Thursday, February 21, 2019

Do Not Call List

Films: Sorry to Bother You
Format: DVD from Sycamore Public Library on The New Portable.

The Oscars are this coming Sunday, and for the first time in a few years, I’m probably not going to watch them. The controversy over the host, dropping several of the awards out of the show…it’s all cooled me to the actual ceremony. The biggest issue, though, is that evidently there are a metric ton of movies from 2018 that were ignored or significantly snubbed in some categories. Because of this, I’m making sure to watch and review an increased number of those films on the blog in the coming months. To that end, I watched Sorry to Bother You today, and have found a film that seems to have been snubbed by pretty much everybody.

I don’t know that I can adequately explain everything that is necessary to understand Sorry to Bother You, because this is a movie that goes in about 100 directions at once. This is not a complaint, though, because for as strange as this movie is, it’s completely coherent and understandable at all times. Cassius “Cash” Green (Lakeith Stanfield) and his girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson) live in the garage of Cash’s uncle (Terry Crews). Cash is behind on the rent and his uncle is on the brink of losing the house, so Cash gets a job as a telemarketer.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Wednesday Horror: Jaws 2

Films: Jaws 2
Format: DVD from Sycamore Public Library on The New Portable.

There are times when a great movie gets a great sequel. Spend five minutes thinking about it, and you can come up with more than half a dozen sequels that are better than or in the same league as the original film. Spider-Man 2, Terminator 2, Aliens, The Godfather Part 2, Evil Dead 2, The Empire Strikes Back, The Wrath of Khan, and on it goes. Most of the time, though, sequels are something of a letdown. Jaws 2 is one of those. Admittedly, it would have to be one hell of a sequel to match the original summer blockbuster, but it’s still a little disappointing that it’s such a step down from the original.

That said, Jaws 2 is probably better than you remember despite being a clear rehash of the original film. A big part of that is that virtually the entire cast from the first film has returned. Sure, there are other characters here and some new players (and new victims), but it’s still Roy Scheider as Chief Brody, Lorraine Gary as his wife Ellen, Murray Hamilton as the town’s mayor, and even Jeffrey Kramer as Brody’s deputy. Even some of the townspeople are the same. The only surviving main character from the first film is Hooper, explained away by him finally getting on the research vessel he was planning to get on in the first movie.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


Films: Nell
Format: DVD from Cortland Public Library on The New Portable.

Nell is the sort of movie that I should like, since it deals significantly with language. More specifically, it deals with a language spoken by a single person, a sort of private language that has been learned and created through a series of accidents. I love stuff like this. Language creation, and languages like pidgins and creoles are fascinating to me. Based on that, this should be a movie not only that I love, but that I should have seen and loved years ago.

And yet here we are, with this being the first time I’ve seen this, and it turns out I’m not so much in love with it as tolerant of it. There’s a particular bit of…not irony, but something in that neighborhood with Jodie Foster’s nomination for playing Nell, the woman who speaks the unique language and who is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (which, based on her behavior, seems like a very mild diagnosis). Had this been called Neil, there’s a solid chance the role would have won an Oscar. The conventional wisdom is that men win Oscars playing someone who is mentally or physically challenged in some significant way.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Atari no Inu

Films: Isle of Dogs
Format: DVD from Cortland Public Library on Sue’s Mother’s Day present.

I was leery going in to Isle of Dogs for one main reason. I am a fan of Wes Anderson in the sense that I like most of his movies a great deal. Additionally, with Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel, I think he’s only getting better and better, exhibiting tighter and tighter control over his films. But I wasn’t a huge fan of Fantastic Mr. Fox, because I couldn’t figure out who (aside from himself) he made it for. And then there was some controversy about the film, so I wasn’t sure what I would think about this.

Honestly, I shouldn’t have worried. While I still think Fantastic Mr. Fox was a misstep, Isle of Dogs is the animated Wes Anderson film that Wes Anderson fans wanted. More importantly, while it maintains itself as being the quirkiest thing released in 18 months, it’s something that will genuinely work for kids.