Here are the latest reviews from Wes Anderson, a director who doesn’t need to be introduced to moviegoers the world over; and a review of Lauren Hardaway’s debut feature – which won many accolades
The French Dispatch (video on demand) – A new Wes Anderson film is always eagerly awaited by the coterie of hardcore moviegoers who pledge their allegiance to his idiosyncratic and stylized cinematic vision and look. So this is her last movie, and like most of her movies, it also feels like a family reunion – Anderson is known to use the same group of actors and actresses over and over again. In this case, familiarity doesn’t breed contempt, and it’s fun to wait for the first appearance of any member of Anderson’s extended “family.” The premise of this new release is to pay homage of some sort to publications such as The New Yorker and explore how such a publication is created and how the publisher, writers and story subjects all work together to give life to problems. regularly.
The film is structured with precision, so it feels like you’re flipping through the pages of an issue, landing on particular sections, and then embarking on a journey of how that particular story came to be. While conceptually interesting, I’ll be the first to admit that this episodic quality means we’ll have our favorites. The interlude with Owen Wilson as a bicycle tourist is at most an extension of time; while the most intriguing stories, like that of the painter / mental patient (Benicio del Toro), whose muse is his asylum keeper (Léa Seydoux), are cut short as we yearn for more. These are all very valuable stories; and his highly stylized way of shooting his films is still visible – but unlike the Royal Tenenbaums or the Grand Budapest Hotel, where the narrative was as engaging as the visual “magic”, here it’s more the style that carries the film.
The Novice (Video on Demand) – Winner for Best American Narrative Feature in June at the Tribeca Film Festival, this debut film by Lauren Hardaway also garnered a significant number of nominations for the upcoming Independent Spirit Awards in March. Set in the world of female college rowing, it’s a sports film, psychological drama, and coming of age all at once, with particular attention to wanting to belong and being obsessed with it. As freshman Alex Dall, Isabelle Fuhrman was honored for her heartbreaking description of a girl, who is the only newbie on the varsity team, and for proving herself in ways many would consider unhealthy. and indicative of unsafe OC behavior.
It is the physical and psychological journey to impose oneself that constitutes the film’s light narrative. But despite the shallow plot and character sketches, the film is fascinating, and we remain glued to it because of the jaw-dropping cinematography, incisive editing, and the way Hardaway has put his film together. At times this can be reminiscent of Whiplash and Black Swan, given our protagonist’s insanity and obsessive behavior – the way they self-isolate, attempt to reduce opposition, and become determined “machines”. And here, this is how Alex welcomes the punishment and the physical toll that his behavior imposes on his body and his psyche which becomes the painful aspect of watching this film. Hardaway is definitely a director to watch, and maybe her “calling card” right now.
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