Life Itself (2014)
Directed by Steve James
It seems that if you’re a film critic, your opinion of Life Itself boils down to whatever your opinion is of Roger Ebert. Those who disliked him, and have accused him of dumbing down film criticism by chewing up the art form in order to make it digestible for mass audiences, have disliked the film. And those who loved him for his wit, knowledge, and simple yet elegant prose, have championed it.
Continue reading ‘Life Itself’: A Film About Life Itself
To The Wonder (2013)
Written & Directed by Terrence Malick
Everybody likes Malick. Anyone who says they don’t is full of shit. There are moments of pure transcendence in each one of his films, whether you like the whole thing or not. Shots where the light coming from the sky is godly, or where an actor or actress looks better than they’ve ever looked, or where the camera makes a perfect yet seemingly impromptu motion. You can’t love movies and not go crazy over that sort of shit.
However, he can be quite frustrating at times. This is almost entirely due to the fact that he’s a very subjective editor. Most films that exist are edited fairly objectively—and I don’t just mean linearly, I mean that most of the cuts are for purpose, not for feeling. Malick, on the other hand, cuts mostly for feeling and vibe. This gives each one of his films its own personal wavelength, and you’re either riding it gleefully, or watching it pass you by, wondering what the hell is going on.
Continue reading To The Wonder: Fuck You, It’s Good
Spring Breakers (2012)
Written & Directed by Harmony Korine
That thing I said, in the title of this review? That’s a thing I never thought I’d say in a million years. I am not a Harmony Korine fan. I don’t like any of his movies. He has always struck me as someone with absolutely no comprehension of what parts of his films are good and what parts are weak, and somewhat proud of not knowing, and proud of editing in a slapdash way. For instance, in one of his notorious Letterman appearances from the 90’s (which I actually do enjoy watching, they’re awkward and fun and he has some genuinely witty improv moments) he boasts that he doesn’t care about plot, and that when he watches movies all he really remembers are characters and a few scenes, so he wants to create movies that consist entirely of random moments. That sort of thing doesn’t appeal to me whatsoever as a filmgoer or a filmmaker.
Continue reading Spring Breakers: Holy Shit, Harmony Korine Made A Good Movie