6 items from 2017
It means something when one of American cinema’s greatest auteurs and commits to working on a digital platform, big-screen experience be damned. That’s exactly what Martin Scorsese did by partnering with Netflix on his next project, the $125 million mob movie “The Irishman.” While the 74-year-old New Yorker delights in celebrating film history, he’s practical enough to know his movies must remain relevant in rapidly changing times.
The fast-talking cinephile has also moved into television (“Boardwalk Empire” and “Vinyl”), fought to preserve film history through archival efforts, and produced films from younger generations. By getting a handle on multiple facets of the moving image, he’s saving filmmaking from extinction in a fragmented media age, even as he contributes to the art form with his own vibrant and ambitious directing efforts.
“I do think, with the advent of digital, there’s good hope that the storytelling impulse will always be there, »
- Eric Kohn
Faith-based cinema is as diverse a genre as there is, from the extreme, often violent portraits of devotion from established directors like Martin Scorsese and Mel Gibson, to the attacks on logic in the God’s Not Dead and Left Behind pictures. Angus MacLachlan, a great storyteller of the not-too-deep south, offers a nuanced example of what this genre can bring, returning with the moving Abundant Acreage Available. The title may signal a light-hearted film, and given MacLachlan’s previous feature (the charming sex comedy Goodbye To All That) and writing credits (which include Phil Morrison’s masterpiece Junebug), you might be forgiven for having that expectation. However, MacLachlan’s latest is a departure from his previous work: a quiet, powerful portrait of two families at a crossroads, featuring the middle-aged Ledbetters — including the reformed alcoholic Jesse (Terry Kinney) and his adopted sister Tracy (Amy Ryan) — and three aging brothers (Max Gail, »
- John Fink
If you liked “Manchester by the Sea” — or the kind of low-key emotional drama in which men break down and sob uncontrollably — then Martin Scorsese has the movie for you. It’s called “Abundant Acreage Available,” and it’s pretty much the opposite of anything Scorsese has directed, which stands to reason, because he didn’t direct it. North Carolina playwright-turned-director Angus MacLachlan did, and like the “Junebug” script for which he’s best known, this one achieves a tricky kind of subtlety amid so much stage-style chatter. (Just to be clear about Scorsese’s involvement, he agreed to executive produce after seeing MacLachlan’s promising debut feature, “Goodbye to All That,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival two years earlier.)
Set on a family-owned North Carolina tobacco farm, recognizable as such from its almost blood-red clay, “Abundant Acreage Available” begins as many a play has, with a pair »
- Peter Debruge
Filmmaker Angus MacLachlan has a good history with the Tribeca Film Festival. Back in 2014, MacLachlan’s debut film — the divorce dramedy “Goodbye to All That” — was a hit with the Tribeca jury members and crowds alike, garnering a Best Narrative Feature nomination as well as a Best Actor win for star Paul Schneider. Now, three years later, MacLachlan is back at the festival with “Abundant Acreage Available,” his film about a pair of rural siblings dealing with the loss of their father.
- The Playlist
If “Abundant Acreage Available” didn’t have closeups or outdoor scenes, it could have been filmed theater. Writer-director Angus MacLachlan’s second feature focuses on grown siblings Tracy (Amy Ryan) and Jesse (Terry Kinney) in the immediate aftermath of their father’s death. Stuck with his expansive farmland, they’re unsure what to do next, until the arrival of three older men who knew the deceased stake a claim to it. Set in a single location with a cast of five, the movie offers a lesson in minimalist drama, unfolding as a sharply acted mood piece that never crescendos, but hums along with wise observations and first-rate performances.
A intergenerational family drama that wouldn’t look out of place in the oeuvres of Tennessee Miller or Arthur Miller, “Abundant Acreage Available” is a noticeably more somber work for MacLachlan, whose directorial debut “Goodbye to All That” was a vulgar black comedy about overcoming divorce. »
- Eric Kohn
Now in its sixteenth year, New York City’s own Tribeca Film Festival kicks off every spring with a wide variety of programming on offer, from an ever-expanding Vr installation to an enviable television lineup, but the bread and butter of the annual festival is still in its film slate. This year’s festival offers up plenty of returning favorites with new projects, alongside fresh faces itching to break out. From insightful documentaries to fanciful features, with a heavy dose of Gotham-centric films (hey, it is Tribeca after all), there’s plenty to dive into here, so we’ve culled the schedule for a few surefire hits.
This year’s Tribeca Film Festival takes place April 20 – 30. Check out some of our must-see picks below.
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- Indiewire Staff
6 items from 2017
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