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Lady Macbeth (2016/I)
a wonderfully dark vision, 26 July 2017

Directed and edited with the kind of cutthroat artistic precision of the main character, this is a story of not feminist triumph but total feminist tragedy, and that beint cruel depends on ones point of view. This first time director (and God this actress!) do such wonders in getting us through the perspective of the character - the essential question "whos pov is this scene supposed to be from" is shown without equivocation in the first 15 minutes - that its almost TOO good a job.

This film also has the interesting distinction of the tragedy of one character growing like a fungus on to the others; the one who seems to have more of an arc than anyone isn't so much the main "Lady" but the servant girl, who we can tell from just the small shards of backstory (much of that is on the face, a credit to how much this actress is IN this story and character, even when she is in the background of rhe room) has only known this life of servitude and its warped her in a way 'Lady' can never understand.

It's also hard not to compare it to what else is out there now, and The Beguiled is a more emotionally varied, while still musty and murky and highly sexually charged, Gothic dramatic horror (its also hard for me not to think of parts of the Handmaid Tale series, would Lady function in that?) But this is remarkable and strong stuff, like tak8ng the stiffest, scorch-filled tumbler of scotch. I almost want to say this is a miserable experience, but everything about it l, from where the story goes so unexpectedly after the husband returns after being away for most of the story, to its ending that, for me, is readable as a tragedy for her perhaps more than those that get carted away to prison forever, is made with a level of intelligence and pain in its vones.

Lastly its rigor that it struck me as something James M Cain could've whipped up while getting loose with a Bronte sister. Its almost a shame for me to say a movie I like so much in not sure I evee want to see again due to its coldness of soul.

In brief: perfectly acceptable to put on and completely ignore while you neck with your date, 20 July 2017

This feels too.... serious-minded. This wasn't really all that much fun to watch (except for the Sky scenes - didn't know till someone on here wrote that the lead singer went on to form The Knack), and there's a somewhat graphic rape scene about 2/3rds into the film that feels like it's there to add extra drama that isn't needed... or, perhaps it *Is*, but not in the way it goes about it. I should like how it's all loose and without needing a solid structure, but its lack of focus is kind of a detriment here. Things just happen, even as there's the loosest of thru-lines in each of the girl's stories as they try to become nurses; one has an environmental kind of narrative, she sees a guy die on a beach due to polluted water and her new boyfriend investigates; one woman; the black one of course, tries to work for the black doctor who tries to, you know, become the first black doctor at the hospital with some difficult results; the other girl... I don't even friggin remember at this point and I just watched this several hours ago!

It hasn't aged well past the music from Sky being decent, though not totally remarkable - an example of what was typical, easy hard rock at the time, not challenging but not overly poppy - and while the acting is passable it's no great shakes. I think the whole thing goes down to the script just being a collection of scenes; this may sound like a complain that holds no water due to it being a Corman drive-in/grindhouse(ish) quickie meant to ride off the coat-tails of The Student Nurses (ironically the one that kicked things off isn't included in the SHOUT Factory's DVD set of New World movies with Nurses), to the point where the movie got named due to the fact that the only group that complained about that previous movie were the *actual* Private Duty Nurses who wrote a letter to Corman saying that nurses really do a lot of hard work and want to take care of their patients and blah blah etc.

If anything it could've simply used more colorful characters, or more bizarre or inventive things for people to do or say or set pieces (perhaps Armitage understood this and did better, in collaboration with Jonathan Kaplan, a year later in Night Call Nurses). It's impossible not to feel a bit like a snob trying to poke holes in this, but it's not about that; I know this is trash and know that it knows it as well. But... it's forgettable, and, aside from that rape scene I mentioned earlier, it doesn't feature anything that makes it stand out that could be considered as, well, a *positive* image of womanhood or femininity (sure, the movie points out, or one of the characters does, that she is trying to be a nurse since she can't become a doctor, but... why can't she exactly? Women became doctors back then, didn't they? Sometimes?)

In brief: perfectly acceptable to put on and completely ignore while you neck with your date. Perhaps the intention after all, but it doesn't work as something you got to pay attention to past the nudie bits (which are fine) and the rock and roll. But above all it's a bummer, and, as a "serious" movie, not very interesting or presented with skill or cleverness.

not... too bad!, 20 July 2017

Night Call Nurses, which follows the travails of three young ladies (as director Jonathan Kaolan says on the Shout factory DVD, it was told he had to have three girls), one involved in a rather salacious story (the girl who is tricked mentally to snap), one just involved with an amiable redneck-speed freak, and another (the black girl) with a political story as she tries to help get a guy who is on suicide watch out of the hospital, is a lot better and more fun than it has any right to be.

Kaplan, very early in his career (and recommended by Scorsese to Corman), brought a lot to the table as a director - he tries a lot of things, not least of which having that speed freak guy having a meltdown early on (how he meets the nurse he's hooked up with) via an LSD trip where he keeps seeing mad things on the road, and overall this has a breezy, free-wheeling and shaggy feel. Not to mention this has some actually decent dramatic bits (or at least it tries, and it doesn't feel unearned), gleefully stupid twists (one of them involves, no joke, the guy who would eventually direct numerous Happy Madison productions, Dennis Dugan), and a climax that really decides to go all out on the fifteen cents they were able to throw at the thing. The girls are also good actors, or at least they *try* more than in Candy Striped Nurses, which came out two years later.

Don't expect art; this is a joyful, sexy romp with a few wtf moments, and of course that guy Dick Miller!

