Director Pierre Földes is not an artist prone to just giving us something that’s easily digestible and worthy of leaving us dangling. “Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman” is probably one of the most uncommercial movies of the year, and the fact that it’s fully animated also works in its favor. The animation style that is used along with the often intentional drabness of it all allows for an almost ethereal aesthetic; it’s one that feels so dream like. It’s almost like someone just ripped random imagery from someone’s subconscious and manifested it through some pretty good rotoscoping and 3D animation.
Following her release, Willow makes her way through life while trying to maintain her sobriety, deal with her abilities, and survive as an artist.
Banned in many countries thanks to its immensely explicit depictions of sex and sexual acts, Nagisa Ōshima’s “In the Realm of the Senses” is an immense movie, and one that straddles the line between erotica and thriller. Although “In the Realm of the Senses” revels in the eroticism of sexuality and sex, it also delves deep in to the darkness of sexual obsession, control, and the appetite for sex (all of the sex scenes are un-simulated) that can consume our lives. I’ve never actually seen director and writer Nagisa Ōshima’s film before, so viewing it now was quite the surprise. The director fancies themselves in exploring the acts of sex along with the behavior between its core characters that result in lust that inevitably becomes deadly.
Neil Labute is one of my favorite directors, he’s a man who specializes in making movies about the ugliness of humanity, and he never really aspires to pull punches. Before being sadly well known for his god awful “The Wicker Man” remake, Labute delivered on some unique arthouse cinema, all of which garnered some big star power. They acted as the cushioning for the inevitable upsetting story that Labute would unfold for us. I guarantee you at least one of these movies in this “Director Spotlight” DVD from Mill Creek Entertainment will make you want to punch something out of sheer anger.
Director John Cameron Mitchell’s “Shortbus” is a movie I’d only ever heard about since its 2006 release but never actually sat down to watch. Nothing really prepared me for what he had to offer in terms of not only commenting on sexuality but on sex in general. “Shortbus” is unabashedly shocking in its presentation, offering up a movie about a group of New Yorkers, all of whom are seeking human connection. Some of them think that sex will grant them that connection, while some of them are just seeking emotional connection that may or may not allow them that desire with sex and various sexual acts.
I confess that I’m just not a Wes Anderson fan. I’ve tried very hard to be over the years, but so many of his movies have left me cold, indifferent, and just downright bored. With “Asteroid City” it feels like Wes Anderson is appealing to his hardcore fans more than trying to create something that’s accessible to new fans. With his sense of framing and shooting scenes that feel like bad A.I. jpegs, and his multi-layered, somewhat confusing narrative, “Asteroid City” will score with folks that loved the likes of “The Grand Budapest Hotel” or “The Aquatic Life.” As for me, I entered it hopeful and left generally indifferent by the whole affair. Not even the obscenely talented ensemble cast could win me over, I’m disappointed to admit.
Director and Writer Marcellus Cox’s “Mickey Hardaway” took me back to a lot of other great character studies like “Antwone Fisher” and “Ordinary People.” Director and writer Cox really builds a compelling and interesting drama about a young man who is ultimately his own worst enemy. Director and writer Cox has a lot of story to tell, dealing in themes about being an artist, the frustrations of impostor syndrome, and learning to overcome past demons. While the film suffers a bit from some on the nose dialogue, it doesn’t hinder what is a richly developed character drama that I was engaged with from the very beginning.
A young man with what seems to be multiple personalities shows up unexpectedly in a psychiatrist’s office triggering an obsession in her that leads her into a world of madness in this H.P. Lovecraft adaptation.