Kursk Has Trouble Staying Afloat: TIFF Review

✯✯½

Thomas Vinterberg’s Kursk marks the director’s fourth film in the English language, and knowing already of the attachment of Vinterberg’s name it should promise greatness but the case with Kursk gives something that doesn’t fit so well under there. This drama, telling the story of the Kursk submarine disaster that claimed the lives of 118 men, without doubt has an admirable intent behind it yet it seems to have trouble even staying afloat – almost like the submarine whose story the film is telling you about. Admittedly, having walked into Kursk I had only known about as much as it being a true story – yet the moment I finished, I couldn’t help myself but think that this was a story that deserved so much better than what it received. Thomas Vinterberg has never been a particularly consistent filmmaker, even if his skill is so obviously clear – yet so much of it feels lacking in the case of Kursk. This barely feels like the Vinterberg that I’ve already come to love over the years, but someone else wearing Vinterberg’s name as a moniker – someone that just feels indistinguishable at that.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel – Review

✯✯✯✯✯

It’s easy enough to recognize the distinctive aesthetic of a Wes Anderson film but where it finds itself at its most delightfully tangible, without a doubt, is in The Grand Budapest Hotel. But even by Wes Anderson’s own standards, the elaborate structure of such a work is nearly impossible to match, for this feels like the sort of film that only Wes Anderson could have made. The Grand Budapest Hotel is the most Wes Anderson film that Wes Anderson has ever made, because it’s where each and every one of his most distinctive skills find themselves at their most free. If that alone weren’t enough to amount to what could easily become one of Wes Anderson’s best films, I don’t know what else can – because this may very well be the most Wes Anderson film ever to Wes Anderson.

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Saint Laurent – Review

✯✯½

Yves Saint Laurent is a fascinating figure to study when looking into fashion history, yet the thought of a biopic about him running for two and a half hours always seemed like an intimidating one to myself. On one end it could have worked effectively as a psychological case study of what happens to his mind as a result of the newfound influence he had acquired, on another end it could have been an overlong display of pretty colour while offering so little refreshing on Yves Saint Laurent himself. Unfortunately, Bertrand Bonello’s biopic finds itself in the latter, a film whose potential is lost inside of its own bloated length in spire of pretty visuals which never come off as a surprise given its subject. Nevertheless this experience proves itself rewarding to some extent.

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It’s Only the End of the World – Review

At the risk of starting up controversy it was something that I still feel is worth noting anyways because in spite of being an LGBT Canadian, I don’t care for the films of Xavier Dolan outside of Mommy. While I have nothing but great admiration for the efforts that are put into the work given Dolan’s young age I still face great trouble even trying to connect with many of his own stylistic choices and said feelings have held me back from watching It’s Only the End of the World. Dolan carries a very aggressive nature when it comes to talking about how some of his own films feel, but nowhere has it ever been nearly as aggravating as it was in here. It highlights the worst sort of melodrama, and even as someone who is not a particularly huge fan, it was the least I would ever expect of Dolan.

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The Lobster – Review

✯✯½

I think I find myself enjoying Yorgos Lanthimos more in theory rather than in storytelling. The first time I saw Dogtooth I remember having been so shaken by its satire to the point that I ended up feeling guilty about myself for having found it so darkly funny and I found Alps to be one that echoes that same sort of dryness although not with the same impact. Something about The Lobster just hits me in that manner but I can’t put my finger on it, because I just find myself at odds with how I end up feeling about the final effect it leaves behind. At times brilliant and other times maybe a tad too weird for its own sake, it’s easy to see why one would be put off. On first watch I remember having found myself extremely impressed but on a second watch, said effect seems to have faded.

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Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol – Review

✯✯✯✯

For once, I’m gladly impressed with a Mission: Impossible film, for after having been left bitterly disappointed by Mission: Impossible III, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol not only is a huge step up from its predecessor but it’s also the first that I would gladly be able to truly call a good film. Given what potential the films had, it’s finally rather nice to see that by the time Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol had come along, the series had realized what it was capable of, and uses that to the very best of its own ability. Continue reading →