brendanowicz

brendanowicz

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  • Sarraounia

    Sarraounia

    Around the World in 80 Films #28 — Burkina Faso

    A seemingly straightforward fable of Pan-African solidarity is magnified through the lens of the Western action epic. The sorceress of the title triumphs over sadistic French colonizers; a true story, but one that occupies only a small portion of the narrative. The physical confrontation between the French and the Aznas is over in a few minutes; a third of the film still remains with the two armies not to meet…

  • Oxhide

    Oxhide

    Around the World in 80 Films #27 — China

    Despite taking place entirely within the filmmaker's home, the movie never takes on the characteristics of the space or even shows its geography. The impression is of eyes cast down or aside as long takes unfold in static setups, often with the family offscreen or only visible from oblique angles, as if the camera is conscious of its status as an invited guest and doesn't want to pry. Yet it can't…

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  • Nomadland

    Nomadland

    The movie aims for a documentary style and represents itself as a hybrid feature; the narrative following Frances McDormand's character Fern has the actress playing scenes alongside an ensemble of nonprofessionals. Some of them share stories of loss and struggle in extreme close-ups that do not feature McDormand, suggesting that her opposite reaction shots have been filmed separately and spliced together with the monologues. As well, the non-monologue scenes present themselves as self-conscious displays of spontaneity: every interaction between characters…

  • Tenet

    Tenet

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    The point in Tenet where your brain gives up trying to understand the plot or decipher dialogue (muddied through a combination of oxygen mask/various accents/backward speech) and just revels in the lunacy of it all is not altogether unsatisfying.

    There are a lot of individual Nolan-isms that resurface here in exaggerated ways. Favorites: the sixty lines of dialogue taken to establish minor plot business like the art forgery ruse; the terrible clock management in the finale resurfacing from the climax…