This film is one of the most criminally underrated movies. It’s a showcase of what a cinematic masterpiece looks like in terms of visuals, acting, musical score, and storytelling. With this film all of the pieces fell into place. Director Tarsem Singh is a genius behind the camera. The images onscreen are surreal and otherworldly and it’s all real, Singh not succumbing to the allure of the green screen. Lee Pace as Roy and Catinca Untaru as Alexandria allow the film a level of depth that could have easily been eaten up by the wild imagery. They were actually telling us the story. We saw the story through their eyes. In Roy’s it was dark and filled with sorrow and mistrust. In Alexandria’s it was colorful and extraordinary, and until the end influenced with the innocence of a young girl.
In an age of film making where teenagers look like models, act like twenty years olds, and are faced with unrealistic situations, it was a breath of fresh air, as well as a punch to the gut to watch Terri. I don’t relate to the beautiful, long legged; sexually assured “actresses” in other teen movies. But these guys, these imperfect, self-conscious, insecure teens? I could relate to them. What makes this movie really shine though isn’t just the content but the two leads and their chemistry. John C. Riley proves that he really isn’t a one note actor, and newcomer Jacob Wysocki who plays the lead is so convincing, so subtle and nuanced with his performance that it doesn’t feel like we’re watching an actor act. We are watching a young man deal with what life’s thrown at him in a manner that leads us to believe he’s hardly dealing at all. He’s simply living and going through the motions. Initially I didn’t know what to think of the film. The day after I watched it though it was still in my head, and then the day after that. This movie sticks; it lingers. It’s real and it hurts a bit but that’s what’s so enchanting about it. It’s not a film to escape into because the feelings are embedded in all of our lives.
Bill Cunningham is a fashion photographer and has been for the larger portion of his life. Putting on an article of clothing is making a decision on how one wishes to present oneself and Cunningham only believes on focusing on the ones who wish to create a statement. He has no time for boring; for the tedious everyday normalcy’s. No. He will spot the red hat in the sea of repetitive black and white attire. He seeks the statement not the countless. Underneath the armor of the glitz and glamor of the fashion that all but absorbs his life is a man who is fully committed to his work and seemingly enthusiastic about life. At 82 years old he still brings the bike out to brave the streets of New York City all in the name of the career he holds as his true love. It’s unusual for a documentary to not have an angle; a documentary that doesn’t lead their audience to an obvious conclusion. This film simply documents. The result is beauty in one of its most basic forms. Happiness.
To those of whom who bemoan the usage of subtitles, get out a little bit, learn how to read, and then learn to embrace all corners of the cinematic world. This movie defies genre and perfects a scope of topics. C.R.A.Z.Y involves dysfunctional, familial tropes, a character whose sexuality is condemned, explored, and accepted by the unlikely, and an underlying theme of the power of love and need to protect and defend your family, no matter the hatred and resentment they inspire. This movie is frustrating. This movie is beautiful. This movie reminds you why you love movies. Because movies can capture that essence of life that becomes so mundane and redundant to us that are actually living it. Movies can capture love and loathing with a single shot. If this is your first foray into the world of foreign film, you’ve picked a good first viewing. Marc-André Grondin is captivating as the titular character Zachary and the direction is inspired and unique, focusing mainly on the chaos that occurs in everyday life.
Oliver Tate, played by Craig Roberts, is visualizing the effects of his death. He dreams of the extreme reactions of the classmates who ignore him. In his fantasy he is mourned nationwide. There is a click, and we are back in his dreary gray life, with Oliver’s tired eyes taking in the people around him. We are now submerged in his life where he makes the decision to bully an overweight girl for attention from the girl he has a crush on. Because as he says “I must not let my principles stand in my way of progress.” Director Richard Ayoade, who you may know from the British television show The IT Crowd, creates some beautiful shots, and leaves the opinion of Oliver up to us. Oliver is shy at first, Oliver is dealing with a lot at home, and Oliver is kind of a jerk to his girlfriend Jordana, played by Yasmin Paige. Do we like them? Do we hate them? Are they good or bad people? This film is witty, raw and so darkly funny that it oftentimes blends the lines of what genre it’s representing, and in this case it’s a good thing.
