by Jason Osiason

OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN: The film tells the story of a teacher named Rachel, played by Virginie Efira (outstanding) of Benedetta fame, who began dating a man with a young daughter, and the story details the roller coaster of emotions such an experience brings forth. It’s an almost beat-for-beat pre-menopausal spiritual successor to The Worst Person in the World to the point they share the same Art Garfunkel closing sequence song. Still, regardless of striking familiarity and not being as emotionally crushing as Trier’s Masterwork and the similar despairing plot turns, it takes, it feels like a truly authentic and moving piece of filmmaking. Also of note with two scenes, Frederick Wiseman as a French gynecologist Frederick Wiseman stands out and will rival David Lynch as the director cameo of 2022. [B+]

WEIRD: THE AL YANKOVIC STORY: The serial definition of a dumb-smart musical biopic in the not-so-true life story of Weird Al Yankovic. The outrageously and transgressively crude insanity will make all die-hard Al Yankovic home happy. At times the film surpasses the comedic strengths of Walk Hard, which will be the frequent point of biopic parody comparison, but its concentrated ridiculousness rings more David Wain-verse. It couldn’t feel more like an adaptation of a Funny or Die short and predictably outlasts its welcome despite a committed performance from Daniel Radcliffe. Sadly as you can get lost in its silliness and fun, it’s a one-joke movie that cannot sustain itself plot-wise. [C]

DE HUMANI CORPORIS FABRICA: Like James Cameron, the filmmakers follow up on their previous hit movies, Leviathan and Caniba, and invent new technology to travel deep (literally) inside emergency surgeries set in French hospitals over the course of seven years of filming. It makes for a debilitating, obscene, and darkly funny sensory overloaded look at the fractured nature of healthcare in Paris from the hands and scalpels of the doctors, staff, and nurses operating on various people of various ethnical backgrounds and economic statuses. Some of the surgeries featured include Prostate, Retina, and even an Emergency C-section to give you the briefest taste. One that encapsulates the film’s ownership most is one featuring an extreme closeup of a flaccid penis being operated on with a surgical device buried deep inside the urethra while a doctor and nurse are playfully bickering about who should clean up blood and various blockage fluids pouring out while pondering if they should hire a porter. This masterwork is funnier and thoughtful than any Jackass movie ever made. [A]

THE GOOD NURSE: This chilly and unsettling true crime story is about Charles Cullen, one of history’s most notorious serial killers you never heard of. Jessica Chastain plays his colleague Amy who finally notices his background of working at countless hospitals is a cautionary sign than a direct qualification once a highly suspicious death occurs at the hospital. It’s one of Chastain’s most fearless yet vulnerable performances as she commands her aid to the investigation while her health is also failing. The one-no-so-good nurse and colleague, played by Eddie Redmayne, begins to be caught in his web of lies while developing an obsession with Amy’s personal life. It’s a ticking time bomb of performance by Eddie Redmayne and perhaps his best since the one he delivered as an Academy Award winner in The Theory of Everything. This eerie, gripping, calculated, and gorgeously textured film by filmmaker Tobias Lindholm could’ve veered more salacious and exploitative in lesser hands and only has real struggles in pacing areas. [B+]

I LIKE MOVIES: Through the eyes of a socially awkward and self-proclaimed cinephile teen, Lawrence takes us through the 90s nostalgia of video store culture. The film does an outstanding job explaining how these individuals most likely do not live out the idealistic lives they see in the movies. What separates I Like Movies from another coming of age is how director Chandler Levack allows her protagonist to grow from the consequences of their actions and does so while paying homage to the great movies of the past. It’s a well-crafted, personal, surprisingly stylized, and promising debut. [B]

WOMEN TALKING: This story of raw courage and resilience in the wake of societal horrors by Sarah Polley is also her first film since the stunning documentary Stories We Tell. After sexual assaults committed by the colony’s men come to light, the women from an isolated religious settlement decide the pros and cons of leaving their no-longer safe home. My main issue with this relatively good-natured film is its visual approach which rings hollow and leaves me unconnected to the story and the many characters that live inside. Due to this, the deep conversations feel scaled back, and the desaturated aesthetic somewhat undercuts the impact of their impactful words. I also had trouble connecting to the many thinly drawn-out characters as we’re just thrown right into the heat of the discussion, making it hard to have a single performance that fully resonated. Still, as the film’s pseudo-lead and pack leader, Jessie Buckley does her best shot in the film’s most impactful role, and it’s also a very commanding turn. [C]

GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY: The return of Daniel Craig’s detective Benoit blanc is set on the private island of tech billionaire Miles Bron. He invites Blanc alongside a group of his closest friends for a fun weekend retreat in which they will be asked to solve a game in the form of his murder mystery. The entire ensemble has a grand ol’ time, and nearly everyone is at the top of their game. Daniel Craig is once again doing his best work in years. Norton, Bautista, Hudson (the film’s central comedic relief and having the time of her life in her best role in years), and Monae are the film’s other big standouts. Rian Johnson is an obviously prominent admirer of the classic whodunit detective murder mystery genre. Combined with his multi-talent as both a director and screenwriter, he designed a sequel that doesn’t disappoint but surpasses the original, an impressive feat compared to other movie sequels Hollywood usually spits out. The film also feels more elaborate in its grand scope, production design, and musical score. The writing and dialogue are also unsparingly clever, and the brisk editing and the mystery are so punchy and engaging you do not feel it’s a minute too long despite its nearly 2-hour 20-minute running time. Sometimes plot elements feel contrived and obvious, but you soon realize later that was all part of the game. It’s pure popcorn Blockbuster entertainment at its finest, and the film is all the better for being just that. It’s a good statement on why we still go to the movies, and I hope Netflix allows audiences to discover the film in both formats. [B+]

BROS: A perfect dose of sweet and raunchy and is Knocked Up-level types of terrific that pay great respect to the romantic comedies of years past. The romance between Billy Eichner’s character Bobby Lieber and Luke Macfarlane feels like an authentic, natural, and inclusive portrayal of love. It is also a terrific detailed snapshot of feeling insecure in your romantic relationship. It takes the classic romantic comedy setup and role reverses gay and straight men naturally without feeling forced to fill the void of genre conventions. Eichner might have also saved the dying romantic comedy genre with this one. [B+]


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