Saturday, October 1, 2016

September Movies

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

The Diary of a Teenage Girl

One Bright Shining Moment - A few years back I saw a doc on (I think) Hunter Thompson and there was this older gent who said he was tired of seeing old men send young men off to die. That stuck with me, so I finished the film, went back and wrote down his name: George McGovern. Then I added this documentary to my Netflix queue and went on over to Amazon to get a couple books by and about McGovern. Everything I read about him made me admire him more and more. My favourite part of One Bright Shining Moment was when he spoke of meeting his wife and how their hands just about brushed against each other when they were walking together and he said to the filmmaker "electricity." I thought that was so sweet and romantic. I do love a decent man with a kind heart.

Beats, Rhymes, and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest - I saw this years ago an decided to give it another look. I wasn't terribly familiar with Tribe and still only know a handful of tracks, but what made me re-watch this film was the men, the band members. They all seem so normal and real and honest and not at all pretentious and full of themselves. They seemed to think of themselves as artists, as musicians, rather than famous. That really impressed me.

The Bridge on the River Kwai - I have enjoyed David Lean films in the past, especially A Passage to India, but Kwai just never delivered the goods. However, seeing Bill Holden's gorgeous puss is what made me stick with it.

Disorder - Eh, this movie was decent, not great, but watchable. The one thing I was left thinking about was that I didn't feel that Diane Kruger was very believable as a mother. Her and her son are attacked, nearly abducted, then had their home vandalised and yet she had no problem letting her child sleep alone several rooms away. It was very odd. I feel that if a woman went through an ordeal like they had, she would have kept her child with her at all times. Like break out the Babybjörn and strap that preteen to your chest. I don't know, it just didn't ring true for me. On the other hand Matthias Schoenaerts was his usual compelling self (it's nearly impossible for him to be anything but spectacular). He has this way of making each role he takes on into something no one's ever seen. He plays emotions like no one else. I will say that I did not like the sexual/romantic tension between his character and Diane's. It seemed very Hollywood. As if an audience HAS to see a man and a woman only relate to each other on one plane. Wasn't Kruger's character married? Uh, yeah. She was. It just reinforced this unspoken truth that men and women can only be together in one way and anything else is just boring. I'll tell you what's boring, the constant need to put men and women in an interesting story and then cloud its meaning with the need for a love connection. Blah.

A Bigger Splash - Obviously I bought this film for Mr. Schoenaerts, but it's so true what everyone says about this film - Ralph Fiennes steals the show. He is so wonderfully versatile in his roles and this one showcased his more zany and physical side. Don't get me wrong, his character was mostly annoying as all hell, but impossible to take your eyes from him. Tilda Swinton is another one - I saw her back in 1994ish in Orlando and thought she was so uniquely beautiful and soft. She has such a distinct look, that pale, pale skin and vibrant hair and a name that's nearly lyrical and hard to forget. Whenever I see her face or her name I know I'm in for a damn fine performance. I really, really liked her as the lead and Matthias as her husband. I wasn't sure if they could pull it off, since he looks like an everyday Joe sorta fella (in a good way - no disrespect, of course!) and Tilda is so striking, but their relationship was very believable. Not the greatest movie ever made, but certainly worth a look, that's for sure. 

Lola Versus - Best line in the entire film: "His dick was so big it hurt my back."

New York Doll - I'm certain that this film was one of a slew of recommendations made to me via Netflix. I added it to my queue and was pleasantly surprised. The story is of New York Dolls' bass player, Arthur Kane and his life after the Dolls and then their reunion in 2004. The interviews with Arthur's peers included Morrissey, one of my all-time favourite singers, songwriters, and artists. I adore his words and his voice but most of the interviews I've read paint him as not the nicest man in the world. This film showed Morrissey as tender and kind. It was wonderful to see this side of him. Anyway, back to Arthur. I loved getting to know Arthur and see him at work at the Family History Center as a Mormon librarian. The absolute best, best moment of the entire film was just after the New York Dolls performed at the Meltdown Festival in London. Arthur was backstage and Bob Geldof approached him. Geldof commented something like, "You aren't going to go back to that library are you?" (As a sidenote, I don't think Bob was trying to be condescending, I think he was like, "you are so good, man, you gotta keep making music.") Arthur was so endearing when he explained that the library was "understaffed at the moment" and how they needed him there. How sweet is that? Like, no matter how fabulous the hotel room is in comparison to his own home, or how invigorating it was to be onstage with his old friends, or even all the compliments being thrown at him, he was not about to abandon his job where he was so essential.

The Humbling - This movie was odd and I like odd. When, armed with a shotgun and a flashlight, Al Pacino confronts Kyra Sedgwick and shouts at her that she's a Valkyrie I busted out laughing. Such a bizarre film with so many wonderful faces - Dan Hedaya, Dianne Wiest, Charles Grodin - and how great is it to see a new Buck Henry written film? That man is so good. 

My Dinner With André

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - Got as far as the scene with Billy Bob Thornton and was like, "We're done here. It's my day off and I'm not wasting any more of it on this."

Fading Gigolo - Absolutely hysterical and beyond engaging. John Turturro gave Woody Allen all the best lines. I don't know why but when Woody told John that he was "disgusting in a very positive way" I actually howled with laughter. I couldn't catch my breath. It was just the film for a lazy Sunday morning. 

Phoenix - This picture drew me in immediately. It was such an interesting story - a woman survives the death camps of Auschwitz with horrible damage done to her face. She must undergo surgeries that leave her nearly unrecognisable. The woman searches for her husband who may very well be responsible for her being taken to the camps. Upon meeting her he has no idea who she is. He comes up with a scheme to convince people that she is his wife come back to him. That way he can collect her inheritance. Yeah, he was pretty much a scumbag with a dashing moustache. The performances were very slow and very subtle. If you are the sort of person that's completely and totally convinced that all movies of late must center around comic book characters and superheroes, explosions, constant movement and transparent plot-lines, Phoenix will change all that. 

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