Showing posts from 2018

Introverts' Delights: quiet, provocative films


Discovering Director Joanna Hogg

I love quiet films because they actually are not. There is so much going on beneath the surface, which is the sign of considered and also intuitive directing, in this case. Joanna Hogg's treatment, and mode of filming (2010) is roiling and rife with contradictions and ironies. Not for action-lovers, and the Guardian quote on the poster about "frequently very funny" is absolutely untrue. Great if you love sucker punches.  The only problem with it was that it did not come with closed captions.

Recent Gems with a Difference

Keep the Change

Germany Is Getting Netflix-Hot: Doch Noch Nicht Jetzt

Watch this trailer for Babylon Berlin. If this video does not convince you to watch the series (in German! God, don't ruin it by watching the dub!)...   zu Asche zu Staub recurs in various forms throughout season one—you'll know it by heart before long. This series is smart, informative, so creatively different! And has great acting.
Auch fantastische is Dark, a better version of Stranger Things. The atmosphere in this show is so affecting. As is Oliver Masucci. Very addictive. You're welcome. 

Mute, directed by Bowie's son Duncan Jones (2017) seems to be, according to the reviews, like Christmas cake: you either love it or you hate it. While I can see why some critique its sloppy elements, it's clearly a labour of love and is one of those interesting glimpses into our putative future. Similar feel to the urban fabric found in Altered Carbon. Worth a look if you're into dystopian projections. Alexander Skarsgård kills it, considering he only speaks about five sen…

But There IS Joel Kinnaman...

ALT: Joel Kinnaman as Tak Kovacs in a dark, strange world, wearing a blue coat and shirt; he's looking around in wonder.

Oh god, I didn't know whether I could get past the first episode: I love dystopian futures, but this seemed hackneyed... 
Altered Carbon has the feel of sometimes The Hunger Games, sometimes Harry Potter, often Repo! The Genetic Opera or Gotham City or Narcopolis.There's martial arts, comic booky treatments, digital effects and story content. Some of it is dumb, and the names for things in the future are lazy: The Array is the internet, a sleeve is a host, ONIs are basically smartphones, Poe is like TNG's Data, Meths are the 1%, and paying my chip-implanted fingers is technology that's already here. The "strong, independent woman cop" is the lamest character attempt/trope out there, and the actress is terrible. The producers seem to be trying to appease audiences on every front rather than trying to make a solid, consistent product. 
But I…

The Blind Christ

photo: Film Factory Entertainment
The Blind Christ or El Cristo Ciego(Christopher Murray, 2016, Chilean) with  Pedro Godoy, Ana María Henríquez, Bastián Insotroza, and local extras.
If you like quiet, slow films, you'll enjoy this story about pilgrimage, told by a prophet, often in parables. The character (and indeed the mood) often reminded me of the silent, watching Christ figure in Kieslowski's Dekalog.Fairly sure my film theology prof Adelmo Dunghe would put this on his list of transcendent films! Poetic and at times painful to watch, both visually and emotionally. Loved it. 

At age five, my son said, "I was born because God knew I needed a mum." Out of the mouths of babes...

Two Women Who Say "Fuck It!" in Two Very Different Ways

Two women, two decades apart, are fed up, and they both decide to do something about it.

You'll barely recognize Elijah Wood or Crazy Rose from Two and a Half Men: Melanie Lynskey is showing her true acting chops. This super-quirky film is violent, but the humour is a balm in this crazy story about a not crazy value. Basically, character Ruth just wants everyone to stop being assholes to each other. It's original in myriad ways, and a real delight as a change from Schmollywood productions, from the soundtrack right down to the real, Oregonian fireflies in the last scene.
2017, Accessed on Netflix. Director: Macon Blair Starring: Elijah Wood, Melanie Lynskey, David Yow, Devon Graye, Christine Woods, Jane Levy, Gary Anthony Williams, Robert Longstreet My Happy FamilyPeople being assholes in different, Georgian ways (and ways as yet unknown to our heroine), this is also funny but with a little more pathos than dark humour. And it has a great ending. I recently got hell from students …