There is almost no reason why, on paper, A Ghost Story should work. David Lowery’s fourth feature centers on the ghostiest kind of ghost – the bedsheet-with-eyeholes-cut-out variety. Its aesthetic is characterized by long takes and even longer silences. (At one point, we literally watch paint dry.) It’s a deeply, near-cosmically sad portrait of loss and dislocation across time and space, populated by figures and moments that should be comic instead.More
Saturday night marked the return of the annual A Day of Silents program at the Castro, one of the many events the San Francisco Silent Film Festival hosts outside of its weeklong extravaganza in the spring. I was only able to catch the evening double bill – missing out on the very silly-looking The Last Man on Earth, Henry King’s dark pastoral Tol’Able David, the Ivor Novello-starring The Rat, and, saddest of all, Reiniger’s Prince Achmed, one of the earliest entries in the Counter-Programming series — but it was, as usual, delightful.More
As November staggers to its close, amid an endless avalanche of horrific revelations about terrible men and also whatever calamitous idiocy the U.S. President committed while I was literally writing this sentence, some things are still good. Twin Peaks! Everyone likes Twin Peaks.More
Quick quiz: in 1934’s MGM classic The Thin Man, what is the key piece of evidence that leads Nick (William Powell) and Nora Charles (Myrna Loy) to convene the dinner party at which the killer of Claude Wynant (Edward Ellis), Julia Wolf (Natalie Moorhead), and the stool pigeon Nunheim (Harold Huber) is revealed?More
Christine McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) — the preternaturally calm, quirkily rebellious titular protagonist who has renamed herself Lady Bird — seems awfully familiar. As the heart of Greta Gerwig’s adorkable coming-of-age-in-Sacramento writing/directing debut, her mannerisms, her slightly antiquated vernacular and social gestures, her entire mode of qualified suburban angst and dubiously offhand witticisms call to mind something or someone we seem to know.More
There’s no corner of cinema so explicit about its role as an act of remembrance than documentary film. Any film, in any genre, carries within it an aspect of memory — as a material object that dates from a certain moment and reflects its conditions, and as something more ethereal, something personal, cultural, and collective, subject to revisiting and remapping.More
It’s fundamentally irritating when someone is dead set on shocking you. Full of pride and vague malice, it’s a weirdly authoritarian impulse – a gesture of control that both insults you by assuming you’re a delicate flower who will wilt under the awesome power of the image, while simultaneously flattering itself by imagining the spectacle is so awesomely powerful in the first place.More
Spooktober officially came to an end 2 days ago. Let’s wrap this business up!
You can find this year’s previous entries here, here, and here. I did not meet the criteria I set out for myself this time around, and I closed out Spooktober with a movie from the man who also brought us City Slickers.More
There is a small, wordless scene very early on in Sean Baker‘s The Florida Project that, in its empathy and assured direction, could stand in for the film as a whole.
Moonee (Brooklynn Prince), the film’s constantly moving, relentlessly yammering 6-year-old protagonist, and her friend Scooty (Christopher Rivera) sit on the pavement, backs against a concrete wall emblazoned with a mural of oranges.More