Tag Archives: Movies (2017)

The best films of 2017 – August update

With the year more than eight months over, it’s time for a recap of its best films to date, an even dozen. EXCELLENT The Ornithologist, dir. João Pedro Rodrigues The Lost City of Z, dir. James Gray A Quiet Passion, … Continue reading

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‘Amnesia’ stumbles on drama but doesn’t forget romance

So few films chronicle the courtship of a younger man and an older woman that I’m inclined to overrate Amnesia. This sun-drenched movie stars Marthe Keller and Max Remelt as the couple: she an expatriate living in Ibiza who has … Continue reading

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‘A Ghost Story’ literalizes grief and loss

If nothing else, A Ghost Story imagines what movement happens inside houses when we leave them. But it does more. Written and directed by David Lowery, A Ghost Story stars Rooney Mara as a widow visited by the spirit of … Continue reading

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Jeanne Moreau — RIP

Yielding to the demands of biology, male film critics can’t resist encomia to actresses. I understand — the camera is supposed to capture the allure of figures who become less human because a screen divides us. From the start Jeanne … Continue reading

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‘Landline’ sends a loud, insistent busy signal

Why Landline is set in the nineties is a question that Gillian Robespierre leaves unanswered as the end credits roll. Nostalgia for eyebrow rings, the Breeders, phone booths, and Macintoshes that look like tool boxes couldn’t have been it. Perhaps … Continue reading

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‘Dunkirk’ a no-talk, all-action PR boon to British war history

The Winston Churchill who delivered his gravely “We Shall Fight” peroration would have admired Dunkirk. Christopher Nolan’s fictional recreation of the deadly land and sea evacuation of stranded and outgunned British soldiers in May and June 1940 has the crispness, … Continue reading

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‘Lost in Paris’ has its whimsy in the right place

It begins with what look like scenes filmed inside a snow globe, an apt metaphor for the films of husband-wife team Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon. The couple (Gordon is Australian) write and direct comedies based on equal parts Tati … Continue reading

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Forest drama ‘The Ornithologist’ a surreal, sensual trip

Like 2009’s drag queen valentine To Die like a Man, The Ornithologist is fevered moviemaking of the first order. João Pedro Rodrigues’ story about the eponymous character’s odyssey in a Portuguese forest mimics the wanderings of St. Anthony of Padua, … Continue reading

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‘Baby Driver’ is a gas, gas, gas

The difference between Edgar Wright and Michael Bay is the difference between balletic and kinetic sensibilities, between a director who appreciates choreography and a director who distrusts audiences enough to keep jabbing their hearts with speed cut with baby laxative. … Continue reading

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‘The Student’ a glimpse at Putin-era Russia

The United States is not the only country whose public school districts debate the inclusion of so-called “intelligent design” in curricula. Several years ago, in a break with almost a century of atheism, Vladimir Putin pushed legislation calling for mandatory … Continue reading

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‘The Beguiled’ sticks to Coppola’s tried and true

In her debut film The Virgin Suicides, Sofia Coppola showed the sexual fascination of young women with a passive male beauty. Her Cannes Award-winning The Beguiled is a refinement of the approach – too refined. The 2000 adaptation of Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel justified … Continue reading

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Cold War masterpiece ‘Stalker’ gets fresh airing

A wish granted is not a life changed. In Stalker, the chance for three citizens of an industrial, quasi-totalitarian present to enter an out-of-time space called The Zone produces no satisfaction. Part of the joke in Andrei Tarkovsky’s beloved 1979 … Continue reading

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