Burning hunger for life, flesh, and power. This is what Lee Chang-dong's new film is about, subtly. As it's a very subtle film entirely. For the first 90 minutes I was unsure what I was watching. A character study? A mystery? Commentary on the class system in South Korea? It's not til I was able to reflect after the experience that I understood this film is about hunger. Its a great film too. One with captivating visuals, outstanding performances, and a burning curiosity that kept me watching even when I didn't understand. In that sense I think it's a very approachable film. Those who love mystery will find themselves obsessing over the little details, which do add up. Though the mystery of it all I believe is for consumption, while the true intention lies in it's characters and the way they live their lives.
I'm not sure if successfully completing a Gasper Noe film is something to celebrate but here I am. After two failed attempts at "Enter the Void" I thought his work would evade me, then one day during a trippy jazz jam session I felt inspired to watch Noe's most accessible film - Climax. Thankfully, I was accompanied by a friend so I had no choice but to finish it. This experience was the farthest thing from pleasant but that's sort of the whole point. It's a dangerous mind experiment to wonder what would happen if a group of people, in this case dancers, were secretly drugged with acid. Noe seems to assume the worst. I'm starting to think he hasn't had the best experiences with psychedelics. I really liked a lot of the characters going into the trippy section of the film but then everyone's integrity is just completely destroyed. Acid is a wild thing but I don't think it would drag everyone to hell the way Noe depicts here. Overall, this is an intoxicating film created with a bare production successfully conveying it's poignant message that acid could possibly be the scariest thing ever.
There's probably something worth enjoying in this nonsensical spiraling act about hidden messages but I interpreted it as one hell of an ironic film. A movie about a crazy conspiracy bum, who can't afford his rent, spends his days following a path of unconnected mysteries resulting in an underwhelming conclusion. A film all about finding answers is not even concerned with the answer it provides. So what's the point? That's where a cult following spawns. I'm just not apart of it. I enjoyed Andrew Garfield's comedic performance and there's plenty of nice visuals but those two positives only stretch so much throughout it's overly long runtime.
"All I know is your carriage awaits and my maid is on her way up with something called a pineapple."
I was pleasantly surprised by this fascinating time-piece based on true events of those living under the royal roof of Queen Anne. From absurdist director Yorgos Lanthimos, who delivers a more digestible experience than usual, digging deep into the back-stabbing politics and eroticism surrounding a sickly Queen Anne, played by an extraordinary Olivia Coleman. Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz are equally deserving of recognition as their characters Abigail and Sarah pit against another's wit in a battle for power over their Queen. The film managed to engage me immediately with it's vivid presentation of just how terrible and weird this time could be, developing it's plot smoothly with a satirical but often harsh perspective. It's weirdly funny, thought-provoking, obviously absurd, and worthy of it's title as one of 2018's best films.
Billy was tough, which is why he survived the turmoil experienced in Thailand's notorious jail. That struggle is depicted here in a visceral way incarnating it's audience placing them in a real setting with real prisoners. This is brave work done cinematically and personally through the autobiography of Billy Moore himself. I was also very impressed with the cinematography. There's one long boxing match that's all captured in one take. My only complaint is the ending felt incomplete. It was touching and I appreciated the moment but it's something to note. I found this on my way through A24's phenomenal filmography. Highly recommend.
Director Luca Guadagnino's version of Dario Argento's classic horror film Suspiria is an intoxicating experience that is not perfect but harrowing and worthwhile. I rewatched this the day after my first viewing, which was originally interrupted by my anxiety created by this genuinely disturbing screenplay. Luca's direction is immersive and the camera-work groundbreaking. I also appreciated it's accuracy as a time-piece, which created a nerving sense of realism. The plot is full of depth, where the original lacked but made up for in it's cinematography. It's hard to call this a remake because it goes much further with the plot than its predecessor. Dakota Johnson was a perfect choice for her role but Tilda Swinton takes the gold with her three separate and equally exciting performances. This is relentless cinema. Watching Luca's vision play out uninterrupted produces an experience that's not always satisfying but when it is - it's impossible to take your eyes off the screen, even when what you're watching is horrifying.
"Dear Dolores, I saw Dr. Shirley play the piano. He's like a genius, I think."
Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen present honest, heartfelt performances, that strike several heartstrings. This Oscar worthy script focuses on its characters and their stories. Following a black musician (Ali) on tour of the deep south in the 60's. A charismatic club bouncer (Mortensen) is hired as the driver/guard. The two form a unique relationship that I'm not going to forget anytime soon. I wouldn't call this Oscar bait, as it has been called. It isn't much of a cinematic spectacle. Just a simple but poignant and warming story that's worthy of your time.
I would now call Barry Jenkins one of the most influential directors of our time. Beale Street - Jenkin's follow-up to Moonlight - is at it's heart a beautiful story about love and connection shared between two human beings. The mood and texture of this slowly paced romance is intoxicating from the start. My soul was entirely accepting of the punishment waiting around the corner of these dirty Harlem streets. Despite the despair of Tish and Alonzo's situation, Jenkins control of color and contrast presents a 1970's New York so beautifully. This is not a work inspired by anger or hatred but of admiration for a time despite the utterly unacceptable injustice of Alonzo's time in captivity.
I was not prepared for this one to be as brutally boring as it was. Part of me expected way too much from this historical time-piece about two women of similar power. The two stars Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie are great, but often overshadowed by an awful script. Certain scenes scream, "This is a lifetime special!" Certainly, not what I had signed up for.
VICE slings witty factual evidence of Dick Cheney's effort to overthrow the government so precisely it almost cuts too deep. This isn't the best movie of 2018, but it definitely will be one of the most talked about. Adam Mckay's style and perspective is possibly the only way to tell this bizarre story. A ridiculous story with a fat Christian Bale as the lead! Cinematic gold- flawed by its excessive amounts of info.
TheFilmInformer is a collection of movie reviews ranging from the 1950's classics to 2021 releases. Written and organized for easy viewing by Joshua Dzindzio. Also, please visit The Film Informer on YouTube for video reviews and Oscar news.