December 18th, 2018 – One day delayed

This is being written today, a Tuesday, but I have a good excuse, and that was I hadn’t seen a movie to write about until last night on a flight.   Now flights are not the best places to see films and mostly because most airlines are editing the films for content.   Heaven knows if you will sit next to a 6yo and they don’t need to see breasts on the screen!   So I give credit to American Airlines yesterday who make it plain that they do NOT edit the films, they are shown as shown in the theatres.   Good on them.   With that note, I was able to catch one and a half films.

Alison had sent to me the following blog list of Best Films as listed by Toronto critics.

https://www.blogto.com/film/2018/12/toronto-film-critics-best-movies-2018/

I noted on this list both The Favourite, reviewed here just recently but also First Reformed and Burning (also reviewed – https://wordpress.com/post/mondayswithrobbie.com/567).  So with that background I decided to watch First Reformed.

A reverand (played by Ethan Hawke) is the head of a small church in upper New York State which has been in existence since 1700s.  They are coming up to their 250th anniversary and there is a celebration being planned.   His parish is small and dwindling.  There is a corporate sponsored larger modern church nearby which watches over this smaller church.   The father has had some challenges in his life.   He is asked to counsel the husband of one of his more consistent parishioners.   Questions are asked which don’t have simple answers like:  “Can God forgive us to what we have done to his creation?”  ‘Can we be forgiven?”   There is further discussion about despair and hope.   Ultimately this is what I consider to be the main theme of the film.   Things unfold, and a degree of tension steadily grows.   The performance by Hawke drives this film ever forward.   He is very good.   You can see the anguish on the face of Hawke, who steadily keeps his tumultuous emotions to himself.   There are moments I will not spoil.   I will say that when the credits rolled, I paused and thought back to what I viewed and then felt it was appropriate.   I had (after seeing the trailer/preview) texted to Alison that I felt I knew what the good reverand was going to do.   I think it is fair to say that I wasn’t entirely wrong.    But then again, I wasn’t right either.   I am glad to have seen this.

I started to watch Adift with Shailene Woodley, and Sam Claflin, but this is Woodley’s picture.   I am glad to see her once again since it seemed she hasn’t worked in quite some time.   Ever since the whole Divergent debacle, where someone sold her a bill of goods on it being The Hunger Games, she has laid low.    But I like her, and think she is good here.   I have not completed the film (I got halfway through) but I have it on rent and will complete in the next day or so.    I look forward to finishing it and completing this review.

 

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Wednesday December 5th, 2018 – Burned

Well I realized when I posted today about First Reformed that I didn’t write about Burning, which I had seen at TIFF Lightbox on December 5th.   I was caught up in writing about Intouchables (older film) than writing about what I saw in the theatre.   Maybe that says a little something about Burning and how it may not have impacted me very much.    I think, to the contrary, that I had written, or began writing, and thinking about Burning for so long long that I had thought I had already posted the review.    Alas, I had not.   So without further background, here is the review.

I had heard good things from Cannes and other film festivals about Burning.   I went to see this, and I also have Shoplifters on my list to see which Won the Palme D’Or at Cannes this past year.   Burning is the story of a young South Korean man who by happenstance meets up with a female childhood friend of his.  He is smitten and looks to spend more time with her.   She heads off and out of town and when she returns she is accompanied by another young South Korean, only this guy has more outward signs of visible wealth.   He drives a Porsche.   He has a fabulous house.    He throws fancy parties and cooks fancy meals.    The young protagonist feels a little suspect about this guy, as he keeps on showing up.   Things happen and tension grows from there.   Our young man has returned to the countryside to work on a family farm, such as it is.   There his suspicions grow and he tries to piece together a puzzle that has been put before him, but for which he never would have wanted.   The supporting actor who plays the rich acquaintance of his female friend does an excellent job of portraying his character.   There is Teflon protective glass it seems around him and his struts around like royalty around various servants (not so unlike the Queen in The Favourite).   See how he talks about what his plans are for a location not far from where our protagonist lives.  How he seems infallible and unstoppable.  Overall, there are some genuine scenes of suspense as the viewer wonders how all of this will unfold.    I note that this film was reviewed positively in the blog from December 18.   I would agree that this film was worth seeing and I was glad that I saw it.