Licorice Pizza: Sometimes you see a new movie with young stars and they are immediately engaging. In the case of this movie, both leads played by Cooper Hoffman and Alana Haim in this new release from the summer are so engaging. I had not realized the young Cooper Hoffman until after seeing his name is the son of Philip Seymour Hoffman was an extremely engaging actor. The movie directed by Paul Thomas Anderson has two notable Oscar winner Sean Penn and six time nominee in the last nine years Bradley Cooper. Neither are particularly memorable in truth. The setting in the early 70s and a young confident high school student (Hoffman) meets an assistant for the photographer doing annual portraits in the gym. She is a little older and they have a clever banter. Much like Almost Famous where two young people meet and connect, you wait and see what awaits these two. It seems that are supportive of one another in whatever ventures come forward. From a roadtrip to NYC, where he is making an acting appearance but needs a chaparone, to her working for various ventures from the 70s like waterbeds and pinball machines. Isn’t love really about being there for the other person, when they are up but more importantly when they are down or in trouble (or perceived trouble). The story is a little disjointed, and situations aren’t always realistic. I am not always sure that the dynamic mid-teen would be setting up a storefont and making sales for various products. I wouldn’t be buying from such an enterprising youngster. There are good set designs with plenty of 70s era cars, clothing, hairstyles etc. Our heroine is put into some challenging situations, and one gets a sense of how it may be to be a young woman in those days (and any day for that matter) when especially she is around creepy men, and creepy older men. It just makes the hair on my arms stand on end, especially with a young woman as a daughter. Alana’s real life sisters play her sisters in this movie. Another thing I noted during the credits. Anderson is married to Maya Rudolph, I didn’t know that either. He has directed films like Phantom Thread and There Will Be Blood. Also Magnolia and The Master, with Cooper Hoffman’s Dad. I expected this to be better from a plot perspective, and I can’t pinpoint how and why. At the same time, I feel like I was introduced to a couple new people that we all likely will see again.
The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman: Netflix is showing these documentaries about various conman. First earlier in the month was Tinder Swindler. Here is another instance of a guy who has been able to avoid the law while swindling young women and their inheritances, credit or fortunes. He started in university where his con was to convince the woman that he was an MI-6 British intelligence officer. He was being stalked by the IRA, and his life was in danger. He stayed mobile. He convinced a woman’s family to part with her inheritance early. The authorities get involved. The story early on focuses on young adult children who are searching for their Mom. She has been under this man’s spell and hasn’t been in touch with them at all. So the story continues and it is another cautionary tale for which daters should be mindful. There are some telltale signs, so take notes. This case is a little more extreme, by that I mean one wonders how people can be in this situation, but still it remains remarkable what people can do to one another. Not everyone has the best of intentions. Far from it.