Andrew Kingsley



Kingsley: ‘Love and Friendship’ (2016) finds new life in Austen

Jane Austen has seen a small insurgence in recent cinema. “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” (2016) debuted in February of this year, grafting the historical appeal of Austen’s oeuvre to our de rigueur taste for zombies. Somehow it flopped. Yet for the diehard Austenites hoping for her work to not so literally come back to life, Whit Stillman’s “Love and Friendship” (2016) brings out Austen’s sense of wit and timing in this raucous period comedy.


‘Sing Street’ sings from start to finish

The story of a teenager forming a band to woo his crush sounds like the cliché of a shirtless guitar player playing to fawning fans on a college quad. Yet in director John Carney’s expert hands (he also directed “Once” (2007) and “Begin Again” (2013)), the intersection of music, love and hardship once again becomes fruitful grounds for exploration. His latest, “Sing Street” (2016), applies his formula to troubled Irish teenagers and breathes his quintessential exuberance into the unlikeliest of places.

Claire Feuille ’18, Dominic Giugliano ’19 and Carina Conti ’16 star in the film.


‘The Brimstone Guild’ proves an ambitious film project

Like “Ringu” (1998) or “It Follows” (2014) à la Dartmouth, “The Brimstone Guild,” the latest film from Dartmouth TV, turns our quaint Hanover campus into a Gothic nightmare. Written, directed, edited, shot and co-produced by Alex Hurt ’16, the film brings Hurt’s unique cinematic vision to life in an ambitious 40-minute package.


‘Keanu’ cannot recreate the Key and Peele magic

Fresh off the set of their recently concluded Comedy Central show “Key and Peele,” the shape-shifting Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele make their big screen debut in “Keanu” (2016). Like many television comedians have discovered, particularly Saturday Night Live cast members, cinematic audiences are unwelcoming of stars traversing media. Fortunately, the dynamic duo’s antics translate into a feature narrative film, while maintaining the same sketch comedy style which made them household names.


Everybody should get some of ‘Everybody Wants Some!!’ (2016)

More than 20 years after the success of “Dazed and Confused” (1993), Richard Linklater graduates from ’70s high school to ’80s college in “Everybody Wants Some!!” (2016). These two films along with “Boyhood” (2014) complete his unofficial adolescence trilogy, which showcases Linklater’s paternalistic nostalgia for decades past. Instead of sentimental photo albums, his films feel more like highlight reels, anthropological studies charting the richest rituals and mating patterns of young sub-cultures.


‘Son of Saul’ (2015) reconceptualizes the Holocaust in cinema

After seeing “Son of Saul” (2015) at the Telluride Film Festival, I witnessed director László Nemes correct renowned Holocaust film scholar Annette Insdorf, who likened his film to “Schindler’s List” (1993). To Nemes, “Schindler’s List” focused on some 3,000 survivors amongst 12 million casualties and absurdly romanticized the Holocaust. This absurd portrayal of an already absurd era normalizes and renders cloyingly palatable this horrific past.


‘The Revenant’ (2015) cannot bear its own weight

With Leo officially in the Oscar record books, we can all rest easy. But it took “The Revenant” (2015), a film plagued with budgetary problems, threats of hypothermia, cast injuries and a fired producer to get him there. Alejandro González Iñárritu has a history of torturous films (“Biutiful” (2010) and “Birdman” (2014)) that study the processes of human will and endurance. His films are inflections of this central theme, and “The Revenant” applies his aesthetic to the 1820s American frontier, before Manifest Destiny was a national rallying cry and the road to expansion was paved in blood.


‘10 Cloverfield Lane’ dissects nuclear family, then goes nuclear

After the success of the hand-held, alien invasion blockbuster “Cloverfield” in 2008, producer J. J. Abrams shaped its blood relative “10 Cloverfield Lane” (2016) to exist in the same apocalyptic universe. But the film seems patently devoid of aliens; rather they are a backdrop or suggestion, and what we get instead is a tight, chamber thriller in which alienation becomes the central horror.


‘The Lady in the Van’ (2015) takes its own backseat

Beyond her turn as the beloved Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter series or Violet Crawley on “Downton Abbey,” Dame Maggie Smith may be unknown to most American audiences. A giant of the British stage and screen, Smith has received two Oscars (“The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” (1969) and “California Suite” (1978)), two Emmys for “Downton Abbey” and a Tony for “Lettice and Lovage” (1990). But this great Dame, finding a second wind in her not so twilight years, trades her Downton pomp and circumstance for the grime and acerbity of Miss Shepherd, the lady in the van.

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