Welcome back to Film Flam’s week of Year-Ender roundtables! Yesterday, we looked back at our favorite performances of the year. Today, we muse on great (or, at the very least, worthwhile) films which, for whatever reason, failed to tap the cultural zeitgeist.
Rebecca Hall’s gripping performance will tragically get lost in the year-end Oscar shuffle, but I’ve been thinking about her since I saw Christine. Hall does late news anchor Christine Chubbuck justice, portraying her as a perpetually frustrated career woman, undone by her own crumbling psyche. Christine never glamorizes her mental illness, not does it cast her as a martyr. Chubbuck was a person, and Hall embodies the role with a haunting grace.
Why is no one talking about Krisha?!?! New comer director Trey Edward Shults foray into film, Krisha tells the story of a black sheep aunt who goes to her first family get-together in years after a series of alcoholism and substance abuse problems ruin her life. That’s all I’m going to give away, but the rest of the film spirals into so many genres, it’s unbelievable. One minute you’ll feel deep regret, and the next absolute fear about what’s coming next. Implementing Shults’ actual family alongside actual actors really brings this film together, and makes it the most realistic, and one of the best, films this year. Trey Edward Shults has a strong career in his future. We should be talking about Krisha.
W. LOGAN FREEMAN
Probably Storks or Kung Fu Panda 3 or some other kid’s film. It’s usually an animated movie that gets thrown under the bus in consideration of what was good for the year.
At San Diego Comic Con, Lionsgate revealed that The Woods, the new film by director Adam Wingard and screenwriter Simon Barrett, was actually a sequel to the 1999 found-footage hit The Blair Witch Project, causing the world at large to collectively say, “Huh.” Personally, however, I was thrilled: I am an unapologetic fan of the original, and Wingard and Barrett are responsible for two of the coolest genre exercises of the past few years (You’re Next and The Guest). The resulting film, Blair Witch, doesn’t quite live up to its creators’ oeuvre, but it’s leaps and bounds better than one might expect from a Blair Witch reboot in 2016 (to say nothing of the film’s previous sequel, the massively ill-conceived Book of Shadows). The film’s front half is somewhat clunky, too slick by half and filled with stock characters (though the townie-goth ghost hunter couple played by Wes Robinson and Valorie Curry are pretty great). But once Wingard and Barrett throw out the playbook and start adding their own weirdness– without spoiling things, time is far more fluid than in the original– the film takes on a life of its own, and becomes a loopy, enjoyable head trip.
Tomorrow! The Flammers pick their favorite scenes of the year! Be there!