REVIEW: Cold Weather

Cold Weather
Directed by: Aaron Katz
Written by: Aaron Katz (screenplay)
Starring: Cris Lankenau, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Raúl Castillo and Robyn Rikoon

At the beginning of Aaron Katz’s Cold Weather, it seems like there will be no way through it.  The main characters, a brother and a sister wandering Portland, are not interesting enough to sustain interest in a movie where nothing happens narratively.  Thankfully, this emerges as the point as the movie becomes more and more clever without sacrificing its realism.

A sense of being with Doug (Cris Lankenau) and Gail (Trieste Kelly Dunn) as they improvise a missing person’s investigation is Cold Weather‘s most crucial element.  The meandering first third hints at several different directions that it may take but not the one it does take.  Doug gets a job bagging ice with Carlos (Raúl Castillo) and the two engage in casual banter about events in their lives and, most importantly, Sherlock Holmes.

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REVIEW: Enter the Void

Enter the Void
Directed by: Gasper Noé
Written by: Gasper Noé
Starring: Nathanial Brown, Paz de la Huerta, Cyril Roy, and Ed Spear

Until Kanye West “borrowed” Enter the Void’s opening credit sequence for his music video for “All of the Lights,” director Gasper Noé was most famous for a nine minute rape scene in his film Irreversible.  This makes his work hard to approach, but Enter the Void is a rewarding hallucinatory venture and engaging exercise in experimental filmmaking.  Told entirely from a first-person/first-spirit perspective, the film follows Oscar (Nathanial Brown) as he gets high, gets killed, and gets reborn.

Watching Oscar get shot in the bathroom as he tries to dump out his drugs during a police raid and then rise up and watch his body from the afterlife is haunting because of its simplicity.  Images like these are the biggest strength of Noé’s film.  You might think that the first-person setup would be a limitation, but he subverts the gimmick and creates an experience that is truly one-of-a-kind.  The goal of his film is not to get you on Oscar’s side, but rather to watch him see the imprint he left on the world.   Noé seems to be showing us that even the people with the smallest or grimiest of contributions leave their mark.

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REVIEW: Everyone Else

Everyone Else
Directed by: Maren Ade
Written by: Maren Ade
Starring: Birgit Minichmayr, Lars Eidinger, Hans-Jochen Wagner, and Nicole Marischka

A fear of the bourgeoisie lifestyle has infiltrated European cinema for decades.  It surfaced most prominently in the American mainstream with The Graduate, but it’s still a very European ideal, and one that the deliberately paced, intensely independent film Everyone Else focuses on with a new twist.

The film was written and directed by the little known Maren Ade and also stars a cast of complete unknowns; a testament to their talent when you see how good this movie actually is.  It’s handling of the complex, almost undefinable emotional feelings of its characters is something most American films cannot hope to touch on.

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