Friday, May 12, 2017

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week. But on Friday, because I forgot to do it yesterday.

Fascinating story, made into an almost unwatchable movie. I wish they'd made a documentary, because the story of Lacks and her stolen cells and how they gave birth to the modern biomedical research industry is an important story. This is the story of a Black woman and her family, exploited to advance the cause of science and turn medicine into a multi-million dollar business. And it has all of the worst aspects of a White Savior story, giving us Rose Byrne as a hapless, not particularly interesting, awkward white woman who is also a dogged reporter who wrangles this Black family and all of their weird quirks and resentments and blackness in order to tell their story for them. It's insulting to the intelligence and very frustrating, because everyone is a cartoon character and it's impossible to take seriously. *1/2

Three young people attempt to rob the house of a blind veteran (Stephen Lang). When they're interrupted during their burglary, things get violent, but not particularly tense. Fede Alvarez directed, and it's mildly better than his woeful Evil Dead remake, but it's not particularly engaging, and some of the twists it takes for shock value are pretty ridiculous. **

I don't love talking about the MCU so much online, because this has become another Pop Culture Institution that we all have to make Profound Observations about, and too often they're of the I'm Too Smart to Get Taken In By Actually Liking Anything variety. If I'm being honest, stuff like that is a big part of the reason why I haven't been blogging much this year. What I said on Sunday's Song of the Week post is more or less my reaction to the movie. I loved it; it was an emotional experience, a great build on the character dynamic established in the first movie, and I look forward to seeing it a few dozen more times in the next few years. The new high water mark for me with the MCU, and just a movie I adored so much. ****

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Song of the Week: "Sitting"

I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on Friday, and it was a real emotional experience for me. Without spoiling anything, there was a lot in there that I personally related to as an abused kid, and the excellent soundtrack is part of that. Most of the songs in both movies are songs that I grew up listening to a lot, because I grew up with my Mom and Dad's record collection. One of my favorite albums ever, one I listened to on a record over and over and over and then a cassette and then a CD and then MP3s and will never tire of was Cat Stevens' Tea for the Tillerman, and when "Father and Son" came up in the movie during probably the most emotional scene of any Marvel movie, I couldn't hold it in at all. It was a beautiful scene in a beautiful movie that featured a beautiful song. I still remember my Dad teaching playing that song on his acoustic guitar.

Now, I've had that song up as Song of the Week back in 2008, so I don't want to repeat myself. And even while watching the movie, I realized that I expected Stevens' song "Sitting" to play next, because that was the next song on the Greatest Hits album that I also listened to over and over again. Even though it's from a different album, Catch Bull at Four, it's long become the natural follow-up in my mind. So here's that song for this week. So many of his songs make me feel... almost like a fully realized person.