May 25th, 2020

Alison had watched and reviewed Booksmart back in October last year.  Search for her review.   I had heard good things about this movie, and this being the directorial debut of Olivia Wilde.   The movie stars a good young cast, who are playing a modern day version of Fast Times at Ridgmount High and the predecessor before that American Graffiti with a bunch of high school kids on their last day of high school and before graduation.

The primary star is the young Kaitlyn Dever, named Amy (who was also in the series Unbelievable) and closely tied with her on screen best friend Molly, the school’s valedictorian (played well by Beanie Feldstein) and their graduating class and some school personnel.   These two best friends, and school outsiders, pledged to focus entirely on studies and school government with a view to getting into good schools and avoid typical high school trappings (partying, drugs, trouble etc).  On the last day of school Molly realizes unexpectedly that some of her classmates, who didn’t seem to focus entirely on school managed to get into equally notable schools as she did (but they also had fun).   She pledges to Amy that they will party it up on their last night of high school, even though they weren’t invited to any parties.   The story moves on to their numerous adventures.    It’s a fun story, and I had a number of good laughs along the way.  Things just happen to them, and they have encounters with a number of their classmates and others along the way.   Problems arise that need to be solved and the two face a number of challenges.   The story is well told and the various side stories match up well (I thought anyway).  I like the message about high school as a stepping stone and even those who you may think have it all together, don’t necessarily do.   There is a good message about friendship.    Things don’t always turn out the way you had planned, even for a single evening of fun.   This isn’t always a bad thing.   We learn, we grow, we take next steps.   The hope is that you meet some good people along the way that you can relate to and connect with.   Some will stay with you briefly, while others may be around for a lifetime.  As one ages you can see some of these people as you look backwards at your life.    There are a lot of truths to be found.  I can hear my daughter telling me that I am being pretentious and obvious at the same time.   Some moves are fun.  Some movies have messages and others still can do both.  This is a quality first time directorial debut for Wilde.   She seems have to a very good grasp of the material and allowing her able actors to make it work.   I note that she didn’t write the screenplay.

I am continuing to work through Killing Eve Season 3, which I do enjoy as well as RUN Season 1 which seems to be getting better each episode.   It started slowly with the other adult investigator star from Unbelievable (Merritt Wever) and Domhnall Gleeson, but it gets better and more complex.   This is yet another series where Phoebe Waller Bridge has her input (and acting skills).   Waller Bridge in also involved with Killing Eve.   I am also continuing to watch Westworld Season 3.   I realize as I watch these episodes just how complex this series really is.   I am not even sure after a short time whether I had watched that episode or not.   Dolores is exploring the “real world” having escaped the adult amusement park.   She has a few friends with her.    Plenty to pay attention about.

I am missing movies.  I am missing the theatre.   This goes without saying I suppose.   I am more distressed about the delays in movie releases like James Bond, Dune, Top Gun etc.   Of course the studios don’t want to lose out on the theatre revenue at $15 a seat.   But it would seem that this virus will keep people out of theatres for quite a while – well maybe everywhere but the US, unless they start showing movies in church.    Stay safe.   Stay home.

October 16th, 2019 – Bonus Alison submission

Joker is no joke.  I’m going to resist comparing Joaquin’s performance to that of Heath Ledger because they are incomparable in that they represent a pinnacle performance for each actor.  Joaquin’s transformation into this character was complete right down to his frighteningly emaciated frame and the physical stress the projection of the Joker laugh and unnatural run took on his frail person.  Performance aside Joker is a dark, depressing and surly poetry that you can’t help but stare at.  Its engaging from start to finish and as an origins story provided both the story of Joker and the Batman – two of the more prominent ‘superhero’ characters that have no special powers other than their menacing mindsets.  The film is well directed by Todd Phillips, who I had to look up to learn he’s best known for The Hangover franchise, and his offering here is to the standard set by Christopher Nolan.  Is it worth seeing if you’re not in the comic book movie scene?  Yes, albeit on the small screen.  Fans of the genre will be best served on the big screen.
The Souvenir is a film that both Rob and I had hoped to catch at the theatre and it was in and out of town before we even knew.  The art / independent film offerings are harder to track down as the rep cinema scene has been beaten back giving way to condo developments and movie-plexes.  The Souvenir stars Honor Swinton, daughter to Tilda Swinton who herself has a smaller role in this project.  The male lead was Tom Burke who played his role of master manipulator very well.  The Souvenir is about a young woman attending film school who meets a well groomed man who impressed with his scholarly conversation and fancy clothes.  An engaging conversation led to his crashing at her place for a week and of course feelings developed and the relationship progressed quickly…worts and all.  As I watched this slow moving piece I felt myself becoming more and more frustrated with the female lead’s decided naiveté where her love affair was concerned.  The director did a great job at dropping hints about the fly in the ointment with this particular prince charming and as the clues became more and more obvious I wondered why the critics gave this work such high praise.  Ugh!  But here’s the thing, this movie stayed with me for a few days as I mulled over my annoyance with the characters and the parents of said characters.  I’m deliberately not sharing any of the details of this film; I’ll let some paid critic ruin this element for you.  I still haven’t decided if I would have been happy to shell out full price for this film but it would certainly be worth paying for coffee  and cake that the film would be discussed over.
Booksmart.  I decided to watch this film on a whim and was so glad that I did.  This is the directorial debut for House’s old assistant, Olivia Wilde and it is entertaining, funny and creative.  The plot quite simply is the end high school and the class bookworms deciding they are going to crash the big end of the year party before going off to university.  These two quirky girls headed out for a night they will never forget and a couple of the best laughs I’ve had recently at a movie.  There is one scene involving barbies that I thought was brilliant.  The characters are likeable and are representative of pretty much every stereotypical high school class from back in the day.  Check it out on the Crave or wherever its streaming while you can.