daily repetition begets rhythmic inevitability as the days pass in and out largely the same way, punctuated by inter-titles. It is slow and obsessively concerned with elemental prowess, that wind which never stops blowing, the palpable chill, the vast emptiness of the plains surrounding the house. its meditative as much as it is trapping, a quiet and desolate existence that is ruptured only once by a group of interlopers, and then later on by an attempt to conquer malaise. naturally, they end up back in the same spot, repeating the cycles again just as before.
The third feature film from Barry Jenkins, itself an adaptation of a James Baldwin novel, is a capitalization on potential - a masterful aesthetic realization of melodrama form. IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK is gorgeous and incisive, opening with an elegant crane shot, and then consisting largely of compositions of faces fully opening themselves up to the camera. Nicholas Britell’s evocative score swells with melancholy and eroticism. The romance between KiKi Layne and Stephan James is earth-shattering: cosmic, true.
Polarizing, confident, and masterful. Scarlett Johansson harnesses the uncanny valley in a way that is constantly unnerving, and in sharp contrast to her voice-only work in last year's HER. She is the ethereal succubus here, leading the dumb and the pitiful to a cavernous pit of ceaseless darkness, an image so uncompromising in its starkness that it induces trembles of fear. It's in that head space that UNDER THE SKIN mostly operates - while it's showing us humanity from the…
Culled from the same blood that fueled GOODFELLAS and CASINO, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET pounces for 3 straight hours like a feral animal, embracing its ambition and meanness with a wry smirk. It's a successfully daunting release that feels immense, but never tiring. Its tremendous cavalcade of decadence filtered through depravity stammers only in its fallout. We are guided through the scenes by Dicaprio's Belfort himself, never viewing the wreckage in his wake.…