Wednesday, August 22, 2018

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The First Eight Months: Part Two

We're playing catch-up. Did you read the 17 capsule reviews from yesterday? Well, we've got more today, starting with...

Crazy Rich Asians
dir: Jon M. Chu
scr: Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim
adapted from: the novel by Kevin Kwan
seen: AMC Burbank 16

A Chinese-American professor visits her Singaporean boyfriend's homeland for a wedding - only to learn that he is the scion of the country's wealthiest family, and now must guard herself against the friends and foes who question her intentions and suitability. Sexy, hilarious, heart-wrenching. Watch Constance Wu struggle to fit in as both an American and a "commoner"; behold Michelle Yeoh as she fights to not lose her son; worship Gemma Chan as she holds her head high against the pettiness around her. Costumes, production design, music like something out of a dream...or Ross Hunter's Hollywood. The most beautiful people you've ever seen on screen. I cried while talking about it the next day. It's so good!

16 more after the jump, including Mission: Impossible - Fallout, Christopher Robin, Hereditary, and more....

dir/scr: Ari Aster
seen: Vintage Vista Theatre

A woman and her family unravel following her mother's death. Ghastly imagery at times, jarring and difficult to stomach. Toni Collette pitch-perfect as a woman whose grief and anger blind her to an even greater horror closing in around her; Alex Wolff complements her every step of the way. A wicked, sadistic movie. I adore it.

First Reformed
dir/scr: Paul Schrader
seen: Vintage Los Feliz 3

A priest struggles with faith in his calling and fellow people - with a dash of eco-activism! An interesting companion piece to The Nun's Story, dealing as it does with our relationship to faith and how our expectations from it can help and hurt us, though this boasts a protagonist increasingly going over the edge as he shoulders what he assumes are the world's burdens. Loopy finale a hell of a turn and feels right. Dreamy, provocative, beautiful.

Summer 1993 (Estiu 1993)
dir/scr: Carla Simón
seen: Laemmle Pasadena Playhouse 7

A girl goes to live with her aunt and uncle in the country after her mother's death. Observational drama overplays nothing, always captivating, 100% real. Complex characterizations remind of difficulties in both childhood and adulthood - life is frustrating and no one wants to be responsible or answer! A magical debut from Laia Artigas but holy crap, Bruna Cusí!

Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum (곤지암)
dir: Jung Bum-Sik
scr: Jung Bum-Sik / Park Sang-Min
seen: CGV Cinemas LA

Found footage horror about a group of youths exploring a haunted asylum for a reality web-series. Basically MTV's Fear. It builds, builds, builds, then unleashes a barrage of nightmares. Inventive shot choices. I loved it.

Every Day
dir: Michael Sucsy
scr: Jesse Andrews
adapted from: the novel by David Levithan
seen: via RedBox

A teen falls for an entity that inhabits a different person's body every day (hey!). How do you interact with someone you love when you don't recognize them? It's a question that's not only addressed through the central relationship but in the heroine's interactions with her family - her absent, hard-working mother, her depressed father, her distracted sister. Serious discussions about what attracts people to each other and the realities of maintaining a relationship. Smart!

Finding Your Feet
dir: Richard Loncraine
scr: Meg Leonard / Nick Moorcroft
seen: via RedBox

Pinched-up woman moves in with free-spirited sister after husband's adultery, joins a dance class, gets a new lease on life. Handles sister relationship beautifully; mother-daughter relationship an obligation mostly forgotten. It's older people, so of course, it confronts mortality and illness and dementia, but it does so in some surprising ways. Generous with most of its characters. Celia Imrie best in show. If you liked The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, why wouldn't you like this one?

Isle of Dogs
dir: Wes Anderson
scr: Wes Anderson, story by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola & Jason Schwartzman and Kunichi Nomura
seen: via RedBox

Banished canines on Trash Island help a 12-year-old boy find his dog. Imaginative, yes, but this is the first time I found myself way more into the production values of a Wes Anderson film than the screenplay. Sets, animation, cinematography, score: all breathtaking.

