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Showing posts from January, 2017

Certain Women

Kelly Reichardt does not go easy on her characters.  Or her actors, for that matter.   Audiences, accustomed to much more in terms of plot, resolution and the blatantly obvious, might well count themselves among the ill-used after sitting through one of Ms. Reichardt's half dozen feature films.  All the same, the uncompromising Reichardt continues to solidify her place among the best American writers and directors.  The three main characters in her latest film, the certain women in question, must take their small satisfactions where they can find them.  For those of us watching the proceedings, there is 107 minutes of beauty and subtlety, the like of which one could hardly find elsewhere.  I could have watched this film had it extended hours beyond its appointed running time.    
As she is wont to do,  Kelly Reichardt expanded upon short stories in creating her latest film, Certain Woman.  The stories in this case drawn from collections by Montana native Maile Meloy.  The three …

La La Land

There's a moment in Damien Chazelle's La La Land in which Sebastian Wilder (Ryan Gosling) strolls out along the Hermosa Pier by dusk and sings what may be the film's signature number, "City of Stars."  The fact that the jazz purist Wilder shows up in Hermosa Beach, just as he and his struggling actress paramour Mia Dolan (Emma Stone) magically pop up all over the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles, is a bit of geographic chicanery one will readily enough grant the filmmaker.  This clearly is the stuff of fantasy.  The film is called La La Land after all (significantly, it's also more of a  tourist or media moniker than one a native Angelino or anyone who really understands and loves the city would tend to employ), and Mr. Chazelle would seem to feel that he's produced an homage, if not a scion to the Hollywood musicals of yesteryear.

What's interesting about the brief pier interval and the tune, carried on Mr. Gosling's limited and yet distincti…