A charming Israeli comedy that teaches the viewer more about Judaism than nine seasons of Seinfeld, The Women’s Balcony illustrates the dramatic differences between a five on the religious conservatism scale and a nine. Emil Ben-Shimon’s superb debut is well-versed in the seductive power of charismatic leaders and the creeping language of repression while also being warm and funny. Assemble a minyan and be taken in by one of the best films to ever come out of Israel.
David Fincher’s newest film and his first in six years reaches back into his own history and that of Hollywood’s in Mank, a fractured narrative about the writing of Citizen Kane by Herman Mankiewicz. Working from a decades-old script by his father, Jack Fincher, the junior Fincher was supposed to direct Mank in the late 90’s, but things fall apart. Now, years after Jack’s death, Mank sees the light of day, or at least streaming in what is Fincher’s least commercial film. Shot in black and white and about a narrow slice of behind-the-scenes producing and writing, Mank is far away from Fincher’s adaptations of popular/controversial books, but box-office notwithstanding, the film contains that comforting sense that everything happening onscreen is purposeful and meaningful, even if the viewer doesn’t have the in-depth knowledge of Orson Welles and RKO Productions that would no doubt make Mank an even richer experience. After a too-long hiatus from film, Fincher churns out the ultimate one-for-me, paying tribute to his personal and professional predecessors, and finding camaraderie with writers everywhere despite him having never put his own name on a feature script.
Random projects from the MMC Universe.