Opening with promise and displaying tantalizing initial threat, John and the Hole quickly squanders its potential not long after its delayed opening titles. The feature directing debut of Pascual Sisto, and adapted by Nicolás Giacobone from his own short story “El Pozo”, the film pairs stark imagery with an intentionally vacuous perspective on its titular young man. But beneath its enigmatic austerity is an arduous 90 minute effort to unlock its character study only to find an empty cave echoing back your frustration. The most embarrassing selection of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and sure to be one of the year’s worst films, John and the Hole is all empty aesthetics and reactionary psychology performatively, even petulantly without depth.Continue reading “In Review: John and the Hole”
Desiree Akhavan’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post takes a look at christian gay conversion therapy camps with an eye as curious for the blasé as the insidious. As its titular hero is subjected to its invasive therapy as punishment for her sexual relationship with a friend, her experience within the camp’s sterile walls is a burden to be born for its monotony as much as its cruelty. Like the teenage years, sure, it’s hell. But it’s also incredibly mundane as you are waiting for your real life to begin.
Following the lovely and unimposing Love is Strange (and to a lesser extent the isolation of Keep the Lights On), Ira Sachs latest film Little Men proves that the writer/director’s New York City is just about the most honestly realized world in contemporary movies. Men plays like Strange‘s slightly more hardened cousin, the worlds of both so rooted in Sachs’s signature compassion and honesty that it’s as if both could be happening concurrently. The diverse world he builds of humble intellectuals doing their best with inconvenience is even more nuanced here, bursting with no-win compromises for all and a powerful cinematic modesty.
It’s become a style that makes Sachs’s work immediately recognizable, his voice coming through without the mannered tics or inventive wordplay of his peers. If it feels precious to the audience, it’s because the director is organically building a world that’s all too true to real life.