Monday, August 8, 2016

Five Mini Movie Reviews (mini reviews, not mini movies)

I am so behind, I am going to just throw here these five movies I saw recently, in no particular order. I recommend them all (with some reservations).

1. The Fits 
(2016, dir. Anna Rose Holmer, USA/Italy (Italy?))

See this for the eleven-year-old actress Royalty Hightower, who is riveting from the get go. 
She's the whole show, really, and we only gain her understanding of the odd (magic realist/sci-fi?) events that affect her dance troupe, which is minimal. 
It's truly like being inside a kid's head--what do you know at eleven?

Especially given the amount of formulaic media I've been watching recently (for fandom research), I'm so glad I saw this.

2. The Nice Guys 
(2016, dir. Shane Black, Hollywood)

Lame plot that doesn't know where it's going, but see this for the fifteen year old actress Angourie Rice [blonde girl, below]. She plays her character, a mensch, like a real person.

I went to see this because of my interest in the 1970s, but it just screamed "set designed". 
You never see blatant '70s stuff in Starsky & Hutch. Here every surface signified "Seventies Style!" (Gosling's shirt, above, AND the wallpaper, every store they drive past is Tower Records or its equivalent, every magazine has Nixon on the cover, etc). 

Reminds me of how Borges said he never mentioned the tango, just like the Quran never mentions camels.

I do want to add that, lame plot aside, fat Russell Crowe is as enticingly bitable as ever. 

3. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
(2016, dir. Taika Waititi, New Zealand)

What the...? Where did all these great kid actors come from all of a sudden?
I usually hate kids in movies.

But see this movie for thirteen-year-old, Julian Dennison, as an unloved kid who turns out (predictably but still awesomely) to be "pretty likable" when he goes on the run with cantankerous Sam Neill. 

4.  Happy Together
(1997, Hong Kong, dir. Wong Kar-wai)

Two male lovers from Hong Kong are unhappy together, adrift and penniless in Buenos Aires. 
There's a bit of tango but nothing else is predictable. Gorgeous saturated color makes the grimness bearable. 
All round, worth it. 

5. Also well worth it, but god, how depressing that the Thatcherite politics of 1985's My Beautiful Laundrette feel so contemporary, post-Brexit...

Directed by Stephen Frears, story by Hanif Kureishi

I remember what a fuss there was that Daniel Day Lewis could play this street punk who smolders like Marlene Dietrich (left, licking his boyfriend's neck),
then turn around and play the prissy Cecil who kisses like he's afraid of catching germs in Room with a View (also 1985).

Frears comments on the fuss in an interview on the Criterior DVD, "He's an actor, that's what actors do."
Uh-huh. Not in Hollywood, bub.


Zhoen said...

Listening to two of Ngaio Marsh's 'theater' mysteries. She was a huge part of establishing theater in NZ, and no doubt fostering many actors there. So #3 sounds promising.

Will have to find The Fits.

Michael Leddy said...

I saw (and liked) no. 5 years and years ago. I saw the trailer for no. 3 with Tickled (also New Zealand). No. 1 looks especially interesting.