Each week the Before The Cyborgs staff comes together to answer one question relating to the current events of that particular week. This week with the upcoming release of A24’s First Reformed – we ask: What is your favorite A24 Film?
I bought a copy of Infinite Jest years ago after hearing the praise surrounding the book. It sat on my bookshelf for months afterward not because it’s not a great book but because for someone unfamiliar with David Foster Wallace at the time, it was intimidating to tackle both the complexity and depth of his style. In hindsight, it would have been easier to start with his essays or short stories (like this one on David Lynch) but it really wasn’t until I saw The End Of The Tour that I started to appreciate the man some dub as the greatest writer of his generation.
Jason Segel plays Foster Wallace, the introverted writer behind Infinite Jest as he is interviewed by Rolling Stone Magazine writer David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) at various points of the book’s promotional tour. Together the pair has intimate conversations on life, culture, identity and beyond showcasing Wallace’s insight on the human condition. Devoid of much in the way of plot, End Of The Tour derives much of its intrigue through quiet conversation (much like the standout film My Dinner With Andre). Flying under the radar among A24’s many standouts – The End Of The Tour should be added to your watchlist if it isn’t already.
I’ve gone on enough about my love affair with Greta Gerwig and Lady Bird, which is not only my favorite A24 film, but also was my favorite film of 2017, and I am still upset that it did not win a single Oscar that night. Lady Bird is one of the most honest, personal portraits of adolescence and youth with not one hint of feeling out of touch, artificial, or disingenuous. It captures the feeling of being a lost, confused teenager with such authenticity that it becomes immediately relatable, both for people currently in that stage of their lives, and for adults to put themselves back into that period that they had once experienced themselves. It is a beautifully layered screenplay that treats even the most minor of supporting characters with the utmost respect and sympathy, even when our protagonist doesn’t see them as such. Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf each give Oscar-deserving performances, and their dynamic together onscreen is one of the most heartbreaking yet realistic depictions of a relationship between a mother and her teenage daughter.
Canadian director Atom Egoyan’s 2015 thriller Remember seemed to go under the radar at the time of its release, yet like many other films that are glossed over it features a cast and story that deserves a wider recognition. Starring Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau in one of his final film roles, the movie tells the tale of two Holocaust survivors now at the end stage of their lives in a nursing home. Both men have long planned to seek revenge on the officer who personally killed their families at Auschwitz, but time and age have taken away the possibility… at least seemingly. Landau’s character is confined to a wheelchair and so he convinces Plummer’s Zev (who is battling dementia) to leave the home and take a road trip to find the enemy.
It’s an intriguing and delightfully suspenseful story that leads to a great and shocking twist ending, and that is buoyed by reliably strong performances from the two veteran actors. As well as putting a unique spin on the Holocaust revenge story, it also sheds a light on the cruelties of aging and senior discrimination. It’s probably the most gripping thriller you’ll ever watch with a 90-year-old man as the central character and a nice work that shows that older performers should have more material written for them that can be just as captivating and entertaining.