Discover more from 812: Film Reviews and Other Musings
June/July: We Back
Monthly Roundup Post
Welcome to my newsletter! Every month you’ll receive this update featuring all of my writing, and my favorite film and television watches.
I didn’t get to do one of these round-ups in June. Mostly because I was still at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic. I’ve been working on so much lately, including a new byline that’ll be coming soon, doing some pre-work for TIFF, and a lot more that I hope to be sharing soon! In the meantime, here’s what was published over the last two months:
In between contributing to RogerEbert’s Black Writer’s Week, being at KVIFF, and traveling through Berlin, Germany, I’ve watched 105 films (over the last two months, of course). While I suspect the latter part of August I will be consuming quite a few TIFF screeners, here’s the best stuff I’ve watched before that begins:
About Dry Grasses - Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s frigid drama is a character study of a teacher occupying a forlorn winter landscape. At first he seems like a good guy, supportive of his brightest student, but the reality is much grimmer and far more complicated.
Amanda - Carolina Cavalli’s directorial debut feature follows a young, free-spirited girl who has terrible luck making friends and finding love. It’s a deadpan film deeply influence by Aki Kaurismäki’s humor.
Blaga’s Lessons - The big winner out of KVIFF is a drama that witnesses an older woman who is taken advantage of by scam callers. Rather than getting revenge, the system does something far worse to her.
Fallen Leaves - It’s so rare to see a working class romance, and Aki Kaurismäki’s deadpan rom-com does just the trick.
Georgia - Part of the Jennifer Jason Leigh collection on the Criterion Channel, a gritty Leigh portrays the younger, less talented but more volatile sister to an older country music star (Mare Winningham). I would be shocked if the film wasn’t an inspiration for Alex Perry’s Her Smell.
The Glenn Miller Story - For one of his many collaborations with Anthony Mann, Jimmy Stewart portrays the famed band leader in an aesthetically rich biopic that asks Stewart to put away many of his signature moves for a far more taciturn look.
La Chimera - Alice Rohrwacher just doesn’t miss, and Josh O'Connor — an already fast rising talent — hits as this failed archeologist and shady diviner in a wonderful magical realist drama that often reminded me of Věra Chytilová’s Fruit of Paradise.
Minnie and Moskowitz - Gena Rowlands remains the best actor of her generation (or maybe any). This vicious rom-com, co-starring Seymour Cassel, features her just beginning to hit the peak of powers in a romance that crosses class, personality, and good manners.
The Misfits - Many films have been credited with deconstructing the Western, but none have done it as well as the final film starring Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable.
They Cloned Tyrone - I don’t usually highlight films that I’ve already reviewed, but Juel Taylor’s horror Sci-Fi flick is such a fun time. And while it’s been making noise on social, it had the misfortune of coming out against Oppenheimer and Barbie. Taylor’s film is just as uniquely conceived, just as wickedly funny as the latter, and as smart as both. Also, John Boyega is brilliant.