This week I didn’t get to the theatre but I saw plenty of Netflix. Given that I will review in the level of quality of the films involved.
The first film is a re-watch of a film I have seen a number of years ago. Intouchables is a French film with subtitles, about a well-to-do middle aged man who is paralyzed, and his search for a caregiver and the bond that comes from an unlikely source. This is not to be confused with The Untouchables with Kevin Costner and Sean Connery. The new caregiver had no intention of ever accepting this job, but he brings a level of realism and street sense to his role. He treats the “patient” like a human being, and not a patient. There are no favours, and he argues with him and makes fun of him. He keeps him honest and they laugh together, along with pushing him further in his life. Both parties grow, learn something and are better for the experience with each other. I showed to youngest son, but also my Mom and step-father and they each enjoyed.
Hostiles is a western set in the late 1800s with Christian Bale playing an army captain who has been long fighting on the plains in the west various Indian tribes. His very good friend was gutted by one Indian chief years before, and he gets ordered to escort this elderly and dying Chief to his native lands in Montana. He struggles mightily with the request, which quickly becomes an order. Along the way he meets up with Rosamund Pike who has also had her own challenges out in the wilderness. Together they, along with an escort party, have a journey with the Chief and a couple other of his family. They are chased by the local Indians with revenge on their minds. For me, this movie was a bit too slow. It had pieces of Dances with Wolves in it, along with Unforgiven and The Homesman (egad!!). Bale plays intense well and you can see him struggle, but also look to bring some humanity and balance into the situation. He is making the best about it, and he begrudgingly learns to better understand the perspective of his counterpart. I am glad I didn’t pay for this is a theatre, and it was okay but I can’t recommend it.
Finally I saw I Feel Pretty with Amy Schumer. In almost every way, this film doesn’t work in the way that Trainwreck did. Trainwreck was a surprise hit and delightful romantic comedy with a complex family along with a fun romance between two people who had some good chemistry. Here the themes are muddled and the overall message of internal beauty versus outer beauty is confusing. I think it was better handled through Shallow Hal, where he sees the ugliness inside (while others see the real flesh on the outside). Here a bump on the head makes Schumer think she has her “dream come true” which was to be beautiful. The message of course is that attitude and friendliness makes up for a perceived lack of physical outer beauty. And of course that is the case. But the way it is presented here isn’t helpful and takes away from the message especially in the way the “beautiful” Schumer treats her close friends and pursues this receptionist job. I cannot recommend this in any way.
This weekend was seeing (and debating on seeing) either Inside Out, the Pixar film being praised as their best in a number of years and Me, Earl and the Dying Girl. Ultimately the decision was Inside Out. There was a negative review on rogerebert.com on Dying Girl, which contradicted the Best Film prize from Sundance and the overall positive reviews on rottentomatoes (93%). Pixar won out.
Inside Out: This was an interesting film and does with animation what would be almost impossible with real actors, and sets. Sure we could have CGI and green screen work everywhere, but the animation gives free reign to directors and story tellers. You know the premise, it’s a story about an 11 yo girl (Riley) but the real characters and the emotions that rule her mind Control Room. Joy, Anger, Fear, Disgust and Sadness work in her head, sometimes at odds with one another. Riley is generally happy and has some strong core memories and relationships. This is shaken and challenged when she moves from Minnesota to San Fran. There is some tremendous psychological discussion here, and elements of the brain. Abstract thought, dreams, lost memories and being forgotten are all tied in. There is also a powerful message about happiness and joy, and how even sadness can temper and add to the overall life experience of a person. It makes one think of your own make up. Which character rules you? It was worth the trip to the theatre. It stays with you.
I re-watched The Intouchables on Saturday night and once again was moved by this movie and the friendship created between these two characters. It is funny. But also shows how people can have impact on others. How getting out of your comfort zone is a good thing and leads to happiness. One man learns responsibility and helping others, while another to find new joy and realize that he is more than an invalid in a wheelchair.
Starting watching Weeds (season 1) as a new series to catch and liked it. Mary Louise Parker and Elizabeth Perkins give spunky performances of a widow selling pot to make ends meet. It is a good social commentary and has some really good writing. Watched the first three episodes. It is 7 seasons, so there is much to watch. I expect the arch to be similar than to Breaking Bad. Likely just less violent.