The New Girlfriend Written & Directed by François Ozon France, …
“I wanted to make a film about an orgy,” said writer-director Patrick Brice to an enthusiastic audience following a screening of his film The Overnight. With an impeccable cast featuring Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman and Judith Godrèche, he brings a surprisingly poignant intimacy and earnestness to a story that, in other hands with other actors, could easily have gotten lost in its own kinkiness.
With his debut feature Creep, director Patrick Brice brought audiences an exercise in discomfort. A mockumentary about a man who answers a mysterious ad on Craigslist, the film deftly blended cringe comedy and horror. Brice’s second feature, The Overnight, finds the director working in a similar vein, though it forgoes the horror. In its first half, the film successfully mines humor from its supremely awkward narrative. But it is far more than just a cringe comedy. With the help of a stellar ensemble cast and an intelligent script, Brice demonstrates that he can make audiences think just as well as he can make them squirm.
At first glance, Tim Burton’s latest, Big Eyes, appears to be a departure from the filmmaker’s general proclivities towards the grotesque and fantastical. Scissor-handed youths, murderous barbers, and obnoxious ghouls are nowhere to be found in this deceptively straightforward biopic of kitsch-master Walter Keane and his wife, Margaret. A cursory glance at the film might lead one to question just what Burton thinks he’s doing in the realm of realism.
More than perhaps any other director, the work of Ernst Lubitsch has been the most noticeable influence on Wes Anderson’s style. Though the great German-American writer-director, most prolific in the 1930s and 1940s, was never quite so aesthetically bold in the look of his sets, he too was preoccupied with meticulous staging for comedy within his chosen locales, be they the titular Shop Around the Corner or the Parisian hotel of Ninotchka; The Grand Budapest Hotel is set in a fictional European country, the Republic of Zubrowka, another Lubitsch trait from works like The Merry Widow and The Love Parade, though The Shop Around the Corner happens to be set in the city Anderson’s mountaintop lodging house takes its name from. He garnered the descriptor of ‘the Lubitsch touch’ thanks to the moving sincerity that always made itself evident within even his more broad comedic premises, and Anderson’s own best work is that in which a recognisable humanism always makes itself known and potent even within the stylised stiltedness through which most of his characters are written and performed.