Everything Strange and New (2011)
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Critic Reviews for Everything Strange and New
In any case, this intriguing, sometimes frustrating, in some ways amateurish movie is a work of vaulting artistic ambition.
The film conveys the intimate sense of reading a diary and provides no more consolation than we feel in writing in our own.
The images are sometimes heavy-handed, and the same can be said of the film as a whole.
The film does something quite amazing in allowing the kind of bottled-up emotional dynamic that heterosexual masculinity requires to finally express itself in speech.
Audience Reviews for Everything Strange and New
A semi-experimental symphony to the 21st-century man, director Frazer Bradshaw's "Everything Strange and New" assembles snapshots of a carpenter's existence, connected via introspective monologues and cacophonous swells of string music. Helmer's feature debut provides a first glimpse at what post-recession independent cinema could look like, offering a revisionist, glass-half-empty take on the American Dream. This is a film worthy of discussion and contemplation, though in the end Bradshaw's effort is just a bit too heavy handed to be recommendable.
If you have the patience for this film, you may find it rewarding on a gut level. This 2011 Independent Spirit Award nominee for Best First Feature tells the story of a carpenter who is having an existential crisis spurned by a crumbling marriage, a mid-life crisis, and good friends who just beneath the surface are suffering alongside him. Director and DP Frazer Bradshaw prefers long, meandering takes, diary entry voiceovers from our main character are woven into shots of cityscapes. Here, he seems to be telling us, is a man seeing the overly familiar for the first time. Played for its entirety in a flat monotone style, Jerry McDaniel captures a quiet patient man who is raging inside, and I was strangely captivated. It's easy to dismiss this film as a huge bore, and I wouldn't blame anyone for thinking that, but I connected with its truths. One major misstep is that McDaniel is often seen moping through certain scenes in a clown costume like a Deadpan Chaplin. These "fantasy" moments are clearly meant to show us his internal anguish, but I think we got that just fine without it. Another repeated motif is having various couples in the film posing for family photos, waiting endlessly for that camera click. This is much more effective than all the clown crap! Bradshaw also uses the camera well and understands the beauty in the mundane. I liked his compositions of dirty dishes piling up, of the long-suffering, possibly bi-polar wife "dutifully" preparing a meal or going down on her husband. The late in the game revelations that came with McDaniel's friends were also movingly played and quite sad. Here is a film which captures the prison of masculinity society can enforce upon its men. It almost feels like a companion piece to Sofia Coppola's SOMEWHERE. Definitely not a film for impatient, Michael Bay fans, but rewarding for those who find themselves questioning their lots in life.
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