A Quiet Place
dir: John Krasinski
scr: Bryan Woods & Scott Beck and John Krasinski, story by Bryan Woods & Scott Beck
seen: Vintage Los Feliz 3

Family survives in silence after a hostile invasion by sound-sensitive creatures. Solid scares and performances throughout, ends perfectly. Despite the premise, sound work is muddy, unconvincing.

Christopher Robin
dir: Marc Forster
scr: Alex Ross Perry and Tom McCarthy and Allison Schroeder, story by Greg Brooker and Mark Steven Johnson
adapted from: characters created by A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard
seen: AMC Burbank 16

An immortal Pooh comes to London to ask Christopher Robin for help. Sweet, sad, unapologetically sentimental. Surprisingly intimate study of a man who's lost his childlike wonder, and therefore his ability to connect with the people he loves and the world around him. The saddest of blue color palettes, the warmest of golden field sunsets. Just lovely!

Seven Years of Night (7년의 밤)
dir: Choo Chang-Min
scr: Choo Chang-Min / Kim Yoo-Pyung / Lee Yong-Yeon
adapted from: the novel by Jung Yoo-Jung
seen: CGV Cinemas LA

I can't waste my time talking about this movie.

Sherlock Gnomes
dir: John Stevenson
scr: Ben Zazove, story by Andy Riley & Kevin Cecil and Emily Cook & Kathy Greenberg
adapted from: characters created by William Shakespeare; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; and Rob Sprackling & John Smith and Andy Riley & Kevin Cecil and Kelly Asbury and Steve Hamilton Shaw
seen: via RedBox

Gnomeo and Juliet team up with Sherlock Gnomes and Watson to find out who's abducting garden gnomes across London. Lacks the heart of the original. Two fun set-pieces. No great Shakes.

dir: Jeff Tomsic
scr: Rob McKittrick and Mark Steilen, story by Mark Steilen
adapted from: the Wall Street Journal article "It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being It" by Russell Adams
seen: Regal LA Live 16

A group of friends has been playing the same game of tag for thirty years; now they're trying to get the one pal who's never been "it" at his wedding. Without question, the worst American film I saw this year. Everyone involved should be embarrassed.

Truth Or Dare
dir: Jeff Wadlow
scr: Michael Reisz and Jillian Jacobs & Christopher Roach & Jeff Wadlow, story by Michael Reisz
seen: Pacific's The Grove Stadium 14

Friends somehow awaken a spirit forcing them to play a non-stop, deadly game of truth or dare. Not to be the lone voice in the woods here, but I liked it! One of those horror movies punishing narcissistic asshole youths who vandalize property without worrying about consequences. Good! Get 'em! Has no idea what to do with the gays!

Be With You (지금 만나러 갑니다)
dir: Lee Jang-Hoon
scr: Lee Jang-Hoon / Kang Su-Jin
adapted from: the Japanese novel by Takuji Ichikawa
seen: CGV Cinemas LA

A widower and his son are visited during the rainy season by the dead wife, who apparently has amnesia. Insistent not just on tugging your heartstrings, but squeezing that organ 'til it's flat. Effective! Often dopey.

Sorry To Bother You
dir/scr: Boots Riley
seen: AMC Burbank 16

Lakeith Stansfield is great; production design, costumes, editing a plus; wowser ensemble. Was with this movie up to a point, but I have to admit, I don't think I got it. Needs another viewing. I do recommend it, though.

Mission: Impossible - Fallout
dir/scr: Christopher McQuarrie
adapted from: the television series created by Bruce Geller
seen: CGV Cinemas LA

Ethan Hunt and the IMF thwart another villainous plot to blah blah blah. Impressive action sequences, a great fight scene that's all sound and no score, pauses to do character work. But my God is it never-ending! Two and a half hoursMust we?? I was bored, friends, I really was.

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