch one of his films, because if this one is anything to go by, he knows how to give you a tonic for your soul when you most need it.…

Nocturama (Bonello, 2016)

I could ding Nocturama for being on the nose in its second half, when it gathers its group of youthful terrorists within the confines of an expensive shopping mall and has them ogle over all the brand names and couture creations while they wait out the mayhem they created outside. Bonello doesn’t explicitly spell out the contradiction…

Staying Vertical (Guiraudie, 2016)

The largely aimless countryside jaunt that is Staying Vertical is saved from the scrapheap purely because of its intoxicating absurdism. It takes itself seriously and no one in the film laughs, but I would classify it as a comedy of life in the way it presents us with a man who can’t seem to do anything right.…

Graduation (Mungiu, 2016)

It’s nice to see Cristian Mungiu channeling his inner Asghar Farhadi, spinning some of the Iranian’s moral fibers into the Romanian New Wave. It’s always been a fruitful method of critiquing one’s society, and Mungiu knows Romania is in sore need of critiquing. The weird thing is, Graduation provides no excitement from such a critique. Farhadi’s films…

Rat Film (Anthony, 2016)

Anyone who goes into this thinking they’re going to learn about the physiology of rats and their historical notoriety as carriers of infection will be disappointed. This isn’t your standard nature documentary. It’s actually an essay piece formed like a collage, and its thesis isn’t immediately evident. Only when the film begins to explain the…

The Ornithologist (Rodrigues, 2016)

Provocative and evocative. These two words are the best way to sum up João Pedro Rodrigues’ strange film The Ornithologist. Attempting to put a queer spin on the mythos of St. Anthony of Padua, Rodrigues charts the journey of a handsome ornithologist named Fernando (Paul Hamy) after his kayak his destroyed by rapids and he’s rescued…

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (James, 2016)

It is a testament to Steve James that he can turn a subject that, by all accounts, is best understood by a small subset of the population (namely, a federal savings bank being prosecuted by the US government for falsifying loan applications for mortgages) into a ripping yarn that is not only accessible, but full…

Don’t Breathe (Alvarez, 2016)

A most dangerous game of “blind man’s buff” plays out in Don’t Breathe, with a group of thieves trying to avoid the wrath of a blind army veteran after breaking into his home. It’s an interesting concept, in that we’re customarily used to rooting for the person being invaded. It’s taboo to trespass on someone’s property…

Aquarius (Mendonça Filho, 2016)

There’s an impressive amount of strength that Sônia Braga carries while she’s acting. From one look or movement, she has the ability to arrest you on the spot. You do not mess with her. You do not cross her. She may be a sexagenarian, and her character may be a cancer survivor, but she’s not…

Dawson City: Frozen Time (Morrison, 2016)

I learned a lot about Dawson City, Yukon while watching this. Heck, it was like a free history lesson. So many tidbits about the Gold Rush, the social life of its residents, and the population changes over the years made it worthwhile. But I didn’t go into it really wanting the history of Dawson City. I was…

The Death of Louis XIV (Serra, 2016)

Does anyone nowadays care how Louis XIV died? I certainly didn’t. Nevertheless, Albert Serra imagines the event as though it were a slowly deflating balloon in a burnished Baroque painting.