by keithsim | Public
The crowd in the Colosseum at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, made up of movie exhibitors, distributors & other industry folk, is notoriously tough. I've watched every major star imaginable (The Rock, Smith, Cruise, Clooney, Diesel, et al.) attempt to rouse them to no avail using every publicly legal motivational device known to Hollywood. Whether they're all jaded from watching too many trailers or hungover from the Vegas night before or whatever it's a dead, dead, dead audience. So it's truly remarkable that when shown TOP GUN: MAVERICK this group of thousands, who don't ever get excited about anything, applauded four times *during* the movie. During it. And then again when it ended. As an entertainment MAVERICK is an all-pistons firing blockbuster & it's even surprisingly touching. A moment with Val Kilmer presents what may be Tom Cruise's best acting since MAGNOLIA (with a nod to TROPIC THUNDER). It is what used to be called a "crowd-pleaser" and that's exactly what it did. Getting people back into the theaters not only isn't a crime, it's a feat.
If you can overlook the extreme gore, the visceral violence, the horrific, disgusting body violations BONES AND ALL is the most beautiful love story of the year. A super-smart publicist friend called it BONESLAND because of how closely it hews to Mallick’s BADLANDS. #TaylorRussell (so good in ‘19s WAVES) is a strong presence here in L. Guadagino’s return to form after SUSPIRIA. Taylor & Chalamet are cannibals, genetically born to it like some junkies are born to be addicts, on the road in America. If you’re already unnerved you should probably pass but it’s unforgettable.
In THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN, one of the best film at Venice (the other being BONES & ALL), Martin McDonagh's unique style, as both a writer & director, matures to something approaching the near-perfect old fashioned cocktail, made of bourbon, bitters, orange, & sugar. Two parts the weary, gorgeous world we live in, intoxicating us with natural beauty and stocked with irrepressible, broken, crazed, wonderful characters. Three dashes of bitter regret for past mistakes & unfulfilled dreams. The rind of an orange for zest. One shot of sweetness & humor coming from our relations with our fellow humans, whom we love, sometimes hate & can never understand.
It's hard to believe that Ostlund's last Palme d'Or winner, THE SQUARE, is only four minutes longer than SADNESS. SADNESS, which also won the top Cannes prize, feels lean and fierce, whereas THE SQUARE had the kind of hulking, domineering presence of its ape-installation. SADNESS also has a more balanced approach to people in general. Whereas it was mostly the elite who were taken to task in THE SQUARE (and they are eviscerated again here) in TRIANGLE it's the whole durn human comedy. The casting is on point and the metaphor of the luxury yacht as a floating sewer won't leave my mental model anytime soon.
Go see DOG. Go see DOG if you’ve ever had, loved, knew, or wanted a dog. Go see DOG if you’re more than a little interested in seeing this country mend itself. Go see DOG if you know someone who is hurting. Go see DOG if you’re hurting. Go see DOG if you want a little ray of hope. Go see DOG.
It would be hard to recall a comedy as equally hand-clappingly and snortingly funny as it is emotionally resonant and powerful, as packed with meaning about friendships, and bigotry, and all kinds of stupidity and morality, as EMERGENCY. Director Carey Williams and screenwriter KD Davila tap into themes and human experiences so universal and then into moments so personal and specific that it seems like they’re playing a game of Jenga with themselves and us. The two leads, RJ Cyler & Donald Elise Watkins, as college friends Sean and Kunle, develop a bond as believable & rich as STAND BY ME (with an able assist by Sebastian Chacon as their 3rd wheel). Pay attention AMPAS. EMERGENCY should be nominated for Best Picture.
Producer, writer, & director Jordan Peele combines the promise of GET OUT, the messiness of US, & a twisted homage to CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (maybe even JAWS, TREMORS, & SIGNS) in one of the best movies of the year, NOPE. I’d love to watch it again, not only to go in with the knowledge I now have, but to watch the audience watch it again. NOPE is a collective, theatrical experience. It HAS to be. You HAVE to watch it with an audience. Otherwise you’d miss the sound of complete and utter silence in a crowded theater, entombed in suspense, the relieved sounds of communal laughter when Peele lets them go, the shrieks of terror when he reels them in. He’s proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’s a great storyteller. Peele also creates one of the great supporting characters, I’m thinking Jake (Kevin Costner) in SILVERADO here, in Emerald, wonderfully engaged by Keke Palmer in an A-Lister performance. Emerald is the sister of OJ (Daniel Kaluuya, underplaying to the extreme) whose horse ranch appears to be in path of some unfriendly, glamping extra-terrestrials. Peele doesn’t expend all of his talent on Emerald. He also gives great moments to Angel, the UFO-ologist/Fry’s employee (a breakout role for Brandon Perrea) & Werner Herzog-like naturalist/cinematographer Antlers Holst (Michael Wincott, gnawing on the curtains to soften them up). To say anymore would be unfair and might take you out from being part of the audience that gets to experience NOPE as it is meant to be seen. Together. In a theater.