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davidehrlich has written 111 reviews for films rated ★★★★½ .

  • About Endlessness

    About Endlessness

    ★★★★½

    There’s something amusingly dry about the idea of a 76-minute film called “About Endlessness,” but Roy Andersson isn’t joking. Well, he isn’t only joking.

    A Swedish renegade whose pointillistic dioramas of the human condition are pieced together with drollness in much the same way as George Seurat’s landscapes were painted with dots, Andersson has always been amused by the sheer absurdity of life on Earth. His films laugh at the perversities of existence, the purgatorial likes of “Songs from the…

  • Ad Astra

    Ad Astra

    ★★★★½

    Neil Armstrong, a man better remembered for being first than he is for being funny, once said that his greatest regret was that “my work required an enormous amount of my time, and a lot of travel.” It’s a bittersweet line from a taciturn giant who always tended to find the right words; an admission of deep sadness coated inside the candied shell of a solid quip. But while no one expects an Armstrong quote to make them laugh, some…

  • Anima

    Anima

    ★★★★½

    “ANIMA,” the rapturous and spellbinding Paul Thomas Anderson “one-reeler” that Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke (and Netflix) have commissioned to help promote his new album of the same name, feels as essential as anything the “Phantom Thread” director has ever done. At least on first blush. It’s also, in its own beguiling way, the next logical step in what has become one of recent history’s most rewarding partnerships between a filmmaker and a group of musicians. This 15-minute short is nothing…

  • Parasite

    Parasite

    ★★★★½

    Bong Joon-ho, the sui generis South Korean auteur behind unclassifiable modern wonders like “Barking Dogs Never Bite” and “The Host,” has always made films that refuse to fit the narrow parameters of any particular genre. Each of them is built atop a bedrock of comic violence that Bong uses to support the weight of the heavy stories he places on top of it, but simply categorizing “Snowpiercer” as science-fiction or “Memories of Murder” as a mystery would require you to…

  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    ★★★★½

    Halfway through Céline Sciamma’s razor-sharp and shatteringly romantic “Portrait of a Lady Fire” — as perfect a film as any to have premiered this year — the three main characters sit around a candlelit dinner table and argue the meaning of what happened between Orpheus and Eurydice. More specifically, the point of contention hinges on what motivated Orpheus to ignore the instructions he was given and turn around to look at his love, even though he knew it would cause…

  • Synonyms

    Synonyms

    ★★★★½

    Nadav Lapid’s astonishing, maddening, brilliant, hilarious, obstinate, and altogether unmissable new film “Synonyms” opens with a sequence that might be described as a sideways attempt at psychic suicide. A twentysomething Israeli traveler named Yoav (extraordinary newcomer Tom Mercier) strides through the rainy streets of Paris in a shaky low-def shot that resembles paparazzi footage of a celebrity trying to leave the press behind. He storms into one of those gorgeous old buildings along the banks of the Seine, digs out…

  • The Farewell

    The Farewell

    ★★★★½

    don’t wanna overhype this modest little film, but it cleared my skin, did my taxes, solved Brexit, fixed the Oscars, got the Starbucks guy to stop running, convinced Weezer to retire, killed Mitch McConnell & made me really hungry.

    do wish they'd nix the very final shot, as i feel it undercuts the ending a bit, but the closer a movie is to perfect the more i have to quibble.

  • The Souvenir

    The Souvenir

    ★★★★½

    There isn’t much of a story in Joanna Hogg’s heartfelt and searingly honest “The Souvenir” — the British filmmaker, somehow a breakthrough talent for the last 30 years, has always been less interested in plot than condition — and so this romantic drama about a young woman’s doomed first love might just as well be summarized by a poem from the late Mary Oliver:

    “Someone I loved once gave me
    a box full of darkness.

    It took me years to…

  • High Flying Bird

    High Flying Bird

    ★★★★½

    Steven Soderbergh loves making heist movies. That was obvious from the “Ocean’s Eleven” trilogy, and the more recent “Logan Lucky;” in less explicit ways, it’s also evident in many of his other films. And while it’s likely that Soderbergh has a soft spot for thieves, it’s more accurate to say that he’s drawn to stories about people who try to steal back a measure of self-worth.

    “Erin Brockovich” has the trappings of a legal drama, but it builds to a…

  • Diamantino

    Diamantino

    ★★★★½

    “Diamantino” is nothing less (and so much more) than the movie the world needs right now. Co-directed by Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt, this winningly demented 21st century fairy tale centers on a beautiful, child-like soccer phenom named Diamantino who reacts to a devastating World Cup loss by adopting a Mozambican refugee who claims to be a teen boy but is actually an adult lesbian on an undercover mission from the Portuguese government to investigate a money-laundering operation run by…

  • High Life

    High Life

    ★★★★½

    In many respects, the mesmerizing and elusive “High Life” is a first for writer-director Claire Denis: the first of her films to be shot in English, the first of her films to be set in space, and the first of her films to follow Juliette Binoche inside a metal chamber that’s referred to as “The Fuckbox,” where the world’s finest actress — playing a mad scientist aboard an intergalactic prison ship on a one-way trip to Earth’s nearest black hole…

  • Roma

    Roma

    ★★★★½

    TIRED: cutting together the leftover scraps of Orson Welles’ unfinished final film.

    WIRED: bringing Federico Fellini back from the dead.