NYFF58 PART THREE: THE HUMAN VOICE, ISABELLA, NIGHT OF THE KINGS, DAMNATION, XIAO WU

My third dispatch from the 58th New York Film Festival includes capsule reviews of Pedro Almodóvar’s The Human Voice, Matías Piñeiro’s Isabella, Philippe Lacôte’s Night Of The Kings, Béla Tarr’s Damnation and Jia Zhangke’s Xiao Wu.

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THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME

“The one actor who gets it is Robert Pattinson, delivering a gorgeously florid turn as the horndog preacher who corrupts underage Lenora. He plays the town’s new pastor like he’s Nicolas Cage in Peggy Sue Got Married, with an accent from outer space and a preening self-regard that works like a defibrillator on the morose movie surrounding him.” – North Shore Movies, 09/20/2020

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NYFF58 PART ONE: LOVERS ROCK, MALMKROG, THE INHERITANCE, THE MONOPOLY OF VIOLENCE, THE SPOOK WHO SAT BY THE DOOR

My first dispatch from the 58th New York Film Festival includes capsule reviews of Steve McQueen’s Lovers Rock, Cristi Puiu’s Malmrkrog, Ephriam Askili’s The Inheritance, David Dufresne’s The Monopoly Of Violence and Ivan Dixon’s The Spook Who Sat By The Door.

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MADE MEN: THE STORY OF GOODFELLAS

“Scorsese depicts the workaday realities of organized crime with a documentarian’s eye for detail and the sneer of a class clown sent to detention. So irreverent it ends with Sid Vicious’ sarcastic cover of the flatulent Sinatra anthem ‘My Way,’ I’ve never seen a movie with such swagger. When you watch it you feel like you’re getting away with something.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 09/15/2020

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UNPREGNANT

“It plays like a very special episode of Sam & Kat in which Sam needs an abortion, and the massive mismatch between tone and content made me think of that scene in Natural Born Killers when Rodney Dangerfield viciously abuses his sitcom family to canned laughter and applause from a studio audience. The whiplash dissonance is obscene.” – North Shore Movies, 09/12/2020

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THE HOLE

“Tsai Ming-Liang’s playful pandemic romance is a story of lonely hearts in quarantine, longing for love amid the day-to-day drudgery of life during lockdown. It’s a deadpan musical about seeking a friend for the end of the world, following two characters who seldom speak but fall for one another through a hole in the ceiling. I love this movie.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 09/11/2020

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CUTIES

“A serious film that inspires conversations we really should be having right now about the world in which our young girls are growing up. It’s refreshingly frank about class, religion and burgeoning sexuality in ways mainstream American movies would never dare. And who can blame them, given all that’s happened to this one over the past couple weeks?” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 09/08/2020

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CRITICAL THINKING

“A shrewd deployment of two formulas for which I am a total sucker, combining the underdog sports movie with the inspirational teacher saga to tell the true story of a misfit Miami high school that became the first inner-city team to win a national chess championship. You won’t find many surprises here, but these tropes are so familiar because they work.” – North Shore Movies, 09/08/2020

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I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS

“The film’s centerpiece is a dazzlingly discomfiting visit with Plemons’ parents. It’s a sequence for anybody who ever wished the chicken dinner scene in Eraserhead had gone on for an hour, full of ominous portents, offhanded insults and boisterous belly laughs that act as pressure release valves for an almost unbearable tension.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 09/03/2020

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