Gaspar Noe's latest is a delirious concoction of New Wave musical and Euro-freak out horror film, fire-branded by his swerving aesthetic and provocative sound design that feels more like an assault than a viewing experience. Broken into three parts- including an opening of each character talking from a television set that serves more as a nerdy namedrop for the influences of Noe via the spines of books and VHS tapes cluttered around the image rather than a proper introduction- "Climax" then morphs into a punishing segment of carefully choreographed dance numbers interrupted by the young dancers' vulgar and misogynistic conversations about their carnal desires.... which serves as an apt reminder that Noe once made a film titled "Carne". From there, the film really goes off the rails as someone spikes the communal punch with LSD and the cloistered dance performers each burrow down their individual holes of tormented hell. Some screw the night away. Others fight. Others wander the neon-lit lodge their locked in like specters haunting the corridors of uninhibited youth, all captured by Noe's now trademark long takes that plunge us in, out, and around the confusion and bad trips. It's an unsettling portrait of modern youth, and one of Noe's best films that continues to pursue his aggressive vision of wasted society.
Anna Fleck and Ryan Boden's "Captain Marvel" looked like the right amount of brazen levity and lighthearted action compared to the brooding populism of other Marvel properties. And it is. Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson inhabit their roles with gusto and as an origin story (for not just Larson's Captain character), the film takes some refreshing asides, especially in the cascading/shifting allegiances and plot twists.
Reviewed at Dallas Film Now:
Dragged Across Concrete- It doesn't quite earn its expanse run time, but the pulp machinations are brutal.
Ash Is Purest White- Even though Jia Zhangke is repeating himself in theme and form somewhat, it's still a great film about the clash of the personal against the cultural.