Cinema: April 2019

  • The Hummingbird Project (Kim Nguyen), 7/10. Alexander Skarsgård absolutely steals the film. His Anton Zaleski is great. Lots of funny moments, but the script could have been improved.
  • Ash Is Purest White / 江湖儿女 (Jia Zhangke), 8/10. A very atmospheric film. For me was also interesting as learning about the Chinese culture. The story is simple, but Zhao Tao’s lead is splendid, and again there are lots of incredibly atmospheric scenes with a marvelous soundtrack, which at times reminded me Eduard Artemyev’s work on Tarkovsky’s “Solyaris”.
  • Sorry Angel / Plaire, aimer et courir vite (Christophe Honoré), 8/10. Very honest, bitterly funny and romantic, with a great soundtrack (e.g. Ride, Cocteau Twins). The year is 1993. Was recalling “Philadelphia”.
  • The Mustang (Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre), 9/10. Read a letter from Laure. Matthias Schoenaerts is unbelievable in this one. There are subtle moments that equestrian specialists would appreciate, I believe. Emotionally intricate: touching fragile scenes, the rough prison set-up, atmospheric nature scenes. So far the best of 2019. Or near.
  • Hotel Mumbai (Anthony Maras), 7/10. At times hard to watch. Well made, indeed. One could realize how similar that looks to school shooting scenarios.
  • Us (Jordan Peele), 5/10. What did Jordan try to create? A comedy? Indeed, the audience was mostly laughing for some reason. A horror movie? Felt more like a parody. An intellectual thriller? I wish I could believe the story. No, unfortunately. Smart symbolism? I heard it may have some particular meaning for Americans. Well, not me to judge. Lupita Nyong’o is the only bright spot.
  • Gloria Bell (Sebastián Lelio), 7/10. Julianne Moore is a treasure as usual.
  • High Life (Claire Denis), 9/10. Dark, oppressing. Recalling 2001: A Space Odyssey, Sunshine. Also Event Horizon. Stuart A. Staples’ score is incredibly good and fitting. Cinematography is wonderful. As is direction. There are so many interesting and experimental shots. Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche were convincing.
  • Little Woods (Nia DaCosta), 7/10. It is a decent film. Nothing special. “True story”. Depressing rural atmosphere. Wonderful Tessa Thompson and Lily James. At times, a bit theatrical. I think I liked the music in the film.
  • Peterloo (Mike Leigh), 1/10. They just talk, and talk, and talk. For 2.5 hours. Never the end. The characters and acting so stereotypical and exaggerated. It is about an important event. But it is supposed to be a film (i.e. art). Feels more like a poorly-made feature for a “History” channel. The ending is a fitting embarrassing conclusion to this whole thing. Why would you want to film a Peterloo massacre with no budget and with a PG-13 rating?
  • Teen Spirit (Max Minghella), 7/10. Elle Fanning and especially Zlatko Buric are very good in this film. Although the topic would normally be of little interest to me, it’s really enjoyable, and the songs, I think, are well made. The independent film touch is beneficial. Some atmospheric scenes. Also, Elle’s Polish seems impressive.
  • Never Look Away / Werk ohne Autor (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck), 9/10. More than 3 hours, but never boring. Cinematography and direction is incredible here. Acting not so much, and is secondary. The overall story too. The colors are so beautiful. The art school set-up is very interesting. Just learning about the German art of the time. Some experimental art. Painting scenes are so magnetic. I cannot recall anything better in this respect. Also, Max Richter’s score is notable.
  • Avengers: Endgame (Anthony RussoJoe Russo), 4/10. At times, there is good humor. At times, stupid. Mostly bum-bum, though well-made, with some pretentious and pathetic “philosophical” conversations. The whole story, “time travel” is laughable. They put all these characters in one feature—in the end, a kindergarten. But, I understand, this just follows a comic book. This is how it is and what people enjoy. Well, the universe is “saved”, let’s celebrate. A complete waste of talent for Brie Larson.

But a more important question is how did I miss the below to finally watch Darya’s film? In America. I do work a lot, but I think there could have been a little bit more advertising of the event. Little Woods and Teen Spirit were in the program too.

Brie Larson

Brie Larson is such an adorable person. She is so confident, smart, genuinely funny. I remember “Room”, which I watched in Madrid (in English with Spanish subtitles). That performance was astonishing, she received a lot of awards, and was among the youngest recipients ever of many of those awards. That was not unexpected, given her story. (Go and read about her, at least a Wikipedia page).

I am not a big appreciator of comic book films. However, I did like “Captain Marvel” very much. To a great extent, it is a science fiction film. I actually had a lot of associations with “Star Trek”. The 90’s set-up is nostalgic (“Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness”, “Rid of Me” vinyls, or posters, etc.). The “Come as You Are” scene. The soundtrack is great and fits so well. Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson’s chemistry is wonderful (apparently originating from a real-life friendship). There are a lot of good jokes. It is one of the best superhero films I have seen. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s direction in many scenes resembles their independent cinema work, and this is another key for why this film is so good. The film is obviously iconic in featuring a leading female superhero. The other iconic superhero film, but in a different respect, was 2018’s “Black Panther”, which I am yet to watch.

At the moment I am writing this post, the video I shared above has 65k likes (mine including) and 16k dislikes. If you type “Captain Marvel” in Google, you will find that “77% liked this movie” (me included). For comparison, if I type “Captain America”, I see “94% liked this movie”. Why do you think this is? Is it because hardcore comic book nerds did not appreciate the film?

The reason seems to be different. Brie Larson has a strong stand in supporting equality and diversity, in particular in film industry. She even uses something called an “inclusion rider” . Apparently, unhappy white males (or whoever they are) are choking in their hate. Another example that the brain of a considerable part of humans has not evolved that much since prehistoric ages.

For the record, this I am writing as a white male.