It painstakingly fenceposts its plot developments to an almost embarrassingly obvious degree, it wants your heart to swell as the protagonists overcome their adversities (and adversaries) and get where they want to be, and it doesn’t scream highbrow cinema at all—and is almost proud not to.
Trying to explicate all the resonances, nuances, brushstrokes and calibres that make up this staggering (yes, staggering) masterwork would take a long time, and it’s time I, sadly, don’t have.
I wasn’t alive during the 1970s, so I can’t speak as to the “accuracy” of this film getting the period and its anxieties right (although I take it for granted that it does). So I had to find my own entry point into this deeply personal, reflective film.
I could have done without the blatant allegorizing, which is dialed 1-800-TOO-MUCH to the point of self-parody at times.
This slice-of-life documentary from Gianfranco Rosi is an important watch at a time when Muslim migrants and refugees are being vilified under the Trump presidency. It’s easy to forget that many of them don’t use planes to seek asylum—most have to do so by boat, and the route from Africa to the Sicilian island of Lampedusa is particularly deadly.
To tell the truth, Allied would have been infinitely more interesting if the roles were reversed, and it was Cotillard who was investigating Pitt as the potential spy.
An interesting one. I really admired the visual effects, which made the second half suitably cinematic. There’s a good amount of buildup to the disaster, so that it rains down on you as it did on that fateful day.
I think 2016 was a good year for animated films, but if I had to pick just one to take with me to a desert island (sorry for the cliché), then I think Moana would be my choice.
Paterson cycles through a week in the life of its titular protagonist, a bus driver in Paterson, New Jersey (and yes, his real name is actually Paterson) who writes poetry inspired by his fellow-Patersonite idol William Carlos Williams in his spare time.
Kirsten Johnson’s collage memoir, Cameraperson, is a gorgeous, restrained look at a woman’s mission to capture the world at all angles.
Asghar Farhadi is a morality play machine. He cranks them out like no tomorrow, and every single time I can’t help but admire how grippingly he tells them. The Salesman is not his best work, no, but it’s still loaded with that neorealist world-building that I love him for.
ames Baldwin was a brilliant, brilliant writer, thinker and humanist. If you’ve never read his work, you should take yourself down to your local bookstore and rectify that ASAP. I Am Not Your Negro is not a documentary about him, but it’s entrenched in his prose.
Woman and the Glacier is a near-wordless evocation of self-imposed solitude in the name of nature.
James Gray is a director you can count on to give you just the right amount of beauty and substance. It’s always a pleasure to watch one of his films, because the compositions are always so on-point, the technique so crisp and luminescent, and the storytelling packed with emotional beats and refined characterisation.
Another film about the process of filmmaking, Their Finest takes us to bomb-riddled London in 1940, where a young secretary is hired by the government to help script morale-boosting propaganda films.