Tag: Zoe Kazan

Image courtesy of IFC Films.

** ½ (out of 4)

In what looks to be the beginning of a trend, several well-known actors have recently decided to turn their energies to directing. At the start of October, for one, Bradley Cooper offered a messy, self-contradictory, and lazily nostalgic remake of A Star Is Born. Two weeks later, Jonah Hill recounted a familiarly “gritty” coming-of-age story in Mid90s. Now, IFC Films has released Paul Dano’s Wildlife, a film about a boy named Joe (Ed Oxenbould) who’s forced to witness the gradual dissolution of his parents’ (named Jeanette [Carey Mulligan] and Jerry [Jake Gyllenhaal]) marriage.

Reviews - New Releases/Festivals

Image courtesy of Netflix.

*** ½ (out of 4)

In one way or another, most Westerns made in the last decade have sought to subvert the clichés and tropes that we typically associate with the genre. For instance, Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained (2012) and The Hateful Eight (2015) both foregrounded the oft-forgotten role that racism played in frontier life. Through their gruesome tales of survival, meanwhile, films like Meek’s Cutoff (Reichardt, 2010) and The Revenant (Iñárritu, 2015) countered the “Wow, I wish I lived in the West” feeling that you get when viewing the beautiful landscape shots in John Ford’s films. And earlier this fall, The Sisters Brothers (Audiard) dismantled the archetype of the “invincible gunman,” portraying sharpshooters who were anything but mighty heroes in the mold of Shane and Will Kane.

At first glance, the Coen brothers’ new anthology film, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, would appear to buck this genre-subverting trend.

Reviews - New Releases/Festivals

** ½ (out of 4)

The overused saying that “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone” has long been a favorite citation of angsty high school grads, old people, and overworked therapists. In the case of the protagonist in The Big Sick, however, the cliché actually proves remarkably apt.

Reviews - New Releases/Festivals