From up-and-coming director Pedro Morelli and first-time screenwriter Matt Hansen, Zoom is a fascinating fantasy drama about artistic identity. Tracking the lives of three central protagonists, Morelli miraculously creates a strange, circuitous world wherein everything is connected. Despite seemingly existing within the confines of each other’s imaginative works of fiction, comic book artist Emma Boyle (Alison Pill), movie director Edward Deacon (Gael García Bernal), and aspiring novelist Michelle (Mariana Ximenes) soon bleed into each other’s codependent realities.
Is it possible for a contemporary America drama dealing with grief not be referred to using the “post-9/11” prefix? Louder Than Bombs charts the emotional complexities of a middle-class New York family as a retrospective article about their deceased war photographer mother/wife is published in the New York Times, resurfacing their most base fragilities. There is nothing in the film that remotely refers back to that harrowing event in American history, yet for many audiences it’s embedded in the subtext – New Yorkers who are confused how to react after this unexpected turbulent event in their lives.
Should you feel like bringing up Woody Allen in conversation there is a good chance you will either be met with a proclamation of love or a snort of disdain. The Brooklyn-born filmmaker, now in his eighth decade, is divisive for a whole range of reasons (not all of which are related to his films), but he has a solid fan-base that has allowed him to become one of the most consistently working directors around. Averaging out at one film per year, Allen has an extensive back catalogue that is often overlooked.
Comedy is a tricky thing; it’s hyper-subjective and typically draws from dark elements to create laughter. The search for one’s own comedy is thus, in a sense, the result of grappling some of the least desirable aspects of the human experience and wrangling it into something with a punchline. This is why the cliché of the “sad clown” is so prevalent and continues to be perpetuated to this day, such as with Marc Maron’s self-loathing diatribes and the tag posthumously attributed to Robin Williams.
Knight of Cups is the first film I’ve ever seen where over a third of the audience left the theatre during the film. Without any context, I understand why this film would drive people to leave the movie. The film is an artistic montage, never stopping to deliver any linear narrative or dialogue scenes, continuing its visual poetry.
Woody Allen’s perennial dialogue of death and futility is upon us, and, as someone who takes comfort in the recurring anguish of Mr. Allen’s films, I couldn’t be happier with his 2015 iteration, Irrational Man. He executes a story equivalent in scope to what has become one of the auteur’s main ambitions these fifty years: