Playing Catch-Up — The Sisters Brothers; Our Brand is Crisis; A Bigger Splash

The Sisters Brothers (Jacques Audiard, 2018). The English-language film debut of French director Jacques Audiard rambunctiously tinkers with one of most storied Hollywood genres without ever quite figuring out what sort of neo-Western it wants to be. Sometimes it aims … Continue reading Playing Catch-Up — The Sisters Brothers; Our Brand is Crisis; A Bigger Splash

Ford, Fukunaga, Green, Minnelli, Stahl

Designing Woman (Vincente Minnelli, 1957). This blithe, airy comedy about a mismatched couple is laced with some mild battle-of-the-sexes commentary. For the most part, though, it’s a procession of problematic friends and crooked boxing promoters. In other words, it’s the sort of romantic turmoil that only happens in the movies, and happened all the more frequently when the standard Hollywood product was made monumentally more colorful to compete with the hugely successful new medium of television. The film is directed with typical skill and panache by Vincent Minnelli, but the film works to the degree it does mostly from the … Continue reading Ford, Fukunaga, Green, Minnelli, Stahl

Apted, Ashby, Cammisa, Green, Soderbergh

Snow Angels (David Gordon Green, 2008). A grim, atmospheric drama about people living small, desolate lives and the way a family tragedy accentuates the levels of their dismay to such a point that bad choices begin to take over. Green handles the film with an elegant restraint that sometimes veers close to bloodlessness, but overall gives it a hard, tense sheen. Adapted from a novel, the film sometimes feels as though it’s missing out on the deeper psychological understanding that’s far easier to realize on the page than on the screen. It offers up nice actorly moments for Sam Rockwell … Continue reading Apted, Ashby, Cammisa, Green, Soderbergh