Thursday, April 07, 2016

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

Ingmar Bergman film about a circus ringmaster who brings the circus back to his home town. As he's visiting his estranged wife, feeling the pull home, his mistress (the circus horse rider) has an affair with an actor. Gripping and masochistic, beautifully shot, turning a small drama between a few characters into the human drama on canvas. ****

Gosh, it's nice to see something new from Pee-wee. Here, happy with the same routine every day, Pee-wee Herman develops a thirst for adventure after befriending a passing Joe Manganiello (playing an endearingly over-the-top version of himself). The two instantly become best friends, and Pee-wee goes on the road in an attempt to find himself and get to Joe's birthday party. It's funny as hell, but even better, it's charming and sincere, and funny without being mean-spirited. If you ever loved Pee-wee Herman, this movie will remind you why his silliness was in your heart in the first place. ***1/2

V/H/S 2 (2013)
I thought the first V/H/S worked because each of the short films in the anthology had a cheap, grungy realism that made its found footage gimmick work. This one is a little too slick for its own good. Too much narrative shaping, terrible attempts to seriously act, and the special effects are a little too good to blend into its GoPro aesthetic. The one about the cult mostly works, and a lot of that is on the strength of Epy Kusnandar's hypnotic performance as their leader, but it's the lone gem in a sea of not very thought out student films. **1/2

Well, it's the most watchable movie Judd Apatow's directed since The 40 Year-Old Virgin, although it's still too long, just not interminably so. And unlike This Is 40, it gets to a point eventually. Mostly it's just a different take on the romcom formula, but with crude language and the traditional gender roles reversed. Here, Amy (Amy Schumer, who wrote the script) is the hard-drinking fuck-up scared of commitment and unable to get her shit together, while Aaron (Bill Hader) is responsible and sweet, has a great career and wants to have a real relationship. It's a sweet movie, even if a little sappy in its overlong third act (that intervention scene could have been dropped with no damage done), and I think Amy Schumer is hilarious in general. Great cast. I thought LeBron James was cute as himself. ***

Brigitte Bardot (gorgeous, of course) is a free-spirited "wild child" who only wants to have fun. Everyone in her small Riviera town wants her, but she wants to go away with handsome Christian Marquand, but he doesn't take her seriously. She has other men who want to take her away (including an older industrialist), but she marries Marquand's younger brother, played by Jean-Louis Trintignant, even though his family--and everyone else--disapproves. Interesting picture to see 60 years later... Bardot's behavior isn't really slutty, just suggestive, and what everyone keeps chalking up to being wanton seems to really just be a sort of laziness. Surprising final act, when all of the passions building up spill out in calypso music, a sexy dance, a gun, and... well, we could debate whether that final shot means forgiveness, acceptance, or the defeat of Bardot, but I like how it ended. Beautifully shot. ****


Roger Owen Green said...

Yes, the intervention scene in Trainwreck could have been cut, but, for some reason I liked it.

SamuraiFrog said...

It was okay on its own, but I don't think it's well-placed and kind of stops the pacing. That said, it was nice to see more LeBron. I'm not a sports guy, but I dug him.