In Review: The King of Staten Island

After his longest filmmaking gap since emerging with The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Judd Apatow returns with another character piece about someone getting their shit together. His films have been defined by focusing on protagonists with atypical charisma and unexpected depth, taking archetypes like the stoner of Knocked Up or the promiscuous drunkard of Trainwreck and giving them complete arcs. More than that, his films aim to challenge reductive perceptions of his heroes while also allowing them to grow in organic human ways. His latest, The King of Staten Island, entirely misses the mark on all of these elements.

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In Review: Frankie

At the core of Ira Sachs’ Frankie, an ensemble drama set on an idyllic Portuguese mountainside, is an acceptance of endings. Set from sun up to sun down in one day of a family vacation, Sachs’ characters are all facing closure of some sort – childhood, romance, or for the protagonist and those who love her, one’s mortality. But Frankie isn’t necessarily about a film about death so much as it is about the natural cycle of it all, and our human need for closure before we succumb to it. Inspired largely by Éric Rohmer, nature is both a vessel to find truth and a reflection of what afflicts these vacationers. It’s even quieter work from the director, but no less of an emotionally intuitive piece than his other films.

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