Friday, March 25, 2022
Alfred Hitchcock would love it. Windfall opens with Jason Segel wandering around the desert home of a multi rich CEO. He enjoys a glass of orange juice, lounges on the furniture, and manages to find some cash and a Rolex. Suddenly, the owners arrive. Forced into action, Segal takes Jesse Plemons and Lily Collins hostage. One thing leads to another with the uber wealthy Plemons sort of helping Segal rob him. Clipping along at a nice ninety minutes, Windfall suddenly catches fire, building to a wham-o ending. With one set and only four characters, Windfall feels like a play. Certainly Covid-19 considerations shaped this production. Excellent acting helps, especially from Jesse Plemons, whom I came to admire in Breaking Bad and who snagged an Oscar nomination for Power of the Dog. Windfall's revelation is Lily Collins. Known for her frothy series Emily in Paris, don't underestimate Lily Collins. Believe me.
Monday, March 21, 2022
In Deep Water, Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas play Vic and Melinda Van Allen, partners in a deeply unhappy marriage which includes a young daughter. Their unspoken bond allows her to take a number of lovers as long as she stays in the marriage. Tension builds as an alarming number of her lovers disappear. Affleck tells her newest boyfriend that he killed the former boyfriend. Others drop, drowning in a pool or showing up at the bottom of a creek. A neighbor, played by Tracy Letts, suspects Ben but can't prove anything. Ana de Armas plays the straying wife to the hilt. Affleck lumbers through the story like Frankenstein's monster. Deep Water's plot seeps out slowly and comes to a not especially satisfying end. The plot comes from a 1957 story by Patricia Highsmith, author of many of Hitchcock's favorite tales including Strangers on a Train. The result is watchable but not great.
Friday, February 11, 2022
The Worst Person in the World won me over right from the start. Charismatic actress Renate Reinsve plays a young woman not sure what to do next. Her choices bounce from extreme to extreme as does her love life. In the space of a couple of hours, The Worst Person in the World taps into memories of one's twenties, when you're not sure who you are or what path to follow. This is a lovely captivating story. I suppose there will be an American remake and I hope it's half as good as this Norwegian original. Nominated for best foreign film and best screenplay.
Friday, January 28, 2022
Flee uses animation to great effect to tell the story of a gay Afghan refugee's escape to Denmark. We learn his story in flashback, of a happy childhood turned serious when Soviets invade. The journey of a refugee who must choose between family and freedom comes tumbling out of the main character. The result is moving and by the end uplifting.
Friday, January 21, 2022
Jockey reminds me a little of Seabiscuit. Both films tell a story of an aging rider and a once in a lifetime horse. Jockey adds a father - son or father -mentor plot to the mix. Clifton Collins Jr. brings worn out realism to the role of Jackson. Molly Parker adds depth as longtime friend and employer. Moises Arias fills out the story as the son Jackson may or may not have. Several scenes feel improvised adding realism.