While We’re Young
Mainstream, accessible, the words that come up when discussing Noah Baumbach’s latest venture. Following the relationship between a middle-aged couple (Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts) and their newly-founded 20-something friends (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried), Baumbach creates one of the most mature, objective examination of the recent generation gap. Although the “mainstream” quality is apparent (eventually the film devolves into a Michael Mann esque thriller), and the didacticism sometimes becomes an issue, While We’re Young is a funny, charming night out at the movies. Limited release. 97 minutes.
Winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, Citizenfour is an engrossing perspective on the 2013 NSA spying scandal. The film portrays an intimate look into Edward Snowden as he, and two journalists (Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill), plan the release of classified government documents. Director Laura Poitras charts her experiences from initially receiving encrypted emails from an unknown source (Snowden), to finally meeting, and shooting, the historic events as they unfold in a cramped Hong Kong hotel room. Citizenfour is unlike any film: incredibly significant — but still flawed. The film begins to lag near the end after Poitras loses her connection with Snowden. She begins to scrounge for a story with archive footage which lacks the visceral-ness of the previous hour. By the end you question the film’s intent, but nevertheless, Citizenfour is essential, and historically unique. Produced by Steven Soderbergh. 114 minutes.
We as humans have a fascination with grueling work, as long as we aren’t the ones doing it. Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show portrays, through interviews and writer’s room footage, the daunting task of being the singular creative lead on a television show. Your enjoyment, however, of the documentary depends on your interest in television and show-running — as the filmmaking fails to be relevant. Showrunners is a bad name for the world of documentary filmmaking: stale, dry, quotidian; Director Des Doyle is an artless hired gun. Released in 2014. Featuring Joss Whedon, J.J Abrams, Ronald Moore. Irish Film Board. 90 minutes. Streaming on Netflix.
Eyes Without a Face
At a certain point in time, horror films began to feel like “horror films.” Directed with nonexistent subtlety, and told like a bedtime story, these horror films became simple fodder for teenagers to be entertained by on Saturday nights. Eyes Without a Face, the French/Italian production directed by Georges Franju — and based on a novel by Jean Redon — breaks away from telling its story like a horror film, and instead tells it like a fairy tale: with magical realism, a mature hand, and a straight face. Released in 1960. Starring Pierre Brasseur and Alida Valli. Streaming on Hulu.