Oscar predictions — the final frontier

My final predictions, and I haven’t even entered a betting pool. ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE Bryan Cranston, Trumbo Matt Damon, The Martian Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl WILL WIN: Bryan Cranston’s here because Hollywood prefers shrill self-mythologizing to truth telling about its cravenness when HUAC wentContinue reading “Oscar predictions — the final frontier”

Screenings #16: ‘Grandma’ and ‘Truth’

The February doldrums dictate I write a couple shorter things on 2015 movies I’m catching up on. This should change with the Miami International Film Festival. Grandma, dir. Paul Weitz. 2015. “I cut up my credit card into wind chimes,” Elle says. “I’m transmogrifying my art.” No actress can have delivered those lines with theContinue reading “Screenings #16: ‘Grandma’ and ‘Truth’”

Best films of 2015 – complete list

Here’s the full list with links. Goodbye, 2015. Girlhood, dir. Céline Sciamma. em>Mistress America, dir. Noah Baumbach. 45 Years, dir. Andrew Haigh. Magic Mike XXL, dir. Gregory Jacobs. Creed, dir. Ryan Coogler. Heart of a Dog, dir. Laurie Anderson. The New Girlfriend, dir. François Ozon. Appropriate Behavior, dir. Desiree Akhavan. Results, dir. Andrew Bujalski. InContinue reading “Best films of 2015 – complete list”

Best films of 2015, part five

45 Years, dir. Andrew Haigh. From my original review: With the drawn exaggerated lines around her mouth – a caricaturist’s dream – Charlotte Rampling’s face lends itself to collapse. From her early fame in The Night Porter and American directors’ penchant for casting her as a neurasthenic with mysterious powers to attract screwball guys toContinue reading “Best films of 2015, part five”

Best movies of 2015, part three

* Appropriate Behavior, dir. Desiree Akhavan. Desiree Akhavan, working from her own script, plays a young woman of Persian descent who hasn’t explained to her family that she’s bisexual, despite having broken up with a girlfriend. This whirling comedy of embarrassment displays a healthy sense of self-parody, and after years of lugubrious gay coming outContinue reading “Best movies of 2015, part three”

Best films of 2015, part two

* Mad Max: Fury Road, dir. George Miller. ,. The claque was boisterous enough for me to consider omitting it, but rewatching it over the holiday break I marveled over its mad inventions, expert pace, and determination to treat Tom Hardy as if he weren’t human. * Tangerine, dir. Sean S. Baker. Not as uproariousContinue reading “Best films of 2015, part two”

Best films of 2015

I saw more than a hundred new movies in 2015, fifty-seven of which I reviewed. Access to a cornucopia of screeners and screenings thanks to my new membership in the Florida Film Critics Circle helped. Spending December dealing with music-related retrospectives soured me on ranked lists; for a while I considered saying the hell withContinue reading “Best films of 2015”

Secrets and lies: ’45 Years’

With the drawn exaggerated lines around her mouth – a caricaturist’s dream – Charlotte Rampling’s face lends itself to collapse. From her early fame in The Night Porter and American directors’ penchant for casting her as a neurasthenic with mysterious powers to attract screwball guys to later art house successes like François Ozon’s Under theContinue reading “Secrets and lies: ’45 Years’”

Stories for girls: Mustang

The first fifteen minutes of Mustang contain one of the year’s loveliest sequences: four sisters, united in love and shared jokes, roughhouse with boys in the Black Sea. No euphemism intended: what we see is nothing more than games of chicken, tousling, and diving off shoulders. But in the eyes of their grandmother (Nihal Koldaş)Continue reading “Stories for girls: Mustang”

‘Güeros’ in love with Mexico, movies, music

Watching a filmmaker assemble an identity can be a trial but not when the result are as promising as Güeros. This Mexican film directed and co-written by Alonso Ruizpalacios, shot in black and white as if to capture the smoggy haze of the capital and showcasing every camera trick made fashionable by the French nouvelleContinue reading “‘Güeros’ in love with Mexico, movies, music”

Oscar nominations — extra gin bottle edition

A holdout on posting a top twenty list, I feel guilty posting this sports-type twaddle when many of these films were made for the purpose of collecting Oscar nominations or worse — do you think The Danish Girl has aesthetic merit? On the other hand the idea that Charlotte Rampling as an nominee alongside SylvesterContinue reading “Oscar nominations — extra gin bottle edition”

‘Queen of Earth’ limns the limits of friendship

It begins with the tear-stained face of Elizabeth Moss filling the screen, blue mascara running and chin quivering. Offscreen the voice of a man talks with the this-is-for-your-own-good smugness familiar to millions of women: “You’re being dramatic” and “I’m not looking for you to understand me.” It’s a longtime couple breaking up. At the closeContinue reading “‘Queen of Earth’ limns the limits of friendship”