Movie Review – The Wild Pear Tree

The Wild Pear Tree (2018)
Written by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Ebru Ceylan, & Akın Aksu
Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan

The word “epic” is often associated with films & stories that span the globe and put the character up against a cosmic conflict. However, I argue that writer-director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s The Wild Pear Tree is an epic, but one about humanity and specifically finding meaning in one’s life. The film is just over three hours long, and it does feel lengthy while watching it. But what happens on screen is not some dour contemplative proceeding, but a genuinely funny while emotionally charged experience. The cinematography is glorious, the director knowing how to frame mundane details with profundity.

Continue reading “Movie Review – The Wild Pear Tree”

Movie Review – Possum

Possum (2018)
Written & Directed by Matthew Holness

Horror is not a monster wanting to eat you or a masked killer wielding a knife. Horror is the inability to trust your own mind, the lines between reality and subconscious terror blending so that your waking hours are swallowed up by fear. What adds to that is the inability to express what is happening inside your mind so that these traumatic experiences become a mire, in which you drown alone, unheard & unseen. This is the horror writer-director Matthew Holness brings us in Possum. Holness is best known for his comedy series Garth Merenghi which offered a silly take on retro-horror. Here there is no humor to cut through the darkness, we must bear witness to it.

Continue reading “Movie Review – Possum”

Movie Review – A Bread Factory Parts One & Two

A Bread Factory Part One: For the Sake of Gold (2018)
A Bread Factory Part Two: Walk With Me a While (2018)

Written & Directed by Patrick Wang

This duo of films tells the sometimes quiet, sometimes loud, epic & modest tale of The Bread Factory, an arts space in the fictional town of Checkford, New York (a thinly disguised Hudson). Based on the real-life Time and Space Limited, a forty-year-old center for creative arts in upstate New York, the film attempts to tell a story both fragmented and centered around the creeping loss of these small nooks of self-expression. The primary threat in Part One is the arrival of May Ray, a Chinese performance art duo that is given tax breaks and compensation by the city government to make their new headquarters Checkford. The owners of A Bread Factory, Dorothea and Greta, must jockey the city council to keep May Ray from killing their place for local arts & performance.

Continue reading “Movie Review – A Bread Factory Parts One & Two”

Movie Review – Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot (2018)
Written & Directed by Gus Van Sant

The film about cartoonist John Callahan begins the same way his life is composed, a series of fragments, time scrambled around. We see him recovered and then back at the bottom again, sneaking bottles of tequila in the alley behind a liquor store. His body lies motionless on the pavement, his Volkswagen Beetle totaled, all glimpsed before he meets Dexter and goes on the drinking binge that will change his life forever. We see him whipping at high speed in his wheelchair, cars screeching to a halt before we know the circumstances that put him in that chair.

Continue reading “Movie Review – Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot”

TV Review – Joe Pera Talks With You

Joe Pera Talks With You Season 1 (Adult Swim)
Written by Joe Pera, Connor O’Malley, Jo Firestone, Amalia Levari, and Dan Licata
Directed by Marty Schousboe

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a fascinating cultural anomaly, part of a state yet physically separate. The Yoopers have been shaped by a brutally cold winter landscape. There’s a strong sense of independence because of their geographic isolation. They take pleasure in the sports and activities of winter because it lasts nearly eight months for them in some years. This isn’t a barren wasteland though, Yoopers have a rich culture of arts, food, and even a quirky sense of humor. Joe Pera was born in Ithaca, New York, but is based out of Michigan now.

Continue reading “TV Review – Joe Pera Talks With You”

Comic Book Review – The Wild Storm Volume 3

The Wild Storm Volume 3
Reprints The Wild Storm #13-18
Written by Warren Ellis
Art by Jon Davis-Hunt

Ever since Len Wein and Dave Cockrum introduced to the all-new all-different X-Men, comic creators had madly searched in vain for a creation that would shake the foundations of comics. Because they use this event as a template, the ideas they present are often teams of young, angsty heroes with as much interpersonal conflict as they have battles with supervillains. Gen13 was an attempt to freshen up the Wildstorm line at Image Comics, their first issue dropping in 1994. The presentation is dripping in both X-Men influences and MTV trends, one member is even named Grunge, a reference that immediately dated itself. The original Gen13 concept and execution is yet another reminder of why it was vital for Warren Ellis to freshen up the Wildstorm line with this sprawling, world-building maxi-series.

Continue reading “Comic Book Review – The Wild Storm Volume 3”

Movie Review – Support the Girls

Support the Girls (2018)
Written & Directed by Andrew Bujalski

Double Whammies is a sports bar modeled so directly after Hooter’s, the once-popular American chain, that most audiences will know right away what world is being explored in this film. Yes, there are twenty-something scantily clad women slinging beers and wings, but this isn’t an exploitative picture. Support the Girls is a story about working-class women, a companion piece in some ways to Soderbergh’s Magic Mike, though not as well-made as that movie. The central character is not one of the waitstaff mentioned above but manager Lisa, who is spending a day dealing with crises of small and earth-shattering potential. The conflict in every instance is deeply grounded, and human and Regina Hall’s performance as Lisa is the strongest element of this film.

Continue reading “Movie Review – Support the Girls”