Best Of May 2019
Each month we collect highlights in film and music, all in one place. Read full reviews by clicking the images or links below.
Father of The Bride - Vampire Weekend
A wide-eyed return to the spotlight, and a surprisingly satisfying double album, Father of the Bride is another strong entry to the Vampire Weekend cannon. Beatles-esque harmonies on “Flower Moon” sit alongside flamenco dancehall (“Sympathy”), and it works.
U.F.O.F. - Big Thief
With career-bests in lyrics, instrumentation and mood, Big Thief’s U.F.O.F. is like and unlike everything the Brooklyn-based band has released thus far. Adrianne Lenker remains the rock they place their feet upon, but the ocean of noise around her has never been more exquisite.
A talkative film about modern-day affairs: What’s not to like? In Non-Fiction, writer/director Olivier Assayas takes a breather from high-concept award winners like Personal Shopper and Clouds of Sils Maria for a well-intentioned comment on the value of art. Criticism is dying, but writers are still writing; just not in the ways they used to.
IGOR - Tyler, the Creator
Trading emotional growth and fuzzy hooks for the highs and lows of relationships, Tyler, the Creator’s IGOR is a career-best filled with careful attention to production and mood. The songs may be growers, but they’re some of the most heartfelt and emotionally layered since Frank Ocean’s Blonde; an arena Tyler has reached with his own style.
Joanna Hogg’s latest labor of love is already getting a sequel. Her direction has never been more expressive, and the revelation of Honor Swinton Byrne (daughter of Tilda Swinton) carries the film into radical new categories.
Wild, eccentric, touching: Rocketman nails every high and low of Elton John’s life, and makes sure to capture the “grit beneath the glitter.
Elisabeth Moss owns the role of Becky Something, a waning refugee of the grunge explosion left to toil in her ego. As a music film it falters somewhat with predictable arcs, but as a vehicle for Moss, it becomes the actress’ most memorable film to date.
I Am Easy to Find - Short Film
Mike Mills’ short film, created in tandem with the National album of the same name, is nothing short of breathtaking. Casting Alicia Vikander as a nameless girl, playing every age of a person’s life directed by subtitles (not unlike the cue cards of Synecdoche, New York), and set to the music of the National’s world-weary eighth album; it’s a hidden gem from one of cinema’s consistently rising stars.
Keanu Reeves is set loose in the best the John Wick series has to offer. There are still plenty of awkward missteps, but the series finally seems to be gaining understanding of what its audience wants more of.
Featuring the debut of Olivia Wilde the director, Booksmart is one of the best teen comedies to sneak its way into the Lady Bird/Edge of Seventeen bubble. Capitalizing on humanistic portrayals of high school stereotypes and featuring the same creative direction that made Superbad a cult classic, it’s a film you should see as many times as possible.
Hurry On Home - Sleater-Kinney
The (second) return of Sleater-Kinney is no less exciting than the first. Following up on their promise of a new album produced by none other than St. Vincent, the legendary rock trio have lost none of their vigor in a tune packed with synths, sexiness, and thick guitar riffs.
Listen to “Hurry On Home”