Welcome back to my Home Movies! This week, the Oscar-winning Drive My Car leads the way, as it joins the Criterion Collection. Joining that film today is another top tier Criterion pick, as well as an underrated indie movie in Dual. Read on for more…
Drive My Car
From The Criterion Collection: “Only Ryusuke Hamaguchi, with his extraordinary sensitivity to the mysterious resonances of human interactions, could sweep up international awards (including the Oscar for Best International Feature) and galvanize audiences everywhere with a pensive three-hour movie—presented in nine languages and adapted from Haruki Murakami stories—about an experimental staging of an Anton Chekhov play. With Drive My Car, the Japanese director has confirmed his place among contemporary cinema’s most vital voices. Two years after his wife’s unexpected death, Yusuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima) arrives in Hiroshima to direct a production of Uncle Vanya for a theater festival and, through relationships with an actor (Masaki Okada) with whom he shares a tangled history and a chauffeur (Toko Miura) with whom he develops a surprising rapport, finds himself facing up to his emotional scars. This quietly mesmerizing tale of love, art, grief, and healing is ultimately a cathartic exploration of what it means to go on living when there seems to be no road ahead.”
Dual is not going to be for everyone. Riley Stearns operates on his own wavelength, to be sure, and this is him at potentially his most divisive. That being said, I was largely into what he was putting forth with this science fiction satire of sorts. My review at the Sundance Film Festival (found here) included this bit:
Filmmaker Riley Stearns has a very unique view of the world. It comes out in his writing and direction, as his characters occupy a universe ever so slightly different than our own. If you crossed Wes Anderson with Yorgos Lanthimos, you’d have someone not too dissimilar from Stearns. His movies include Faults and The Art of Self-Defense have showcased this well, with the latter an underrated gem. Now, at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, he’s got a new effort in Dual. This sees Stearns toy with science fiction, but in his own specific style. The end result is something quite compelling.
Dual is sci-fi, to be sure, but mostly a black comedy, one with a very nice core performance. The style is very deadpan and specific, so some folks might find it absolutely too dry, even as others find it to be a riot. Largely, I fell into the latter category. Assuming you get on its wavelength, you’re in for a bleak treat.
Castlevania: Season Four (TV)
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Seventh Season (TV)
Men in Black (First Time in 4K)
Reno 911!: The Hunt for QAnon
seaquest DSV: The Complete Series (TV)
Yellowjackets: Season One (TV)
Devil in a Blue Dress
From The Criterion Collection: “The bone-deep disillusionment of postwar film noir becomes a powerful vehicle to explore America’s racial injustices in Carl Franklin’s richly atmospheric Devil in a Blue Dress, an adaptation of the hard-boiled novel by Walter Mosley. Denzel Washington has charisma to burn as the jobless ex-GI Easy Rawlins, who sees a chance to make some quick cash when he’s recruited to find the missing lover (Jennifer Beals) of a wealthy mayoral candidate in late-1940s Los Angeles—only to find himself embroiled in murder, political intrigue, and a scandal that crosses the treacherous color lines of a segregated society. Featuring breakout work by Don Cheadle as Rawlins’s cheerfully trigger-happy sidekick, this stylish mystery both channels and subverts classic noir tropes as it exposes the bitter racial realities underlying the American dream.”
*Remember that Drive My Car is joining the Criterion Collection today as well*
Stay tuned for more next week…