It’s not that often I am surprised by the strangeness of a film. Mostly everything that can be done has been done. This has been true for years, but the challenge that filmmakers face is taking all the raw material that artists prior to them have created and transforming it into something new. Mickey Reese succeeded fairly well at this task with his entire oeuvre, which has included 31 films over the course of 10 years, which is a similar trajectory of the genius auteur Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who directed over 40 films in 15 years until his untimely death in 1982.
When I first saw the title LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT on the list of films for the 56th annual New York Film Festival, I thought, “Oh wow! A new adaptation of the classic Eugene O’Neill play”, but I was 100% incorrect in that assumption. While the play is a drama with quite a few twists and turns, that’s about the only real similarity shared with this film of the same name.
Israeli director Guilhad Emilio Schenker’s feature debut MADAM YANKELOVA’S FINE LITERATURE CLUB is quite the fascinating film. Set in some point in time in Israel, which I assume might be modern day but at the same time it’s hard to tell. There are no cell phones or computers, and someone sends a telegram, but all the men in the film dress in the modern styles of today.
I THINK WE’RE ALONE NOW is the latest directorial effort of Reed Morano (Meadowland, The Handmaid’s Tale). Set in the aftermath of a nearly extinction-level mystery epidemic in upstate New York, Del (Peter Dinklage), the town librarian, has set about the task of cleaning up the town and recording the data of the now deceased former residents. “Cleaning up” entails driving to every house, inspecting the contents, taking all the photographs and batteries (batteries are the hottest commodity in an off the grid situation such as this), and most importantly and unfortunately, removing the bodies and burying them.
Werner Herzog is amongst the handful of iconoclastic directors of the 20th century who’s still living and making wonderful films. Herzog has never compromised his vision for anyone, and his vision is very acutely his own. If you see a Herzog film, you know it’s his, whether it’s a narrative fictional film, or a documentary. He always infuses a little bit of both categories in either, seeing as Herzog is both a staunch existential realist and a master of visual phantasmagoria.
If at any point in time you’ve ever dreamed that someone would make a movie that somehow combines Nightmare On Elm Street and The Ring, your dreams have just came true. The latest film from director Clive Tonge (Sunday Best) and writer Jonathan Frank (Heist); MARA is the closest approximation of combining the two universes of the aforementioned films.
BEAST is the feature film debut of director Michael Pearce. After watching, I expect big things from Pearce in the future, as well as from the film’s stars; Jessie Buckley and Johnny Flynn. The screenplay, the imagery, and the performances are some of the best I’ve seen in any film so far this year.