Just because video stores don’t exist anymore doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get to browse the new release wall.
Mucho fixation on identity, image, duality, reflections, impersonations, etc. in this roundup. Plus 2x Ethan Hawke and 2x Orson Wells!
Dir: Daniel Goldhaber; Starring Madeline Brewer
I think internet culture is just as creepy as any neighborhood 30-something, but I generally find thrillers that are about technology being creepy to be underwhelming. This, however, seems more like The Net meets Catfish in the style of Nicolas Winding Refn. Not your typical techno-horror formula whack (see: Unfriended, White Noise). I’m genuinely excited to see it!
Dir: Nijla Mu’min; Starring Simone Missick, Zoe Renee
Lots of good films about the complexity of the experiences of women in our world out came out in the last few weeks (see also: Daughters of the Sexual Revolution). The first paragraph of the A.V. Club’s review of Jinn includes the following descriptive words: radical, pastel, airy, gentle, dark, satiny, internal, compassionate, independent, strong, sensual. An IMDB user wrote “This was a beautiful film with rich and three dimensional characters in both the Black and Muslim communities. … I wish more films like these were shown in theaters. If you want to view it, have your local theaters request it as it will not get the play of major motion films. I cannot wait to show this to my daughters.” And then there’s the whole “I was born of smokeless fire, she was born of clay” thing. More please.
Dir: Paul Schrader; Starring: Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried
Ethan Hawke as a small town minister living on a haunting tightrope between hope and hopelessness in a world poisoned and burning – in a story told with reverence and grace by the writer who created Taxi Driver and Raging Bull.
Dir: Desiree Akhavan; Starring Chloë Grace Moretz
Seems that the gay conversion camp phenomenon has apparently found its cinematic zeitgeist moment (see Boy Erased); strange how that happens. This looks rebellious and gauzy and lovely.
Dir: Panos Cosmatos; Starring Nicolas Cage
This looks batshit crazy. Evil demon biker gang, psychedelic occult imagery, chainsaw fighting, kidnapping, blacksmithing, at least one warlock, and Nicolas Cage losing his shit in the trailer. I bet he loses his shit so much more in the actual movie! Mandy is doing the most.
Dir: Spike Lee, Starring John David Washington, Adam Driver
A few pieces of trivia related to BlacKkKlansman you may find interesting. 1) Jordan Peele, who produced the film, initially brought the story to Spike Lee, 2) John David Washington, who plays Ron Stallworth, is Denzel Washington’s son, and an alum of Morehouse College, along with Spike Lee and Samuel L. Jackson, and 3) Even though David Duke pled guilty to felony fraud and went to prison in 2002, he keeps running for public office: most recently, for Louisiana Senate in 2016. Thankfully, he barely squeezed out 3% of the vote – but still, he got 3% of the vote.
Dir: Joel and Ethan Coen; Starring all the mans
From the New York Times: “The jokes that the universe plays on hapless human creatures may be cruel, but they’re also funny, and the Coens are skilled and wily metaphysical pranksters. The hangings, shootings, scalpings and other grim ends awaiting the hapless cowboys, prospectors and wagon-train pioneers in this anthology of western tales are incidents of mortal slapstick. Death is a hilarious punch line until it happens to you.” Also, lots of critics use the word “haunting” to describe this movie. Sure, give me a dark, beautiful, funny, meditative western from the Coens any day of the week, I’m in.
Arts & Recreation
Dir: Marc Turtletaub; Starring Kelly Macdonald, Irrfan Khan
“Life is messy – there’s nothing we can do to control anything. When you complete a puzzle, you know that you have made all the right choices.” I am totally going to watch this movie some evening by myself and cry a little bit and remember that I’m alive.
Dir: Jesse Peretz; Starring Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke, Chris O’Dowd
More Ethan Hawke! This poster is awful, but the movie is based on a Nick Hornby novel and I really love High Fidelity so I will 100% give this a shot.
Dir: Orson Welles; Starring John Huston
A posthumous film, about a filmmaker making a film, released into the context of American entertainment more than 30 years after the filmmaker’s ideas were contemporary. This reminds of those memes made up of other memes: cultural self-awareness in form so strange that even if it is as banal as a stock photo of a girl looking at a guy looking at a girl with words above their heads, it becomes oddly transcendent.
Dir: Morgan Neville
A documentary about a filmmaker making the film about a filmmaker making a film. Seriously. Sounds pretty silly when I put it like that, actually.
Dir: Hannah Fidell, Starring Tony Revolori, Jason Mantzoukas
I like both of these two guys, and that seems key to enjoying this movie.
Dir: Kay Cannon, Starring John Cena, Leslie Mann
I get it, cockblockers and whatnot. A movie about girls, sex, and prom from the writer of Pitch Perfect. OK!
Dir: Jim Cummings, Starring Jim Cummings
I don’t quite know what to make of this trailer and am struggling a little to promote a “life is so hard for a white man” movie while we’re living in Trump’s America – but folks’ reactions to this are so strong and so positive. All mention the awkwardness of tragedy and comedy holding hands all throughout, and an amazing performance from writer/director/star Jim Cummings.