by Rob DiCristino
I have no significant new release to cover for you this week, so let’s break open the ol’ Letterboxd and talk 2020:
Eraserhead). It’s just that the things I find interesting in surreal thrillers have necessarily evolved as I’ve seen more and more of them. Vivarium simply doesn’t give leads Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots enough depth to make it any more than Starter Surrealism. But that’s okay! That’s not a bad thing. Everyone has to start somewhere. Like how I praise simplicity in one movie and damn it in another? I’m a mess.
3. Speaking of which: She Dies Tomorrow messed me up. I actually started to write a whole review of it but got way into my head and became crushed under the weight of my own futility. I began to wonder why we even make movies or write about movies or write words or use letters to make words or, like, get out of bed in the morning. It was not a good time, and digging into She Dies Tomorrow longer than the length of this paragraph would probably do some irreparable damage. Patrick mentioned recently that it’s a little too obtuse to really connect with (and I can see his point), but there’s this bluntness to the way Amy Seimetz presents our natural fear of death that is almost better than if she had fleshed out a working universe, as in something like It Follows. Seimetz apparently wrote the screenplay to examine the “contagious quality of anxiety,” and it comes across loud and clear. Anxiety attacks don’t make narrative sense: There’s often no real cause, no start and no finish. They’re ridiculous, frankly, and She Dies Tomorrow nails the gallows humor inherent in worrying about things that will inevitably come to pass.
4. When this is all over (He said, fingers crossed), the 2020 movie that cinephiles will probably discuss the most is Tenet. Or, at least, the release of Tenet. Or the absence, delay, and quadruple backlash surrounding all things Tenet. However, my nominee for Movie Most Screwed Over By Quarantine might be An American Pickle. Aside from having an all-time great handwave to explain how pickle brine can preserve a human life (“The scientist explains. It makes sense. Everyone is satisfied”), there are some great special effects at play in An American Pickle that go well beyond split screen doubling. Anyone see that behind-the-scenes featurette? I’ll let them explain all the nitty gritty of the green screening and beard shaving, but it just makes me feel so spoiled that I can see a quality movie like An American Pickle, enjoy it, and move on knowing that its lack of wide distribution prevents it from having the solid cultural imprint it deserves. I know this isn’t a new problem (Remember what Adam said about our lack of home screen?), but it bums me out.
But that’s just me. What’s everyone else into this fine 2020?