Berlin Syndrome

This had some obvious parallels to Room, but it was a much simpler story, without the same layers and subtleties.

Imagine visiting Berlin, and only seeing this much of the city…

Joker

Well that was bleak. Joaquin Phoenix is phenomenal. He’s onscreen in nearly every frame of the film, and it’s a riveting performance. In a can’t-keep-your-eyes-off-the-train-wreck kind of way…

The Favourite

The cheesy phrase “deliciously wicked” comes to mind. I do prefer my period pieces to have a bit of wink, wink, nudge, nudge (Peter Greenaway and Baz Luhrmann come to mind), and this film falls into that category. The three leads strike just the right balance, and then – slip, twist, pivot – imbalance. I’ve always liked Rachel Weisz, but Emma Stone has grown on me. As for the queen, Olivia Colman gives the perfect, nuanced performance. She deserved her Oscar.

The Handmaiden

Is it fair to say that this is Park Chan-wook at his most restrained? And most elegant. Which is appropriate, given the tale at hand, and its source material. It’s great to look at, and very solidly structured. My only real complaint is how easy it is to see what is coming, during the second third of the film…

mother!

What the fuck was that?!

Even by Aronofsky standards, that was a fucked-up fever dream… I tend to agree with those critics who say it was supposed to be a comedy. But I only laughed in the uncomfortable way that you do when you are just completely at a loss as to what to do…

Get Out

I don’t watch a lot of “horror” films, because they are almost always too predictable and clichéd. This one is anything but. It is very good at making the viewer feel a little bit uncomfortable, and then very slowly ratcheting that up. Until all hell breaks loose.

I did not see that ending coming…

I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore

This wants to be indy weirdness, luring you in with its awkward, schlumpy protagonist girl, teaming up with her equally nerdy neighbor (played nicely by Elijah Wood) to exact (very) bloody revenge on some methed-out local thieves who ransack her apartment.

And in fact it is. And not just for the shuriken in the face, or the buckets of vomit… but possibly because it syncs so well with the current zeitgeist of angst that so many of us are experiencing. Good timing for a movie whose message, according to the director, is “don’t be a dick.”

Closet Monster

Feels like a teen angst movie from the ’80s, if John Hughes had made films about a closeted gay guy in the ’90s, with a Canadian accent and a good deal of blood.

I didn’t realize that Isabella Rossellini was the voice of the pet hamster… that makes it all the better.