Michel Merkt

Movie Review: Capernaum (2018)

“I’m Nobody! Who are you? Are you — Nobody — too? Then there’s a pair of us!” — Emily Dickinson They are children of the streets. You can see them in the slums and marginalized neighborhoods of every major city in the world — begging, selling trinkets or other wares, carrying heavy loads for some…

Movie Review: The Sisters Brothers (2018)

“Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam, be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home” — John Howard Payne The Smothers Brothers they are not. Brothers Eli (John C. Reilly, “Kong: Skull Island”) and Charlie (Joaquin Phoenix, “You Were Never Really Here”) Sisters, known to all as the Sisters Brothers, are deadly…

Movie Review: Foxtrot (2017)

Winner of the Silver Lion at the Venice International Film Festival and Israel’s submission to the 2018 Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film, Israeli director Samuel Maoz’s (“Lebanon”) brilliant and confounding Foxtrot reveals itself less by narrative than by images: A narrow road in an empty stretch of desert, a lonely camel meandering through a…

Movie Review: Western (2017)

Like a lonely, mysterious gunslinger from the Old West, a tall, slender rugged-looking man with a thick mustache comes to a small Bulgarian village near the Grecian border as part of a German work crew in Valeska Grisebach’s (“Longing”) Western. The man is Meinhard (Meinhard Neumann), in Bulgaria to work on a hydroelectric power station…

Movie Review: Elle (2016)

Paul Verhoeven is back with more scratchy sexual politics, darkly comic innuendos, and harshly nasty violence. First things first, the most joyous part of that sentence is the beginning. Paul Verhoeven is back. Not back to Hollywood, of course, which he left nearly 17 years ago after the dismal response to his schlocky invisibility thriller…

Movie Review: Aquarius (2016)

In “Neighboring Sounds,” Brazilian director Kleber Mendonça Filho’s first feature, the focus is on the anxiety that grips a middle-class neighborhood in Recife (Brazil’s fifth largest city), that has residents so fearful of their safety that they hire security guards to protect their buildings. Also set in Recife, Mendonça Filho’s Aquarius narrows its focus to…

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