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Gabriel Byrne (#110 of 6)

Ari Aster’s Hereditary, Sundance Horror Sensation, Gets First Trailer from A24

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Ari Aster’s Hereditary, Sundance Horror Sensation, Gets First Trailer from A24

A24

Ari Aster’s Hereditary, Sundance Horror Sensation, Gets First Trailer from A24

By most accounts, this year’s Sundance was a particularly low-key affair. Perhaps the fate of Patti Cake$, which Fox Searchlight Pictures bought out of the festival last year for $9.5 million and made $1.5 at the box office, served as a kind of cautionary tale. For one, both Amazon and Netflix, who led the pack last year in terms of purchases, walked away from this year’s festival without buying a single film. This probably came as a relief to many a competitor, but maybe it was also a sign that, at least on paper, there weren’t very many films at the festival whose box-office potential seemed promising.

One thing that almost everyone at Sundance could agree on was that Hereditary is a sensation. A24 purchased the film, which stars Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd, and Gabriel Byrne, ahead of the festival, and judging by its first trailer, a conscious effort is being made to position Ari Aster’s feature-length directorial debut as less miminalist in the horror department than both The Witch and It Comes at Night.

The Longest Day Long Day’s Journey into Night

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The Longest Day: Long Day’s Journey into Night

Joan Marcus

The Longest Day: Long Day’s Journey into Night

If you catch the matinée of this revived titan of American theater, you really will spend a long day journeying from day into night; if it’d opened in the fall instead of the spring, you’d go in seeing daylight and leave in the dark. The 1912-set play’s characters have an even longer day than the audience, withstanding an exhausting stream of emotional revelations and endless confessions that lasts from breakfast to midnight. My God, if this is what one day is like with these people, imagine how fatiguing a whole life would be?

Cannes Film Festival 2015 Louder Than Bombs

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Cannes Film Festival 2015: Louder Than Bombs
Cannes Film Festival 2015: Louder Than Bombs

It’s hard to remember exactly when being promoted to the Cannes competition ceased to mean much—the actual moment when festival director Thierry Fremaux decided that giving a platform to the likes of, say, Pedro Costa, Lucrecia Martel, or Apichatpong Weerasethakul (the latter bafflingly downgraded to Un Certain Regard this year) was simply not good for business. The decision to elevate such dully competent, glossily empty fare as Joachim Trier’s Louder Than Bombs to premier-league status serves, if nothing else, as a sobering reminder that those days are gone for good. Yet this isn’t the only artistic downfall that Trier’s film marks, as Isabelle Huppert’s previously sure hand at picking the crème de la crème of contemporary cinema has clearly also gone awry, the venerable French actress coming off here like a profile-hungry Madonna in desperate search of a new Mirwais.

Flashback: The Keep

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Flashback: <em>The Keep</em>
Flashback: <em>The Keep</em>

As dated as it is, The Keep (1983), Michael Mann’s second theatrical release after Thief (1981), remains an intriguing mess of historical provocation. The film answers “Nazisploitation” filmmakers’ favorite “What if” question—“If you could go back in time and kill the Nazis, would you?”—with a stirring “No.” Set in occupied Romania during 1943, the film’s central location, identified as “The Carpathian Mountains,” hints at a familiar supernatural threat (hint: He vants to suck your blood) but forgoes that kind of undead evil for a more Jungian kind. Mann’s film posits that the only thing more evil than the Nazis is Molsar (Michael Carter), an evil deity that stands in for humanity’s collective hatred. Sealed into the eponymous locale by nickel and silver-plated crosses, Molsar reveals Himself to us with an unholy amount of dry ice and blinding white lights that are straight out of a certain Russell Mulcahy music video.

Small as Molsar may be (he looks like more of a robot than a god, kinda like the Micronauts’ Baron Karza) he’s the monster you conjure up when you contemplate such fruitless speculative questions as whether or not murdering the Nazis, at any point in time, is the best way to deal with the consequences of their actions. And all of His power resides in a lil’ rinky-dink talisman that looks like it took only a few minutes for some poor techie to whip up on location. The film and Mann’s monster are for all intents and purposes earnest, but how seriously you can take the film is entirely dependent on your tolerance for camp.

In Treatment Revisited: Week Two

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<em>In Treatment</em> Revisited: Week Two
<em>In Treatment</em> Revisited: Week Two

At the end of last week’s review, I noticed a tag identifying me as a psychology student. While technically correct, I wanted to clarify my point of view a bit beyond that of an aspiring Paul Weston (Gabriel Byrne). For most of my adult life, I’ve bounced from therapist to therapist, the success of my therapy being less a direct result of the quality of professional I was seeing, and more manifesting as a direct corollary of how much I was willing to work in therapy.

In Treatment Revisited: Week One

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<em>In Treatment</em> Revisited: Week One
<em>In Treatment</em> Revisited: Week One

The more things change, the more they stay the same. That seems to be what the individuals running HBO’s series In Treatment are telling us with the first batch of episodes of its sophomore season. Back in the therapist’s chair as Dr. Paul Weston is Gabriel Byrne, whose portrayal of Weston manages to make the character the best and the worst therapist of all time.

season two opens on the heels of much upheaval in Paul’s life. He’s relocated to Brooklyn after divorcing his wife and has restarted his practice in his apartment. The premiere begins with an off-hours knock on the door by Alex Prince Sr. (Glynn Turman), informing Paul that the Navy has found no mechanical malfunction with regards to his son’s death and subsequently serving him with papers for a lawsuit.