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Archive for the ‘Next Projection’ Category

INHERENT VICE

My New York Film Festival coverage culminated last week with a review of Inherent Vice, the new film from Paul Thomas Anderson. You can read my piece on the film over at Next Projection. You’ll find the first few paragraphs below. Like all of PTA’s more recent films, Inherent Vice made for a beguiling but hypnotic first sit. I can’t wait to revisit it in December. To browse all of my 2014 NYFF pieces, click here.

Sometimes life hits you with a bunch of complicated shit when all you really want to do is spin a Neil Young record and roll another number. Inherent Vice is a film about that feeling. It’s about other things, too: capitalism, counterculture, California. It’s also about how much Paul Thomas Anderson, the film’s director, loves convoluted film noir plots, Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye, and the prose of Thomas Pynchon. Inherent Vice throws a lot at you in 148 minutes. It’s a chaotic noir odyssey – all comic mayhem and mournful weirdness. But really it remains a simple thing: the story of a man (and a decade, the ’60s) whose good times get interrupted by larger forces.

It’s the latest fascinatingly strange, sublimely cinematic look at a moment of American history as rendered by Paul Thomas Anderson.

The first film adaptation of a Thomas Pynchon novel, Inherent Vice tells its story of a nation in flux through Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix), a Southern California stoner and half-assed private eye. The film opens as Doc gets a visit from Shasta Fay (Katherine Waterston), a meaningful ex from his past. Shasta tells of her current affair with Mickey Wolfmann, a real estate goliath so big even Doc knows his name. Wolfmann’s wife has her own illicit lover, and together the two have planned to have Mickey thrown into one of California’s recently privatized “loony bins.”

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like-someone-in-love_reference

Greetings and apologies for the delay in posts. I have my reasons, most of which will be revealed in time. For now, I write to inform you that I’ve begun freelancing at Next Projection, a film criticism website based out of Toronto. My first piece, a review of Abbas Kiarostami’s Like Someone in Love, went live today. You’ll find the first few paragraphs and a link to the full review below. As always, thanks for sticking with me.

Toward the end of Like Someone in Love, an elderly academic hears word that the first printing of his book is missing a sentence. As viewers of an Abbas Kiarostami film, we know the feeling. Anyone who’s seen a movie by the titan of Iranian cinema has felt, at one point or another, like a key scene or line of dialogue — one that’d make the whole thing make more sense — just up and disappeared. Kiarostami has said he strives to make “incomplete” films, ones that force us viewers to find (or create) the missing puzzle pieces. Few of his films have ever felt as incomplete as Like Someone in Love.

The film marks Kiarostami’s first feature in Japanese and his second outside Iran, following Certified Copy. That film’s teasing ambiguities and romantic core helped it find an unprecedented audience for Kiarostami. To be sure, Like Someone in Love won’t enjoy a repeat of that film’s commercial success. A difficult work from the master of minimalism, Like Someone in Love offers plenty to study and admire but little to attract a non-cineaste. Its pleasures derive almost exclusively from how Kiarostami toys with the medium.

Read the full review here.

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