Woodshock Review

(082817) Kirsten Dunst. "Woodshock" from Venice Film fest site

Rodarte fashion brand founders (and costume designers for Black Swan) the Mulleavy sisters make their feature film debut with Woodshock, a film that suffers from every dismissive cliché one hears thrown at purely visual artists trying to transition to cinema. Like an American Horror Story title sequence stretched out to 100 minutes rather than 90 seconds, it’s broodingly atmospheric and visually evocative, but also utterly, mind-numbingly empty, lacking story, character, and meaning. It’s a huge disappointment, especially as it’s being launched by the venerable indie distributors A24, whose recent track record is excellent to say the least, and lets down an impressive cast.  Continue reading

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The Beguiled Review

The Beguiled

Of all the films for Sofia Coppola to follow up The Bling Ring with, a remake of a Civil War-set Clint Eastwood vehicle from the ‘70s might not seem the most obvious choice. Yet, by paring back the misogyny and explicitness of Don Siegel’s 1971 adaptation of Thomas Cullinan’s The Beguiled, Coppola becomes a perfect match for this story of isolated women on the edge, in a grand house driven mad with suspicion and sexual hysteria. She became only the second-ever woman to win Best Director at Cannes with this film, and it’s easy to see why the jury chose it; it’s sumptuous, tense, and completely entertaining.  Continue reading

Midnight Special Review

MidSpecRev

 

As evidenced by his previous two films, Take Shelter and Mud, Jeff Nichols is a director who likes to find small stories in the biggest of contexts. Take Shelter threatened doomsday but focused on one man’s conflicts with his community, while Mud told the tale of the economic decline of the American South through the eyes of a childhood friendship. His latest piece, Midnight Special, pulls off the same trick with even more aplomb, with superpowers, satellite crashes, and the conflicting interests of the NSA and a cult all taking a back seat to a father’s concern for his son. Continue reading