She Dies Tomorrow
*** Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) knows for a fact that she's going to die tomorrow. She's seen things. Heard things. She knows. Obviously, her best friend Jane (Jane Adams) doesn't believe her at first. But then Jane begins having the same ominous visions. Now, Jane knows for a fact that she's going to die tomorrow. As does Jane's brother (Chris Messina), and his wife, and her friends, etc., etc. In most mainstream thrillers, we'd probably see the characters team up to fight death, but writer-director Amy Seimetz is detached from narrative convention, and her kaleidoscopic sophomore feature is, honestly, a lot less thrilling than it sounds. This is by no means a negative—it's contemplative and challenging, harnessing dread from the fatal contagion of existentialist-fueled anxiety. In Seimetz's neon-soaked world, death is a natural process, something to resign to instead of futilely resist. Though some viewers may find the aimless ambiguity baffling, this is a film to fully feel with all senses—to marinate in—rather than agonize over the intentional lack of logic and answers. Anxiety itself is often irrational, so this is Seimetz's impressionistic response to that all too ubiquitous frustration. Embrace it. R. MIA VICINO. Google Play.
Martin Margiela: In His Own Words
** No matter how often haute couture may borrow from Hollywood imagery, the silver screen rarely flatters our more fashion-forward designers. Films about the people behind the big-name clothing labels tend to accentuate their most cartoonish eccentricities—showing so-called visionaries leaning into the silliest flourishes of their own branding with a grim determination that borders on self-parody. The same cannot be said about the new documentary Martin Margiela: In His Own Words, which examines the career of the famously private avant-garde Belgian style icon, who abruptly left his own studio after his final 2008 show. The film does present an engaging opportunity to evade Zoolandrian caricature when fleshing out a designer known for his deconstructive strategies steeped in found-object whimsy—he has turned everything from a leather butcher's apron to a broken dish into high fashion. And Margiela's participation as narrator allows for thoughtful reflection and, since only his hands are shown, keeps the fashion world's answer to Banksy wrapped in an air of mystery. However, director Reiner Holzemer never bothers to speculate how his subject's guiding passions interrelate, resulting in a portrait that's never quite as lively or unconventional as Margiela's creations. For all but the most hardcore fashionista superfans, less really isn't more this time. NR. JAY HORTON. Virtual Cinema.