SUNDANCE 2022 PART ONE: WHEN YOU FINISH SAVING THE WORLD, EMERGENCY, LA GUERRA CIVIL, THE INCREDIBLY TRUE ADVENTURE OF TWO GIRLS IN LOVE

My first dispatch from the 2022 Sundance Film Festival includes capsule reviews of Jesse Eisenberg’s When You Finish Saving The World, Carey Williams’ Emergency, Eva Longoria Bastón’s La Guerra Civil and Maria Maggenti’s The Incredibly True Adventure Of Two Girls In Love.

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VOLARE IN CLIMAX, NEVADA: SWINGING WITH BILLY WILDER’S KISS ME, STUPID

“Wilder’s most bracingly unlikeable film since his muckraking 1951 masterpiece Ace in the Hole, which died a similar box office death. It’s a curiously powerful picture, pushing up against the era’s mores and sexual politics in productively uncomfortable ways. You get the sense that the director is not always in control of his material, and that’s why the movie leaves a mark.” – Crooked Marquee, 01/21/2022

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SCREAM

“One of the more pointless examples of Hollywood’s fetish for IP strip-mining, this 26-years-later sequel to the winking ‘90s phenomenon surrounds a new cast with a few of your favorite old characters and basically re-enacts the original picture with enough nostalgic nods to give undiscerning viewers obsessed with their own childhoods quote-unquote all the feels.” – North Shore Movies, 01/14/2022

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THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH

“At once an experiment and a retrenchment. After all, what is Shakespeare’s Macbeth but another of Coen’s beloved noirs? The Thane of Cawdor and his conniving bride commit a stupid crime and spend the rest of the picture compounding its consequences, trying to keep from getting caught as the corpses pile up around them. There are even two idiot hitmen.” – North Shore Movies, 01/14/2022

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TWO BY HAMAGUCHI: DRIVE MY CAR AND WHEEL OF FORTUNE AND FANTASY

“Hamaguchi has often cited Cassavates as an inspiration, which makes sense when you see the uptight etiquette as a Japanese equivalent to the American filmmaker’s backslapping bravado. They’re both false fronts that the movies take the time and care to peel away, revealing the roles we play and the emotions roiling underneath everyday life.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 01/13/2022

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THE 355

“Jessica Chastain’s pet project is practically a textbook example of the kind of film you find playing to empty theaters during the January doldrums, squandering a spectacular cast on a snoringly generic espionage thriller with shoddy production values and some surprise plot twists that can be seen from space. Luc Besson made this stuff all look so easy.” – North Shore Movies, 01/07/2022

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BLOOD ON THE TRACKS: YOUSSEF CHAHINE’S CAIRO STATION REVISITED

“Youssef Chahine’s 1958 masterpiece comes to an ugly end with a train car grinding to a halt in front of a bloody altercation, the forces of forward progress literally stopped in their tracks by a culture’s psychosexual dysfunction. There’s nothing quaint or reassuring about Cairo Station. In fact, what might be most disturbing is that it hasn’t aged a day.” – Crooked Marquee, 01/07/2022

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A HERO

“While the great Iranian dramatist Asghar Farhadi’s Cannes Grand Prix winner isn’t exclusively about the internet, it uses social media as the motor for a characteristically complex examination of the ways in which we like to build people up in order to tear them down, and how situations are never as simple as they might appear on the surface.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 01/06/2022

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THE LOST DAUGHTER

“Moms aren’t supposed to have lives of their own. What makes Gyllenhall’s debut such a fascinating film is that it doesn’t try to explain away the central character or justify her petty resentments. She instead makes visceral the fears and shame of mothers who feel themselves unfit, and the guilt that comes with wanting to keep a little piece of your life to yourself.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 12/29/2021

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