Swedish director Ruben Ostlund follows his pointed social satire “Force Majeure” with this belt is a raucous and bitter attack on the claims of the art world. He adds a few famous faces to the mix (including Elisabeth Moss and Dominic West), but his harsh voice hasn’t been softened – adding, if anything, to the obvious discomfort and inevitable embarrassment. That doesn’t sound like much fun, admittedly, and sometimes it isn’t. Still, Ostlund’s refusal to soften (or save) her characters is admirable, and if you’ve got the right kind of dark comic sensibility, it’s a hilariously hilarious work.
‘Sorry to bother you’ (2018)
musician and activist Boots Riley He makes his feature directorial debut with this wildly funny, often bizarre mix of Marxist dogma and Marx Brothers-style stupidity. Lakeith Stanfield (later nominated for an Oscar for “Judas and the Black Messiah”) plays Cassius, a telemarketer who discovers the secret to success and must determine how to use it naked. This sounds like a pretty straightforward setup, but Riley approaches the material with the surrealist eye of an experimental filmmaker, finally taking Cassius on a journey into the dark heart of excess wealth and depravity. You may love it or hate it, but you’ve definitely never seen anything like it.
If “Sorry To Disturb” is pushing the boundaries of comic satire, “God Bless America” is tearing them apart – literally. Stand-up comedian and comic character actor Bobcat Goldthwait writes and directs this story where a suicidal middle-aged loser (Joel Murray) teams up with a cynical teenager (Tara Lynne Barr) and embarks on a killing spree targeting sources of frustration. from reality-TV stars to cinema-theatre speakers. To call it a black comedy is an understatement – these pitch-black things are sure to alienate a large portion of viewers. But those who can adapt to the wavelength will find a surprisingly serious (if not captive) commentary on the toxic filth of contemporary culture.
‘Defining Features’ (2021)
Writer-director Fernanda Valadez makes her feature film debut in this stunning, patient and often heartbreaking drama of grief and despair. Mercedes Hernández plays Magdalena, who disappears after her son Jesús (Juan Jesús Varela) leaves her home in Mexico and tries to cross the border. Magdalena encounters resistance, secrecy, and even indifference along the way, trying to track him down or determine what happened to him. Valadez is a highly self-confident filmmaker and trusts that his audience will follow the picture’s somber, mournful tone and charged silences, rather than revealing his themes in dramatic dialogue. And his eye is flawless, especially in the haunting, dreamlike final parts of the painting.
Destin Daniel Cretton directed this emotionally powerful adaptation of Jeannette Walls’ best-selling film, between her critical breakthrough with “Short Term 12” and commercial success with “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” map. The main acting draw is “Short Term” debutant Brie Larson, but the most memorable actress is the consistently undervalued Woody Harrelson, whose crackling return as Larson’s wildly irresponsible father is an ace showcase for his distinctive charm and whimsical charisma. Max Greenfield (as delightful as Schmidt in “New Girl”) makes effective counterpoint as Larson’s judgmental, yuppie boyfriend.
‘Prince Avalanche’ (2013)
Director David Gordon Green has tried everything in his career from broad comedy (“Pineapple Express”) to slasher horror (“Halloween 2018”) to inspiring true stories (“Strong”). But from the start of his career, his specialty has been humble indie dramas like this one, which he built as freelance showcases for great actors. This time, these actors are Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch as two misfits who spend a summer doing roadwork on the highway. Their discontent, of course, turns into reluctant love; The story beats aren’t shocking. But Rudd and Hirsch bring life and agency to their characters, and Green’s relaxed-inspired style makes this a welcome watch.
‘Django and Django’ (2021)
From the title and thumbnail on Netflix, you might think this is some kind of bonus feature for Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” (also on Netflix now). A little familiarity and love for the 2012 film might help, but it’s only one entry point for this documentary celebration of Italian genre director Sergio Corbucci, who directed the 1966 original “Django,” from which Tarantino takes his name and aesthetic inspiration. Tarantino masters this fun and informative bio-document that tells the story of Corbucci and shares his reading of the filmmaker’s subtext (plus a closing credits fan theory about one of the movie’s biggest questions). But “Django” star Franco Nero and that film’s assistant director Ruggero Deodato (who would become infamous in his own right) also come out to help detail the making of Corbucci’s greatest films and explain how his work has helped change the Western genre. forever.
‘Oscar Micheaux: The Superhero of Black Filmmaking’ (2021)
For once, the title isn’t just an exaggeration or an example of the framing we should add to everything in popular culture – Oscar Micheaux was born in Metropolis, Illinois, trying to claim it’s the home of Superman. It’s a stunning choice when the town is a real home groundbreaking in cinema. A true American story of a modestly born writer and filmmaker. This story, told here by historians, directors, and cultural figures, breaks down the foundations of how Micheaux built a self-distribution network in Black America while analyzing the few surviving works. “I wonder how many people know him?” Morgan Freeman asks early; hopefully, there will be more thanks to this movie.