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The Beguiled: Sad and Lonely, by Tyler Smith

23 Jun

It is remarkably difficult to write about Sofia Coppola’s superb Southern Gothic film The Beguiled. How exactly does one lead off with a film like this? To talk about any particular element first is to suggest that this element is somehow more important than the others. But part of the brilliance of this film is how perfectly all of its elements fold together, feeding into each other, until the film is a seamless melding of narrative elegance, visual beauty, and thematic complexity. It is a deeply engaging film, and one that lingers in my mind like a morning fog.

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BP Movie Journal 6/22/17

23 Jun

Tyler and David discuss the movies and TV shows they’ve been watching, including:

Movies
MARIE CURIE
THE BEGUILED
PRELUDE TO WAR
WHY HORROR?

TV
TWIN PEAKS
THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW
SILICON VALLEY

The Chicago Rep-port: 6/23 to 6/29, by Aaron Pinkston

22 Jun


Repertory screenings may not be as abundant in Chicago as they are in LA/NY, but when you look around, there are many theatergoing delights. The Chicago Rep-port is a weekly(ish) series highlighting the best and most compelling repertory screenings in the Second City.

Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N State St

Jean-Pierre Melville: Criminal Codes reaches its penultimate week with three more from the French auteur of cool, including some of his more enigmatic. 

Le Samouraï (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1967, archival 35mm) might be the director’s masterpiece. At the very least, it has come to define his overall style with the simple look of Alain Delon at the center – the expressionless face, the trench coat and large brimmed hat, and his professional criminal code. It might not have created the lonesome hitman film genre but it has undoubtedly influenced a number of modern crime masterpieces from some of world cinema’s most prolific filmmakers. The ice-cold thriller screens on Friday and Saturday.

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LA Film Fest 2017: Patti Cake$, by David Bax

22 Jun

It may not be immediately clear to you, when watching Geremy Jasper’s Patti Cake$, that the movie is set in Northern New Jersey (it may take you as long as until the first Bruce Springsteen song shows up on the soundtrack to figure it out). But, thanks to Jasper’s firm command of tone and atmosphere, you’ll understand that you’ve set down in a place of scrappy strivers and bitter burnouts who are both inspired and intimidated by the shadow they live in. For what it’s worth, it takes place in Bayonne.

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LA Film Fest 2017: Never Here, by David Bax

22 Jun

Camille Thoman’s Never Here, with its tale of a curious innocent embroiled in a criminal mystery, clearly draws inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock. In one scene, a character is even watching The Lady Vanishes on television, just to make the connection obvious. But there’s another influence at work here. With its dark rooms, its psychological dread and the main character’s increasingly slippery grasp on her own identity, it’s one of the most Lynchian films not actually made by David Lynch.

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The Big Sick: The American Coma, by David Bax

22 Jun

Specificity is key to what makes Michael Showalter’s The Big Sick such an unqualified success and easily the best romantic comedy since Gillian Robespierre’s Obvious Child. This isn’t (or at least isn’t primarily) an issue-driven movie in which a Muslim Pakistani American dates a white girl, even though our president’s anti-Muslim stances and attempted policies have made the film more poignant than was likely intended. No, this is a movie about a man who is Muslim and Pakistani and also a stand-up comic who loves cult horror movies like The Abominable Dr. Phibes and who starts to date a white girl who is also a college student who hopes to become a therapist. It’s also incredibly sweet and funny as hell.

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Rohmerathon: Pauline at the Beach, by Scott Nye

22 Jun


Rohmer departs from his convention in two significant ways with 1983’s Pauline at the Beach. It is his first film featuring a teenage protagonist, and, not coincidentally, it is his first with a passive one as well. Most films about teenagers posit them in the dreaded “coming-of-age” genre, which ensures they will make a lot of the stupid mistakes kids make but also remain, disproportionate to their familial status, captains of their own destiny. Pauline (Amanda Langlet) isn’t even nominally beholden to her parents – her older cousin Marion (Arielle Dombasle) is her guardian for a trip to the northern coast in the waning weeks of summer. But teenagers, famous though they may be for their misbehaving and their loud music, are often quite withdrawn people, more content with their own thoughts and fleeting obsessions than engaging in a conversation with adults, even those they like.
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LA Film Fest 2017: The Big Sick, by David Bax

21 Jun

Specificity is key to what makes Michael Showalter’s The Big Sick such an unqualified success and easily the best romantic comedy since Gillian Robespierre’s Obvious Child. This isn’t (or at least isn’t primarily) an issue-driven movie in which a Muslim Pakistani American dates a white girl, even though our president’s anti-Muslim stances and attempted policies have made the film more poignant than was likely intended. No, this is a movie about a man who is Muslim and Pakistani and also a stand-up comic who loves cult horror movies like The Abominable Dr. Phibes and who starts to date a white girl who is also a college student who hopes to become a therapist. It’s also incredibly sweet and funny as hell.

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LA Film Fest 2017: Izzy Gets the Fuck Across Town, by David Bax

21 Jun

Introducing itself with a song by Corin Tucker’s pre-Sleater-Kinney band, Heavens to Betsy, Christian Papierniak’s Izzy Gets the Fuck Across Town kicks off with energetic, punk rock promise. Soon, though, what Papierniak seems to be positioning as a quintessential Los Angeles movie devolves into a series of unexamined stereotypes about the city as a background to a lazy wisp of a plot.

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LA Film Fest 2017: The Female Brain, by David Bax

21 Jun

During a resurgence of feminism and an increased social awareness of the plights of the marginalized, a movie called The Female Brain, directed by a woman, ought to be a milestone, a rallying point. Yet, despite eventually arriving at a positive message (traditionally feminine behavioral and psychological traits should not be categorized as weaker than masculine ones), Whitney Cummings’ directorial debut is content to hit on a variety of well-worn tropes, both romantic—Toby Kebbell as the stalker with a heart of gold!—and comedic—Sofia Vergara and Deon Cole as middle aged people who try drugs!—on its way to ultimately upholding, rather than destroying, outdated stereotypes.

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