Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Review: "You Were Never Really Here" Has a Few Screws Loose But is a Well-Oiled Machine

Joaquin Phoenix
Within a minute of starting, director Lynn Ramsay's You Were Never Really Here has already established its disorienting tone. There is a man suffocating as the editing cuts around the sparse plot. It's a violent film, but not one that relishes the kill. Instead, it chooses to be like the scene that follows. As the hit man named Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) walks down a dark alley, he is assaulted. For Ramsey, this is probably the most apt way of describing the movie. Not only is it tough to understand the story, but it's assaulting the senses, creating a deeper understanding of trauma better than any film of the past decade. It's a visceral, disjointed experience that makes more sense as it falls further into fantasy. It's more than a story of one hit man rescuing a little girl named Nina (Ekaterina Samsonov). It's about stopping the cycle of violence, no matter how futile that cause may be.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Review: "Isle of Dogs" Proves that Anderson Can Make Garbage Beautiful

Scene from Isle of Dogs
*Note: Originally published on Optigrab

How can director Wes Anderson, a man on the verge of self-parody, continue to be one of the defining independent auteurs of modern cinema? It seemed like he reached the apex with the Oscar-winning The Grand Budapest Hotel where his lavish style was met with madcap energy and a subtle attack on his critics. It seems impossible for him to be as charming and artful without at some point stretching too far beyond the stratosphere. Thankfully, Isle of Dogs is not that. Instead, it's a reinvention of narrative, combining Japanese influence with his posh sensibilities. As much issues could lie in a film that features the white voice actors as heroes, Anderson has more on his mind that is interesting, poignant, and innovative in ways that prove he still has a lot to say, even if visually he can't get any more interesting. 

An Open Letter From The Oscar Buzz

Scene from Million Dollar Baby
Hey everyone. I'm taking this opportunity to give a quick update on my future with The Oscar Buzz. I know that I generally take a month off, but this year has been a little hectic between personal affairs, including college. You've probably also noticed that I haven't exactly been quiet either, choosing to release columns for A24 A-to-Z and Composing Greatness with some regularity. Well, I am proud to say that I am planning on coming back gradually as the summer approaches with regular coverage, reviews, and all things that are fun about film. I have a few changes as well in store, all of which I will get into after the jump.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A24 A-to-Z: #33. "The Adderall Diaries" (2016)

Scene from The Adderall Diaries
In case you didn't know, A24 is one of the great purveyors of modern cinema. Since 2013, the studio has found a way to innovate independent cinema by turning each release into an event. As a result, A24 A-to-Z will be an ongoing series that looks at every release from the studio by analyzing its production history, release, criticisms, and any awards attention that it might've received. Join me on a quest to explore the modern heroes of cinema by exploring every hit and miss that comes with that magnificent logo. They may not all be great, but they more than make A24 what it is and what it will hopefully continue to be for ears to come.