Friday Double Feature: Directorial Debuts
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James White (R)
The opening shot of “James White” summarizes the film’s purpose perfectly: a singular depiction of a flawed man in pain from his father’s death and his mother’s terminal illness. Such concentrated attention to one man and all his love, hate, flaws, and honor yields a most intriguing character study that only Christopher Abbott could command with the vitality and reality that he does. What’s most exciting is that this in depth look at the human condition is the first ever feature film by writer director Josh Mond.
Palo Alto (R)
Most blockbuster movies about high-schoolers examine a false and archaic institution. They dwell on archetypes and social dynamics that simply do not exist anymore. However, where most movies about high school life fail, “Palo Alto” shines. The progressive aesthetics and characters in the film reflect our new generation, and the original score by Devonte Hynes is the sonic equivalent. What really makes Gia Coppola’s debut feature film special is that it possesses the most crucial quality that makes or breaks all high school films: authenticity.