That Time of Year I See Movies

I used to see everything.  EVERYTHING.  When movies were worth seeing.  Now they should get off my lawn!  So I go to a movie a year, maybe and wait till SAG and the WGA  send me disks and/or let me in on the secret handshake to download films.

Seen some good things, but the best thing was already on Netflix so there’s your film democracy!  Definitely watch Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma.  I don’t know why it’s called Roma, but it’s a masterpiece of scenes that look like cinema verite life. Half way through the film I realized that almost every scene is one long take with a camera that flows and rolls swoops through and around the characters as they live their lives.

Also good:

“Vice” is a really creative telling of the Dick Cheney story with some great fanciful storytelling flourishes by Adam McKay (“The Big Short”).  How did this mush despised politico ever get so much power over so many lives? Christian Bale (inspired by Satan) is amazing in his physicalization of Cheney, as usual. And no I don’t think the film humanizes Cheney or his family. It tells the publicly known facts of their lives, which is hardly humanizing. There’s good reason these people, even the daughters, are seen as loathsome power mongers.

“BlacKKKlansman” is a great story, well told.  Spike Lee makes a good movie every now and then.

Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant in “Can You Ever Forgive Me.” Good little film about an unsentimental middle aged woman, who isn’t a monarch, forced by circumstances to make difficult and ill advised choices to get by.  That’s pretty damn rare for movies.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” was surprisingly enjoyable because of Rami Malek and the music.  Boilerplate musician biopic where the characters just start noodling a tune that we recognize as one of the biggest hits in rock history as they throw it of as “just something I’m working on.”  I’m a Queen fan but did not know all that much about Freddie Mercury’s personal life other than the obvious story of his death due to AIDS (did not know he was Pakistani).

As for monarch movies there are two:

Another retelling of “Mary Queen of Scots” with two last year’s best female performers Saoirse Ronan (great in “Ladybird”) and Margot Robbie (the truly underrated “I, Tonya”).  If you’re into it I’d revisit the Glenda Jackson, Vanessa Redgrave 1971 version instead. This version practices a 16th century intersectionality in which actors of color appear on screen when you know that character was anglo (really anglo!).  It’s as distracting as if Mary had been played by a dude.

And “The Favourite” a bitchy film with one great performance by Olivia Colman as a vacuous Queen Anne who is manipulated for her favors by two awful, awful people played by Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz.  This is an example of movie fantasy feminism where all the men in the film are complete afterthoughts and these three women exert control over their lives that just wasn’t possible in the age being portrayed. The fact that all three are icky is fine.  Women have as much right to be unlikable as any man so fine tell that story, although the casual sexuality fluidity feels like exploitative titilation.  But BIGGER, the sound design of the film takes an ANNOYING turn into underscoring scenes with monotonous percussive sound that makes scenes sound like they’re taking place in a factory instead of a palace.  That irksomeness is only topped at the end with end credits that are ridiculously spaced (with full justification) as to be unreadable.  The cast and crew should be up in arms because you won’t find out who they are from the most annoyingly illegible credits I’ve ever seen.


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