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Archive | September, 2017

mother! Review

17 Sep

This is a tough one. Parts of it are intense, full throttle filmmaking, the type of contained space pressure cooker that’s right up my alley. Other parts are exceedingly dumb, the type of faux profound grandstanding that spews from the mind of a guy who probably got a few too many pats on the back when he was younger. And no, just because certain elements of the script seem to deal with this notion of celebrity–and arguably with the meaning of Aronofsky’s own place in the world as a creative mind–that does not for one second excuse his poor choices. When I evaluate films that are ridiculous and campy like this one is at times, I wholly appreciate it if and only if I get the sense that the filmmaker understands and embraces what he or she is doing. From Aronofsky, I get the sense that his form of self awareness is a form of smug self-seriousness rather than a driver of the cinematic experience. Now, the Aronofsky Touch worked inĀ Black Swan, but that’s because that film was a true psychological thriller, a more tightly structured piece that had more to say about fewer things.

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The Layover Review

15 Sep

The only reason I spent a single penny on this movie was because William H. Macy and Alexandra Daddario were doing a Q&A. It was simultaneously the most pathetic Q&A I’ve ever seen and one of the best ones I will ever attend. Picture this: a large screening room, not even half full, at one of the very few theaters in the country that will be screening this critically panned, straight to VOD release. Add onto that the fact that goddamn William H. Macy directed it and showed up for this and that a conversation about Boogie Nights occurred. I’m so glad I went; the Q&A was intimate, fun, and loose, and the fact that there was no conceivable reason for it taking place made it even better. Plus, being in the same room as Alex Daddario consists of being assaulted by laser beams from her killer eyes, and talking to her will instantly liquefy your internal organs. “I love this broad!” was an actual quote from Macy early on during the Q&A. I relate.

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Marjorie Prime Review

1 Sep

An intriguing conceptual anchor dealing with the pliability and selectivity of memory, unfortunately reduced to listless conversations and underdeveloped characters. There’s an admirable attempt to build off of those themes via the unspooling of backstory against the backdrop of familial and generational dynamics, but there’s a clumsiness in the way it’s handled. Perhaps the translation from stage to film left some blanks that needed to be quickly filled, resulting in a weak script backing up a unique vision. Nevertheless, I came for Hamm and I left satisfied, and the film is at its best when it focuses on him and Marjorie (an excellent Lois Smith). There are two conversations that are decidedly not listless: the opening and closing scenes of the film, which mark the most interesting engagements with the subject matter. All around a solid production–Robbins and Davis deliver, and Williams as d.p. and Levi as composer are great choices–but it doesn’t quite reach the heights it strives for.

GRADE: B-

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