Pick of the week: “Nymphomaniac” — My full review is here. Come for the graphic sex, stay for the fly fishing tips in Lars Von Trier’s four-hour tale of a woman (Stacy Martin in Part I, Charlotte Gainsbourgh in Part II) whose lifelong quest for sexual gratification takes her into some rough corners. It’s funny, shocking, depressing, pretentious, scuzzy — either one of the worst porn movies ever made, or one of Von Trier’s best films.
“The Fisher King” — Robin Williams’ death is almost too sad to contemplate, but when I’m ready to go back and see one of his movies, it’ll be this one. Terry Gilliam’s 1991 film is a one-of-a-kind mix of gritty drama and surrealist fable, with Williams as a delusional medieval studies professor who befriends fallen shock jock Jeff Bridges. Of all the films Williams made, it’s the one movie I can think of that lets Williams display all his gifts, for comedy and for tragedy. He was truly one of a kind.
“The Barbarian Invasions” — Denys Arcand’s 2003 film reunites the characters from his 1986 film “The Decline of the American Empire,” all older and wiser, as they reunite at the bedside of a dying friend to talk politics and mortality one last time.
“Bicycling With Moliere” — Lambert Wilson and Fabrice Luchini play old friends, both veteran French actors, who clash while rehearsing lines for a possible production of Moliere’s “The Misanthrope.” The movie is mostly conversations (and arguments) between the friends, and it’s a treat to see two great French actors volleying shots back and forth across the net.
“It Felt Like Love” — My full review is here. Eliza Hittman’s unsettling first feature follows a 15-year-old girl who envies her older friends’ more sexualized lives, and finds herself pursuing a college-age thug with disastrous results.