Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Current Cinema 17.5

It Comes At Night

After the flairs of rough-hewn brilliance that occasionally bubbled to the surface in Trey Edward Shults' debut feature "Krisha", it shouldn't be a complete surprise his sophomore effort is so there as well. What is tantamount in "It Comes At Night" is the elongation of tension throughout the entire film, sustained by Shults' perfect accentuation of camera movement and lighting (which at times feels like its lit only by candlelight and lantern). Technical chops aside, "It Comes At Night" is also a pregnant, psychologically taut thriller that posits the idea of mankind's Armageddon as rendered through two sets of families in an isolated part of the country learning to trust, compromise and simply live together as an undefined sickness ravages the unlucky ones. Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo, Riley Keough, Christopher Abbott and Kelvin Harrison Jr. all give tremendous and tightly screwed performances. At one point towards the end, I found myself holding my breath as the consequences on screen tumble towards an inevitable outcome of confusion and violence. It's quite unlike any end-of-the-world scenario imagined by Hollywood in some time which makes it all the more joyful to behold.

Rough Night 

As an example of modern comedy- i.e. driven strictly by improvisational editing/acting and raunchy for the sake of raunchiness- Lucia Aniello's "Rough Night" is a typical sample. As anything more transcendental or original, it fails miserably. There are moments of spark, but overall its simply a gender twist on the inane, moronic bro comedies that have been invading the landscape since the wrath of Judd Apatow and Todd Phillips.

The Hero 

Full review at Dallas Film Now

Wonder Woman

As someone pretty uninformed on the dense histories and backstories of the DC (or hell ANY comic book franchise monikor), I can't speak to the relevancy to Patti Jenkins' "Wonder Woman" adaptation, but I can say it jostled and ravaged my senses quite unlike any recent comic book movie, made all the more urgent by its upheaval of the cultural and feminist blockades that tried to tear it down (a MAN buying a ticket to an all female screening than crying about reverse discrimination for one). The film does follow a formulaic narrative complete with expensive CGI battle at the end, but "Wonder Woman" packed more gusto and feeling into the moment leading up to that denouement better than most tentpole films. And wow the "Battle for No Man's Land" sequence is just thrilling stuff.

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