starring Algenis Perez Soto, Rayniel Rufino, Andre Holland, Ann Whitney
written and directed by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
starring Teruyuki Kagawa, Kyôko Koizumi, Yû Koyanagi, Kai Inowaki
screenplay by Max Mannix, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Sachiko Tanaka
directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa
by Walter Chaw In case you haven't noticed, there's a cinematic trend afoot that looks to the fringes for stories of survival in a world where it's suddenly chic to shop at the thrift store. I credit Harmony Korine and David Gordon Green with first finding the poetry in destitution in this new American cycle, with maybe Gus Van Sant (with his Drugstore Cowboy and My Own Private Idaho) acting as the accidental primogenitor. If it's not Frozen River's trailer-park heroine and her dalliance with human trafficking, it's Wendy & Lucy's despair from the bottom of the capitalist food chain. In the mainstream, there's Sean Penn's fantastic Into the Wild and the reboot of 3:10 to Yuma, which at its heart is a drama about the toll of being the breadwinner. Even Hancock, a movie that keeps improving in the rearview, can be read with profit as a document of how tough it is for the everyday Joe to eke out a living in a culture designed for the affluent, the physically gifted, the innately well-spoken. Like any social movement in film, however, a lot of the stuff is minimally affecting, message-oriented garbage that seems very pleased with itself as it, like the exec pushing a broken cart through Goodwill, wears its limitations as if dragging a cross uphill. There appears to be a race to the bottom: the first to total, Warholian inertia wins the booby prize. Most of it's destined to be remembered as symptoms of the affliction and not as the illness itself; the runny nose, not the Plague.