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    NYFF15: ‘The Walk’ falls short of the clouds

    Robert Zemeckis’s The Walk, based on Philippe Petit’s wire walking across the Twin Towers in the early 1970s, opens on the face of its star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, thereby setting the tone for the film: Zemeckis puts much technical effort and detail into accentuating the depth and various surfaces of the actor’s face, and as the star, as wire walking Philippe, begins to talk, nothing but tall tales falls from his mouth. More

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    NYFF 2014: Kyle’s 5 Favorite Films and Other Ephemera

    Underneath the bass drops and the electronic harmony of the garage music scene of 1990s Paris is melancholy and loneliness. The parties are bursting with verve and energy, but when the music stops, so does that joy. Hansen-Løve’s examination of a young DJ over the course of twenty years is warm and tender, an incredible look at the pros and cons of following your passion, allowing art to be your escape, and the joy of music. More

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    NYFF 2014: ‘Saint Laurent’ is an exhausting yet atypical look at the fashion icon

    Great film direction can reflect great fashion. Unlike its direct competition, the earlier 2014 film Yves Saint Laurent, director and co-writer Bertrand Bonello portrays the fashion mogul with saturated palettes of grandeur in Saint Laurent. The prior film is directed by actor-turned-filmmaker Jalil Lespert, who,having less directorial experience than Bonello, doesn’t quite transform the character of Laurent with the vision and divinity as its successor. Where Lespert is almost literal, Bonello is instead deep and as complex as the character himself, picking apart every detail of the icon and the space he walked in. More

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    NYFF 2014: Grandeur Delusions – ‘Birdman’

    His use of natural lighting, the gorgeous compositions he creates often on the fly, those long takes. This is what we talk about when we talk about Emmanuel Lubezki, the Mexican cinematographer responsible for such arresting imagery in the films of Terrence Malick (The New World, The Tree of Life, To the Wonder), Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men, Y tu mamá también, Gravity), the Brothers Coen (Burn After Reading), and Alejandro González Iñárritu (“Anna”, a short in the anthology To Each His Own Cinema). He is the only cinematographer in recent memory, possibly next to Roger Deakins, that pushes the form to its limits and has name recognition for such. The naturalistic beauty of The Tree of Life was nothing compared to the – wait for it – physics-defying work in Gravity. And here he is again, using a simulated long take for Iñárritu’s Birdman. “But isn’t it just a gimmick?”, you might ask. Well, yes. And that’s probably the point. More

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    NYFF 2014: ‘Inherent Vice’ suffers only against Paul Thomas Anderson’s past work

    It’s not just that Paul Thomas Anderson’s movies tend to defy any one genre description; it’s that, often, it seems as if the writer-director is trying to play with many genres simultaneously. The only reason that Boogie Nights isn’t the best drama of the 1990s is that it spends a lot of time trying to be the best comedy of the 1990s instead. So Anderson’s newest, Inherent Vice, is a departure in that it mostly sticks to one style (sun-drenched film noir) and one tone (absurdist comedy). It’s also a fine film, which suffers only when measured against the insanely high standard that Anderson’s past work has set. More

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    NYFF 2014: Brush Life – ‘Mr. Turner’

    There’s an expansiveness to the emotionality of Spall’s performance, similar again to his paintings. His gruff, guttural line readings, his carefully naturalistic mannerisms and idiosyncrasies, and the tears he sheds are a work of art in and of themselves, allowing Leigh and Spall to create a portrait of a man that does seem to elevate the art in some way. Leigh isn’t bent on building up Turner, tearing him down, and building him up again as so many biopics are prone to do; J.M.W Turner just is. Flawed, powerful, generous, and one hell of an artist. More

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    NYFF 2014: ‘Inherent Vice’ a narcotic vision that demands multiple viewings

    Even if you were not around during the 1970s, Inherent Vice comes across as a faded, nostalgic memory. Being a faithful adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s novel, the film recounts the dying days of the free love era, laced with the look, feel and paraphernalia of the subculture. Anderson’s comedic thriller peppers itself with restless, almost out of place laughter, while dedicating itself to the themes of the early Seventies. One is reminded of private-eye classics such as Roman Polanski’s Chinatown and Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye, with traces of Zucker-Abrahams comedies like Airplane! and The Naked Gun. For many, the homage to 1970s filmmaking will be a very real and thrilling look down memory lane. For others, it’ll be a history lesson like no other found in modern day filmmaking. More

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    NYFF 2014: ‘Mr. Turner’ a visually sleek and emotionally gruff reflection on an artist’s life

    Suffused with the landscapes that the famed British painter J.M.W Turner admired and translated into legend, director Mike Leigh’s newest film hints at the inner life of the man behind the accomplishments but stops well short of explicating his eccentric actions. Unable to articulate his feelings and more often than not treating the people around him with callous indifference, it’s obvious that Leigh’s Turner has cultivated an environment of emptiness that has allowed him ample space to do exactly what he wants with his life. The silence is frequently richer than the dialogue, with the luscious scenery speaking more to the turmoil of his mind than he can adequately express to those who want to be close to him. Mr. Turner tests one’s patience as we crawl through the waning years of the man’s life, but Spall’s offbeat performance and the gorgeous backdrops immerse the viewer just enough to offset the sparsity of the artist’s stunted emotional intelligence. More

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    NYFF 2014: ‘Iris’ – The Meh-est Costume for Today

    Wearing a dark scarf over her head to shield herself against the bright, Long Island sunlight, Little Edie Beale famously introduced her iconoclastic sense of fashion by calling her outfit “the best costume for today”. In the Maysles brothers’ documentary Grey Gardens, this single clip seems to encapsulate the greatness of that film: performance, style, agelessness. And nearly 40 years later, Albert Maysles returns to a similar, if not the same, kind of subject: Iris Apfel. In Iris, those ideas are explored with a little less than half the vitality that Grey Gardens, but on the plus side it’s a pleasure to watch. More

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    NYFF 2014: Hello, “Goodbye” – Jean-Luc Godard’s ‘Goodbye to Language’

    When I finally got around to seeing Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, the thing I kept saying to people was, “Isn’t it funny that this film needs to be seen in 3D and yet itself does not justify 3D’s place within cinema?” I still hold my “it’s fine” opinion on that film, denying its status as an Avatar0esque game changer, and I thought I’d have to keep searching for that. Luckily, I found it right off the bat at the New York Film Festival: Jean-Luc Godard’s Goodbye to Language 3D redefines not only 3D in film, but quite possibly film itself. More

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