April & May 2016
Film (director, year of release, numerical rating)
Crash, High-Rise, A Bigger Splash, The Nice Guys, The Major and the Minor, The Lost Weekend, Witness for the Prosecution, The Seven Year Itch, The Apartment, There’s Always Tomorrow, The Big Sleep
Crash (Cronenberg, 1996, 3.9/10)
Starless Dreams (Oskouei, 2016, 7.9/10) (interview)
On a second viewing, Starless Dreams proved to be even more emotionally challenging and formally precise than I’d originally considered. A truly remarkable and heartbreaking experience and a vital film.
Secrets & Lies (Leigh, 1996, 9.7/10) (note)
“I don’t have the words to describe quite how much I treasure Secrets & Lies, a film that reduces me to a puddle of tears every time I watch it. The conceit of the story might sound too melodramatic and its characters too ordinary on paper, but the final result is a transcendent, personal experience. You can feel the bittersweet history of that photo studio, and breathe the suffocating air of that new house, and cry for all the lost time in that diner.”
Fear Itself (Lyne, 2016, 7.2/10)
Like in Beyond Clueless, Lyne exhibits a tremendous grasp of the history of film and stitches together a meditation on horror in cinema that is terrifying, informative and charmingly humorous.
Sonita (Ghaemmaghami, 2015, 6.8/10)
A worthy entry into the growing body of documentaries about refugees living in Iran, Sonita is a heartbreaking and essential film, if somewhat limited in style, that one wishes could be screened legally in Iran.
Bodyguard (Hatamikia, 2016, 7.3/10)
The usual hiccups with Hatamikia’s cinema are all present and, as has been the case for more than two decades, there’s no subtlety to his ideological pandering. Nevertheless, this is one of the most exciting, intense thrillers in recent Iranian cinema.
Lemonade (Various, 2016, 7.6/10)
Inconsistent by the nature of its structure, but largely an intoxicating hybrid of artistic influences and innovative flourishes at the service of an album that is as powerfully personal as it is socially significant. If anyone can get the whole world to care for music videos as an art form again, it’s Beyonce.
10 Cloverfield Lane (Trachtenberg, 2016, 6.9/10)