More Movie Reviews
In-person voting at satellite locations begins today in Virginia and a there’s one at a library around the corner from me, with a dropbox. I’ll check the news to see how turnout is before I venture over there. I can stand in line for a while to cast a vote, but if it’s too crazy, I can leave my absentee ballot as Plan B.
This insanely heavy early voting seems a good omen for Biden, but I won’t rest until the Trump crime family is behind bars. Since Trump caught COVID, he’s raving more maniacally than ever. His babbling at rallies revealed he’s considered fleeing the country. It’s rumored that he’s discussed resigning in exchange for walking free on myriad crimes, including those in New York. I hope that doesn’t happen. I want to see him face payback — bigly.
Meanwhile, I’ve been watching lots of movies. This past weekend, I saw two “comedies” that were anything but. First was Downhill (2020) with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell playing a couple on an Austrian ski vacation with their two sons. When an avalanche threatens to bury them all, Will grabs his phone and runs, leaving Julia with the kids. Julia spends the rest of the movie traumatized and disgusted with Will, which puts Will into his own emotional crisis. Here’s the RogerEbert.com review.
It was based on a 2014 Swedish film called Force Majeure set in the French Alps, which I found on Amazon Prime and also watched. Swedish has a lot in common with Norwegian, so I got in some practice. I found these characters more believable yet colorful than the Americans, and the attempts at humor more subtle than the scenes added to give Julia and Will a few funny moments. Here’s the review at RogerEbert.com.
In the end, I didn’t like either one much. But that’s probably because I don’t give two shits about the dynamics of married couples’ relationships. I live with cats.
Here’s another one: Back in 2017, I anticipated, the missed, seeing A Quiet Passion, starring Cynthia Nixon (Miranda on Sex and the City) as Emily Dickinson. If it ever came to Richmond, it left the next day, but it’s now available on Amazon Prime. Oh. My. God. We need a new word for “ponderous” to describe this one.
Granted, any film about a paranoid recluse who never goes beyond her garden would be action-challenged, but five minutes to pan across a living room wall to show Emily lurking behind a door listening to music? Puleez.
It was surprising in its historical inaccuracy. To name just one, it killed off Emily’s mother, a helpless invalid Emily cared for, years before she actually died, presumably to give Emily more free time to get weirder. I refute just about everything in this review at RogerEbert.com except in that Cynthia was physically perfect in the role. However, her delivery of Emily’s poetry and almost every character’s dialogue sounded like high school actors doing Shakespeare without knowing what the words mean. It was hard to sit through this one to the end, even though she was only 56 when she died.
Then also on Amazon Prime I happened across Hotel Splendide from 2000, with Daniel Craig and Stephen Tompkinson (whom I crushed on as DCI Banks). This was — by far — the weirdest and BEST one of the bunch. It’s set at a creepy hotel on an island somewhere off the U.K., I think, accessible only once a month by ferry. The guests are fed only seaweed and fish-based meals made by Daniel Craig, which powers the hotel’s vast heating system, which runs on poop.
All hell (and shit) breaks loose when a woman who was once sous chef there — now a chef in the real world — returns and takes over the kitchen to serve real food. But that’s just the surface story. The characters’ relationships and who summoned the woman back to the island make up the real plot.
It’s one of those movies whose humor springs from its own absurd world with its own rules. To enjoy it, you just accept it, like The Grand Budapest Hotel.
These days, anything that takes me away from reality for a few hours is a winner.
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