It’s hard to argue with someone when they believe themselves to be a good person. Most people do I guess, but there’s some specific sort who believes that their success, or maybe their suffering — or any part of themselves they deem to be immutable — is what makes them virtuous. Maggie Gyllenhaal is The Kindergarten Teacher and she wears her vocation like a cross around her neck, returning to her New York suburb house in the evenings to a vacant husband, asshole kids, and a glass of wine.
Literally one of the first scenes in On the Basis of Sex is a love scene — as though the film wants to remind you that the octogenerian Supreme Court judge fucks. It’s got an odd structure: spending ten minutes profiling her time at Harvard Law School, ten hunting for jobs in New York, and the rest on the tax law case she takes on while a professor — her first as a future women’s rights attorney.
When I was a kid my dad’s favourite album was Queen: Greatest Hits. In our living room we had a fancy hi-fi which could hold 3 CDs in it at once. Well, two, considering the top spot was reserved for that record. My older brother had cassettes of pop music which he played on a small tinny sounding thing in his bedroom. In family spaces it was basically either Queen, or church music. I listened to a lot of Queen — but only their greatest hits.
The way that Crystal Moselle shoots skateboarding feels a lot like anybody else would shoot flying. It is loose and liberating, the camera gliding alongside as they perform, humanity captured in the shared joy of movement. The drama of Skate Kitchen comes in the fact that this promise is not one held up by society. While the skate park should itself be a meritocratic space, your skill on the board legitimizing your right to ride, it is not immune from the prejudices that consume the rest of society.
In a cinemagoing landscape where the definition of spectacle has narrowed down to superhero antics — whether they be performed by Avengers, Jedi, or The Rock — A Star is Born arrives to remind us that something don’t gotta be huge to feel huge. There’s something in its two hour fifteen running time that quietly cements it in the tradition of the epic.
I didn’t cry at all watching The Miseducation of Cameron Post, which seems to suggest that there’s something wrong with the film. Given my background I was sure that I would be a wreck the entire way through. But Desiree Akhavan is not interested in mining the story of young queer folks in enrolled in full time conversion therapy for the bleak, helpless, tragedy that many of those who suffered through such experiences describe it as. Instead we spend much of the time here looking at the moments that would help one survive it.
Cold War opens on a sequence of two musicians travelling around Poland in a beat up van, recoding the folk music of those who had just survived the horrors of World War Two. They sit under on porches and in bars and around breakfast tables, inviting those who have recently lost so much to perform. Pass on the music of times torn from them.
The problem you encounter casting Stanley Tucci in literally any role is that he’s too preternaturally charming. You have to work against the unstoppable force of nature that he represents for us to do anything but love him. The Children Act unfortunately, is nothing but blandly directed and has to struggle against Ian McEwan’s second script this year imperfectly adapted from his own novel.
So, the first time we see Marx and Engels meet in The Young Karl Marx, Raoul Peck has to two of them sitting at far ends of this elaborate drawing room. Marx is trying to demand payment for his last two essays from his publisher, Engels is arrived to the man’s house as his patrician guest. The publisher blusters between the two of them trying to keep face with a friend while dismissing his employee. The two seated scholars don’t pay him all that much attention. They’ve only eyes for each other.
I guess after 45 Years Andrew Haigh could pretty much take on any project that he liked. It seems fitting that he’d reach for a story taking place at the other end of life. Of all the ages that the young protagonist of Lean on Pete gives the youngest is fifteen. I think that’s the one that we’re supposed to believe, it’s the one that he gives when he has the least to prove, when the cruelties of the world have finally ground him down enough to be honest with those around him. I guess it is just a reminder that pain can be keenly felt whatever age you are.