The new sci-fi movie from Duncan Jones (Source Code, Moon) is called Mute and it premieres on Netflix today. My review is at Film Journal International:
What might happen if M*A*S*H’s Trapper John and Hawkeye Pierce jumped about a century ahead in time, went AWOL and worked as black-market sawbones for gangsters in a post-EU Berlin? If you ever wondered about the answer to that question, then Duncan Jones’ Mute is the movie for you. If not, then your best bet would be to stay far away, as in Korea and Germany far away…
Richard K. Morgan’s cyberpunk noir novels posited a future world where death is mostly a thing of the past. Everyone’s mind can be downloaded into a surgically implanted “stack” which at the point of death can then be “resleeved” into a new body of whatever gender or race one prefers. It’s a fascinating concept that Morgan mined for a hardboiled capitalist critique but is worked out for mostly action-junkie hijinks in the derivative 10-part streaming adaptation of Altered Carbon, the first novel in the series.
Launching Friday on Netflix is Errol Morris’s immersive new six-part series Wormwood, which mixes hardboiled investigative documentary filmmaking with David Lynchian recreations. A four-hour theatrical edit is also playing in limited release.
When Eric Olson was still just a child in 1953, his father Frank died while away on business. The official explanation was that Frank fell or possibly jumped out of a hotel room. “At that moment,” Eric says in Errol Morris’ epic new investigation of the mysteries surrounding Frank’s death, “the world stopped making sense entirely.” That burning ember of uncertainty stayed with Eric the rest of his life…
A curious thing happened today at the awards meeting of New York Film Critics Online: We couldn’t agree on a best picture of the year. So we went with a tie (and they’re both great movies, so it’s really no issue): The Florida Project and Mudbound. Here’s the full list of awards:
Picture The Florida Project (A24) and Mudbound (Netflix) (tie)
Dee Rees, Mudbound
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Jordan Peele, Get Out
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Jordan Peele, Get Out
Ensemble Cast Mudbound (Netflix)
Documentary Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (Zeitgeist)
Foreign Language In the Fade (Magnolia)
Animated Coco (Disney/Pixar)
Dan Laustsen, The Shape of Water
Use of Music
Steven Price (music by) and Kristen Lane (music supervisor), Baby Driver
Top 10 Films Call Me by Your Name (Sony Pictures Classics) Dunkirk (Warner Bros.) The Florida Project (A24) Get Out (Universal) I, Tonya (Neon) Lady Bird (A24) Mudbound (Netflix) Phantom Thread (Focus) The Post (Fox) The Shape of Water (Fox Searchlight)
A surprisingly assured big-canvas effort from director Dee Rees (Pariah, Bessie), Mudbound is adapted from Hillary Jordan’s 2008 novel about two families, one white and one black, who find themselves unwillingly bound by land, happenstance, poverty, and the persistence of persecution in the Jim Crow South. The Jacksons are a family of black sharecroppers who have to adjust to their new white landowners, an unsure bunch known as the McAllans whose various missteps (intentional and accidental) lead to bloody tragedy…
Back in 1981, Gay Talese made a splash with Thy Neighbor’s Wife, a controversial study of America’s sexual proclivities. He received an interesting letter not long after publication from a guy in Colorado with all sorts of stories about spying on people at his motel.
The new documentary Voyeur follows what happened next, as Talese spent years trying to turn that man’s story into yet another splashy book. Voyeur premiered at the New York Film Festival and will be released in theaters and on Netflix later in the year. Here’s my review.
One night in April 1992, Yancy Ford’s brother William was shot dead. William was unarmed and black, the man believed to have shot him was white. Charges were never filed. In the documentary Strong Island, Ford excavates the layers of memory, guilt, and anger that covered this family-shattering crime for so many years.
Strong Island premieres on Netflix and in some theaters this Friday. My review is at The Playlist:
There’s an immediacy to Yance Ford’s chilling investigation Strong Island that runs the spectrum from bracing to uncomfortable. Even though Ford comes at the subject sideways, not immediately clueing you into what story is being told, there is nothing remote about how things begin…