Top 5 Movies from FilmFest 919 (Oct 2022)
FilmFest 919 is one of the premiere film festivals in the state of North Carolina. Co-creators, Carol and Randi are phenomenal curators that come up with an amazing collection of films that are almost always in the Awards Season discussion. This year was no exception. There were so many great films from up-and-coming filmmakers, as well as some gems from the established Hollywood elite. In true Two Peas fashion, along with my producer, Dan Brenic, we have compiled our top 5 favorite watches from this year's FilmFest 919.
#5 - White Noise
dir. Noah Baumbach
Noah Baumbach's White Noise may be the most divisive movie of 2022. There's rarely a moment of silence as characters wax poetic over nothing, often overlapping and leading to a cacophony of self-importance. However, it's all done with the script's tongue planted firmly in its cheek, or so the movie hopes you understand. The cast's performances fit excellently with the tone that Baumbach has set, with moments of humor but also frustration. As a fan of Baumbach, I should love seeing him poke fun at his own projects. Instead, I realize why some have called the movie "unfilmable."
#4 - Women Talking
dir. Sarah Polley
While it’s paced very slowly with almost the entire runtime taking place in one room (barn), it still packs a pretty hard punch. The film feels a little too "stage play" as opposed to film based on its source material. However, there are so many stellar once in a lifetime performances here that really keep the intrigue and entertainment afloat. Claire Foy and Jessie Buckley tag-teamed stealing the show. Polley makes some very curious, albeit courageous choices when it comes to lighting, cinematography and editing. The film's look is very bleak, but I think that translates perfectly since the subject matter is about as bleak as you can get. It’s a tough watch, but one that deserves our attention. Also Oscar chances go to Claire Foy (with Buckley a close second).
#3 - Devotion
dir. J.D. Dillard
Devotion is a beautiful celebration of a man molded by his experiences of racism as he earned his wings to become one of the Navy's most celebrated pilots. The movie feels ahead of its time, focusing not on Jesse Brown's suffering and struggles, but instead celebrating the man as the trailblazer he was. However, while Jonathan Majors does his best to show how Jesse used his pain to reach where he is, we only hear these stories from Jesse's mouth, which takes away their impact. The film is also seemingly about Brown's relationship with his wingman, Tom Hudner (Glen Powell), though it never feels like it's more than a professional relationship of circumstance. I applaud J.D. Dillard for making a movie about the celebration of a black man; ultimately, Devotion feels more like a blueprint for future films.
#2 - Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
dir. Rian Johnson
Absurd title aside, Rian Johnson has another classic on his hands with Glass Onion. Janelle Monae sparkles as Daniel Craig continues to expertly ham it up. Johnson's ability to write prescient satire is wonderful, taking aim at influencer culture and how those that would seem diametrically opposed are likely closer than you think. Unfortunately, the Glass Onion and surrounding mansion are more of a shrine to opulence rather than a character like Thrombey Mansion was in Knives Out. The ending also falls flat, unable to offer the satisfaction of its predecessor. Still, Glass Onion will entertain and keep you guessing, just like a good mystery should.
#1 - Close
dir. Lukas Dhont
Close is an absolutely heartbreaking coming-of-age story of friendship that will wreck you. Young Eden Dambrine gives a tender and intimate performance that will rival any other “Oscar worthy” one this year. Staggering and beautiful, the movie showcases the pressures of adolescence and the sometimes heavy responsibility of friendship. Dhont creatively connects us to these young characters, as well as the parental figures in the film. We are extremely invested in the story, and due to this investment, Close is a movie that will stay with me for years. A tremendous achievement and easily among the year's best.