Friday, 31 July 2020

The Burnt Orange Heresy (2020) - Movie Review

Looks like the déjà vu train is still in service, only now we’ve gone from things I’d much rather not fixate on to something actually worth remembering. Specifically, we’re dealing with a slice of art-world satire wrapped up in genre thrills, much like last year’s Velvet Buzzsaw. However, while the two carry a certain similarity in tone, their respective approaches to the art world are somewhat different. Where Buzzsaw was informed by the perspective of the artist and largely stayed with it, even when focusing on other characters, The Burnt Orange Heresy is more intently trained on the role of the art critic… and why it’s really not worth taking all that seriously.

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Follow Me (2020) - Movie Review

A bad movie is one thing, but a movie that makes me feel bad that it actually engaged me at all is something else. Yeah, cutting straight to the point with this one, as it’s been a while since I’ve had thoroughly bad news to report back with in a review.

Monday, 27 July 2020

Capone (2020) - Movie Review

Five years after his career-defining clusterfuck with Fant4stic, writer/director/editor Josh Trank has returned with a decidedly lower-key feature, covering the final year in the life of notorious gangster Al Capone. For a lot of the past five years, there’s been debate about what exactly caused Fant4stic to turn out as bafflingly as it did, with Trank himself attributing it to studio interference. I myself wondered if that was the case, as it was the only explanation that could come close to making sense of what happened… but the only real way to prove that was if Trank was able to come back, properly in the driver’s seat, and deliver a feature that showed he still had the talent he showcased so bracingly back with Chronicle. And far as I'm concerned, he actually managed it here.

Saturday, 25 July 2020

SamSam (2020) - Movie Review

Some family films are better described as kids’ films, as they usually end up entertaining the kids but making their chaperones wish they were doing anything else. Some kids’ films are better described as family films, as they manage to give just as much entertainment value for the adults as it does for the kids (sometimes more so for the adults). This film somehow falls right down the middle of those two: It’s an animated film most definitely made for kids, one I can easily see being engaging for little’ins, but is rather inoffensive for adults. Not entertaining, just… inoffensive. And that’s not from lack of trying, just to make things more bizarre.

Friday, 24 July 2020

Love Sarah (2020) - Movie Review

Certain forms of media tend to bleed out into other forms of media. With how multidisciplinary art can become in the right hands, along with how everything ends up influencing everything else, every so often, I come across films that feel like cinematic reskins of other types of storytelling. In some cases, that can add layers to the production and the story, but in other cases (the latter being the unfortunate majority out there), it just makes me question why it just isn’t that other kind of media to begin with.

Thursday, 23 July 2020

Monday, 20 July 2020

The Personal History Of David Copperfield (2020) - Movie Review

Given what happened last time we checked in with premium Scottish firebrand Armando Iannucci, this follow-up feels a bit… off. One of the current kings of darker and politically-minded comedy, after taking Stalin’s Russia to task in riotous fashion, decides to make an adaptation of a Charles Dickens novel. This is easily one of the broadest things he’s ever worked on, and at first glance, this feels like he’s actively playing against his own strengths on some form of artistic dare. But even though things have definitely been toned down here, it’s also surprisingly in-line with Iannucci’s aesthetic up to this point.

Saturday, 18 July 2020

Motherless Brooklyn (2020) - Movie Review

A prominent actor decides to write, produce and direct a noir-soaked story as their personal passion project… I’m getting an unwelcome feeling of déjà vu. To go one further, say what you will about Ben Affleck, he at least proved his salt as a filmmaker years before trying this gambit; only other directing credit Edward Norton has is for Keeping The Faith back in 2000, and outside of some uncredited punch-up work, this is Norton’s first attempt at writing a screenplay on his own. The end result isn’t nearly as dire as that lead-up may suggest, but it’s not exactly smelling of roses either.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

The Truth (2020) - Movie Review

Fabienne Dangeville (Catherine Deneuve) is the worst kind of prima donna. Endlessly vain and egotistical, she makes for one of the rare cinematic instances of the separation of art and artist from the perspective of the artist. She has a strained relationship with her daughter, writer Lumir (Juliette Binoche), but rather than being at all concerned with that strain, she just focuses even more on her acting craft. So long as the audience forgives her transgressions, that’s all that matters.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Non-Fiction (2020) - Movie Review

After co-writing a film with Roman Polanski (what’s the French word for ‘oof’?), writer/director Olivier Assayas has returned to his French-language roots with a look at the modern-day publishing industry. Yes, this means that we’re still in ‘writer porn’ mode from the last review, although I’d argue that this makes for something far more substantive than Vita & Virginia. The reason why I specified ‘porn’ to describe it is that it functions in a similar fashion; art it may be, but substantial it is not. Where that film ultimately faffed around with flowery prose, making half-statements about the worth of such wording but never really getting to the heart of anything, this film goes beyond just the philosophy of writing: It’s also about the logistics of writing in the Internet age.

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Vita & Virginia (2020) - Movie Review

I have a certain… weakness for what I’m tentatively going to call ‘writer porn’. Not written pornography, but rather media that writers indulge in the same way the layman indulges in pornography. Stories about writers, what inspires them, what it means to put words down on paper, the… ecstasy of creation, all to make this rather self-obsessed profession seem like a higher calling. Or, at the very least, to reassure other writers that they do indeed answer to a higher calling. As someone who is too verbose for his own good, there’s always gonna be part of me that finds a certain excitement from films of this nature. And this particular film is no exception.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Onward (2020) - Movie Review

Even without bringing the cinema closures into the equation… I’ll admit, I was putting off watching this one. After the utter clusterfuck that was 2019 in Disney’s history, simultaneously one of their best and one of their worst in terms of both content control and financial reward, I’m a lot more hesitant about the House of Mouse than I used to be. And as I’ll get into, while that event lingering in the background does cut into the enjoyment a little, I still managed to have fun with it.

Friday, 3 July 2020

Vivarium (2020) - Movie Review

Everyone deserves safety and security in their lives. But there is such a thing as too much of it. We tend to function best with a certain degree of monotony to our everyday routines: A house to exist in, a bed to sleep in, a couch to sit on, a TV to wile away the hours with, a kitchen to cook in, a table with chairs to sit and eat at; y’know, standard suburban living. However, that same blanket of monotony can also smother. It can be a crushing and constant reminder that no matter what you may have done before you arrived, this is it. This is the life you have, every single hour of every single day, for however much you left to live.