Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Stupid Lives Matter


THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

Enormously strong central performances and occasional bouts of directorial excellence manage to weld together a bunch of mismatched parts into something that sometimes almost feels like a coherent whole; and, as easy as it is to talk shit about everything wrong about it (for there's a lot, and, boy, is it easy to talk about it), it's not possible to quite deny its finer qualities, either.

2017
Written and directed by Martin McDonagh
With Frances McDormand (Mildred Hayes), Caleb Landry Jones (Red Welby), Abbie Cornish (Anne Willoughby), Sam Rockwell (Officer Jason Dixon), and Woody Harrelson (Chief Bill Willoughby)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Godspeed, you black emperor


BLACK PANTHER

Okay, the first thing you should know is that I liked it. The second thing is that I get to write about race in American discourse, so... yippee.

2018
Directed by Ryan Coogler
Written by Joe Robert Cole and Ryan Coogler
With Chadwick Boseman (King T'Challa), Lupita Nyong'o (Nakia), Letetia Wright (Princess Shuri), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Angela Bassett (Queen Mother Ramonda), Forrest Whittaker (High Priest Zuri), Daniel Kaluuya (W'Kabi), Winston Duke (M'Baku), Martin Freeman (Everett Ross), Andy Serkis (Ulysses Klaue), and Michael B. Jordan (Erik "Killmonger" Stevens)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sans soleil


THE DEATH OF LOUIS XIV
La mort de Louis XIV

If you fell asleep, it wouldn't be your fault, but The Death of Louis XIV has better reasons for being boring than the typical exercise in pretension—French or otherwise—and if you don't want to be bored while it's on, well, perhaps try actually looking at it.

2016 (France)/2017 (USA)
Directed by Albert Serra
Written by Thierry Lounas and Albert Serra
With Jean-Pierre Leaud (Louis XIV Bourbon) and Patrick d'Assumcao (Dr. Fagon)

Spoiler alert: if you can't read, then I can't spoil it for you with a written review, can I?

Friday, February 9, 2018

It's pronounced "van gahhhkk"


LOVING VINCENT

Actually, it seems like it's pronounced a whole lot of ways, but no matter what you call him, this tribute to the unforgettable Vincent Van Gogh is a piece of animation history that won't be soon forgotten itself.

2017
Directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman
Written by Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, and Jacek Dehnel
With Douglas Booth (Armand Roulin), Chris O'Dowd (Postman Joseph Roulin), Joseph Sessions (Pere Tanguy), Helen McCrory (Louise Chevalier), Eleanor Tomlinson (Adeline Ravoux), Aidan Turner (the Boatman), Saorise Ronan (Marguerite Gachet), and Jerome Flynn (Dr. Paul Gachet)

Spoiler alert: moderate, leaning toward inapplicable

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Send me Tony Randall and booze


SEND ME NO FLOWERS

Day, Hudson, and Randall are back, and having explored goofy mid-century sex to their satisfaction and our own, set their sights now upon goofy mid-century death.

1964
Directed by Norman Jewison
Written by Julius J. Epstein (based on the play by Norman Barasch and Carroll Moore)
With Rock Hudson (George Kimball), Tony Randall (Arnold Nash), Doris Day (Judy Kimball), Paul Lynde (Mr. Akins), Hal March (Winston Burr), Edward Andrews (Dr. Morrissey), and Clint Walker (Bert Powers)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Mad man


LOVER COME BACK

There are three good things about this movie—and it gets exactly one point for each of them, plus one more, for that unbelievably stupid hat.

1961
Directed by Delbert Mann
Written by Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning
With Doris Day (Carol Templeton), Rock Hudson (Jerry Webster), Tony Randall (Pete Ramsey),  Edie Adams (Rebel Davis), Ann B. Davis (Millie), and Jack Kruschen (Dr. Linus Tyler)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Monday, January 29, 2018

Steven Spielberg, part XXXVII: All the controlling shareholder's men


THE POST

Gasp!  Will the Washington Post publish the Pentagon Papers in the face of hostile governmental action?  I can't wait to find out!  (So, perhaps you can see that it's at least somewhat despite itself that The Post winds up being the best true story Spielberg's put to film in over a decade.)

2017
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer
With Tom Hanks (Ben Bradlee), Meryl Streep (Kay Graham), and others, many, many, many others, sheesh

Spoiler alert: they saved democracy?