Tom Hardy is very likely the greatest and most versatile actor of his generation, and this film captures why. Hardy demonstrates sheer acting prowess, an almost intimidating command of the screen, and an amazingly fluid yet domineering physicality. The film is about a man sentenced to seven years of prison after a robbery and ends up, due to fights and violent behavior, in for thirty years solitary confinement, allowing his alter ego Charles Bronson to emerge. Writer/Director Nicolas Winding Retn (who you may know as the director of that little ol’ movie Drive) manages to capture the pure ferocity of the character as well as using theatrical usages of storylines without the film becoming a mess of over confident ideas without good execution. One of the most powerfully acted films I’ve seen as well as the one of the most uniquely shot. You’ll be blown away by scenes where Hardy stands alone on a stage, doused in a spotlight, and demands your attention.
This film is quietly touching. It’s not over dramatic and it doesn’t manipulate your emotions. Laure is new in the neighborhood, and whilst making friends is mistaken for a boy. A mistake, that Laure goes with and tells them that her name is Mickael. Writer/Director Céline Sciamma is wonderful in the way that she presents the story. Yes, Mickael may be dealing with his sexuality, the hints of him being a closeted, transgendered boy, but the film doesn’t bombard you with overt melodrama. This film is about the importance of gender identity to young individuals, and how growing up, parents and society oftentimes place boys in one box and girls in the other. It’s a complex look at a serious social matter and Sciamma handles it beautifully, allowing Mickael, played by young Zoé Héran with such subtly that you would expect from a seasoned actor, to truly adapt and learn. It’s moving, it’s at moments heartbreaking, and it’s the only film of its kind; it’s true, it’s a harsh look at the reality of childhood, and I doubt I’ll be seeing any other film tackle the same issue with the delicacy and care that Sciamma did.
By no means is this an easy film to watch and I’d warn people against it if they are easily upset in movies. This film deals with child abuse and how two victims deal with the repercussions and grow with what has been done to them. The two boys in question are Neil and Brian, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Brady Corbet respectively. Neil remembers what’s happened to him and now as a young adult, is a male hustler who moves to New York to escape his past. Brian, who’s blocked out his past memories, is determined to uncover the truth to the missing moments. Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives a powerhouse performance, hitting all the right notes; he’s cocky, he’s vulnerable, he’s furious and he’s confused. His and Corbets performances’ are lasting. Pair them with the haunting score done by Harold Budd and Robin Guthrie and the direction by Gregg Araki, there is a truly impressive film on your hands. This film isn’t easy to stomach and if you watch it, it may be on your mind for days past, but it’s beautiful, it’s achingly heartbreaking, and it delivers some breath taking performances.
Alike, played by a powerful Adepero Oduye, is a teenager who has grown up in Brooklyn. The film is told from her point of view about the struggles of having a sexual expression when living in a straight laced and traditional household. She doesn’t hide her preference, but she also never says it out loud which allows family and friends to live under a strained shadow. If it isn’t addressed, it isn’t there. This was essentially a criminally, under seen masterpiece. It was powerfully understated, poignant and heartbreaking. This film shows the deterioration of a family and the growth of a young woman through hardship with care. The emotions in the film are not one note. The film covers themes of betrayal, conviction and self-discovery, and the relationship between a mother and daughter with different viewpoints. The mother, played by a convincing Kim Wayans, feels betrayed by her husband for not backing her up, the daughter is betrayed by her mother’s lack of support and understanding. This is an important film, this is an amazing film, this is a film that everyone who loves movies, or just wants to see more LGBTQ representation in the media should watch ASAP.
I will always attest that this film should have gotten more recognition. Thomas McCarthy (The Visitor, Win Win) plays double duty as director and writer, creating one of most simplistic, touching films I’ve seen in years. It centers on Fin (Peter Dinklage) a lonely man who inherits an old and abandoned train depot once his only friend dies. Fin wishes to live a life of peace and quiet but it soon befriended by Joe a hot dog vendor (played by a rambunctiously fun Bobby Cannavale) and Olivia (Patricia Clarkson) a woman dealing with her own past and personal demons. Dinklage steals the show. He is emotionally invested, heartbreaking and yet isn’t played for pity. Sure, he was born with dwarfism, and he gets side looks and glances. The people in town treat him differently. Yet he is not deterred by this. It is not what makes him. He is an absolute thrill to watch and one of my favorite actors because of this film. This film captures the essence of daily life. Sometime life is not full of incredible adventures. Life isn’t always otherworldly with deadly foes and unspeakable feats. Sometimes it is the small joys of a new friend, a great night full of drinks, laughs and amazing food, and the wonder of exploring a new place that really bring fulfillment. Sitting at a table with two other interesting, fantastic friends can bring the same adventure.