• Cinephilia

    Review: Diane

    Just a few weeks after Sebastian Lelio gifted us with an English-language remake of Gloria Bell, about a woman in her 50s looking for love and connection in Los Angeles, writer/director Kent Jones (Hitchcock/Truffaut) puts his own spin on the solo female protagonist story with Diane. The similarities between the two end there, however. This time starring Mary Kay Place (Being John Malkovich, Girl, Interrupted) in the titular role, the film revolves a life she’s built devoted to others: her drug-addicted son Brian (Jack Lacy); a cousin in hospice care (Deirdre O’Connell); the men and women she and her best friend Bobbie (Andrea Martin) serve at the local soup kitchen. But where Lelio…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Dumbo

    There’s an ironically gleeful moment in the third act of Tim Burton’s live-action remake of Dumbo that all but sums up the film as a whole. Alan Arkin, a wonderfully silly casting choice as the capitalist banker deciding whether to invest in a theme park named Dreamland, looks out at the park, engulfed in flames after a performance gone very awry, and says without a hint of self-awareness (or perhaps with all the self-awareness in the world), “Well, this is a disaster.” Indeed, it is. Burton’s been in a bit of a slump as of late, and his latest–for all its delectable on-screen eye-candy–is no exception. Devoid of any sentiment at all (except,…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Woman at War

    Woman at War

    What can one person do to combat the forces of climate change and globalized industry? Quite a bit, as Benedikt Erlingsson would have us believe in Woman at War, the story of a brazen and bold activist who destroys power lines and takes down factories as a battalion of one against forces far, far greater than her. Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir is Halla (and her twin sister, Ása), a mild-mannered choir director most days. Other days, she’s the perpetrator of industrial sabotage that’s so perfectly executed it would be impressive if it weren’t so destructive. Only a few close friends know her true identity, and as the media and government employ ever more intense measures…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Gloria Bell

    As filmmaking challenges go, a movie with the resplendent Julianne Moore at its center, where the camera is as enamored with her as we are, is not exactly a difficult hurdle to clear (see: Still Alice). When that film is a highly-anticipated English adaptation of a widely praised Chilean original, the stakes are understandably a bit higher, particularly when the adaptation is helmed by the same filmmaker who made the original. Such is the case with Gloria Bell, the English-language update to Sebastian Lelio’s original Gloria of 2014, a film that starred Paulina Garcia as a middle-aged woman determined to get her groove back, or at least survive the journey to doing so.…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Captain Marvel

    Captain Marvel

    Of the twenty-odd Marvel Studios movies out there, I’ve seen maaaaaaybe five or six of them. I’m all-in for the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, and like the rest of the world, I loved Black Panther. I watched Avengers: Infinity War in time for this year’s Oscars, and I guess it was fine. It all means that I don’t know much about the universe of superheroes and intergalactic battles; at least, not as much as die-hard fans who can connect every film in a timeline or find every easter egg hidden throughout. And you know, I’m OK with that. My head is already packed with way too much minutia about Hamilton and…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Everybody Knows

    Everybody Knows

    What’s most striking about writer/director Asghar Farhadi’s (A Separation, The Salesman) new film, Everybody Knows, even with strong performances and its setting in lush Spanish wine country taken into account, is the language of the thing. And that’s not a euphemism, some reference to a universal cinematic language. I mean actual, spoken language. Farhadi, an Oscar-winner for both A Separation and The Salesman, is an Iranian filmmaker, and his previous works are, not surprisingly, set mainly in that country and delivered in Persian. Everybody Knows, on the other hand, transports the action to a village northeast of Madrid, for a film that’s entirely in Spanish. According to the production notes, Farhadi was inspired to…