Nick (Adam Horovitz) would have you believe that his nest of comfort, a den cluttered by archival material and binders of his deceased father-in-law’s correspondences, provides him with all the contentment he needs. His hermetic life of walking to work, entering his tiny office, and getting to archive in solitude, is satisfying enough – he’s uncovered a permanent contract on a feeling of complete and utter fulfillment. Or so that’s what he tells himself, his wife Alyssa (Chloë Sevigny), and his sister-in-law/boss Gwen (Mary-Louise Parker). Whatever ghosts linger in his past, Nick’s present ascetic lifestyle provides him with enough meaning. That’s what makes the opening scene of Alex Ross Perry’s new film, Golden Exits, so captivating: this man who cherishes monotony finds his world turned inside out with the arrival of a new assistant in Naomi (Emily Browning). That NYC groove proves to be a little more rigorous than expected.Read More
Queen of Earth screens at Chicago’s Music Box Theater on Friday, September 4th. It is also available on VOD and iTunes.
Queen of Earth, Alex Ross Perry’s fourth film, is about a woman who is stuck in the there and then, struggling to find herself in the here and now. The first time we see Catherine (Elisabeth Moss) we find her in close-up with the camera placed slightly above her eyeline, forcing the actress’ gaze up as she pleads with an off-camera boyfriend who is leaving her. She wears a mask of smeared mascara accentuated by a red nose; as Manohla Dargis points out, she looks a bit like a clown. It’s a sharp indicator of things to come, as Perry develops a film composed of the dualities of depression; of the unbending and flexible, of the comic and the sorrowful, of understanding and judgment, of friends and enemies, and of the past and present.
Following Catherine’s tearful break-up, she retreats to a lake house with her friend Virginia (Katherine Waterston). Perry is deliberate with detail, not immediately establishing their history; there’s an uneasy tension between them that puts their friendship in doubt. For a writer/director whose previous film Listen Up Philip was defined for its lexically acrobatic narration and liberal submission of (at times picayune) detail, this anxious and miasmic tone that Perry adopts is a major departure and a successful one.Read More
Listen Up Philip opens at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre tonight. Actor Jason Schwartzman is scheduled to attend two screenings. For more information, check out the theater’s website here.
Contemporary American cinema is filled with many an asshole: Daniel Day-Lewis’ Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood, Jeff Daniels’ Bernard Berkman in The Squid and the Whale, and now Jason Schwartzman’s Philip Lewis Friedman in Listen Up Philip. The aforementioned films from Paul Thomas Anderson and Noah Baumbach served as critical moments for these filmmakers – Blood was the point where all of Anderson’s bravuras entered into a new stratosphere of nuance and Whale was where Baumbach returned following an 8-year sabbatical. Anderson and Baumbach are among the chief American auteurs of the 21st century. Alex Ross Perry, meanwhile, is a comparatively unknown director. His previous two features, Impolex and The Color Wheel, generated a measure of critical acclaim but it’s with Listen Up Philip that the writer/director finds his definitive breakthrough. Contemporary American cinema is filled with many an asshole; Listen Up Philip is about one of the most interesting ones.Read More