Thursday, July 06, 2017

Film Week

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

FINDING DORY (2016)
Beautifully animated follow-up to Finding Nemo. It's a seriously great-looking film, although I've found myself becoming harder and harder towards Pixar's emotional manipulation over the years. What I enjoyed more than the emotions were the visuals and the color palette. My favorite part of the movie--and what made it more than worth watching for me--was the octopus Hank, voiced by Ed O'Neill, who just wants a life of permanent comfort in an aquarium, but who comes through in the end. Hell, I bought his Pop! Vinyl before I even saw the movie.

Great characterization, great animation, okay movie. ***

THE BEGUILED (2017)
Delicate, fascinating version of the novel that inspired the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie of the same name, about an injured Union soldier taken in by a girls' school in the South during the Civil War. Sofia Coppola directed, and as I've said many times in the past, I'm a big fan of her filmmaking. I like that her films are quiet and restrained, that we get to see a female viewpoint without being dragged towards a preset conclusion. Three of my favorite actresses give great, subdued-yet-lively performances (Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning), and Colin Farrell is sincerely insincere as their wounded charge. The film itself is made with surgical precision, trimming every unnecessary detail, while under the surface so much is happening that Coppola, I think, means for you to discern (and interpret) for yourself. But there's a richness to the simmer that I found visceral and exciting. ****

NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY RISING (2016)
Ugh. This feels like two movies that were crammed together to make one piece of nonsense. The potentially more interesting movie stars Chloe Moretz as a college girl who wants to rush a sorority, but finds out that the sexism of the Greek system will not allow sororities to throw their own parties, but forces them to be a supplement and support for frats. She and her new friends decide to make their own sorority, and recruit Zac Efron from the first movie to help them set it up. I would watch that movie if it were fleshed out, rewritten, and actually paid more than lip service to considering the gender issues of college life and particularly fraternities. But they mash it up with a second movie which is garbage, in which Zac Efron uses this to gain revenge on the couple from the first movie, Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne, who are trying to sell the house next door, but with the same problems from the first movie. So, neither movie works, especially not as one movie (which feels like it was made up every day on the day of shooting), and I still don't know who I'm supposed to be rooting for... The movie wants it both ways. I can't root for the young women who want to buck a misogynist system and then also root for the adults who want to stop her so they can survive escrow. I mean, is this a real estate scare movie for adults or an empowerment movie for girls? It's nothing. The worst crime of all is, it's not even a little funny. Who the hell was clamoring for a sequel to the original? The original was barely a movie, too. *

COURS DU SOIR (1967)
A short film with Jacques Tati demonstrating the art of mime to students. Shot during the filming of Playtime, I've seen this short counted as a Monsieur Hulot movie, but there's really no connection other than the way Tati is dressed. It's a delightful short, though. Apparently some of the observational sketches performed were originally performed by Tati in the music halls in the 1930s. ****

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

I liked Dory more than you. The forgetting, which seemed like a tic in Finding Nemo really resonated with me here. Maybe it has to do with my mother, and memory, and forgetting...