Wednesday 8 July 2020

The Vast of Night by Andrew Patterson

In the midst of a summer without theaters, promotional tours, and major studio releases, the way we process cinema has taken on a life through different channels. A handful of interesting films have made a splash, but perhaps the most effective recreation of “Movies” as an abstract term is Andrew Patterson’s The Vast of Night, a micro-budgeted retro throwback to The Twilight Zone and the science fiction drive-in films of the 1950s. It’s a close encounters short story that’s imbued with a cinematic creativity born out of necessity. Ironically, so far the film this year that best replicates the feeling of seeing a film communally is a remarkably small one. It’s left me wondering: how do we define cinematic experience now?

Sunday 3 May 2020

Never Rarely Sometimes Always by Eliza Hittman

“Don't let the sun catch you cryin' 
The night's the time for all your tears 
Your heart may be broken tonight 
But tomorrow in the morning light 
Don't let the sun catch you cryin” 

Midway through Eliza Hittman’s quietly devastating new film about a 17 year old girl journeying to New York to get an abortion, the film’s reserved lead character, Autumn (Sidney Flanigan), chooses “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying” by Gerry and the Pacemaker’s as her karaoke song. The camera holds on her as she seemingly sings it to herself. Autumn’s choice and the lyrics act as the film’s thematic anthem and as a gateway into Autumn’s guarded emotions.

Sunday 12 January 2020

Uncut Gems by Benny & Josh Safdie

There’s a mysterious pull that emanates from Uncut Gems, at once a cosmic and microscopic power that seems to orchestrate the chaotic thrills of Adam Sandler’s Howard Ratner. Josh and Benny Safdie follow up their manic midnight caper, Good Time (2017), with this addictive carnival centered around a New York jeweler.

This is Adam Sandler returning to arthouse cinema with a story that's like the Book of Job as a gambling drama, or a Seinfeld episode as an action movie -- it’s a dirty joy to behold. Through a stunning and humorous visual metaphor that opens the film, we understand that it is in Howard’s DNA to seek out riches; not for the result, but for the act of desiring, of trying to reach the end of the maze where it’ll all be clean and finished. It also very literally tells us that Howard is an awful person.