Films about the experiences of returning veterans have long been on American screens, from 1946 Oscar-winner The Best Years of Our Lives to 2010’s The Messenger (one of several recent contributions to the genre), but writer-director Liza Johnson manages a fresh, surprising approach to the subject matter.
Though Robinson never once appears onscreen, he is nevertheless a compelling and well drawn character. Seeing the world through the images that he created induces a feeling of greater intimacy with him than the traditional cinematic set up of relating face to face ever could have.
With its sweeping views of Tara and its still-shocking mass of injured soldiers horrifically piled up in an Atlanta square, Gone with the Wind is big in a literal sense. But the film is also remarkably intimate, allowing seemingly small things to come into focus as they are thrown against the relentless march of history.
When discussing Miranda July’s second feature film, The Future, many writers have fixated on the relationship between the artist’s New Age-y pixie persona and her art, weighing in on how twee and precious her latest effort is. Relevant, perhaps, but not entirely fair to her work, which has matured significantly over time.
Orphans and primitives both, Bay and Nim approach their respective means of communication—cinema and signing—awkwardly, and from a removal; their resulting control over their languages often suggests clever mimicry instead of true language.
Just as pageantry has long been a part of American culture, so has the National Spelling Bee, a pervasive test of academic acumen despite the fact that it requires a kind of mechanical rigor that has gone out of favor with modern educational systems in this country.
The movie is less a laugh-desperate extended SNL skit than a very funny character study of a woman’s depression and her struggle to get herself back on track. We already knew Wiig could make us laugh, but we didn’t know she was a strong dramatic actress.
It may seem perverse to call for more sex and violence, but in a film that is about barely legal girls living in indentured prostitution—an allegory for the continued exploitation of women—keeping things on the lighter side borders on offensive.
His form of documentary purism relies on immersion and meticulously edited observation rather than subtitles, narration, interviews, establishing shots, or any of the other tools that most nonfiction filmmakers depend on to construct their stories and propel them forward.
As always with Assayas, the camera is not merely a mechanical device, but a natural extension of the director’s eye. His writing is equally intimate and astute, providing us an immediate window into the kind of familial anecdotes and interactions that feel both mundane and revealing.
Robert Kenner’s exposé on the American food industry begins with all the dystopian promise of David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, plunging us beneath the surface of a shiny, pristine supermarket with rolling camera movement, prophetic voiceover, and pulsing horror movie score.