Eighth grade girls can be the meanest, coldest, most frustrating creatures in the world. They can also be the smartest and kindest and coolest. And they only listen to people — their peers, the internet — who tell them the former. And not the people — me, their parents — who tell them the latter.
There is a wonderful eagerness with which Sam — Andrew Garfield (“Breathe”) at a career high — accepts the miraculous nonsense of “Under the Silver Lake.” His refusal to spend more than one perfect facial reaction questioning the bombardment of bizarre is, in large part, why director David Robert Mitchell (“It Follows”) gets away with the most unrelentlessly odd film of the year. It’s how he out-Lynches Lynch and out-Jonzes Jonze.
There are Trump-era movies. The sort of wink-wink-nudge-nudge, did-you-notice-that-Make-America-Great-Again-reference movie that tries too hard for its social commentary and relies too heavily on the crutch of cautionary tale. (Your “Fahrenheit 451”s and “Suburbicon”s.)
Then there are movies whose potency is amplified, but not necessitated by, their Trump-era creation and release. Movies that recognize “Trump-era” is a misnomer that falsely suggests an idyllic past when America wasn’t racist.
Just five minutes into “Fahrenheit 451” it’s clear this isn’t Ray Bradbury’s world anymore. This world — somewhere in the near future after a “Second Civil War” — is as ruled by technology as it is by fire. TV screens show a running feed called “The 9” and approved books (“The Bible” and “To The Lighthouse” make the cut) are uploaded onto a server for preservation, while their physical counterparts are burned.
At its best, “Jiang Hu Er Nv (Ash is Purest White)” is quietly sublime. Director Jia Zhang-Ke captures (with support from Cinematographer Eric Gautier) a tremendous solitude as he follows his protagonist across the Chinese countryside. At its worst, it’s exactly the kind of slow burn internally driven drama that you’d expect from a festival like Cannes. Which is to say, at its worst, it’s still exceptionally good.
“Everybody Knows” (Todos Lo Saben) is an exceptionally good telenovela. Like the other dramas from writer-director Asghar Farhadi (“The Salesman”), the film weaves itself through the mess of a family, unraveling — at an exceptionally slow pace — a tight web of secrets and repressed resentments.
The requiem for the local scene — the underground scene, the house show scene, the “we’ll never be big, that’s okay we just want to be” scene — is the greatest kind of music movie. To perfectly encapsulate how a specific moment in a specific place looked and sounded is one thing. To recreate its feeling is another ambition altogether. Russian filmmaker Krill Serebrennikov’s latest film “Leto” does both with a skill and joyfulness unmatched in recent memory.