I was so skeptical of the sixth Mission: Impossible movie that I didn’t put it on my list of most anticipated movies this year, even though I loved the last three dearly. I was influenced by the news stories about it: Christopher McQuarrie bucking the trend of having a new director for each film. Jeremy Renner choosing to be in Avengers 3 over this. Henry Cavill growing the world’s most expensive mustache. We were due for a disappointment, it seemed inevitable. I was wrong: instead we got the best Mission: Impossible yet.
Does anyone want to hear what a straight white adult male has to say about Blue is the Warmest Colour? I don’t. Like Persona earlier this month Blue is the Warmest Colour is a movie I wanted to see but didn’t want to write about it because I don’t feel I have anything to offer to the conversation. I can tell you that I liked the film and it was romantic and sexy and funny and sad but not much else. I’ve also been waiting to finish it for five years. Yes, I started watching it in 2013 before giving up forty minutes in. Not because of the film’s content. Because the film is 179 minutes long. Which is funny considering this will be the shortest (and last) review of Criterion Month.
Any time we do a month like this, it’s always fun to see the different themes and similarities that connect many of the films, even though with Criterion month, there really isn’t much intention for the films to have anything in common. But one genre that has seemed to crop up quite a bit this year is the coming-of-age film, and in particular ones done by either first time or up-and-coming directors. Fish Tank is another film that falls into both these categories, which firmly established Andrea Arnold as a fresh new voice whose career so far appears to be as unpredictable as this film’s main character. Continue reading
I dare you to find a director with a weirder body of work than David Gordon Green. Not more diverse or worse, just weirder. Bursting onto the scene in the early ‘00s, Green looked like the heir apparent to Terrence Malick. The southern gothic settings and stoic narration of his early films had all the makings of the next great American auteur. Then Pineapple Express happened. Okay, maybe Green’s just trying to test the market. Make a film that can result in actual box office dollars instead of pinching pennies from arthouse cinemas. Then Your Highness happens. Okay, maybe he had such a fun time he wanted to give it one more go. Then The Sitter happened… He’s dead, Jim. So let’s bypass all the gloom and doom for now and go back to a simpler time. The time of Washington.
I’d planned on reviewing Lynne Ramsay’s 1999 drama Ratcatcher for today. Unfortunately, the film isn’t on streaming or any online rental service that I’m aware of, so I needed a backup. Why did I gravitate to Wim Wender’s 1999 music documentary Buena Vista Social Club? I don’t know. Maybe because it was convenient. Or maybe It was the island rhythms I could feel percolating from within. Let’s find out.
As we come into the home stretch of this year’s Criterion Month, we seem to have found ourselves in a patch of movies about traveling. We had a movie about people puttering about America, then one about traversing France, and now a film about driving around Iran. Taste of Cherry‘s little twist on the minimal road trip formula? It follows a man looking for someone who will burry him after he kills himself.
It seems to me that homelessness is a topic that is never handled terribly well in most Hollywood movies. Usually, most vagrants in films are either objects of unenviable pity, or they seem to be these magical, miserly dudes that some hapless, better-looking protagonist forms an unusual bond with. But, like a majority of the films in the Criterion Collection, Vagabond is not a film born out of a Hollywood studio, nor a film that from what I can tell had much of a cross-over release in America. Fortunately, it provides a both empathetic and unromantic depiction of homelessness, while tapping into the idea that even if a person lives on the fringes of society, they still have the power to impact those living firmly within it. Continue reading