Sundance 2017



I Don't Feel at Home In This World Anymore 

Macon Blair has been an actor I've been keeping a watchful eye on the past few years, what with him being Jeremy Saulnier's muse in both "Green Room" and "Blue Ruin." Suffice to say that he takes quite a bit from Saulnier's visceral style of filmmaking for his feature directing debut "I Don't Feel at Home In This World Anymore," which loosely lends its name from Woody Guthrie's song of isolation "I Ain't Got No Home." Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood, both of which I will interview tomorrow, make a formidable team in this tale of isolation set in an ever-growing the "me, me, me" society. Lynskey's home has been broken into with some personal stuff stolen, including her grandmother's dining set and a box of personal immensely value. Wood is the weirdo neighbor that she teams up with to find the perpetrator of the robbery and he's the highlight of the film- engrossing, comic, frightening, lonely and armed with nunchucks, you have to check out this performance They make a formidable, comic team, but don't think this is a comedy. Blair has much more up his sleeve here than laughs and he is clearly influenced by David Lynch's "Blue Velvet" which depicted a dark underbelly of Americana that this film seems to wholeheartedly embrace, almost religiously. It ain't a perfect film, pacing issues which include an over-stretched finale could have used a bit of trimming, but there are many surreal and memorable moments in Blair's film.



Novitiate

It's a tough experience directing your first movie. Maggie Betts' feature film debut, for the most part, does not feel like the work of an amateur. The shot selection, framing, tone are all top-notch.Set in the early 1960s and during the era of the reform that would be known as Vatican II,a young lady, perfectly played by Diana Agron, decided to join the nunhood due to her unadorned love for God, her first love iff you will, but things get complicated. Self-questioning faith, a changing, more prrogressive church and sex, yes sex, start to interfere. The film has some truly powerful moments and others that feel more forced and by-the-books. It's a messy, sprawling 123 minute film that still hits your hard to the core and leaves you truly shaken when it hits its targets. A special shout out to Melissa Leo, stunning as the conflicted nun from hell.














The Incredible Jessica James ...

You know, sometimes a performance just elevates a moveie and in Jim Strouse's "The Incredible Jessica James" Jessica Williams lifts a standard romantic comedy into a real winner. Strouse's film is not groundbreaker, but Williams sure is.
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