As it’s a new year, Slow to the Party would like to swiftly wish everyone a Happy 2020!
The weather is depressing, but I’ve bravely left the safety of my bed to catch up with the sorta-latest flicks! Here are my smallish reviews. I’m not calling ’em mini reviews anymore.
After the negative press, I was disappointed NOT to feel bashed over the head with woke, man-hating propaganda courtesy of star/writer/director/terrible publicist for the movie, Elizabeth Banks.
It actually isn’t any worse than anything else I’ve seen. And it’s got Patrick Stewart! The plot is thin, which is frankly a relief in these days of convoluted blockbusters. ⭐⭐⭐ Speaking of…
The Rise of Skywalker
After The Last Jedi undid the thankless groundwork laid by The Force Awakens, now Skywalker returns the favour.
The Holdo ‘plot hole’ is flung from the franchise, while Finn’s former love interest Rose wilts on the sidelines. Luke returns as a Force ghost, admitting it wasn’t really ‘Luke’ to exile himself on an island, milking sea cows.
Maybe its destiny was always to disappoint. That’s what happens when you have a strict schedule, with no map.
We can expect further, more satisfying revelations in the comics. ⭐⭐⭐
In a toned-down version of her ear-splitting Me Before You performance, Emilia Clarke is Kate, a wannabe singer/actress slumming around twinkly London in a drunken fug, avoiding her overbearing mother (film co-writer Emma Thompson, inexplicably cast as a refugee from the former Yugoslavia).
A jukebox musical named for the 1984 festive hit by Wham!, one moment it’s a sub-par rom-com, then wham! (no pun) there’s this heinous twist. London’s homeless, played by a cast of twee thespians, provide the ‘heartwarming’ backdrop.⭐⭐
Charlie (Adam Driver) is a self-made off-Broadway theatre director. His soon-to-be ex-wife Nicole (Scar Jo) is a showbiz industry brat and former Hollywood It girl.
It’s unclear how calculated Nicole is, uprooting their son Henry to LA to consult with multiple lawyers, but Charlie seems to have the bigger battle – including convincing a judge that they are a New York family.
Nicole is bitter, combative and sulky. Charlie rages that life with was her joyless. She feels overlooked next to his genius, yet she’s the one who pushed for marriage too young.
They remind me of La La Land’s selfish creatives. The only real villains are the lawyers, the victim Henry. It’s a clever, accessible film with high re-watch and debate value. ⭐⭐⭐
I thought this looked insufferable. Why can’t they ever cast to the book ages? Why can’t the March girls look like sisters not college roommates?
There was a spot of a backlash when Greta Gerwig was snubbed for best director, followed by another backlash along the lines of: “Well I’m a woman and I didn’t like it!”
Gerwig’s moves are to highlight the novel’s semi-autobiographical nature, and play with the chronology, switching between 1861 and 1868. She also makes Amy (Florence Pugh) a pragmatic misfit in an unconventional family – a much appreciated new dimension to the character. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Le Mans ’66 (Ford v Ferrari)
Le Mans tells the true(ish) story of how auto designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) teamed up with Ken Miles (Christian Bale), to build a car for Ford to end snooty Ferrari’s dominance at the famous French racing tournament.
Bale is a British racing car driver with a temper, with Caitriona Balfe as his long-suffering wife. (She wins over the audience with a ‘comic’ scene where she drives at high speed while rowing with her husband.)
There’s little about the seven-times-married Shelby’s home life.
Far more interesting than the central bromance was the rivalry between the crass, insecure Henry Ford II (veteran character actor Tracy Lett), and old world denizen Enzo Ferrari. Le Mans is a well-engineered, middle-of-the-road crowd-pleaser that I couldn’t wait to see over the finish line.⭐⭐⭐