September 2, 2019 – Bonus Alison reviews

Alison:  The timing seems right to talk about Midsommar.  I read a “best movies of 2019” list today which included Midsommar but I immediately discounted it for having Detective Pikachu so I can only take it half seriously.  Four stars on and 83% fresh on the tomato page.  My second surprise was a packed theatre which landed Rob and I in the front row for our viewing.  This movie was promised to be a horror flick of sorts and for me it was a fail in that regard.  The premise is that a couple of university students travel to the home of a friend in Sweden to visit the commune (read cult) he grew up in.  There’s the couple that should have broken up on their third date, the two guys that can’t stand their buddy’s girlfriend and of course cult guy.  Everything about this film is awkward.  None of these people seem to really like each other.  Conversations are at an unnatural pentameter and despite appearance there is an underlying anger and uneasiness that starts to take hold.  The cult folks are odd but welcoming and things get underway with the festival.  Without giving too much away, people start dying (one scene quite shocking), friends go missing and the reactions of the remaining friends are not what you’d expect.  Its not scary…its just weird.  Midsommar is from the guy who made Hereditary which I loved.  I suspect this is the movie he wrote first that got picked up after the success of Hereditary.  Do you need to see it???  If you’re curious, go ahead and then I’ll wait for the “wtf email” you will be certain to send me afterwards.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is the latest offering from Mr. Tarantino that came with much anticipation and accolade.  Four stars on Roger, 85% on rotten and attention at Cannes.  And yet of the thirty or so people in the theatre, three got up and walked out around the half way mark in what felt like a painfully long 2.5 hour film.  If I had to describe this film in one word i might use “unnecessary” or “self-absorbed”.  Don’t get me wrong, this was beautifully shot film and Brad and Leo gave great performances (and Brad looked especially good doing it) but I kept waiting for it to start or get to the point.  And when it finally did, it was anticlimactic.  I suspect much of the accolades for this film are from those in the industry as this was a directors film.  For the rest of us it was time spent looking at something really well made that just wasn’t that entertaining.
Cold War was nominated for an Oscar and Bafta award last year.  It’s filmed in black and white and is simply gorgeous to look at.  This is a love story that takes place in communist Poland between a musician and the young farm girl he discovers.  Together they are part of a troupe putting on cultural shows until the evil Kaczmarek used the troupe to gain good fortune with the communist party.  He, the musician and she the singer devise to defect to France and when he crossed she got cold feet.  He meets with success in France and she finally decides to join and the love affair resumes.  The characters are engaging but more as a curiosity as everyone plays their cards close to their chest and seemingly there is always an angle.  Love has its ups and downs and this couple is no different but theirs is a never happy kinda love, neither together or apart and always a yearning for a thing you don’t have until having it doesn’t feel that great either.  Don’t expect to walk away feeling your heart has grown as big as the Grinch’s on xmas day and as Jason would say “well, that wasn’t horrible”.

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