Lately, I’ve hated movies a lot more. Where I used to watch any old thing, I withstood two minutes of the latest Guardians of the Galaxy before switching off.
I began to wonder if I was on a permanent downer. I decided to ease myself back into film-watching and blogging with some of the latest, more highly-acclaimed movies – after all, Oscars are a sure indicator of quality, right?! Errr…. First up:
Having glanced at the Neil Armstrong biography First Man (Ryan Gosling) is based on, I expected it to be as entertaining as a double seminar on the physics of rocket propulsion.
It’s the practical effects that really excel; NASA was essentially firing men to space in tin cans. “You’re a bunch of boys,” rages Claire Foy’s formidable Mrs. Armstrong. Sometimes that’s all it takes…
I’d rather watch Brad Pitt fight Moon pirates tho.. 🐞🐞🐞🐞
A luminous Restoration-era comedy-drama, The Favourite is the fictionalized tale of ailing Queen Anne’s (Olivia Colman) relationship with brash aristocrat Sarah (Rachel Weisz). They’re depicted as carer/patient, friends, and as lovers, with Sarah the power behind the throne.
Where Mary Queen of Scots was a traditional costume drama with a woke angle, Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite is unconventional to its marrow.
Emma Stone, so insipid in La La Land, inserts herself into the bawdy period setting – and the Sarah/Anne relationship – with razor-sharp skill (and a spot-on English accent).
Where women in power are as vile as the men. 🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞
At her Catholic private school, Christine ‘Lady Bird’ (Saorise Ronan) is embarrassed by her relatively poor background, and mean-girls in order to fit in with an edgier crowd.
Set just post 9/11, she can’t wait to ditch her hometown of Sacramento and head east for college – upsetting her hard-working mother, frustrated that her daughter can’t be grateful for what she has. (I’d say putting a continent between them is clearly for the best.)
Even if Lady Bird needs to spread her wings, director Greta Gerwig makes their shared hometown look like bliss. It’s a love letter to contentment, and to Sacramento.
Little Women still looks insufferable. 🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) believes local cops failed her slain daughter, so she rents three billboards with a damning message for Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), provoking his Deputy Dixon (Sam Rockwell) into a conflict that escalates to Molotov cocktails.
In Martin McDonagh’s earlier, 2008 cult hit In Bruges, you felt sorry for Colin Farrell’s bungling hitman, even though he (inadvertently) shot a child. You laughed when he beat up the Canadian Guy. In Ebbing, senseless violence makes viewers wince, while racist thug Dixon never endears like Farrell.
A ‘dark fairy tale’, or just full of plot holes? 🐞🐞🐞
Named after the pre-Civil Rights guidebook for African-American road trippers, Green Book is based on the true story of classical/jazz musician Dr Don Shirley’s (Mahershala Ali) tour of the South.
Meant as heartwarming fare about the power of friendship, comedy is mined from the pairing of the refined Shirley and his driver/heavy Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), an uncouth, working-class Italian-American.
So feelgood, you could almost forget why it was called ‘Green Book’!
Yikes, Aragorn really went to seed. 🐞🐞🐞
This reminded me of David O. Russell’s American Hustle, so a no-go for me straight off the bat-on. It’s something to do with the camerawork and heavy-handed period detail.
Staged mockumentary-style (à la Drop Dead Gorgeous) I, Tonya follows 90s champ skater Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) and her connection to the attack (orchestrated by her husband, Jeff Gillooly) on her rival Nancy Kerrigan.
Tonya’s traumatic childhood and abusive marriage are set to retro tunes and playfully presented – she’s a gutsy chick sticking it to the snooty skating authorities, who never gave her a chance. An interesting take, challenged by some.
As exhausting and stressful as Margot Robbie’s frizzball hairdo. 🐞🐞
Christopher Nolan’s film about the evacuation of Allied soldiers in WWII sees practical effects again triumph. Kenneth Brannagh and Mark Rylance do stoic bravery; pilots Jack Lowden and Tom Hardy do stoic RAF fighter cover, while young soldiers including Harry Styles run the gauntlet.