This is a pretty rote story, and many of the plot points beggar belief, but Kusama's flourishes help somewhat to elevate the material into something more meditative, a character study of a woman in ruins.
Fidell trusts the dynamic between her two main actors, and allows them a lot of leeway. The conversations have a fresh and improvisational quality. Best of all, she leaves space for the unexpected and the random.
Bohemian Rhapsody is bad in the way a lot of biopics are bad: it's superficial, it avoids complexity, and the narrative has a connect-the-dots quality. This kind of badness, while annoying, is relatively benign. However, the attitude towards Mercury's sexual expression is the opposite of benign.
It's an emotionally exhausting film — but a little bit of perspective might have resulted in an even more politically urgent document. As it is, though, The Sentence is the beginning of a conversation that needs to continue.
This is Everett's first film as a director, and there are times when it shows. But what he brings to the table - as a director, writer, and actor - is his intuitive "take" on Oscar Wilde and the performance alone makes this riveting and revelatory viewing.
Nappily Ever After is as much a polemic as it is anything else. In a confrontation with Clint, Violet says she is sick of how much brainspace is taken up with her hair. "It's like having a second full-time job," she exclaims, exhausted.
The frustration with Lizzie is that a lot of it works, but the style - elegant, hushed, and period-appropriate - acts as a damper on all the fraught possibilities. Lizzie is at war with its own impulses. You can sense there's a sexy overheated melodrama in there, yearning to burst free of its corset stays.
City of Joy is devastating and enraging, but the strength of the women profiled, their will to survive, to lay claim to their own bodies, is inspiring, although that's not quite the right word. It would have been better if they had not been brutalized at all.
It works best when it's most impressionistic. Although the big events in life have the most impact (you wonder what on earth is going to happen to these three boys), it's the small things — the early morning light, the tall grass, the black flowing river, Ma's smudged mascara, Paps' dazzling grin — that we really remember.
Writer-director Sebastian Gutierrez is the latest to tackle the rich implications of Bluebeard in his film Elizabeth Harvest, bringing a modern horror-sci-fi sensibility to the story. The horror is already implicit. Gutierrez makes it explicit.