Tuesday, April 3, 2018

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Gays and Gamers

What have I seen lately in the cinemas?

Love, Simon
dir: Greg Berlanti
scr: Elizabeth Berger & Isaac Aptaker, based on the novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
seen: Regal LA Live

Very sweet high school dramedy about a teen's coming-out struggles. Imperfect, but does a nice job of portraying flawed people honestly trying, sometimes coming up short, sometimes giving way too much credit, but always striving. Phenomenal supporting cast, satisfying ending. Accurately portrays drunkenly practicing Cabaret choreography your senior year.

More, including Ready Player One, after the jump.

dir: Steven Soderbergh
scr: Jonathan Bernstein & James Greer
seen: Los Feliz 3

A woman is committed to a psychiatric clinic against her will. A biting indictment of both our healthcare-for-profit system and the way we strip women of their autonomy. Effectively murky iPhone photography. Dynamite Claire Foy, even with the wobbly accent; aces Josh Leonard. Back third drags, but otherwise, a hoot.

The Death of Stalin
dir: Armando Ianucci
scr: Armando Ianucci and David Schneider and Ian Martin, additional material by Peter Fellows, original screenplay by Fabien Nury, based on the graphic novel by Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin
seen: Laemmle's Playhouse 7

Cruelly funny dramatization of the power-grabs following the titular event. I do mean cruelly funny, too, as it wrings some dark chuckles from the constant threat of assassinations and ideological cleansing. The laughs get more scarce as the film fully embraces the horror.

The Princess and the Matchmaker
dir: Hong Chang-pyo
scr: Lee So-mi
seen: CGV Cinemas LA

A bad luck princess and a royal matchmaker butt heads as she attempts to meet her potential suitors before the wedding. Frustrating, with a tired, tacked-on court conspiracy subplot. Great costumes, charming leading lady Shim Eun-kyung, sweaty and shirtless Kang Min-hyuk.

Tomb Raider
dir: Roar Uthaug
scr: Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons, story by Evan Daugherty and Geneva Robertson-Dworet
seen: Regal LA Live

Lara Croft goes searching for her father, finds adventure. Pretty dull, considering.

Ready Player One
dir: Steven Spielberg
scr: Zak Penn and Ernest Cline, based on the novel by Ernest Cline
seen: ArcLight Hollywood

Guy in the future competes with others for dead trillionaire's fortune by solving narcissistic regret riddles in a virtual world "where the only limits are your imagination", something more finite than you'd assume. A self-congratulatory ode to navel-gazing that values the trivial, where the reward for viewers is in recognizing pop culture ephemera created between 1975 and 1987. Fuck coherent storylines, fuck escalating stakes, fuck a thought-out universe, fuck anything more profound than "reality...is real". Turns out people really do just want entire scenes dedicated to John Hughes debates, Buckaroo Banzai cosplay, and Shining-themed escape rooms. A lazy garbage heap.

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