dir. Adam McKay. Really shows why people called Dick Cheney, Darth Vader during the George W. Bush years. Similar in style to THE BIG SHORT (2015), but not quite as polished, or as funny. It’s fun seeing different actors playing the real life politicians. Christian Bale’s transformation is pretty remarkable. Sam Rockwell is pretty good as George W. Bush, but not as good (or funny) as Josh Brolin in W. (2008), directed by Oliver Stone. Important watching for younger people, or anyone not familiar with this part of modern history, it’s a very good retelling of the disastrous and corrupt US foreign policy during those years, for which we’re still paying the price of those actions. I’m glad they included a clip showing former British PM, Tony Blair’s complicity, and wish they had found room for John “Man of Steel” Howard.
dir. John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein. Wonderfully inventive action comedy. Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman are charming and hilarious as the hosts of their friend group ‘game nights’ that go suddenly wrong. Kyle Chandler (Coach Taylor in ‘Friday Night Lights’) is perfectly smarmy as Jason Bateman’s character’s older brother. Jesse Plemons pretty much steals the movie, as the next door constable, who wishes he was still part of ‘games night’. It was a delightful surprise to hear the amazing electronic score from Cliff Martinez (DRIVE (2011), THE NEON DEMON (2016)). Very surprising film, highly recommended, best not to read too much about it before seeing.
dir. Bruce Beresford. Completely charming, romantic story about the lives of a group of women in 1959 Sydney, Australia – all working in a posh department store. There’s some really wonderful production design, showing 1950s fashions, interior design, as well as architecture, thanks to some very elegant shot blocking, and some special effects. The heart of the movie is high schooler Lisa, played by Angourie Rice (Betty in the new Spiderman movies), and she’s delightful. I really loved it, it’s a comfortable easy to watch film, with more than one tear jerking moment.
dir. Spike Lee. Epic filmmaking. The story of undercover cops working together to infiltrate the KKK, the white cop in person, and the black cop on the phone would be unbelievable, if it wasn’t true. Like so much of Spike Lee’s movies, he somehow manages to craft moments of laugh out loud humor, from the most heartbreaking settings. A real ensemble cast performance. Very cool to see Isiah Whitlock Jr. channeling his earlier role in ‘The Wire’. Reminds me to rewatch Spike Lee’s MALCOLM X (1992). The ending is breathtaking.
dir. Yorgos Lanthimos. What a cast. Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz are all such different styles of actors, but it works so well. Weird and funny, and beautifully filmed. The natural light day scenes, and candle-lit night scenes are more beautiful and enjoyable than anything Kubrick did in BARRY LYNDON (1975). (showing @bkksr this week)