« All Features

15 Films to See in December

Written by on December 3, 2018 

5. Cold War (Paweł Pawlikowski; Dec. 21)


“What a deft, lean storyteller this Paweł Pawlikowski has become. The five-year gap between his latest film, teasingly titled Cold War and given a berth in competition at Cannes, and Ida (which premiered in Toronto in 2013 and spent almost two years on the festival circuit) must have felt like an age,” Rory O’Connor said in his review. “Indeed, if there’s one thing we’re never asked to endure in the Polish-born filmmaker’s work, it’s that very nuisance: time. The days and years never drag in his world; instead they seem to skip like a needle across the grooves of a battered record. Cold War depicts a sweeping romance (apparently loosely based on his parents’ relationship, a battered record indeed) that takes us through four countries and almost a decade-and-a-half. It’s 84 minutes long.”

4. Tyrel (Sebastián Silva; Dec. 5)


Jordan Peele’s Get Out was brilliant in its satirical take on race relations in today’s America, but another Sundance feature proved to be even more harrowing in its realistic depiction of how subtle racism can play out. Sebastián Silva’s latest film Tyrel follows Jason Mitchell’s character Tyler placed in a testosterone-heavy, white man-filled weekend and the anxiety-inducing isolation he’s faced with.  I said in my review, “Like a lucid nightmare where no one can feel your alienation no matter how loud you scream out, these small moments boil to a suffocating climax that never explodes, making TYREL a startling cogent drama about race relations in today’s America. For Tyler, even next to one of his best friends, there’s no promise he’ll ever feel fully comfortable. I can think of no more petrifying, damning conclusion.”

3. Amazing Grace (Sydney Pollack; Dec. 7)


After the footage was locked away for nearly fifty years due to legal battles, the recent death of Aretha Franklin has allowed her family to now approve the release of Amazing Grace, a music documentary capturing her performance at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles in January 1972. While the audio of the event became the artist’s best-selling album, we now get to see how Sydney Pollack (who is uncredited) captured the performances. Set for a one-week-only run at NYC’s Film Forum, the film will expand next year.

2. Dead Souls (Wang Bing; Dec. 14)


December is usually synonymous with family fare that’s palatable for all ages, but every so often we get some daring releases and that’s certainly the case when it comes to Wang Bing’s eight-hour epic Dead Souls. Set to get a run at NYC’s Anthology Film Archives and hopefully expand a bit beyond there, Ethan Vestby said in his review from last year’s TIFF, “For simply depicting family onscreen, think of how many recent films–especially those that populate the festival circuit, namely those of Hirokazu Kore-eda–draw comparisons to Yasujiro Ozu. Yet, the feeling of watching that Japanese master’s dedication to the elderly is stronger here, be it the many shots that conveyed simply a sense of immobility.”

1. If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins; Dec. 14)


While the films that won Best Picture for a director can be compelling, it’s often just as fascinating to see how they use their new clout to take on something perhaps more daring next. This is the case for Barry Jenkins, who gorgeously adapts the intricately-woven, fiery writings of James Baldwin with If Beale Street Could Talk. Christopher Schobert said in his review, “Barry Jenkins has created a film both tender and tough, with a time, a place, and a story to lose oneself in. Sublime in its depiction of an emotional connection and subtle in its layers of systematic oppression, Beale Street is a major work from a filmmaker whose gifts are clearly boundless.”

What are you watching this month?

« 1 2 3»

See More: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

blog comments powered by Disqus

News More

Trailers More

Features More
Twitter icon_twitter Follow