Naomi Watts battles a blizzard in ‘Infinite Storm’

TOP CHOICE OF THE WEEK

Infinite Storm

*** Pam Bales’ heroic story of rescue and survival on Mount Washington extends far beyond the standard human versus nature tale, and director Malgorzata Szumowska isn’t afraid to dive in. go. According to an article by Reader’s Digest, “High Places: Footprints in the Snow Lead to an Emotional Rescue” by Ty Gagne, the film centers on Bales (Naomi Watts), a mountaineer and member of a local search and rescue team who finds John (Billy Howle ), a stranger alone on the mountain, slowly succumbing to the extreme winter conditions and resigned to his fate. Bales springs into action, taking John on a perilous journey down the mountain and into the teeth of a merciless blizzard. Szumowska doesn’t rely on panoramic shots, opting instead to use the camera to create a more visceral experience by dwelling on Bales’ painfully human struggle – the trauma of losing loved ones on the mountain. is at the heart of the story – while Watts reminds us why she was twice nominated for an Oscar (for 21 grams and The impossible) with an unfiltered performance you won’t soon forget. Overall, the film indulges a bit too moody to be considered entertaining, but it still delivers an effective and powerful examination of grief and the value of life. R RAY GILL JR. Bridgeport, Clackamas, Cornelius 10, Fox Tower, Movies on TV, Progress Ridge, Studio One.

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*** A slick, clever, and not entirely satisfying homage to the heyday of hide and seek movies and slasher cinema, Ti West’s latest left-field scare (The Innkeepers, The Sacrament) brings new meaning to grindhouse. This is a bloodthirsty farmer’s grandma’s thread about a van full of overmature and thoughtful stoners from Texas renting a ramshackle cabin to a decrepit couple for some hardcore amateur filming. An undersexed harpy and a long-suffering fellow might not sound particularly terrifying on paper, but West deftly teases, say, the looming specter of Chekhov’s alligator just long enough for the audience to walk straight into the side. commercial of a rusty pitchfork. If anything, the technical setup and set pieces might seem too perfectly composed. Given the amount of peen and gore on display, there’s an eerie sense of restraint that tempers the anarchic abandon that rumbles through genre classics. Half-hearted attempts to provide psychological grounding for the elderly couple’s murderous mania weaken the lingering air of menace as an acoustic cover by Fleetwood Mac quickly kills any sexual tension. As one aspiring freelance cameraman/writer ostensibly claims, every dirty (or scary) movie might as well aim for greatness. R JAY HORTON. Cedar Hills, Cinema 21, City Center, Clackamas, Eastport, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower, Hollywood, Living Room, Laurelhurst, Lloyd Center, Mill Plain, Pioneer Place, Studio One, Tigard.

deep waters

**** Vic (Ben Affleck) is rich. By designing a computer chip used in drone warfare, he gave himself enough time to pursue his favorite hobbies: riding his bike, cultivating a colony of snails, and quietly murdering the many lovers of his wife, Melinda ( Ana de Armas). Based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith and directed by Adrian Lyne (Fatal Attraction), Deep Water relishes the thrills of sadistic foreplay. “Finally, a little emotion,” Melinda sneers when Vic confronts her with one of her things. The cuckold turns her on, but they’re both turned on by his vicious desire to control her. Melinda’s conquests may think they’ve captured a slice of her soul, but they’re just pieces on the chessboard that is her marriage to Vic, just like Lionel (Tracy Letts), a nosy acquaintance who knows about it. too much about their relationship. for his own good. It’s all fun and sickly, thanks to Lyne’s mastery of the film’s menacing atmosphere and the unrivaled pairing of de Armas and Affleck. His teasing cruelty clashes deliciously with his sinister stoicism, creating a disconcerting balance between their performances. Deep Water could have been a hysterical thriller about the horrors of having a cheating wife or a post-#MeToo impeachment of a deadly husband, but it’s neither. Lyne, Affleck and de Armas have instead created an erotic game in which man and woman have an equal stake in the inevitably twisted outcome. Progress? May be. Entertainment? Undeniably. R. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Hulu.

