September 26, 2022

Don’t Worry Darling: on Monday I went to see a pre-screening of the new Olivia Wilde film starring Florence Pugh, Harry Styles and Chris Pine. I had been sent an invitation to this IMAX event a few weeks back not fully realizing what it was. I expected a showing. What I got was more like a TIFF-like opening with a live simulcast from NYC with Olivia Wilde and much of the cast giving interviews.

Then the screening took place in each of these IMAX theatres across North America. I won’t be providing any spoilers which means that I can only provide a high level overview of the plot. We are set into what seems to be a period piece in and around the 40s or 50s. By the cars, it is likely the 50s with the men heading off to work each morning, and the wives in their perfect cul-de-sac houses doing laundry, scrugging tubs and going to ballet lessons. The men are working on a secret project, run by the leader played by Pine. Florence Pugh as the dutiful wife is approached by another wife and told that everything isn’t what it seems. She has suspicions, and then things move along from there.

I like where this movie goes and how thought-provoking that it was. We are in different times. This movie is mostly, I think, a woman based story, told through the eyes of Pugh. The audience needs to pay attention. Things happen which can change one’s perspective fairly quickly, and you need to stay with it. It is rewarding, as we head into the final act. For me, as much as 2022 seems to be modern, certainly in the US there is this idea that we are regressing with the treatment and rights of women, minorities and others. The music plays a very important role, first in looking to provide some sense of time, but also at other times as things unravel a little. In many ways it is surprising to see the same writer and director who brought the funny, teenage angst movie Booksmart to the screen, and bring in this piece which is so very different from it. Consider the respective roles of the characters involved. Ask yourself later why they make the choices that they have, and see if it mirrors what you yourself might do. There have been mixed reviews of this, and I can see that the audience has to be a little older. Seventeen year old boys aren’t going to want to see this. A younger audience generally won’t understand the references to the older times. I appreciated the pre-screening and the format usilizing the IMAX format fully. In my mind, money well spent doing this instead of the TIFF opening.

3000 Years of Longing: This movie stars Tilda Swinton and Idris Alba in a modern telling of the genie-in-a-bottle tale. Swinton through happenstance comes upon a glass container, and manages through a mistake to allow the genie to escape. The traditional genie story ensues where the holder of the lamp has three wishes. Usually as Swinton astutely points out, there is an unanticipated lesson to be learned for the person receiving the wishes. She starts probing the genie to tell his story as to how he got into this present position. He begins to tell the tale of his relationship with the actual Queen of Sheeba. For various reasons and circumstance, he ends up having three substantial relationships with people choosing various wishes. None of the prior relationships managed to grant him his freedom. So the story continues to a final story which I have to admit surprised me. I hadn’t expected the result, which was likely the aim. There is a message, and a conclusion that is fine. I had texted Alison and she said that she was done by the third story. There is some repetition. But overall I didn’t hate it, and liked it more than expected.

Moonage Daydream: David Bowie died back in January 2016, a really surprising six years ago! Since that time, there was a forgettable movie about Bowie called Stardust. This documentary was released at TIFF, but showed up in the theatres just a week later. So on a rainy Sunday, this was a perfect was to spend the afternoon.

This movie has no real structure. There are various images that are used, both still photographs and moving. It somewhat follows chronologically the events of Bowie’s life starting around the Ziggy Stardust days around the early 70s. Bowie narrates most of the film, and there are some interviews used from the past, with Dick Cavett and others. It is a slow burn in revealing a little at a time what made Bowie tick. He was a man of the world, living a nomad lifestyle in place to place. He talked about early days in England, but then onto LA and then Berlin, in West Germany. He uses these places and interactions with people to inspire him for songs, paintings and sculptures. He does it all. I had no idea about the painting. He was offered various showings but he later declined. But in seeing his art, he showed a remarkable ability to move from genre to genre. He speaks about using his various personnas from Ziggy Stardust to the Thin White Duke to others as his body as a canvas. This way he doesn’t need to reveal anything about himself. One wonders and he is asked about whether the Bowie being interviewed is just another persona. Another painting of himself. A good question. He observes that he isn’t overly religious, and is a believer in life. I like that answer. He lived that life fully. From actor, singer, songwriter, artist he covered the spectrum of artistic endeavours. I thoroughly enjoyed spending a couple of hours with David Bowie today. He is missed. He was a one of a kind person, who left this world a whole lot better because of his unique abilities and eccentricities. We are all better for having been able to share in his art. I wonder whether anyone like him will come around again. This was something that I heard some positive reviews, which makes me think that these reviewers are very open minded. It is different. But I think that Bowie would like this movie a great deal better than the earlier effort. One certainly gets a much better idea into the life of Bowie after watching this. If you are a fan, definitely try to catch this. If not, maybe you can learn about what a legendary artist can do with their time on this Earth.