Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016)

moonlight

The only true constant in Moonlight is its look. It is an odd sort of luminescence, bringing out the vibrancy of the subject while turning everything not in the immediate foreground into a impressionistic haze of blurred colors. The effect is definitely one of immediacy, but crucially, it is immediacy that belongs to all time periods: apart from some signposts in the form of cars, cell phones, and music, the setting of the film, Miami, doesn’t seem to change all that much. The background of run-down homes, barred windows, and an moonlit beach stay the same, while the people and their changes are highlighted in stunning detail.

The movie’s visual style mirrors Barry Jenkins’ approach towards his main character, Chiron. The story of Chiron’s growth during three decades in Miami, Moonlight functions less like a biography and more like a series of snapshots. Each section, denoted by the name Chiron goes by in each section (Little, Chiron, and Black, respectively), is set over a few consecutive days, and the events are at once the most consequential and yet seem like transitions to different stages of Chiron’s life. They are formative moments, in a sense, and they come together over the course of the film to gather a quiet, cumulative force that dazes the viewer, making them feel as lost yet as at home as Chiron does.

Continue reading Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016)”

Advertisements

The Alchemist Cookbook (Joel Potrykus, 2016)

screenshot-2016-11-06-at-12-20-18-am

The Alchemist Cookbook is like The Martian if Matt Damon was living in a rusty trailer deep in the Michigan woods and he decided to pseudo-science the shit out of spare cleaning chemicals because he wasn’t smart, just insane. Call it The Michiganian. The Martian was a clarion call for humanity’s aspirational best. The Alchemist Cookbook is the sobering reality that 99% of us would quickly go nuts if left to our own devices.

Continue reading The Alchemist Cookbook (Joel Potrykus, 2016)”