Matthias et Maxime (Xavier Dolan, 2019)

REVIEW: “Sometimes you spend your life doing one thing and, in the end, it wasn’t your thing,” a somewhat listless Matthias (Gabriel D’Almeida Freitas) is told by a senior at his law firm a little way into Xavier Dolan’s eighth feature, Matthias et Maxime. Matt has just been offered a promotion, and although the words are spoken in response to his visible hesitation in accepting it, they momentarily calm his distracted state and make him think.

Film Review: Eeb Allay Ooo!

REVIEW: The sounds that make up the title of Prateek Vats’s Eeb Allay Ooo! resonate through its length. Their most direct expression is in the deep, full-bodied croaks and high-pitched whoops of its monkey-repelling squad, assigned in New Delhi’s Raisina Hill to scare the animals away from the country’s highest government offices. We hear these sounds even before we see their source as newly-arrived migrant Anjani (Shardul Bharadwaj) gets hurriedly trained in the film’s opening moments.

Of Mothers and Daughters: Pedro Almodóvar’s Julieta and Three Alice Munro Short Stories

ESSAY: The works of both artists—Munro and Almodóvar—draw in small and big ways from their personal narratives. And so, while the film puts an end to the terrible silence in the mother’s life, offering at long last the possibility of a reunion, these stories from the collection turn on their marvellously evocative title exploring what it is to be a runaway from one’s own mother. “We say of some things that they can’t be forgiven, or that we will never forgive ourselves. But we do—we do it all the time,” Munro writes towards the end of “Dear Life”. We never find out if Antía truly does the same. But one suspects that it is not her forgiveness that the director is after.

Close-Up on Johnnie To's "Vengeance"

ESSAY: Hong Kong director Johnnie To’s gangster story of violence and retribution has all the usual ingredients: icy hitmen, decisive tests of loyalty, grand showdowns, moody cityscapes…and food. Our aging hero, Francis Costello (French singer Johnny Hallyday), is a chef who owns a restaurant at the Champs-Élysées. And in an early scene, without wasting too much time—a quality that he shares with his director—Costello sets about displaying his culinary skills.
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