12 posts categorized "American Independent"

November 14, 2023

SAM NOW

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Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

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ColeSmithey.comDocumentarian Reed Harkness follows his half-brother Sam on a life-altering odyssey to find Sam's mother Jois, who inexplicably abandoned her family when Sam was 10-years-old.

Reed's home movies of his younger sibling provide dynamic background for the film to crescendo into an emotional knock-out that takes the viewer by surprise.

There's a lot to ponder after the credits close.

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What begins as a deeply personal coming-of-age adventure, evolves into a macro-micro study of the generational effects of abandonment.

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The narcissism that Jois inflicts on her family is laid bare in all of its ugly nature.

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25-years in the making, "Sam Now" is a terrific documentary certain to stir lively discussion among its fortunate audiences.

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It may be a bitter pill, but this brilliant movie conveys things that only documentary Cinema can capture and express.

Reed Harkness's innate sense of editorial restraint is impressive.

Not Rated. 87 mins.

5 Stars

Cozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

October 05, 2023

ERASERHEAD — SHOCKTOBER!

ColeSmithey.comColeSmithey.comWelcome!

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does. This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

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ColeSmithey.comDavid Lynch's filmic immersion into the surreal world of his distinctly odd protagonist Henry Spencer (Jack Nance) comes through in a creepy black-and-white black comedy that functions perfectly as a nerve-wracking exercise in existential horror.

Put it down to Lynch’s concurrent introduction to fatherhood, followed by a divorce during the making of the film, which he spent five years preparing and shooting. No matter how many films you have seen in your tiny lifetime, nothing can prepare you for “Eraserhead.”

Eraserhead2

Henry Spencer wears his black hair short on the sides, but straight-up on top in a cross between a jewfro and a pompadour that sets him apart from the gloomy industrial area of dark factories and empty lots where he works and lives. Is Henry Jewish? Does it matter? Keep asking questions.

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Lynch revels in all things disorienting, upsetting, and mysterious. Uncertainties hang over every scene. Nance’s beautifully stylized comic performance complements Lynch’s high contrast visual design to give the film a sensitive emotional core. Nance’s Henry is every bit as devised as Buster Keaton’s or Charlie Chaplin’s alter egos were.

Eraserhead

The bizarre chronicle follows fright wig Harry through painfully slow and strange events centered on romantic relations with his seizure-prone girlfriend Mary (Charlotte Stewart). Mary’s primary character trait is her frequent tendency to cry. And cry she does.

Screen Shot 2022-04-17 at 5.35.48 PM

While on “vacation” from his printing job Henry visits Mary in her dingy apartment to meet her family for dinner for the first time. Mary’s mother (Mrs. X) skips the pleasantries. She is suspicious of “clever” Henry from the start. Mrs. X enjoys her own “seizure” during a spastic dinner episode. Before the visit is over, Mary’s mom interrogates Henry about whether or not he has had “sexual intercourse” with Mary. Henry valiantly tries to evade her burning question, but the gig is up when Mrs. X informs him that Mary has already had the “baby” which waits to be picked up from the hospital. The onus is on Henry to settle down with Mary and get married immediately. But what of the grotesque “baby” that resembles an infant calf, at least from the neck up?

Eraserhead-1977

There is so little dialogue in the film that you sometimes forget that the characters can talk. The arriviste filmmaker uses a richly layered soundscape of droning frequencies, in addition to things like the unrelenting pitch of a baby that won’t stop crying, to tweak the viewer’s mind. Stanley Kubrick had nothing on his faraway pupil. Lynch’s stark lighting design provokes a heavy mood of melancholia and potential violence. Kubrick repaid Lynch’s effort when he showed “Eraserhead” to his crew in preparation for “The Shining.”

Screen Shot 2022-04-17 at 5.36.43 PM

Made in 1976, "Eraserhead" provided an offset balm to the crush of Hollywood blockbusters like "Star Wars" by way of “Eraserhead’s” repertoire status as a Midnight Movie. As a viewer, you can’t help be entranced by the filmmaker’s resourcefulness. As history revels, “Eraserhead” makes its point in an eloquently if gut-wrenching way that overloads your sensory perception. It’s not a comfortable experience, but it is highly entertaining. 

Not Rated. 89 mins.

5 StarsModern Cole ColeSmithey.comCozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

March 12, 2022

RED ROCKET — CANNES 2021

ColeSmithey.com    Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

Welcome!

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

 

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"Red Rocket" is as good as American Independent Cinema gets.

Fantastic.

Sean Baker, don't you dare go Hollywood.

It's worth repeating, Sean Baker is our modern-day John Cassavetes.

But if Baker ever directs a Marvel movie it will be all over. 

Don't make the same mistake that Chloé Zhao ("Nomadland") made. What a sell out.

ColeSmithey.com

"Red Rocket" is an emotionally intense Trump-era satirical drama that lands every punch of betrayal, selfishness, and senseless greed for ego fulfillment.

Simon Rex deals a virtuosic portrayal of an inveterate narcissist porn star taking those near him on a downhill ride to hell.  

Wow.

Screen Shot 2022-03-12 at 2.23.15 PM

American narcissism's days are numbered. 

Hallefuckinglujah. 

ColeSmithey.com

Rated R. 130 mins.

5 Stars“ColeSmithey.com“

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

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