Mank: The Golden Globe nominations came out last week for the Film and TV Dramas and Comedies. On that listing came the Netflix film,Mank with an impressive cast including lead Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins (Phil’s daughter), and Tom Burke as Orson Welles. Oldman plays Herman Mankiewicz, who was a writer in Old Hollywood. For a lowly writer he seems to be very well connected with powerful friends, including Leo B Mayer and William Randolph Hearst among them. He is a drunk but a well respected writer. He is tasked with writing Welles’ Citizen Kane, which Welles at 24yo was brought in to resurrect RKO Pictures’ fortunes. It is a black and white period piece set in the early 1940s with flashbacks. Actually the flashbacks can be somewhat of a distraction, taking away from the direction that the story seems to be focused on. It isn’t clear to me how the gubernatorial election in California from 1934 impacted the Kane storyline, despite having some nice tie-ins to more recent Presidential elections, and that is a criticism for me. It’s all very fuzzy. I would be much more interested in the making of the classic film. The other major distraction for me is how a 62yo Gary Oldman, plays the 33yo Mank from 1940. Why? Add to this the backstory of his Oscar winning role of Winston Churchill and him claiming that he must have a fat suit, because he refused to add the weight that he said would be difficult to ever get back off after filming. Well, he seems to have added the weight on himself, perhaps he swallowed the Best Actor Award? One cannot say. In the end, I cannot recommend this film. It was long and slow. It had brilliant production design for places like Hearst Castle, which in many ways one should know a little of that story (Hearst and Marion Davies) to put into context what transpires. It looks beautiful. The plot is a headscratcher from which Hollywood types will vote for it (like Birdman a couple years ago).
The Flight Attendant: This Kaley Cuoco TV series is named as a Best Drama (Musical or Comedy)??, and her as a Best Actress. Ummmm, no. To me, the lines of Comedy get blurred when there is a murder to be investigated. The series is all about that. So it’s no Schitt’s Creek. The eight episode storyline leans heavily on the pretty and drunkard young blond flight attendant and her life. In many ways it channels the character of Amy Schumer in Trainwreck from 2016. Schumer is funnier. But here there are these surreal flashbacks when our constantly drinking protagonist messed up in a situation that clearly is way over her head that push this intoAmerican Werewolf in London territory. Strange and yet an important plotline that they continue to perpetuate. She is after all just someone who is a “party girl” and hooking up on a layover (literally and figuratively) with a handsome guy in first class. Much of what happens is a drunken haze for her, but it comes back to her in snippets. It all becomes a little too nice and tidy in the final episode. You KNOW that they will be working on a sequel (season 2) so that many of the characters have to continue on. I won’t be rushing out to see this character enter more shady situations. I don’t think one wins awards for being pretty and acting drunk. There is more than that.
Tom Segura –(Netflix) I have seen now three separate comedy specials by this guy, and I like him. I like his point of view and the stories that he tells. It is light entertainment that is welcome in these times. Much like Jim Jefferies he has a cutting humour, doesn’t really care about political correctness and makes interesting human observations. Smile and enjoy!