The Duke of Burgundy

The Duke of Burgundy

Directed by Peter Strickland

2014

The Duke of Burgundy is a dreamlike drama about a strained lesbian relationship. The film’s melancholy and ethereal atmosphere, frequent motif of butterflies, attention to entomology, and lack of explicit content subvert expectations. The Duke of Burgundy is, ultimately, mostly about miscommunication and compromise.

Would see.

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The Hateful Eight

The Hateful Eight

Directed by Quentin Tarantino

2015

The Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film, is a mystery Western that centers on a tense standoff between (mostly) strangers in a stagecoach stopover during in a blizzard in Wyoming some years after the Civil War. Released both in 70mm and digitally, The Hateful Eight is largely an homage to old cinema, and, like all of Tarantino’s films, is very cool. Continuing the trend from Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight has more of a political message than Tarantino’s earlier purely stylistic films. Despite its near perfect direction, acting, and pacing, The Hateful Eight is held back by its preference for style over substance and its intense nihilism.

Would see.

Carol

Carol

Directed by Todd Haynes

2015

Carol, based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel, The Price of Salt, is about a lesbian relationship in 1950s America. Excellent acting, cinematography, and acting make Carol highly enjoyable to watch, and the film’s subtle and incisive commentary on American identity make Carol one of the best films of a weak year for movies.

Would see.

Sisters

Sisters

Directed by Jason Moore

2015

Sisters is a comedy starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who play siblings. The costars are the sole attraction of the film, whose mediocre writing, directing, pacing, and plot render the film inessential, forgettable, pointless, and worst of all, boring.

Would not see.

Hitchcock/Truffaut

Hitchcock/Truffaut

Directed by Kent Jones

2015

Hitchcock/Truffaut is a documentary about the eponymous 1966 book by the French director François Truffaut on the British director Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock/Truffaut is aimless, boring, and seemingly bored. About the liveliness of an interview between two directors, the film is, strangely, largely filled with talking heads. Hitchcock/Truffaut not only fails to live up to the films of either director, it fails to be either original or entertaining.

Would not see.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Directed by J. J. Abrams

2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the seventh installment in the Star Wars series, is an epic space opera. The film is slickly well made with a retro aesthetic designed to provoke nostalgia for the original trilogy. The action is choppier than in the first three films, but Abrams still easily clears the low bar he set himself.

Would see.

I’m Not There

I’m Not There

Directed by Todd Haynes

2007

I’m Not There is a biographical musical drama in which six actors play Bob Dylan. Save a few standout scenes, the originality and creativity of the premise ultimately fails to save the film from its poor execution.

Would not see.

Dev.D

Dev.D

Directed by Anurag Kashyap

2009

Dev.D, an adaptation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s 1917 Bengali novel, Devdas, is a romantic black comedy drama. The uneven tone matches the uneven aesthetic in this wildly inconsistent and ultimately disappointing film.

Would not see.