Capsuled for In Review Online's Year in Review 2009 feature (January 22, 2010)
Two Lovers is defined by its setting: the cramped apartments adorned with walls of family photographs, the seedy alleyways, rundown neighborhoods, and congested clubs. James Gray makes movies which examine small pockets of society, and in his latest he invests his Brighton Beach milieu with a pervading sense of nostalgia and melancholy. The film's central character, Leonard (Joaquin Phoenix in a towering performance), is defined by his…
PTA is adept at immersing us in state of fog; transitory, fluid perspective. Humanity kept at bay. Strangely half-assed. Get that its apathy is sort of part of the point, as is unexplored, hollow nature of characters, but ≠ a satisfying film.
also, off the top of my head before I review it proper:
Anderson's don’t-give-a-shit attitude (the filmmaker practically scoffed during the Vice critics’ screening Q&A when asked about his male-centric filmography and the introduction of a female narrator) lends Inherent Vice its loose charms but also a distant and hollow dimension to its humanity.
The wrap on Hansen-Løve is disconnectedness v. lightness, grace. Moreover, is her approach so delicate and unobtrusive as to prompt a shrug or does it heighten the beauty of her choices and downplay the schematism of her films' narrative arcs (often bifurcated into hopeful/mournful, or, in the case of Eden, euphoric/melancholic)? I'd go pretty much wholesale the latter here.