From now through October, we’ll be covering the films set to show at the 2017 New York Film Festival. Come here for a regularly updated diary of the films we’ve seen and reviewed.
9/6: Occidental (B-) Careening sound-stage thriller pretzel about where logic & prejudice clash & combust. Unfocused, but eccentric, delicious. (Review)
9/9: El Mar La Mar (B) Vast, sparse, richly desolate landscape given identity of sacrifice and adversity. A startling, then murkier, microcosm. (Review)
9/11: Good Luck (A-) Good lord! Never expected such a formal, physical & spiritual triumph. Rich tension. Visceral instinct. Heart of copper. (Review)
9/12: Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? (C) Moody re-tracing of bigoted history overdoes emo aesthetics where its splintering psychology would’ve done. (Review)
9/13: A Skin So Soft (B) Cote doesn’t pry. Lets bulging, molting bodies and vacant & open gazes tell their own sensitive stories.
9/18: Visages Villages (B+) For Varda, a spotlight on resilient rural faces & lost/faded friends. For JR, a tribute to Varda’s own jovial power.
Western (A-) Wandering, elusive rhythms slowly develop common emotional language of loss, dislocation and hard-earned/maintained empathy. (Review)
9/20: Mrs. Hyde (B) Huppert a delight in modes meek, manic & coolly menacing. Plot’s a loonier story. Societal nature v. nurture case gone daft.
Arthur Miller: Writer (B) Intimate bio-doc, making literary legend personable. Rebecca brings loving, knowing gaze & perspective.
9/21: The Rider (B+) The Wrestler as cowboy recovery drama about bucking & stubbornly accepting disability. Gorgeous, yet muscularly rigorous.
Thelma (B+) Glassily heart-churning psych-horror, twisting desire & shame like snake round your throat. Coldly schematic, but by intent?
The Other Side of Hope (B) Kaurismäki keeps Kaurismäking. If rarely striking or disarming, charming, hilarious & colorful all way through.
9/22: The Florida Project (A-) Candy-coated whirlwind of relentless enthusiasm. Till Neverland carelessly rots & there’s no escape from tomorrow.
Ismael’s Ghosts (B+) Such a crazed, self-indulgent male auteurist wank. Maddeningly self-reflexive tussle w/intangible loss. I think I loved it?
9/25: BPM: 120 Beats Per Minute (A-) Life in a moment, defiant, confrontational, sexy, infuriated. Lends grandeur & intimacy to wrenching AIDS activist procedural.
9/26: Lover for a Day (C-) Garrel’s satire slips into suffocating misogyny. Colder, impersonal framing. Cruel compromise & empty conciliation.
BOOM FOR REAL: The Late Teen Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat (C+) Rise of art titan as series of hows, w/out many whys or whats. Attuned to a movement’s expansion, but not its heart.
9/27: The Meyerowitz Stories (A-) Baumbach hits sharp, stunning pitch of valid anger & comic self-pity. Sandler generous & sublime.
Bright Sunshine In (B+) Chasing the *right* romance. Awkward, spontaneous, tender, insistent. Denis swings to dating’s taunting rhythms.
9/28: Last Flag Flying (B-) Most impatient I’ve been to get to NH. fine, funny, honest national textures. Long, pleasant diffuse sit.
The Square (B) Hollow thrills of provocation, deflated for fiendishly emasculating humor. Worst when Ostlund goes ape, broad & boisterous.