PHOENIX

Directed by Christian Petzold

Phoenix is a testament to small-scale filmmaking with big ambitions. The ability to make a post-WWII period-piece on a budget of $4 million is borderline phenomenal, and Phoenix uses every last dollar to impressive effect in it’s production design and lighting. Phoenix plays out like an inverted Vertigo, with themes of identity, deception and manipulation at the forefront. Strong performances and a controlled sense of time and space grounds the film, as we feel our way through the haze with our characters, struggling to reconnect with what was lost in post-WWII Berlin.

B+

INHERENT VICE

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

Paul Thomas Anderson brings us into the paranoia-filled, drug-fuelled world of Thomas Pynchon’s 1970-something LA. Staying loyal to the novel, the film grooves left and right alongside Joaquin Phoenix, as he tries to navigate his way around the absurd and surreal to solve a mysterious disappearance. Audiences have come out of the film citing it to be slow, incomprehensible and confusing. It’s taken me a while to wrap my head around it myself, but I must say that I neither agree nor disagree. Inherent Vice is ultimately a different experience, one that acknowledges cinema and genre tropes of the past, that at the end of the day, encapsulates the bewildering disorientation of the times and it’s citizens, through it’s dialogue, cinematography and plot. Inherent Vice is hard to understand – but so is so much of the world we live in. While maybe not the most ideal way to blow off some steam, maybe all we can do is sit back, light a joint and allow ourselves to embrace what we cannot, and will never, fully understand.

A-

Her

Directed by Spike Jonze

Several times throughout “Her”, I buried my face in my hands and just thought to myself, “HOLY SHIT THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL.” Spike Jonze has masterfully depicted love in the digital age in its purest, most heartbreaking form. I could myself living and breathing in this melancholic world, and I didn’t want it to end. It’s a film about love. AND I LOVE THIS FILM. I LOVE IT. I LOVE IT.

A+