July 18, 2019
The Fearless Vampire KillersJuly 18, 2019
Dark Comedy / 1967 / 91 minutes
Largely regarded as the odd duck of his celebrated oeuvre, Roman Polanski’s 1967 horror farce The Fearless Vampire Killers stands as an amusing non-sequitur and a notable piece of 60s pop culture ephemera, thanks in no small part to the presence of Polanski’s future wife and eventual Manson Family murder victim Sharon Tate. Preceding the runaway success of Rosemary’s Baby the following year, Polanski’s first stab at the supernatural is a decidedly more comedic affair, telling the story of a bumbling, hapless pair of vampire hunters (Polanski and Jack MacGowran) who seek to save an innkeeper’s beautiful daughter (Tate) from the clutches of a blood-sucking nobleman (Ferdinand Mayne) in snowy Slovenia. Despite the film’s light, silly tone, Polanski brings his artistic A-game to the proceedings, imbuing the film with a timeless fairy tale quality and acquitting himself as an enjoyable onscreen presence, second only to Tate, who is as radiant as she is funny.
Non-FictionJuly 18, 2019
Comedy / 2019 / 106 minutes
Revisiting the successful partnership of Clouds of Sils Maria, critic-turned-director Olivier Assayas and leading French actress Juliette Binoche bring their undeniable creative chemistry to Non-Fiction, resulting in another critical win for both. A low-key confection that explores the role of the written word in the digital age, Assayas’ film follows the emotional upheaval that occurs when a Parisian novelist (Vincent Macaigne) starts using his real life love affairs – including one involving the actress wife (Binoche) of his editor (Guillame Canet) – to sell his latest book to a public that has grown increasingly disinterested in novelized fiction. Assayas displays winsome affection towards his privileged, verbose characters, allowing them to breezily navigate the comedy of manners through pontifications and meditations, finding, through their conversations, a truthful reflection on the process of writing, filmmaking, and storytelling in general. With Christa Theret and Pascal Greggory.
American WomanJuly 19, 2019
Drama / 2019 / 111 minutes
Sienna Miller has always been a compelling screen presence in search of a truly great leading role; thankfully Jake Scott’s superb new drama American Woman delivers on that promise. A slowly building character piece built around Miller’s central performance, Scott’s film follows a blue collar Pennsylvania woman who is left to raise her infant grandson alone when her daughter disappears one day without a trace, a period that extends well over a decade of trials and tribulations. Given such rich dramatic material to work with Miller absolutely digs into the role, inhabiting it with unquestionable honesty and authenticity; watching her dig so thoroughly into a part like this after years of being sidelined in minor films elevates the solidly executed material into something utterly transcendent. With Aaron Paul, Christina Hendricks, Will Sasso, Amy Madigan and Sky Ferreira.
The SouvenirJuly 19, 2019
Drama / 2019 / 115 minutes
Like the 18th century painting after which is named, Joanna Hogg’s latest feature The Souvenir is a fascinating enigma and yet another powerful entry in the acclaimed writer/director’s canon. Hogg’s story of a young British film student (Honor Swinton Byrne) who embarks on a relationship with a heroin-addicted professional (Tom Burke) is revealed with the deliberate pacing of a recollection; true to her artistic acumen, Hogg eschews formulaic drama and saccharine sentiment by allowing her romantically paired characters – both an equally matched jumble of anxiety and narcissism – to reveal themselves as the messy, infuriating, endlessly fascinating flesh and blood humans they are. Swinton Byrne and Burke prove ideally suited to Hogg’s understated directing approach, bolstered by a superb supporting cast that includes Jack McMullen, Richard Ayoade and notably Tilda Swinton, who happens to be the promising lead’s mother onscreen as well as in real life.