Friday, November 29, 2019

Knives Out

My View:  Knives Out  (2019) PG-13   World famous mystery writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) has committed suicide, throwing his extending family into a jumbled mess. Private detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is on the case and thinks that Harlan’s death might just be murder, with a house full of relatives who are all suspects. I love a film where the cast looks like they are having as much fun making the film as you are watching it. This film is a blast to view right from the start. It’s a murder mystery, or is it just a simple suicide? We follow along as PI Benoit Blanc, played with great comic timing by Daniel Craig, uses his powers of deduction to try to figure out what really happened in HarlanThrombey’s room that night of his death. The stellar cast includes Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, and Katherine Langford, each of whom brings their rather eccentric and loopy band of characters to life. The plot takes plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing, and the ending shot is one of the best of the year. I can’t recommend this hilarious and witty film enough.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    Knives Out Website
My View:  Dark Waters   (2019) PG-13   A corporate defense attorney on the fast track to partner, Robert Bilott (Mark Ruffalo), as a favor to a relative, takes on an environmental lawsuit against one of the biggest chemical companies in the world that exposes a history of pollution and cover-up. This is a film about a lawyer, and Robert Bilott does what a lawyer does; looks at a lot of paperwork and digs to find the truth. This is a film about the little guy taking on a big corporation and through dogged perseverance and a little luck, is willing to gamble his job and reputation to try and right a wrong. Mark Ruffalo gives a passionate and consummate performance as the everyman lawyer. The film will piss you off and maybe make you want to go out and help take on someone more significant than you.   My Rating: Full Price    Dark Waters Website

Indiefest:  White Snake  (2019)   Snake spirit Blanca (voiced by Stephanie Sheh) loses her memory while being disguised as a woman. She falls in love with a mortal enemy, a human snake hunter, Ah Xuan (voiced by Paul Yen). The union with a human greatly displeases Blanca’s sister, Verta (voiced by Vivian Lu), the green snake demon who has been sent to find and bring her sister back. This Chinese animated film is not for kids, as the heart of the film is a very adult love story. I loved the lush animation, but I was let down by a storyline that seemed to be put together clumsily on a story board, where scenes don’t always transition smoothly. I was also confused a bit by all the villains of the story. It just seemed that there was one too many bad guys in this film for the two star-crossed lovers to overcome. I have a feeling that if I was familiar with the Chinese folk tale that the story is based on, I might have enjoyed it a little more.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    White Snake Website
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD / Blu-ray):  Where’d You Go, Bernadette? (2019) PG-13   Bernadette (Cate Blanchett) quit a promising career to raise her daughter (Emma Nelson) along with her loving husband (Billy Crudup). But Bernadette can’t be held down for long and goes on an epic adventure that will jump-start her life and lead her to happiness. Despite a strong performance by Cate Blanchett in a very unlikeable role as the difficult to deal with Bernadette and a subtle comic relief performance by Kristen Wiig and the put upon next-door neighbor, I found the film very hit and miss. I think the primary problem is that until the end of the film, you find that you don’t like Bernadette very much, even when she is dealing with some really stupid people. The film takes way too long to get going, although I did enjoy the last 1/3 of the film, once the plot starts moving forward. I think the film spent way too much time setting up the story and way too little resolving it.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Where'd You Go, Bernadette? Website
Forgotten Film:  Ali: Fear Eats the Soul  (1974)   A chance meeting in a German city sparks a romance between a woman in her mid-sixties (Brigitte Mira) and a Moroccan migrant worker (El Hedi ben Salem), a man who is twenty-five years younger. Tensions rise as both their family and friends think this romance is doomed from the start. This is a beautiful, sometimes funny and at the same time, sad film about two lonely people who find love in an unlikely place. Directed by the legendary filmmaker, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, the film is a fascinating look at relationships that come together even though the world doesn’t seem to want them to be a couple. Keep some tissues nearby when you watch this film, you will need them.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    Ali: Fear Eats the Soul Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Knives Out: Talent Driving Coordinator

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:   Seberg  (2019) R Inspired by real events, Seberg chronicles the life of actress Jean Seberg (Kristen Stewart), an actress that rose to fame during the French New Wave films of the 1960s. She was targeted by Hoover’s FBI because of her politics, and the fact that she was dating black activist Hakim Jamal. You had me at Kristen Stewart, who was the only thing that made the last Charlie’s Angels film watchable.   Seberg Website 
Until Next Time!

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