RICK GROEN’S PICKS:
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Definitely not to be taken literally, Beasts is an ominous children’s fable, a beautiful tone poem, an allusive allegory and, in the hands of director Benh Zeitlin, an astonishing debut – like crossing the menace of Maurice Sendak with the meaning of Terrence Malick.
Ferociously paced, blisteringly smart, Leos Carax’s film is a potent display of imagination that cuts with a double edge. Here, imagination incarcerates and it liberates, trapping our brain even while freeing our senses – life’s unholy predicament and art’s holy delight.
Life of Pi
Ang Lee and Yann Martel’s fable are a match made in cinematic heaven. The director has mastered the shiny technology (dazzling 3-D, ferociously credible CGI) the story needs, and the story offers the director the deeper themes he craves. The result: magic realism, indeed.
With Daniel Day-Lewis a marvel of quiet containment in the title role, Lincoln is a dramatized political essay largely confined to what politicians do. Really, it’s a movie about people talking in rooms – and the talk fascinates.
Tracking a boy and girl through a Labour Day weekend on the Atlantic shore, director Wes Anderson cranks up the artifice to weave a beguiling Late-Summer Night’s Dream. And this New England owes a magical debt to that old one, where sprites roamed free and young love triumphed.
LIAM LACEY’S PICKS: