True, it’s not 100 percent original in its slapstick depiction of Hitler and his minions; Charlie Chaplin got there first, followed by The Producers and Hogan’s Heroes and quite a few more. And it does skim lightly over the enormity of human suffering at the hands of the Third Reich and its enablers. But grappling with such tragedy head-on is the work of a different genre of filmmaking. Jojo Rabbit revels in heaping scorn on the perpetrators, and I haven’t laughed this loudly at a movie in a long time.
This was a movie long overdue to be made. That’s what makes it such an unhappy task to report that, despite several fine performances and one outstanding characterization on the part of star Cynthia Erivo, Harriet is a pretty tepid moviegoing experience.
Critics are calling Pain and Glory, the Spanish auteur’s crowning semiautobiographical work, comparing it to Fellini’s 81/2. Pedro Almodóvar’s film is also being lauded, justly, as a career high for Antonio Banderas.
Meryl Streep plays Ellen Martin, the fictionalized widow of one of the victims of the 2005 wreck of the tour boat Ethan Allen on Lake George. Her insurance claim falls through the holes in a multileveled net of phony corporations that have bought one another out to a point where there’s no accountability left, and mild-mannered Ellen gets ticked off enough to pursue the perpetrators with increasingly singleminded purpose.
Renee Zellweger makes the connection between Judy Garland and her audience feel visceral and real. Their love, we see, is Garland’s ultimate addiction.
After the Wedding is an emotional rollercoaster, its rapid-fire plot twists accelerating the closer it draws to its climax.
Bernadette Fox, the protagonist of Maria Semple’s satirical 2012 epistolary novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette and of Richard Linklater’s new movie based on it, is seriously suffering the effects of a dream deferred.
The Farewell is strongly autobiographical, evolving out of a memoir that Wang first iterated as a segment on the NPR radio program This American Life. The Farewell is a lightly fictionalized version of that story, starring the rapper/actress Awkwafina (Ocean’s 8, Crazy Rich Asians) as Billi, Wang’s alter ego.
Julianne Moore (shown above with SUNY-New Paltz graduate John Turturro) found herself blown away by Chilean director Sebastián Lelio’s much-awarded 2013 film Gloria, and in particular by Paulina García’s terrific performance in the title role of a long-divorced woman putting a toe back in the dating waters. It was a part that Moore wished she could have played herself. So she did something audacious: called Lelio up and asked him to do an English-language remake of the movie, set in the US, with Moore herself playing Gloria.
The cast of Us does a terrific job with the challenge of bringing to life both the core characters and the doubles who threaten them.