Remembrance Part II (15) *****
Asshole forever (18) ****
Tammy Faye’s Eyes (12A) ***
Joanna Hogg scored a deserved arthouse hit with 2019’s The Souvenir, a brilliantly rendered slice of self-lacerating autofiction dramatizing her early years as a young film student in 1980s London. Built around Hogg’s inscrutable alter ego, Julie Hart, played by Honor Swinton Byrne, the film explored her character’s toxic relationship with Anthony (Tom Burke), a heroin-addicted Foreign Office junior in which she was perhaps subconsciously seeking an authentically dramatic life experience to break. take her out of her Knightsbridge bubble and unleash her own creativity. It was a boldly complex film about the difficulty of figuring out how to articulate something meaningful in a medium built on artifice, a theme that Hogg continues to unravel fascinatingly with Remembrance Part II.
Following Anthony’s fatal overdose at the end of the first film, it revolves around Julie trying to process her grief by using her impending thesis film to try to find out who he really was and, in the process, who she is. . Heavy as it sounds, it’s also hilariously funny, with layers of meta-gags thanks to the return of Tilda Swinton as Julia’s artistically dissatisfied mother and Richard Ayoade as a fun, pretentious filmmaker shooting a musical. Absolute Beginners style. But it’s the fearless way Hogg turns the finale into a lengthy ode to Powell and Pressburger — a callback to a key line about the first movie’s cinematic authenticity — that kicks things into high gear by celebrating the liberating force of cinema when a filmmaker has the courage to defy convention.
It’s been 20 years since Jackass: The Movie brought the MTV-backed reality stunt madness of Johnny Knoxville and his cackling crew of masochistic clowns to the big screen. Two decades later, the sight of these same now middle-aged men reveling in their own mindless debauchery remains indecently funny. Having elevated idiocy to the level of performance art in three previous films, Fooled forever don’t mess with the formula: there’s no plot, no storyline, just a series of not-to-try-at-home skits involving the original crew (and a few younger sidekicks) submitting their bodies to increasingly silly acts and painful feats of burlesque bravery.
Once again, the guiding hand of maverick filmmaker and Jackass co-creator/executive producer Spike Jonze remains key to the series’ continued appeal, adding a kind of gonzo surrealism to the proceedings, which is particularly evident in the ridiculous opening credits sequence: a Japanese monster movie parody in which the Godzilla-style beast turns out to be… well, let’s just say a member of Team Jackass makes the first of many cameos. . Now, director Jeff Tremaine gleefully captures his happily demeaning friends for our entertainment. The testicles are repeatedly beaten; the bodies become human projectiles; there’s even a crude homage to Brian De Palma’s Carrie that could broadly be described as “seminal”. As Faith No More once sang: it’s always funny until someone gets hurt and then it’s just hilarious.
Mamoru Hosoda’s stunning anime Beautiful is big-screen spectacle at its finest: a jaw-dropping riff on Disney’s version of Beauty and the Beast (one of Mamoru’s favorite films) filtered through the high-tech virtual aesthetics of Ghost in the Shell and The Matrix. It’s also that rare thing: a somewhat utopian vision of the internet in which the connectivity of an immersive, AI-powered social network — slyly called the “U” — can be a force for good as much as a source. of pain. Both aspects emerge via a gently melodramatic story about a shy high school girl who secretly becomes an online musical sensation only to fall for the monstrous avatar of a boy whose real-world issues show up in his disruptive online presence.
Jessica Chastain’s chameleon-like ability to fade into a role serves her well in Tammy Faye’s eyes, a biopic detailing the Reagan-era rise and fall of disgraced televangelist power couple Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. Co-starring alongside a prosthetically pasty Andrew Garfield, Chastain manages to make the surgically disfigured Tammy Faye look like a real person trapped in a fantasy of her and her husband’s own creation. Here, director Michael Showalter may stick to the usual star-driven biopic beats as he describes a headline-grabbing scandal of faith-based avarice, but the inherent artificiality of the genre matches the artificiality of life for the Bakkers, which in turn makes the final act rug all the more poignant as the bubble bursts, the money disappears, and the much-derided Tammy Faye must negotiate the harsh reality of daily life while constantly makeup to look like a character from a John Waters movie.
Never quite going in the direction you might expect from a horse racing drama about an aging veteran rider out of the sport, Jockey gives actor Clifton Collins Jr a rare starring role in a film shot with the kind of poetic realism found in Chloe Zhao’s The Rider and Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler. He plays Jackson Silva, a jockey in the twilight of his career whose myriad physical ailments threaten his ability to stay in the saddle. First-time writer/director Clint Bentley may load the story with plenty of potentially cliched plot points, but he deftly uses them to create richly textured redemption drama that makes the most of Collins’ wonderfully nuanced performance.
All films are on general release from February 4
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