Archive for June, 2013

h1

Post Tenebras Lux

June 30, 2013

directed by Carlos Reygadas, 2012

Post Tenebras Lux

The body of work put forth by Mexican auteur Carlos Reygadas has been nothing short of polarizing. At 42, and now with four features under his belt, Reygadas has been earmarked as one of the most ambitious and daring filmmakers working in modern cinema and in the arthouse. With his latest, Post Tenebras Lux (Latin for After Darkness, Light), his status grows; this very personal and seemingly scattered autobiographical account should further mystify the Reygadas faithful and detractors alike. As a symbol of creative ambition, few come close to matching Reygadas, an artist unaware of boundaries and safe zones within the medium. His cinema, and especially Post Tenebras Lux, is miraculous, almost overwhelmingly flowing with flaws and passion. For better or worse, his natural instincts depict a constant beauty amid tragedy and turmoil.

Reygadas sure knows how to open a film, even going back to the mesmerizing painterly-like bookends of Silent Light. Here, we track a young girl wandering around a wet and muddy field in the Mexican countryside at dusk. She’s surrounded by cows, dogs, and the foreboding aura of what lingers on the horizon. The dark tinge of the night sky slowly fades in and out, revealing the title of the film; her tiny face and innocent gaze are now shrouded in darkness. The girl (Rut), along with her brother (Eleazar) in the film, turns out to be the real life children of Reygadas, and the two young siblings parented by Juan and Natalia, the family at the center of the film.

Read full review at Sound on Sight

h1

This Is the End

June 12, 2013

directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, 2013

this is the end

This Is the End is exactly the type of foul-mouthed, riotous, and vulgar fare we’ve come to expect from the Rogen/Franco/Hill brand over the years. Their involvement in the broad stoner comedies of the past decade have essentially put them on the map as “the guys we watch hang out and still find funny”. Not only is the film easy to telegraph in terms of its self-reflexive mechanics (“hey guys we’re playing ourselves!”), but it plays as consistently hilarious and surprising amid the plethora of tired weed and genitalia gags. But there’s much more than the usual “up in smoke” camaraderie here as the script penned by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg really goes for it (exorcisms, giant demons, surprise cameos and all). Taking on a very general apocalyptic premise, This Is the End feels like a final culmination of everything from Knocked Up to Superbad to Pineapple Express. There’s something snappy and charming about this very direct take on LA lifestyle and celebrity as the film’s disaster lockdown scenario mostly plays out at the home of James Franco. Tensions and egos clash as Rogen, Baruchel, Franco, Hill, McBride, and Robinson bicker like a bunch of kids; but it’s never not fun and it’s paced brilliantly. The excessive chiding that goes down mainly works because most of it seems directed at Franco, which is appropriately priceless. And that’s essentially what This Is the End is about (universally, not just Franco), though there’s a batshit wonder and craze surrounding this particular apocalyptic buddy tale. Some will find themselves bored and perhaps unamused at how rote the proceedings are (is this really all just a weed-induced hallucination?), but it all coalesces into something tangible, if not particularly interesting. While some may wonder where this certain troupe of comedic actors goes next, I’m left generally satisfied and content with possibly never revisiting this again, while at the same time being left with the feeling that this is the best comedy since maybe 21 Jump Street. While the “brand” I spoke of before is essentially pushed to the absolute max, the beauty of this thing resides in its subtle and crass pleasures: Craig Robinson sipping a certain something out of a martini glass, Franco’s Ronald Reagan T-shirt, Micheal Cera drinking Capri Sun while getting fellatio, and a fake trailer for Pineapple Express 2. Yes, the script is very critical of its stars in an obvious manner, but this is a joyous and absurdly redemptive frolic that gleefully refuses to let up.