First of all, I would like to congratulate Jessica Chastain for winning the SAG Award last night for Best Actress, for her role of Tammy Faye Bakker. I have been a long time fan, and although I don’t think of this as the strongest year for nominees (far from it), it is still recognition and acknowledgement. The Eyes of Tammy Faye, that I reviewed and didn’t love, was a project that she had worked on for 10 years. Getting that together, assembling the cast and getting the financing cannot be easy. Sadly the pandemic is hitting all the revenues from the film industry. So kudos to her in bringing it home. I will suggest that Andrew Garfield was robbed in the Best Actor category. For a guy who professed that he couldn’t sing, he was amazing in his role in Tick Tick Boom. I was very pleased to see that Jean Smart for Hacks won which was a great performance! If you haven’t seen it, check out that series.
Nightmare Alley: Another movie where the impressive cast is simply let down by a story that was boring. I was not engaged in this long winded story in the least. Set in the 1940s, in a carnival setting that roams from town to town there is the talents of people like Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara, and director/writer Guillermo Del Toro. This is a remake of a movie from 1947. It falls flat. Cooper is the focus as a guy who does something nasty in the first few frames and then “runs away to the circus”. He meets up with a cast of characters who perform shows and fool the public for money. He learns some tricks of the trade and is introduced to the skill of clairvoyance. Generally it is the ability to be extra perceptive, and make choices about people generally, like young men will have issues with their father and women their mothers. People care about health, wealth and love. He meets Rooney Mara. Things happen. Later we see Cooper flying higher in society and looking to impress and be paid by a wealthy man. He is believing in his own “abilities” and selling others on it. The ultimate conclusion comes full circle, but it isn’t really satisfying. I note that even with this star studded cast, that no Oscar nominations came from it. None were justified. It seemed forced, with no real ability to draw the audience into the suspense. I had not realized until after watching that this was a remake. It makes sense, because the look and feel is very much what one might expect from the 40s. Updating the cast is window dressing for a story that is well entrenched in its time. The running time was 2:20 which is too long. I think the opening scenes with the carnival could be shorter. The point could have been made there sooner. In the end, this isn’t Best Picture nor is it worth spending this amount of time on. Sadly. I had such high hopes going into it with this cast.
Love is Blind: I watched Season 2 on Netflix. This is a guilty pleasure really. Such cheese in the evening to watch so many people enter into this “experiment” for which they are all so quick to refer. The premise is simple. Put 15 young men and women in a place for 10 days where they cannot see one another, but can only talk. Only upon being engaged can you actually meet this person, and try to cement the relationship. After a trip to Cancun and some time together back in the home city, in this case Chicago, do you have to ultimately decide whether to actually get married. That decision is left to the bitter end with friends and family in attendance at a full on ceremony. Every one who enters this show knows what they are getting into at this point. There are no surprises there. The editting of course makes a huge difference and I wouldn’t ever place a bet on who would remain together because much isn’t shown to us. If off-camera the couple had a blazing, three alarm argument about something that we didn’t see, we have no context in which to know where the participants head is at. They ALL want to be married. They ALL are in love with the concept of love. But are they finding the right person for them using this format. Of course the show wants to create drama to keep viewers engaged. This was a good season, I felt, because there were couples at different stages. Some more connected than others. Some where one party was more connected. Others still had issues with family and loved ones. The ultimate reveal was a good culmination of events. Obviously I won’t reveal who stayed with whom. But if you like this sort of thing, this is mind candy that although a little longer than it needs to be, can still be fun on a winter day.