I wanted to close out Criterion Month with my best review yet. Finally, my opportunity to say something profound! So naturally, I pick a movie where I have no idea what I want to say. The Worst Person in the World wasn’t the movie I was expecting (in a good way). I expected something tongue-and-cheek (which it is from time to time) but not something this heavy with a message that so strongly speaks to my generation. So let’s go, watch me stumble through this one.
As we close out this year’s Criterion Month, it seems that we’ve hit upon a theme that all of our last few movies share. Namely, we’ve been reviewing a lot of movies about relationships spread out over a long period of time, which allows us to see the ways in which time and the growth of these characters impacts their relationships. This is quite a literal aspect of the Before trilogy, as we see how the actors/writers’ experiences with love and the passage of time influenced the series. However, Love & Basketball, The Worst Person In The World, and today’s entry Cold War, also explore this same idea, as we see the ways in which people fall in love over the years, then out of love, and then re-enter each other’s lives in one way or another. Continue reading
And so the trilogy comes to a close. At least that seems to be the case considering Richard Linklater missed the window. What I mean is that all three Before films were released nine years apart from each other. Meaning 2022 would have been the year for “Before Noon” (my title idea, not theirs). It doesn’t look like that’s gonna happen but there was talk.
What I read was that Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke couldn’t come up with a good enough idea within the time frame. So the series isn’t dead per se. Linklater has spoken of the possibility of a future short film or maybe a film where the pair are elderly. I love to hear it, but Linklater has to stop lining up projects he may not live to see (Look up Merrily We Roll Along and you’ll see what I mean).
Every time I see the first installment of a solid superhero flick I think the same thing, “That was good but I bet the next one will be better.” That’s because the first installment of most superhero flicks are origin stories. We have to introduce the character, see how they get their powers, watch them learn to use their powers, you know the routine. But when the second installment rolls around, the heavy lifting is done. We know the character and what they’re capable of so we can focus on the meat. That’s how I feel about Before Sunset, Richard Linklater’s 2004 sequel to the 1995 romantic drama Before Sunrise. Sunrise is a nice appetizer. Sunset is a meal.
Love & Basketball is one of those Criterion movies that you always love to see enter the Collection, since it is a bit more of a crowd-pleaser, if a very well-made one. It’s also the type of Criterion movie that we rarely review during these months since our fairly mainstream tastes mean we’ve probably seen something like a Love & Basketball. While I’m not sure there’s anything revolutionary about this movie, it’s impressive in that it manages to inhabit a few different genres and pretty much nails all of them. This is a romantic movie that is pretty romantic, a sports movie that’s often insightful and thrilling, and a coming-of-age movie that evokes those bittersweet emotions of finding your way in the world. You would think it would’ve immediately established director Gina Prince-Bythewood as a new reliable force in studio filmmaking, but of course, that’s never an easy path for a young woman in Hollywood. Continue reading
Once again I’m using a vague thematic connection to combine two reviews into one and cover for the fact that I waited too long to watch these movies and then became busy with other things when I should have been writing. In this instance, it’s two slightly different, unusual takes on life in the mid-Nineties. One is Irma Vep, which is specifically about the French film industry as it was in that era. The other is The Last Days of Disco, which is actually set in the “very early” Eighties but oozes Nineties sensibilities (and a fair bit of retrospective dramatic irony). Well, chances are I won’t even get this condensed double feature up before midnight so let’s not waste any more time and get jiggy with it!
For this year’s Criterion Month, I decided to watch Richard Linklater’s beloved Before Trilogy. What I didn’t take into consideration is that I’d have to write about those films. How do you write about a film that’s all conversation? Do I just do a recap of the convos with the occasional interjection, “That’s a good point, Julie Delpy.” Don’t expect a deep dive here. I’ll just give a general summary of what I like about Linklater’s more thoughtful way of filmmaking.