Photo: Focus Features
The weather is finally starting to change, so if you want to ring fall in like a lamb rather than like a lion, try Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. The film itself plays on the passing of the seasons, as misfit children Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) grow close while whiling away the summer on the island of New Penzance. Young love may be sweet, but it’s not easy, and Anderson’s twee visual style gives the film’s emotional beats even more weight.
On the slightly peppier side of things is Aardman Animations’ The Pirates! Band of Misfits. Aardman, the studio responsible for stop-motion classics Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run, recruited Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, and Salma Hayek, among others, to take to the high seas, and the result is a charm. To prove themselves as forces to be reckoned with, the Pirate Captain (voiced by Grant) enters the Pirate of the Year competition, running into historical figures including Charles Darwin and Queen Victoria along the way.
Madonna’s first big film role — as the desperate Susan in Desperately Seeking Susan — is a delight. When the ennui-struck Roberta (Patricia Arquette) succumbs to her fascination with personal ads, she sets off a chain of events including amnesia, a case of mistaken identity, and being sawn in half. Directed by Susan Seidelman, the film is a whirligig of plot twists in a way that feels fun rather than forced, charting a course through New York on the heels of two women, each a force of nature.
Meanwhile, the force of nature behind Maniac, as cheesy as it might sound, is love. Romantic love, familial love, platonic love — the characters in Cary Fukunaga’s latest creation are all struggling with the bonds that keep them together as they enter into a clinical trial meant to untangle their emotional knots. Jonah Hill and Emma Stone star as two of the patients, hurtling through different selves and different realities that include a séance, a Lord of the Rings-esque fantasy landscape, and a contemporary gangland.
The most recent Best Picture Oscar winner has just hit HBO. The Shape of Water, directed by the patron saint of monsters, Guillermo del Toro, is more than deserving of the accolades it picked up last awards season, and the proof is in the pudding. The film, which stars Sally Hawkins as mute janitor Elisa Esposito, Richard Jenkins as her closeted neighbor, and Doug Jones as the amphibian creature she falls for, is an ode both to love and to film, and features a transporting climactic setpiece the likes of which only del Toro could cook up.
The legacy of Christopher Nolan’s final installment of the Dark Knight trilogy has mostly been Bane memes, but it’s worth another look as one of the last — if not the last — of the major superhero movies to be free of the Marvel-ized landscape. It’s also a reflection of the time in which it was made, as the first act of the film is a clear mirror for the Occupy movement before the story succumbs to its superhero roots. Christian Bale’s final outing as the caped crusader may be on the longer side, clocking in at almost three hours, but with a killer Catwoman performance from Anne Hathaway, it’s worth catching Batman save Gotham just one last time.
Citizen Kane is, well … Citizen Kane. If you want to spend more time with a true classic, or if you never figured out what “Rosebud” means, Orson Welles’s masterpiece (and, incredibly, his first feature film) has just hit Filmstruck. The tale of newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane’s rise and fall as his idealism sours into a pursuit of power is still magnificent, as its reputation as the greatest film of all time might suggest — and given the state of the news these days, the story remains poignant decades after its release.
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