drive my car

**** After seeing drive my car, you’ll never look at snow, suspension bridges or scenes the same way again. When you see the world through the scrutinizing eyes of director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, there is no mere setting. There is only the living fabric of places and objects that envelop Yûsuke (Hidetoshi Nishijima) and Misaki (Tôko Miura), whose compassion and complexity are a world in their own right. Most of the film takes place in Hiroshima, where Yūsuke directs a production of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. Misaki is assigned to be his driver, but their relationship transcends the separation between front seat and back seat. Over the surreal yet oddly believable journeys, conversations, and adventures, their reserve gradually erodes as they reveal their losses and inner lives to each other, reaching a cathartic climax that leaves you both broken. and hovering. The film, based on a short story by Haruki Murakami, isn’t afraid to face the agony of grief and loneliness, but Hamaguchi’s evident love for his characters imbues the entire journey with an invigorating warmth. A tender, hopeful coda set during the pandemic might have been commendable, but like every moment of the film, it’s worth believing because Hamaguchi’s sincerity is unquestionable. “We must go on living,” Yūsuke told Misaki. With these words, he is not only addressing her but us. NR. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Bridgeport, downtown, Evergreen Parkway, Hollywood.

Fear

**** Bulgarian writer-director Ivaylo Hristov Fear portrays humanity with raw honesty and moments of levity. Shot in beautifully disturbing black and white, the film chronicles the life of Svetla (Svetlana Yancheva), a gruff widow and recently unemployed teacher living near the Turkish border who crosses paths with an African refugee named Bamba (Michael Flemming) trying to make her way to Germany. As the authorities become bogged down in dealing with the many immigrants arriving in the run-down town of Svetla, she finds herself reluctantly taking in Bamba while town officials decide what to do with him. A fascinating relationship begins to take shape between Svetla and Bamba, despite socially constructed barriers posed by language, nationality, and race. Before long, news spreads around town that the African man is staying with Svetla, sparking reckless speculation filtered through xenophobia, racism and misinformation. Hristov’s deftly injected comic beats in the face of absurd situations become fleeting as the impending danger grows, tapping into the harrowing lessons of history that subconsciously warn audiences of what’s to come. NR. RAY GILL JR. Apple TV+, Vudu.

turn red

**** In become red, Pixar Animation Studios’ latest kinetic gem, 13-year-old Meilin (voiced by Rosalie Chiang) screams, “I’m a big red monster!” Given her age, you might think she’s talking pimples, but Meilin literally talks – when her emotions rise, she transforms into a fuzzy red panda. It’s a metaphor, but what for? Puberty? Exit? Discovering a furry fetish? Audiences are likely to come up with dueling perspectives, which is a sign of the film’s intelligence – it’s too radical and mythical to be confined to a single interpretation. Meilin’s mother, Ming (Sandra Oh), wants to perform a ritual to banish the panda in her daughter’s soul, but Meilin happily and firmly tells her, “My panda, my choice, mom,” a characteristic line from a specialized studio. to serve as allegorical baggage for all ages. Both children and adults will enjoy turn red, directed by Domee Shi, revels in Meilin’s panda-like exultation – she defeats a bully and leaps across rooftops – but most importantly, the film is aimed at girls Meilin’s age. As the triumphant “Pandas, Assemble!” the climax suggests, turn redthe first Pixar film with an all-female creative direction team, wants them to feel both entertained and seen. PG. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Disney+.

The Batman

** “What’s black and blue and dead all over?” In The Batman, the Riddler (Paul Dano) poses this question to the Dark Knight (Robert Pattinson), but blacks and blues don’t feature much in the film – visually, morally and emotionally, it’s a gray film. While director Matt Reeves brought majestic mourning to the Planet of the Apes series, he seems completely lost in Gotham City. His nearly three-hour film is less a narrative than a mechanistic study of a political conspiracy the Riddler wants to expose – the story begins after the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents not only because we’ve seen it before, but because Reeves is more interested in plot than pathos. Even the soulful, sultry presence of Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman can’t liven up the film – she and Batman flirt so chastely as if it hadn’t been for a few F-bombs and awkwardly staged fight scenes, Reeves could have easily got away with a G rating from the Motion Picture Association of America. When Christopher Nolan was helming the Dark Knight Trilogy, he fervently tore apart the Batman mythos, while Reeves just seems to be halfheartedly marinating in misery, especially when the film attempts an embarrassingly halfhearted critique of Bruce and the rest of the 1 % of Gotham. What is dead everywhere? The Batman. PG-13. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Academy, Baghdad, Cedar Hills, Cinema 21, Cinemagic, City Center, Eastport, Fox Tower, Laurelhurst, Living Room, Lloyd Center, Pioneer Place, St. Johns, St. Johns Theater & Pub, St. Johns Twin, Studio One, Tigard.


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