Tuesday, January 30, 2024

American Fiction (Cord Jefferson, 2023)

His pafology

Cord Jefferson-- who penned an episode of the inventive (if somewhat reductive) sequel to Alan Moore's Watchmen-- has settled into the director's chair, adapting for his debut directorial feature Percival Everett's Erasure, and it's a treat of a film-- funny without being laugh out loud, intense without pratfalling into standard-issue melodrama, wry clear-eyed skeptical of whatever happens to be trending on socmed. 

Monday, January 29, 2024

L'Argent (Robert Bresson, 1983)

Reprinting an old article Bresson because--well, because there's no good reason not to read about Bresson (list of my posts on him as follows): 

Au hasard, Balthazar, 1966), Journal d'un cure de campagne (Diary of a Country Priest, 1951), Mouchette (1967), and Un condamne a mort (A Man Escaped, 1956)

On bread alone

(Note: plot discussed in close detail)

The ostensible subject of Robert Bresson's last film L'Argent (1983) is money (hence the title), and in fact Bresson uses the pulling out, counting, and passing over of franc notes from one person to another as a kind of repeated motif throughout. But it's the love of the stuff that causes the real trouble (a distinction Catholic priests like to remind us of in Sunday mass) and initiates the central movement in the film, the downward slide of Yvon Targe (Christian Patey) from heating-oil deliveryman and husband to convict and axe murderer.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Poor Things (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2023)

Pride of Frankenstein

Yorgos Lanthimos' latest has an early scene of Bella (Emma Stone) holding a scalpel at an alarming angle and stabbing a corpse's eyeballs multiple times while her horrifically disfigured father Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe in heavy makeup) looks up fondly from the patient he himself is cutting-- and yet I agree with the assessment that the film is a comedy-- possibly Lanthimos' warmest most cheerful most wholesome work yet. 

Monday, January 15, 2024

Master Gardener (Paul Schrader, 2022)


Heard it said of Paul Schrader's Master Gardener that it's his umpteenth retelling of the God's Lonely Man trope, starting from Taxi Driver (1976) to three of his last four films including First Reformed and The Card Counter, but I disagree; those films ended with redemption or rebirth or some form of baptism as climax, either through love, or punishment, or blood. This film I think takes up the narrative years later, a 'what happens after?' question hanging in the air.

Monday, January 08, 2024

Films of 2023

List of 2023

Not everything I've seen for the year but everything I think deserves to be noted, for good or bad. More mainstream than I'd like but life happens. I do try note films I've seen but not newly released in 2023, and why I thought them worth talking about.