IONCINEMA.com’s Top 3 Critics’ Picks offers a curated approach to the usual quandary: what would you recommend I see in theaters this month? I don’t recall a September line-up that wasn’t stacked and ’22 is not different. We have film items that premiered on the film fest circuit and positioned for autumn crowds — are those films are going up against fresh awards bait items when the Venice and Toronto flood gates finally open. In our top three bets we have a mix of films budget ranging from micro indie to medium budget American indie to larger canvas auteur stuff. Mubi rolls out Ricky D’Ambrose’s The Cathedral this week, while IFC Films and Netflix will begin their campaigns for God’s Country and Blonde respectively.
The Cathedral – Ricky D’Ambrose
September 2nd – NYC
Fests: 2021 Venice Film Festival – Biennale College Cinema, 2022 Sundance Film Festival, 2022 International Film Festival Rotterdam, 2022 New Directors/New Films
D’Ambrose’s generational, child’s POV vintage piece of minimalist cinema was popping with carpeted synthetic fabric glee akin to maybe Todd Haynes’ Safe and delightful family dynamic malaise we might find in a Wiseman or Solondz film. D’Ambrose’s sophomore feature has obviously connected with world film fest programmers and Mubi took notice landing the rights back in May.
“…presents its events from obtuse angles – establishing scenes with shots of incidental elements of the place, or having important sequences play out with some or all of the involved characters offscreen. It is deliberate, almost minimalist, in its methods.” – Daniel Schindel for Little White Lies
“his fastidiously crafted work creates a sharply selective portrait of clueless parenting that one can only imagine will require years of intensive therapy from which to recover—or, if D’Ambrose is lucky, perhaps making this film will have done the trick.” – Todd McCarthy for Deadline
“Many influences clearly run through The Cathedral, but its achievement is singular. D’Ambrose points the way toward doing period films that actually capture periods, utilizing documentary footage to establish a setting that’s complemented with minimal props that, especially for adults, suggest totems to unreconciled, unfinished, now unreachable worlds.” – Chuck Bowen for Slant Magazine
God’s Country – Julian Higgins
September 16th – Limited
Distributor: IfC Films
Fests: 2022 Sundance Film Festival, 2022 Deauville Film Festival
The IFC Films folks landed God’s Country not much time after its digital Sundance premiere, Julian Higgins will get to accompany the film at the upcoming Deauville Film Festival and Thandiwe Newton we be feted on her own with the Deauville Talent Award and retrospective of some of her noteworthy work. Sam Peckinpah-esque and thrumping with what a Midwest Neo noir in a white backdrop, this will linger on much in the same vibe as Robert Machoian’s unsettling The Killing of Two Lovers.
“…constantly dangles redemption in front of our faces, begging us to imagine a better world, but ultimately delivers a stark reminder of how bitterly divided the country is.” – Christian Zilko for IndieWIRE
“Crisp, steady shots of snow-powdered mountainous terrain sustain us. And a brash, violent feud traps us, making it impossible to look away from this often exhilarating, if occasionally overcooked, film.” – Lovia Gyarkye for The Hollywood Reporter
“Higgins’ first feature can be taken as a drama with thriller elements or a low-key thriller with atypical dramatic nuance, working either way as a quietly effective balance between genre, social issue and character study elements.” – Dennis Harvey for Variety
Blonde – Andrew Dominik
September 16th – NYC
Fests: 2022 Venice Film Festival
With only the book’s author Joyce Carol Oates sharing her thoughts on the adaptation; we’ll be getting the first wave of reviews next week on September 8th. Dominik’s fourth fiction feature has been in the can for a while now so we’re expecting some polished work once again. Led by Ana de Armas, the cast includes Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Xavier Samuel, Julianne Nicholson and Lily Fisher. Netflix will launch this globally on the 23rd.