Review: The Wolf Hour

“The Wolf Hour” is set in an era ripe for cinematic depiction; the summer of 1977. We spend part of this summer with reclusive agoraphobic June (Naomi Watts) as she is cramped in the smoldering heat of her stuffy, dusty, apartment in a dilapidated South Bronx walkup. An apartment with a window which--as June peers through with a cigarette in nudged between her pointer and index finger--seems to be a television with a crime show playing on repeat. The apartment itself is coated with dust; we see piles of books graying with grime, and what would appear to be discarded items pilling up in every corner. June herself has greasy coffee-colored hair; she is fleeced with a perpetual sheen of sweat. It’s miserable--the oppressive bleakness in her apartment mirrors the brutal crime outside. This is a rousing, dark look at a depressed, tortured woman’s self-imposed isolation. A near-colorless depiction of a mental struggle which is carried defiantly, from beginning to end, by a stunning performance from Watts.

Review: Luce

In Greek mythology, Cassandra was blessed with seeing true prophesies but she was cursed with never being believed. She foresaw the Greek soldiers hiding in a wooden horse but the Trojans stopped her from hacking it open. She was forced to watch the destruction, knowing it could have been avoided if only they'd have listened. Such is the fate of teacher Harriet Wilson (Octavia Spencer) in "Luce" (2019). She sees the warning signs about one of her students, Luce, but is completely dismissed by his parents and other teachers.

LFF Exclusive Review: Waves

“Waves” (2019) is the third film by writer-director Trey Edward Shults. It is a powerful drama about the ripple effects of violent acts and their impact on many different lives. High school athlete Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr) struggles to keep up with intense wrestling training, his girlfriend Alexis (Alexa Demie), and his family's expectations. His father (Sterling K Brown) pushes him to the limits of his physical and academic ability and is a strict disciplinarian despite providing a luxurious family home. All this pressure comes to a head and a violent act occurs. As the family comes to terms with their own guilt about the situation his sister Emily (Taylor Russell) tries to hold multiple relationships together, as well as her own emotions.

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