Friday, March 16, 2018

Pin It


And Now The Screening Starts...

I have not seen very many new releases so far this year - just ten in three months! Here are a few thoughts on what I have seen...

dir/scr: Alex Garland, based on the novel by Jeff VanderMeer
seen: Pacific's The Grove Stadium 14

All the tweets I saw about how "mind-blowing" this movie is, could not prepare me for how often I dropped my jaw and silent-screamed at the screen. I don't know what to say because half the experience is the surprise and realization of what this kooky little flick is doing, and the less you know, the better. Just see it so we can bond over the dreamy climax, a sequence that had my brain at a meditative level that felt almost religious, spiritual. Annihilation, man. Wow.

More after the jump, including Fifty Shades FreedBlack Panther, and even a friend's film!

Paddington 2
dir: Paul King
scr: Paul King and Simon Farnaby, based on characters created by Michael Bond
seen: Regal LA Live

What can I say, except that it's just as hilarious, charming, inventive, and sweet as its predecessor? I feel like you already know if this is your cuppa or not, but if you're still not sure, may I direct your attention to the Brendan Gleeson still above? My goodness!

Fifty Shades Freed
dir: James Foley
scr: Niall Leonard, based on the novel by E.L. James
seen: Regal LA Live

Better than Darker but still lacking the fresh dizziness that marked Of Grey, Freed continues the story of Anastasia Steele and her dom lover Christian Grey as they embark on married life! More danger, deception, and surprises than I expected, though the filmmakers never figured out how to sand Christian's edges so that he's not so - what's the word? ah yes! - abusive. These movies gave us two perfect gifts, though: bangin' soundtracks (Sia's "Deer in Headlights", Hailee Steinfeld's "Capital Letters" are welcome earworms) and Dakota Johnson, movie star. Very excited to see what she does next.

Are We Not Cats
dir/scr: Xander Robin
 seen: Laemmle's Music Hall 3

Can't really review due to conflict of interest, having gone to school with just about everyone connected to the movie (hell, I just gave a spare set of keys to the cinematographer not a week ago). That said, if it were bad, I'd politely ignore it. It isn't - it's wonderfully weird and gross, but surprisingly casual, even respectful about how it goes about its business. You should see it.

Golden Slumber (골든 슬럼버)
dir: No Dong-seok
scr: Lee Hae-jun / Cho Ui-seok, based on the novel by Kotaro Isaka
seen: CGV Cinemas LA

An odd duck of a movie. Gang Dong-won's "hero" herp-derps his way through a political conspiracy that involves framing him for the assassination of a presidential candidate. What it's really about, though, is friendship, as the members of his high school band reunite to rally around their old pal and reminisce about the good ol' days. Meanwhile, I still have no idea what the conspiracy he's unraveling was all about, or why his dad is estranged, or why being a doormat is considered a virtue? A deeply confused movie.

Little Forest (리틀 포레스트)
dir: Yim Soon-rye
scr: Hwang Sung-hoo, based on the manga by Daisuke Igarashi
seen: CGV Cinemas LA

A young woman returns to her childhood home in the country to lick her wounds after a disappointing spate of time in the city. A film that values silence, nature's beauty in all four seasons, and the sensuous pleasures of a home-cooked meal - seriously, this is food porn par excellence, from creme brulee to pancakes to homemade liquor (amateur chefs, take note!). Yes, we all know that arc of the city girl who rediscovers herself through the land, but this is a story of homecoming, of embracing your past, of learning to understand and accept a mother suddenly leaving (oh, yes, get ready for tears). With this, The Handmaiden, and 1987: When the Day Comes, Kim Tae-ri is proving to be one of this generation's most invaluable stars.

Black Panther
dir: Ryan Coogler
scr: Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole, based on the Marvel comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
seen: CGV Cinemas LA

An exciting Marvel entry that surpasses such expectations, here we have the king of a highly-advanced but closed-off African nation dealing with his nation's role in, and responsibility to, the world. Of course, there's a villain, but this one has a clear, earthbound plan and fleshed-out motive; taking on a leadership role in the fight for black liberation, he could have been the hero in another tale. Compelling characterizations, urgent themes, and the attention to detail in every element, from Ruth E. Carter's costumes to Ludwig Goransson's score, converge together to make for the deepest, exciting-est film in the Marvel canon.

(Another thing I love about the movie: in this tale, T'Challa is the Black Panther, but the fact that anyone could take on the role is inspiring. The Black Panther is not forged in Heaven like Thor, not the result of science like Spider-Man or Captain America or The Incredible Hulk, not the invention of a genius like Iron Man; the power of the Black Panther is granted to he or she who earns it, and how he or she wields that power is completely unique to that individual.)

Also Seen
A Futile and Stupid Gesture - Fine performances
Red Sparrow - Unflinchingly violent, twisty, thrilling
The Young Karl Marx - Two hours of ideological arguments; I adore it

You May Also Enjoy:

Like us on Facebook

No comments: