Happy September as we get right into TIFF season once again starting Thursday. My first film is 22 July on Monday. I see Driven Tues and Kursk on Thurs.
There are some days that the thought of becoming a Roger Ebert sounds sexy and interesting. Heading to film festivals around the world (like Cannes and Sundance etc) and seeing all the movies. Then there are other times, like now in the theatres, where I look and there is so very little to want to see. I heard Crazy Rich Asians at TIFF last year was a hit. Not sure that I need to see it. Others don’t really excite or interest me. But there is always Netflix. Still the idea of having to go out and see and then review on all these current films would be exhausting. I remember Roger talk about films like Jack Frost where he felt that 2+ hours of his life had been taken from him. That would be frustrating!
I saw two recent films on Netflix, one was Downsizing, the Matt Damon film from TIFF a year ago. Man I am happy I didn’t see this there and pay $25 for the privilege. It starts out okay and I liked the premise. You find a solution to over-population by shrinking people down to size. Then their average savings can make them live like kings in the shrunken world. They impact the planet less, take less space and create less garbage. The Matt Damon character decides with his wife (Kristen Wiig) to shrink down. Only she has a change of heart and he is left alone. The signing of the divorce papers was a funny scene as were a couple others. But then it bogs down in this social-political discussion, and this annoying Vietnamese woman who stumbles into Damon’s life who formerly had a life in the public eye for being a protestor. The best speech in the entire movie is one about what “type of fuck” happened between two characters (eg: friend-fuck, pity fuck, you get the idea). But the film loses all its momentum and fades to black without really fully exploring this world. Can’t recommend this one.
Annette Bening who is married to Warren Beatty (now 80yo and seldom seen except for Oscar goofs) has had a storied life in film. Notable films include for me Bugsy where she was excellent and Grifters with John Cusack. Others are out there too like American Beauty and Being Julia and The American President. In 20th Century Women, she has a young teenage son as a single Mom, and she turns to two other female characters principally to shape and provide guidance to him (all without consulting him about whether he feels the need to do this). The film takes place in the late 70s, and the other two are played by Greta Gerwig (of Ladybird director fame) as a new wave, artsy-type who survived cervical cancer and lives as a tenant with Mom and kid. The other is free spirit young woman, Elle Fanning, who appears permanently damaged and pissed, but is a girl this young man loves. The main male character here is a handyman working on the 1900 house they have, and is played by Billy Crudup. All these characters are looking to have an impact on the son and on each other. Mom is a standoffish parent, who lets son pretty much do what he wants and doesn’t really discipline much. She chain smokes and helps others, and has some interesting views on life and relationships. And that pretty much sums up each party here. It was fun to watch and see the arc of the stories. The young man in this is very good. He has his own ideas, and reads plenty to form opinions. In the end I was glad that I saw this, and I can see where the nomination was for Bening here (Golden Globe for Best Actress in Musical or Comedy). This really isn’t a comedy but has some moments.