Tag Archives: velvet buzzsaw

Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)

19 Feb

After the searing portrayal of a neurotic video journalist from Nightcrawler, I was ecstatic to see director Dan Gilroy and actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo team up again, this time in a pseudo-horror satire set in the world of exclusive art collecting.

Gyllenhaal plays Morf, a well known critic in the Los Angeles art scene. He has just ended things with his Partner Ed and begins to pursue a romantic relationship with art broker named Josephine (Zawe Ashton) whose boss Rhodora (Rene Russo) is constantly on the lookout for new, fresh exhibits to showcase at her prestigious gallery. Josephine, upon returning home one afternoon, discovers her mysterious neighbor has died and left behind all his paintings (though he ordered the property manger to destroy all his work upon his death). Claiming she found all the paintings herself, Josephine and Rhodora begin exhibiting the paintings and circulating the deceased artist’s work throughout the community – with spooky results.

Boasting an ensemble cast (Natalia Dyer, Daveed Diggs, John Malkovich, Toni Collete, and Billy Magnussen all play minors roles throughout the movie) Gilroy creates a vibrant and colorful vision of art-fueled Los Angeles. In Gilroy’s world, all the major players overflow with such vapid narcissism so that they become caricatures themselves rather than actual characters; every person on screen turns up the gaudiness dial up to 11 but perhaps none more so than Gyllenhaal’s Morf, who acts more as unintentional comedic relief than an audience conduit for Gilroy’s whimsically slimy universe. Watching the conversations and interactions weave in and out of this web is devilishly entertaining – Gilroy’s penchant for writing glib dialogue shines brightly here and is one of the reasons Velvet Buzzsaw remains so damn entertaining even when it ventures off into trope-ridden genre territory.

The editing also deserves special praise. Things start off mid-conversation inside an art gallery where most of the setting is delivered to us through characters hamming off into their phones. A quick pace keeps things tidy though and the layers of the story get slipped in gradually rather than in specific plotting points. This makes the film strangely gripping and near impossible to turn away from, although many individual scenes are relentlessly awkward and cringe-inducing. Above all else, Velvet Buzzsaw manages to be a very playful film – unpredictable and engaging – even when it meanders off with a wild goose chase in the second half.

Bottom Line: Self-indulgent to the point of parody, Velvet Buzzsaw certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those inclined to leave most (or at least some) reservations at the door, the film is a wildly entertaining romp. 

Rating: 7/10 

Film Recipe: Nocturnal Animals + Neon Demon 

2018 year end wrap up

1 Jan

Another year. Another list. 

 

Here is a video where I countdown my favourites from the year in cinema.

 

 

If you are, let’s say, at work or perhaps in the woods with limited data connection, or in another environment where watching a video would be inappropriate here are my top 25 films of 2018:

 

25- Have A Nice Day 

24- Thunder Road

23- Isle Of Dogs 

22- Juliet Naked

21- First Reformed 

20- Revenge

19- Unsane

18- Sicario 2  

17- Phantom Thread

16- Mandy

15- Hereditary

14- Assassination Nation 

13- Mid 90’s

12- Night Comes On

11- 8th Grade

10- The Sisters Brothers

9- The Favourite 

8- Sorry To Bother You

7- Roma

6- White Rabbit 

5- Support The Girls

4- Vox Lux

3- You Were Never Really Here

2- Annihilation

1- Suspiria 

 

Looking forward to 2019 and we have some good stuff on the horizon. Here are my most anticipated films of 2019:

 

10 – The Nightingale 

Why? Jennifer Kent proved she would be a major horror talent to keep an eye on within the genre with her stunning debut The Babadook, so seeing what she does on a bigger scale should be fascinating.

Release Date: Unknown 

9 – Sound of Metal 

Why? Derek Cianfrance has always chosen interesting projects and so it’s no surprise that his discarded script now being directed by frequent writer/collaborator Darius Marder would catch my attention.

Release Date: fall? 

 

8- JoJo Rabbit 

Why? The creative mind behind the best entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Thor: Ragnarok), What We Do In The Shadows, and Flight Of The Conchords is back with a new project surrounding a young boy and his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler. A master of dark comedy, Taika Waititi is never one to disappoint.

Release date: fall? 

7- Uncut Gems 

Why? The Safdie Brothers are back!! After the 1-2 punch of Heaven Knows What and Good Time, we see the siblings direct a crime thriller starring Adam Sandler of all people?? Hell, if it worked for Noah Baumbach, a Sandler-against-type can work for anyone.

Release date: Late summer?

6 – Ad Astra 

Why? A sprawling, big-budget space epic starring Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga and Donald Sutherland?? Count me in. Directed by James Gray, this one will hopefully be joining the likes of Chris Nolan’s Interstellar and Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity as a modern sci-fi classic.

Release date: Wide on May 24 

5- Climax

Why? Because it’s the new Gaspar Noe film and the reception from its festival bow at Cannes earlier this year is beyond positive. As one of cinema’s most interesting provocateurs, you can expect something stylish, loud, and unpredictable.

Release date: March 1 

4- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Why? A new Tarantino film is always cause for excitement, but this one – a story involving the infamous Manson murders from the 70’s – seems to have the most impressive ensemble cast of any Tarantino to date.

Release date: July 26

3- Velvet Buzzsaw

Why? Nightcrawler was one of the best hidden gems of 2014. A searing satire of Los Angeles culture and one of the absolute best films to truly show off Jake Gyllenhaal‘s acting prowess. The noted thespian is back again, joining forces with director Dan Gilroy in another satire/horror/wtf-freak fest centered around the LA art scene.

Release date: Feb 1st on Netflix

2- US

Why? Jordan Peele’s marvelous Get Out seemed to arrive at just the right time to encapsulate the post-Trump cultural zeitgeist. His follow-up seems more geared to be a straight-up horror flick compared to the zany and unpredictable satire piece that made Get Out such a powerful viewing experience. Peele has said his influences for this project range from The Shining to Funny Games to Martyrs. Color me intrigued.

Release date: March 15 

1- The Irishman 

Why? I’ve had this one on my lists for a while now. Roma proved the streaming giant Netflix can be taken seriously as a legit platform for awards-contenders, and this long-gestating project from Martin Scorsese should hopefully be worth the wait.

Release date: who knows? Netflix can’t possibly put this off for another year can they?? Perhaps the company will pull a “Cloverfield Paradox” and drop the thing without warning right after the superbowl. Your guess is as good as mine.