Greenlight works as a thriller, but I can also see it being a cathartic outlet for student filmmakers looking to cut their teeth in an exclusive industry.
Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You makes for a satisfying slice of life before the story expands beyond its modest reach.
Writer/director Michael Winterbottom and actor Steve Coogan have collaborated before in biopics (24 Hour Party People, The Look of Love) and straightforward comedies (Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, The Trip franchise), but they haven’t tackled a movie like Greed. Greed binds those previously mentioned genres into a potently bitter, satirical tragicomedy – a fitting playground for Winterbottom and Coogan.
Run This Town, writer/director Ricky Tollman’s exceptional and intelligent feature-length debut, isn’t just about Rob Ford and and his public busts. It’s not just about Ford’s team of “special assistants”, or the eager journalists who want a big break and be the first to report breaking news. Run This Town is a magnetically contemplative film about the ethical decisions within these careers that jeopardize the integrity of these people.
Biopics don’t get more standard than Seberg. The film is watchable and efficient to an extent, but it also feels manufactured by a faulty machine.
The Jesus Rolls, a semi-spiritual sequel to 1998’s cult classic The Big Lebowski, is a film for those who watched the original Coen Brothers comedy and became enamoured by John Turturro’s character. It’s hard not to be distracted by the sheer weirdness of Jesus Quintana, infamous sex offender and intimidating bowler. Turturro played the role curiously in a way that made audiences wonder “outside of the bowling alley, what’s life like for The Jesus?”
Ordinary Love is a superb drama with slight notes of ice-breaking wit. It’s orchestrated along the same lines as 2017 Oscar nominee The Big Sick or last year’s Netflix sleeper Paddleton (both of which, funnily enough, co-star Ray Romano but I digress), only the premise of a middle-aged married couple coming to terms with an alarming cancer diagnosis is played, as expected, a bit more sullen.
The Lodge thinks its rooted in gothic horror when its misery might actually be post-emo. Suicide is predominant in this macabre thriller from Austrian filmmakers Severin Fiala and Veronica Franz (Goodnight Mommy) and while it seems to be a topic used to explore the mourning identities of the film’s characters, it’s mostly in existence to add moody atmospheric chills. Surface-level stuff, but very effective.
Jojo Rabbit, written and directed by Taika Waititi, is a risqué movie that reminded me of classic comedies made by the legendary Mel Brooks. The film risks being offensive to lampoon racism, including its different perspectives by persecuting followers, and to draw parallels to current arrogant behaviour thrusted upon minorities. Waititi solves the puzzle to make his satire work, but also doesn’t distill the severity of past hate crimes in this period piece.
Standing Up, Falling Down is a really nice dramedy about people finding and relating to each other. It’s funny, touching, performed well, and directed with fluency by newcomer Matt Ratner. As far as movies go about characters leaning on comedy as a crutch to hide their true emotions, the film is the best of its kind since Judd Apatow’s Funny People.