Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Some 'Splainin' to Do

Film: Being the Ricardos
Format: Streaming video from Amazon Prime on Fire!

I’m slowly working my way through the Oscar movies on the list, and of them, Being the Ricardos is the one I was the least interested in at this point. Naturally, that then became the one that I needed to get through. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also one of the longest ones I had left. Since I started this blog, I’ve tried to remove longer movies when I could, almost as a sort of nervous habit just to get them done.

Why was this one I was less interested in? Two words: Nicole Kidman. I don’t really have anything against Kidman—when she’s good (as in, say, The Others), she is very good. But as Lucille Ball? This seems like terrible casting in a world where Debra Messing exists. It feels like a bit of stunt casting. As good as Kidman can be at times, she feels like a terrible choice for this. The rest of the casting is good—Javier Bardem works very well as Desi Arnaz and J.K. Simmons is perfectly cast as William Frawley. But Kidman really rubs me wrong here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Baby, You Can...

Film: Drive My Car (Doraibu Mai Ka)
Format: DVD from DeKalb Public Library on basement television.

On a film nerd site like Letterboxd, it’s not a surprise when a critical darling and arthouse film like Drive My Car (or, in Anglicized katakana, Doraibu Mai Ka) comes in with 130,000 reviews at 4 stars and higher and about 325 reviews at the dreaded half star. A less artsy crowd—Rotten Tomatoes, for instance—is still overwhelmingly positive, but has user ratings at about 78%. That seems closer for this film. Sure, the audience for a slow, three-hour Japanese drama on grief is going to self-select in large part, but this is a film that moves at a snail’s pace.

We are initially introduced to Yusuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima) and his wife Oto Kafuku (Reika Kirishima). Yusuke is a theater director and actor, and Oto is a successful screenwriter. Oto’s stories come to her during sex, and she narrates them during the sex act, asking Yusuke to remember them so she can write them down. After a performance of Waiting for Godot, she introduces her husband to Koji Takatsuki (Masaki Okada), a young actor she is working with. Yusuke eventually discovers Koji and Oto in flagrante delicto, but doesn’t tell anyone. Shortly after this, Oto dies suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Everything Bagel

Film: Everything Everywhere All at Once
Format: Blu-ray from Sycamore Public Library on rockin’ flatscreen.

A few months ago, trying to catch up on all of the MCU stuff that I haven’t watched. I tried to watch Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but since I hadn’t watched WandaVision at the time, I realized I couldn’t follow what was happening. And so, I stopped, figuring I’d get back to it someday. But there was already a multiverse movie I could watch that didn’t have all of the necessary required viewing. That movie is Everything Everywhere All at Once.

I tend to focus on narrative in these reviews because it’s narrative that I find most interesting in movies and in general. I’m interested in story. Normally, that works, but for Everything Everywhere All at Once (which I will start shortening to EEAaO), where the story truly is the thing that this is entirely about, there’s so much that I don’t know where to start. This movie is all story, but that story is so complicated that I don’t think I can do it justice without spending several thousand words attempting to tease out all of the various threads of it. I’ll offer a few paragraphs, but I won’t go much more than that, because there’s just too much here.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

What I've Caught Up With, August 2022

I watched a lot more television in August. There are too many cultural references that I'm simply not getting without having at least a little television knowledge. In addition to Midnight Mass below, I also watched WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and also got through all eight seasons of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. As usual, less than I'd like, but I was also finishing up a huge work project this month--I had to work on a project pitch for people about five pay grades above me--I find out on Monday if my team is getting funded. So...fingers crossed.