This past weekend was a busy one for films.
Since starting this blog, here is my first live update to it, rather than uploading past materials. So hot off the presses and with no further adieu, here it is:
A Simple Favour: this is a film starring Blake Lively, and Anna Kendrick. It was given 3 stars by reviewer at Ebert.com and I decided to check it out. The premise is pretty simple with the Kendrick character a do-good, geeky single Mom who is super involved in her son’s class at school (she volunteers for everything and takes it to extreme levels) in Connecticut. In steps the Blake Lively character who is very busy with her high powered job in NYC, and her son. She is married to a writer, who isn’t writing much and they have financial stresses. Lively’s character swears and has firm views, likes to drink hard and press Kendrick about her darkest secrets. A modest “friendship” ensues between the two, with Lively not really seeming very into it. Then things happen. And more things happen with twists and turns that are expected and unexpected. They story moves to a who-dun-it in somewhat of a Gone Girl way. Kendrick can play annoying very well, and she is believable. Lively shows some range and is a presence. The men generally are toyed with and played to various degree. Henry Golding as Lively’s writer husband is good. Suffice it to say that I enjoyed it. It’s not a big screen film, but in a time when things were slow it was a quick escape for a couple hours. Lively is seemingly getting more confident and has been the focal point of a couple films now (Shallows and All I See Is You).
Jane: On Netflix I saw the new documentary had been added which was at TIFF a year ago. I had tried to seek this out in the theatre but couldn’t find it. This is an updated documentary with never before seen footage with Jane Goodall and her experiences and findings about chimpanzees in Africa. It is fascinating. You are told some of the history of Jane taking a project to do first hand accounts observing chimps and it starts slowly for her. She needs to gain the trust of the resident apes. When they realize that she is not a threat after a time, one particular ape shows the others that she is okay. More importantly is her work that showed that we as humans are not the only creatures on the planet that use tools. The chimps use long grass and thin sticks to insert into any hills and eat the ants that cling to them as them pull it out. The apes are also shown to think and feel deeply as the story of Flint and his mother Flo unfolds. This was and is important research and change animal research methods going forward. The pictures are fascinating and if you are an animal lover at all the cuteness factor with baby chimps is off the charts. Jane herself claims that Flo the chimp actually made her a better mother. There is a delicate balance of protection but also freedom to explore and try new things. Today’s parents could learn a thing or two from an ape. I heartily recommend this film.
Reversing Roe: another documentary newly out on Netflix is very good too which speaks about the history and future of the landmark Supreme Court decision in the US for abortion (Roe v Wade). The decision has been under attack by the States since the Feds insisted on access to abortion for women. States like Kentucky (with only one existing clinic) and Texas are anxious to eradicate these clinics in their areas. They put extreme regulations on them which have been forcing them to close their doors, regulations which are ONLY used against such clinics and not other clinics that provide other procedures (like colonoscopy services). You see politically a filibuster in Texas. You also see how the President and his choices for Supreme Court Justice change the balance on this issue. Presently with the new Trump appointments, the Court is now leaning towards Pro Life. The Pro Life movement (and Christian voters) are a powerful lobby group and sway the minds of those who want to be elected. They also change the context for the debate by addressing late term abortions, which only account for 1.3% of all abortions performed, but they are the focus. In the end, this is viewing to be informed, and to be able to talk intelligently about the discourse whatever political bent you may have. If you let politicians think for you, then they may do things that impact your life (or your kids lives) down the road. Is it just me or does the US seem to regress in these areas that other Western countries have progressed to support women and their lives (Germany, UK, Canada, Australia etc). This is gun control, but that is a story for another day, and another movie!!
TIFF was a really good experience this year, and I enjoyed the three movies that I saw. I had a conflict with hockey on Sunday and missed The Elephant Queen documentary.
I went to the theatre and watched Tulipani at Colossus, and the only reason I knew about it was becuase I saw a NOW magazine in the subway on the way back from taking youngest son to wander around King Street Saturday. I remember that Alison had praised this film from last year’s TIFF as her favourite. I went Sunday after dropping son off and there were 3 people in the seats (including me). It is sad to me that the moviegoing public just misses out. One of the many marvelous things about TIFF is that it brings a whole new throng of films (that aren’t superhero movies) to the people at large on the big screen. Many like this year’s First Man and Ben is Back will be in the theatres in a few weeks from now. Some will make their way onto Netflix. But many don’t get many second chances. For some, it is a good thing. But many others it is not. They are good stories, and there are so many good stories for people to see. But maybe some people don’t see the need for movies and really don’t care that much. I cannot fathom that, as I am anxious to see the latest movies and stars on the screen. But there is that seeking the lowest common denominator for the average movie goer that is troublesome. Adam asks “will there be another Jurassic Park?” And I say – “so long as it makes money, they will keep making them…”. It is a business, and I get that, but there is also an art here too. Films that were not initially box office smashes, can become beloved as Shawshank Redemption can attest. It flopped in the theatre, but gained life on TBS in endless repeats. As my TIFF adventure begins tonight, I look forward to my 4 movies and seeing a good couple of stories.
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.
After a brief hiatus at the cottage where I was relaxing on the dock, I was able to get out and see a film in the theatre this past week.
Tuesday was venture out and see The Meg. I am a sucker for any shark movie as anyone knows about me. I just re-watched Jaws this past weekend and it reaffirms that even with 1970s technology and no CGI, it the classic, and best shark movie ever. There is a weight to Bruce the shark, and size that other films don’t have with computers. Yes, there are moments when it looks more fake, but it works. The Meg is a story where Jason Statham, who doesn’t seem to age, is asked to assist with a submarine rescue at the “new” bottom of the ocean, deeper than Mariana Trench where they think they found a false bottom. They did. And there are creatures there, like a giant prehistoric shark. All of that doesn’t really matter, quite honestly. The question becomes “is the shark stuff cool, and worth the fee at the theatre?” There are a few good scenes, and some jumps. Not like the jump when the fisherman’s head pops out of the bottom of the wrecked boat in Jaws, but again, one can’t compare. I found the film a bit longer than it needed to be. It was a fun escape for those who like seeing sharks, and very big ones.
Mission Impossible: Fallout
Last Tuesday was seeing Tom Cruise as Tom Cruise aka Ethan Hunt – but really it’s Tom Cruise in his latest adventure. The high bar of expectations was set when the Ebert site (rogerebert.com) said this was “one of the best movies of the year!” High praise indeed. I did not read the review beyond that headline, as I am learning my lesson.