Speak low…when you speak love…when you speak of the films you love…
There’s a film that was released in 2015 that hardly anyone is mentioning at year’s end. It’s a film that for fans of a certain type of old-school cinema…those who love noir, Lang, Hitchcock and The Third Man…soared wafting in on the summer breezes to art-house theaters like a fresh breath of cool lake air. And it features a singular performance (from the one and only Nina Hoss) and a closing scene, so haunting, so complete, so cinematic, so classy…it made those lovers of that refined kind of retro flick gasp. “We didn’t know they could make them like this anymore…” we communally thought. Oh, but they do…and it’s so very rare and precious when they do. Phoenix (and for the legions who haven’t seen it, please do…it’s currently streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime) is the film of the year – hell, maybe of the decade. My wife and I loved it so much we had “Speak Low” play as one of our wedding songs. It’s that damn good. And unforgettable. Continue reading →
When I first saw the trailer for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl…I thought, “Great…another cloying oh-so-insightful movie about teen angst…with cancer!” But then the reviews started coming in and I heard how it was an audience favorite at Sundance, and I thought, “Hmmm, okay, maybe this will be more like The Perks of Being a Wallflower which also had a cliché-ridden trailer but turned out to be a surprisingly good movie.” Both films take place in Pittsburgh oddly enough (an unlikely city that plays nicely on film) and both are based on well-regarded young adult novels.
Now having seen Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, I’m here to report it’s actually more like The Savages, you know, that under-appreciated gem of a character drama starring Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman as estranged siblings dealing with their father’s descent into dementia (and eventual death). Both films are about the living learning how to live while watching the dying die.
And it’s okay to spend half of my review talking about and comparing Me and Earl and the Dying Girl to other films because it’s a film for film buffs. Continue reading →