Taylor Paige – the title character of last year’s “Zola” – shines brightly in a very different types of roles, in this wonderful comedy-drama from writer-director Stella Meghie. Paige plays Jean, a Brooklyn boho novelist whose career, love, and family seem to explode simultaneously. Sherri Shepherd, Gloria Reuben, Michelle Hurst, and Erica Ash co-star as the women of the Jones family, and their dialogue blends the text and implications of these enduring relationships, with jokes. hilarious, passive insults and hidden resentments abound. It’s sparkly fun and done quickly, and Paige is a huge, charismatic, and likable presence even when she makes things a mess.
This Sundance sensation is a story of heartbreak, pain, regret, and struggle. Director and co-writer Jordana Spiro tells the story of Angel (Dominique Fishback, in “The Deuce” and “Judas and the Black Messiah”), released from prison on the eve of her 18th birthday and imprisoned torn between living together and ending the crime that put her there. Spiro takes a no-nonsense approach, delving into the issues of the probationary process and the different ways the deck has been stacked against her protagonist; Fishback does the same thing, avoiding flashy moments for realism. It’s an unforgettable performance in a quietly powerful film.
‘Diary of a Teenage Girl’ (2015)
Bel Powley is a revelation as Minnie Goetze, the challenging protagonist in Marielle Heller’s adaptation of Phoebe Gloeckner’s crafty novel. 15-year-old Minnie, under the care of a playful, laid-back single mother (Kristen Wiig, plays great with kind), and an explosive mix of hormones – attracts the attention of her sleazy boyfriend mother’s house (Alexander Skarsgard). What could be an exploitative carnival or a sad tragic drama is not played either; Heller respects her protagonist, mistakes and all, and makes her journey one of both self-discovery and self-deception.
The title evokes the kind of cold and snowy days we’re all going through, but Hossein Amini’s adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel offers an escape: sunny skies on a vacation in Athens, and beautiful people in perfect clothes and memorable hats. And the story isn’t half bad either, a gripping tale of intrigue and betrayal that finds a well-off couple (Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst) connected with a fellow American (Oscar Isaac), first First a tour guide, then probably more. The stars shine, the scenery shimmers, and the atmosphere is thick enough to slice.
‘Eye in the Sky’ (2016)
The dangers and hardships of drone warfare have been considered by documentary filmmakers and screenwriters alike, but this creepy, tightly crafted thriller from director Gavin Hood (“Rendition”) sifts those questions through the usual amusing lens of military thrillers, with compelling results. Aaron Paul plays a drone pilot working on a concert, and then a conflict ensues, with the icy colonel calling the police; she’s played by Helen Mirren with ferocious precision. Alan Rickman played her superior in one of her last on-screen roles.
‘Outrage: Way of the Yakuza’ (2011)
Writer, director, and actor Takeshi Kitano delves into the world of Japanese gangsters, detailing a pair of closely linked crime families and their successes in various criminal enterprises. surname. Expected skirmishes, bloody betrayals, and all-out war ensued, but Kitano’s script pinpointed the source of the conflict from grievances, pettiness, and hatred. ; These may be old men of strength and power, but they are all petty, insecure teenagers. Kitano has been making crime movies for so long that he does so with a wink – he uses our expectations to either serve his story or subvert it, both gives great results. Violence is creative; Humorous dialogue. And Kitano’s direction is as stylish as ever.
Five movies to watch this winter
Before splashing around the world in expensive Netflix movies with The Rock and Wonder Woman, Ryan Reynolds made action movies on a much smaller scale – in fact, this director’s ingenious thriller Rodrigo Cortés is just as small as they get. It begins with Reynolds waking up to find himself buried alive in a wooden coffin, with only a cell phone and minimal supplies, and must find a way to escape before he runs out of oxygen. There aren’t many actors who can hold the whole movie as the only character on screen; Reynolds turns his despair and fear into obsession and despair.
‘Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives’ (2017)
A music executive whose top ear for stars and rarely-fail hits for more than half a century, Clive Davis has helped everyone from Aretha Franklin to Bruce Springsteen and Whitney Houston. Chris Perkel’s celebratory documentary is decisive work; Davis tells much of his own story, and rarely speaks of anything less than glowing. But what the film lacks in self-reflection, it makes up for in sheer entertainment value. Davis is a wondrous storyteller, spinning his ropes as if he were just happy to be there, and the music is, unsurprisingly, first class.
Filmmaker Billy Corben (best known for his documentary series “Cocaine Cowboys”) directs this profile of Peter Gatien, the company that manages the colorful New York nightclub behind the iconic locations Icons of the 80s and 90s such as Limelight, Palladium and the Tunnel – places of drug and casual sex entertainment are as ubiquitous as the pulsating dance music. Corben molds his filmmaking to the story he’s telling, instinctively adjusting to the intense and fast-paced energy of the period.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/24/movies/buried-night-comes-on-streaming-picks.html ‘Buried,’ ‘Night Comes On’ and more streaming gems