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Thread: Quick previews: Baumbach's MARRIAGE STORY and Sachs' FRANKIE

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    Quick previews: Baumbach's MARRIAGE STORY and Sachs' FRANKIE

    PREVIEWS OF SACH'S FRANKIE AND BAUMBACH'S MARRIAGE STORY



    A 'meh' and a 10-out-of-10

    Watch for the full review of Marriage Story in Filmleaf's coming New York Film Festival coverage in October; it's the NYFF Centerpiece Film.

    I just saw both that and Ira Sachs' Portugal-set Frankie in press previews at the state of the art Dolby Labs cinema in San Francisco, and they were just about what I'd been led to expect. Both looked and sounded great in that setting, of course. Frankie is a posh, beautiful European production with a cocktail of Euro-stars. It's one of those things where people wander around having encounters and minor revelations. Very minor. It's pretty, but Isabelle Huppert has looked a lot better and so has Jérémie Renier. The whole thing seems like why? As Owen Gleiberman writes in Variety, "Even Eric Rohmer might have watched this movie and said, 'Nice! But is that all?'" A misstep.

    On the other hand, I liked Baumbach's Marriage Story a lot. Warmly accessible and insanely enjoyable, it's his tenth feature, and a ten out of ten. Even as I was watching it I was already looking forward to seeing it again.

    Marriage Story is really about a divorce, and contrasts with the directors sly, more parochial 2005 take on that topic, The Squid and the Whale, by how much more fluent, powerful, and at ease it is, how much more accessible and stronger emotionally. This is a specific and instructive movie that's also touching, tough and frequently hilarious. It works on an almost Shakespearean richness of levels.

    There is fantastic work by Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as the splitting couple, top notch support from Laura Dern and Ray Liotta in key supporting roles as divorce lawyers. Look forward to this movie at awards time, see it whenever or wherever you can in November or December.

    Marriage Story, 136 mins., debuted at Venice 29 Aug. 2019 and was featured in 8 or 10 other festivals including Telluride and Toronto; showing as the Centerpiece Film at the NYFF Oct. 4. Theatrical release Nov. 6, 2019, followed by digital streaming by Netflix Dec. 6. Metascore currently 95%.

    Frankie will be released on October 25, 2019, by Sony Pictures Classics. It also stars Pascal Greggory, Brendon Gleeson, Marisa Tomei, and Greg Kinnear. Its current Metascore is 56%.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-18-2019 at 11:26 AM.

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    I think Noah Baumbach has been one of the top 10 directors in the USA for about 20 years. If I were to make a list, you'd be surprised how many ambitious, accomplished filmmakers are left out. But Baumbach is great and consistently great. He is like Lucinda Williams in music; sh's been a "national treasure" for decades and there are tons of music lovers who never heard of her. Same with Baumbach. His MISTRESS AMERICA and THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES are awesome but so few people have seen them. They probably went to streaming soon after one or 2 theaters showed them in NYC and L.A.

    If this MARRIAGE STORY calls attention to him as a great filmmaker, my hope is that some will finally look back at his recent AND WIDELY UNDERPUBLICIZED movies. My favorite is still GREENBERG (2010)but that may be because I identify with the protagonist more than I relate to any other in any other movie he directed not because it is necessarily "better".

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    Baumbach is uneven but important, and he works in a sophisticated vein somewhat like a French director while yet remaining, of course, totally American and New York and Jewish. See my review of Mistress America for thoughts on that one and on him and on his star and muse, Greta Gerwig. We'll see how the new one featured at the NYFF holds up, but Marriage Story seemed to me one of his strongest efforts, and different from any of his other movies, more challenging to him and us than Mistress America. My full review of Marriage Story will appear here when it's shown in the festival next Friday, Oct. 4, 2019.

    I'll also be publishing a review of Almodóvar's new film, Pain and Glory/Dolor y gloria, later today: it's being shown in the NYFF today and tomorrow.

    Martin Scorsese's The Irishman, this year's NYFF Opening Night film, which showed last night, is showing ten times, Dargis notes, at the festival. But I will leave that to review later. It has a current Metascore of 92. It's 3 1/2 hours long - asking rather a lot of a opening night audience. (But then look at opera. And I guess it is a kind of opera.)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-28-2019 at 07:55 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Knipp View Post
    Baumbach is uneven
    I disagree. I think he's never made a film that is not at least worth watching. Actually, I think all his films are highly accomplished. Not uneven

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    That is not really a disagreement. They are all highly accomplished. They can still be uneven. We always disagree. You will see Marriage Story is quite different from his others. And I think, one of his best.

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