The countdown continues!

(continued from Part II)

  1. The Handmaiden (Dr. Park Chan-Wook)


Park Chan-Wook accomplishes the rank of true maestro of the silver screen with The Handmaiden, which transports “Fingersmith”, Sarah Waters’ novel of concealed personalities and queer commentary in 1930s South Korea, weaving in enough of Hitchcockian tension to tie endless knots with. Luxuriously shot with a fetishistic convention that recalls the European art cinema of the 60s/70s, Park makes an exotic ordeal as rich to gnaw into as an overripe peach and as unusual yet interesting as a couple of calfskin gloves delicately stroking the back of your neck. Kim Tae-ri stars as Sook-hee, a youthful pickpocket who is employed to work for well protected Japanese aristocrat Lady Hideko (Kim Min-hee); the arrangement is for Sook-hee to help kindred rascal Count Fujiwara (Ha Jung-charm)— who is, in actuality, neither a Count nor Japanese—cheat Lady Hideko of her fortune. Be that as it may, as their “love” (or is it lust?) triangle develops to a more progressively complex situation, as it turns out to be evident that Lady Hideko is not as gullible as she appears. Exceptional showing from the female leads help the film through its confounding journey, and it is under laid with a devilish dash of dark satire and a startling confidence in the awe-inspiring force of intimate romance.


  1. The Edge of Seventeen (Dir. Kelly Fremon Craig)


Fast Times, Mean Girls and Clueless have a new contemporary in the teen-movie hall of fame. The directorial debut of Kelly Fremon Craig, who previously wrote the Alexis Bledel comedy Post Grad, The Edge of Seventeen is an entertaining representation of teen anxiety and alienation that happily pencils in the F-bomb-overwhelming vocabulary of high schoolers and occasional gross but oh so true incidents. As Nadine, who watches her closest companion and twin sibling connect and couple off, Hailee Steinfeld nails the schizophrenia of the age: part kid, part grown-up, part chaos, part promising human. Produced by James L. Brooks, who knows some things about character-driven comic drama (The Simpsons, Broadcast News), The Edge of Seventeen shouts with a particular voice when too many films simply try-hard to fall in with what they think the cool kids are into.


  1. Manchester by the Sea (Dir. Kenneth Lonergan)


2016 has been noted by many, if the internet is to be believed, as a difficult year. It’s unsurprising that one of this year’s best films created a mirror for that tumult with the story of what consumes Lee Chandler, the pulled back Boston jack of all trades Casey Affleck plays in Manchester by the Sea. Lee has come back to his brother’s coastline residence to lay his dead brother to rest, and that is the tip of the traumatic iceberg for this broken man, whose overwhelming history hangs over the film’s events like a tempest cloud over Massachusetts water. In any case, for all the shock that pumps through it, Kenneth Lonergan’s yearning third picture isn’t some hopeless trudge: Anchored by an all-time performance from Affleck, Manchester By The Sea is as interesting as it is gut-wrenching. What makes it one of the most  loved motion picture this year is the way that Lonergan, the writer turned-producer behind Margaret and You Can Count On Me, figures out how to ground a family catastrophe of stunning extents in the quotidian slog of regular daily existence. Even going after the operatic, he keeps the emphasis on the little human shortcomings: a cellphone going off at a burial service; a car breaking down who knows where; a youngster (Lucas Hedges, in what ought to be a star-production breakout turn) whose grieving is no more engrossing than his frantic endeavors to get some alone time with his sweetheart. In a year that left many of us disappointed and/or divided, Manchester By The Sea contends not that everything will be OK at last—for a few, it certainly won’t be—it is that the people in your life are THE motivation for us to continue battling, notwithstanding when trust appears to be lost. Presently, perhaps like never before, that is the kind of empathy we can utilize.


  1. 13th (Dir. Ava DuVernay)


Any social-issues documentary or movie in general is destined to boil the blood of its audience no matter where their opinions fall. Be that as it may, in 13th, the new movie from the filmmaker behind the acclaimed movie Selma Ava DuVernay, every minute continues coming, consistently, making a quick assault of shock. The title alludes to the 13th Amendment, which formally ended slavery in 1865, “aside from as a discipline for wrongdoing.” The film contends that this specific selection of words turned into a free-work escape clause for a few parts of the nation, giving some institutions the motivation to lock up black men and other minorities on minor charges and to paint them as innately criminal. That may appear like a straightforward postulation, however through the span of only a hour and 40 minutes, 13th highlights economic segregation, the Clinton administration, drug wars, the Central Park Five, Jim Crow, Willie Horton, police shootings, compulsory sentences, The Birth Of A Nation, and so many other related and interconnected subjects in one movie. Is there a lot here for one film? 13th could have run 13 hours, as an O.J.: Made In America-style miniseries, and it would most likely still appear somewhat incomplete. In any case, even when spreading itself thin, this aspiring, complex re-examination of American values never misses an opportunity to support its thesis and opinions with historical context and facts. Part of the motion picture’s energy originates from the way it places everything in setting, drawing associations crosswise over decades and tying all its free strands together in a way that any  interviewee’s claim that “systems and checks on mistreatment and abuse are solid,” are closely reexamined themselves. The subsequent film is a curtailed history of racial, financial and social imbalance in America, with public policy as the vortex of a perfect storm.

  1. Jackie (Dir. Pablo Larraín)


Not entirely a Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis biopic, this impressionistic interpretation of the once first woman from filmmaker Pablo Larrain, screenwriter Noah Oppenheim, and star Natalie Portman is essentially a glance at how Jackie managed in the wake of President John F. Kennedy’s assasination. A couple of flashbacks show how the patrician Mrs. Kennedy won over an incredulous America and turned into a style symbol. In any case, the greater part of the film is about how she attested her rights as a dowager to ensure that her late significant other, President JFK was legitimately regarded, when the whole nation was on the brink. Portman’s iron-spined performance asserts the poise of a title (the First Lady of the United States of America) regularly observed as antiquated and pointless. In the interim, home-film like visual surfaces from cinematographer Stéphane Fontaine and a thrillingly rough Mica Levi score upgrades the immersive characteristics of a motion picture that believes in American custom, symbols, and convention, even amidst inconceivable catastrophe.


To Be Continued!

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