Saturday, December 31, 2016

Clear Eyes: 2016 Sights

The “Hello Stranger” scene made me feel like a freshman again, but the whole movie is fantastic. Aching story that expands in depth as Little grows into Chiron and up to Black. Beautifully paced and shot like Ozu or Hsiou-hsien.

Kerry James Marshall: Mastry (Met Breuer)
Reunited and it feels so good. What a treat to see all these works together. You wan' know how good is this show? Marshall's selections from the Met's collection is the art equivalent of a mixtape. And the Rythm Mastr pieces are next door. Major thing happening here.

아가씨 (The Handmaiden)
Why isn't this playing everywhere?

君の名は (Your Name)
Why isn't one of the highest-grossing films in Japanese cinema not playing everywhere?

The 13th
Visual Cliff’s Notes of The New Jim Crow. Required watching for the new school heads, and a supplementary to-do list for those knee-deep in the game.

Sometimes the best sequels are the ones you least expect. No, not that one. Or that one. No, not that one either. Bringing back this seminal mini-series was the only essential rewind.

Pittsburgh is a frequent character in August Wilson's plays, but I never clearly felt it in Fences.  Denzel does a fantastic job in the film bringing the city to the surface. He also finds a nice balance of this exterior world and the yard that is the heart of the play, the home that Troy Maxson feels trapped inside of and that everyone else attempts to build and expand. The reunion of the Broadway cast (with the exception of Cory and Raynell) really sells this film, but the true highlight isn't even Washington's meta-rife performance, but the killer Viola Davis. She breathes visceral pain, truth and reality into Rose. Troy by design eats up all the oxygen in every scene, so it's easy to overlook Wilson's acutely sensitive take on Rose. When Rose gets a chance to blow, Davis makes sure everyone remembers that Troy does not get the last word. Troy didn't fall over and die one day; Davis/Rose ended his reign of terror.

O.J. Made in America
And sometimes the best miniseries are superficially about the topics you have the least interest in revisiting. Edelman rightly avoids the procedural aspects of the trial and instead focuses on the racial divide it aggravated. The People v. O.J. Simpson gets the lion’s share of the pop attention—rightly so for that Rick James snap—but MIA.

What Happened, Miss Simone?
Let’s not speak on that other film. Or, maybe we should. Because so much of what Garbus does right here—allowing her subject to speak for herself—is why that other film was so wrong. Better still is that Garbus doesn't try to answer the titular question.

Lady Snowblood: The Criterion Collection
How the fuck did I miss this?

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
Donate to PBS.

Denzealots refer to Denzel as having Denzelishness. In a similar vein the bulk of Donald Glover's pop persona can be described by a certain Donaldishness. Frankly, it's nice to see it grow the fuck up. The tension between youth, aspiration, race, and the plain awkward is in full bloom in Atlanta.

Agnes Martin (Guggenheim)
The West always finds a way to reach me, even out here. I've only seen a handful of her works at LACMA, so seeing Wright's spiral filled with her spirit was pure manna.

Hell or High Water
Glad to see Ben Foster putting that Lone Survivor training to good use. It makes that entire MacGyver scene semi-plausible. Oh. And calling out banks for taking advantage of clients makes the casting of Chris Pine as a blue collar brain a shade believable.

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