Wish Upon (2017)
2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
almost a satire on American selfishness, 19 July 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is not the most entertaining movie of 2017 (though at times it certainly aims high), but Wish Upon is one of the most *2017* of 2017 movies. It's a story of selfishness and the worst impulses people tend to go to, especially when they're inconsistently written; Joe King's Clare starts off in the story seeming like one of those smart but decidedly outsider-ish teenagers (you know, the ones who are fairly normal until up against the bitchy 'mean girls' of the school like the one who gets the first wish upon to "rot"), perhaps like a second- rate but recognizable Daria type: artistic, witty, someone we might root for... and this falls apart very quickly as soon as she gets the wish box, and all of her wishes are the most shallow crap.

Of course, one can't have a Monkeys' Paw horror story like this without a character making some foolish decision, but this takes it to the limit and BEYOND. This movie takes that concept - remember that Treehouse of Horror segment from The Simpsons? Good, this is *almost* as funny as that, whether intentional or (especially) not - and gives it the Final Destination treatment. It's not like random people become dead due to Clare's wishes (aka the "Blood Promise" from each wish granted) - it's people (including, spoiler, a dog) who Clare knows and (sometimes?) cares about, but what's uproariously, hysterically, WTF-are-they-smoking-in-crack-form funny about it is how at times the sort of 'fate' type of murder scenarios play with the victims like a cat with a string.

This is a movie where every death scene is elongated and, while in PG-13 somewhat without blood or gore, are still effective for what they can get away with... and the director can't help but tease every single death to comic lengths (i.e. an old man getting into a bathtub we think is dead hitting his head, but he gets up and, as if out of classic Stooges short, his his head on the *faucet* above him and that is what gets him to shuffle off the mortal coil. But it's not just that - it's *every* death scene that gets the Final Destination treatment, even in moments where it would be so easy for a death to occur (where's Tony Todd when you need him!) Every death carries some level of humor, and for the life of me I couldn't figure out if the director (former cinematographer turned director Leonetti) was in on the joke or sincere with his set pieces.

And all the while, Clare becomes so much less sympathetic that she becomes the villain of her own story. This could become interesting, and Wish Upon feels like it's stepping up to the ledge of perhaps being a kind of horror/thriller satire of sorts, maybe looking at the way that young people become totally engrossed in their own self interests (Clare's friend dutifully points out she didn't try to wish for world peace, or any wishes for her friends). But it never really goes over the ledge, or feels like it's knowing entirely what it's supposed to be, like Get Out earlier this year certainly did. At any rate, we have in this movie things like Ryan Phillippe as Clare's dumpster-diver-ex-sax-playing father (in the backstory, Clare's mother committed suicide, but the how and why is so lame to tie back into the plot you can see it a mile away if you try), and he's here to... get a check I guess. And there's other odd things going on like a class where students learn Chinese in what appears to be Anytown, USA (is it some weird comment about how movies are pandering to Chinese audiences? I don't know if this even *is* a movie that would play in China anyway)

The movie is a mess, but it's highly entertaining, and I had many, many ,laughs while watching. Was it at its expense? I don't know. But if you're hankering for a Final Destination light experience, this is a decent one to seek out. Is it scary? I wish.

it's not the best example of Nurse movies, but it's certainly one to start with for a reason, 18 July 2017

This is my first "Nurses" movie, an unofficial series (without canon I mean, you can watch them any which way you want I suppose) from Roger Corman's New World Pictures, which started as... well, I'm sure there was some sort of idea from George Armitage and Corman originally, but how it got to Candy Stripe Nurses is mostly due, I'd assume, to economics: these movies made money, as far as they went, and this was one of the later ones. In a way I'm glad I started with this one since I'm sure that it can only go up from here, hopefully anyway, as far as the quality of the writing and acting.

Of course, one would argue, I shouldn't expect much quality when it comes to that stuff. This is about young, teenaged-to-20-something aged women in nurse outfits getting into shenanigans, usually involving their breasts coming out of their outfits.

There is some mild attention here to plot, actually three of them, almost with the kind of looseness I'd associate, of all things, with something like Car Wash (that might be due to the LA mid 70's shaggy period flavor): one girl, the Latina one, is brought on as a nurse as a way of curtailing possible juvenile dilenquency, and becomes involved with trying to hunt down the actual culprit of a convenience store robbery as the man who was shot and caught is in the hospital; another woman is (maybe?) attracted to a rock star who has, so to speak, lost his mojo; one last girl (who probably is the "better" actress of the bunch) hooks up with a college jock and helps him with his homework, despite the fact that she's still in high school.

Again, it's all soft stuff, and that's fine, but I can't help but try and, you know, pay attention to things when I watch a film like, say, repetitive music or lazy/tired shot compositions, or that there is some acting (Maria Rojo as nurse Marisa Valdez) that would've needed work in a high school production. There's some fun to be had with the story involving the haggard/mojo-less rock star, since that actor seems to get what the context of everything is, and at first some of the music was alright. The rest of the time it felt like a movie that is, even as the first "nurse" movie I've watched, going through the motions of its plot almost exactly as you'd expect... well, maybe not entirely: there IS the part where the basketball jock is somehow allowed behind the wheel to go tearassing around town drunk at night with other nurses in the car with him because... well, the movie needs a climax, don't it?

There's also the requisite number of breasts - some quite nice, actually - and, here and there, rapey vibes that perhaps can't be helped given the kind of sleaze we're accepting. I'm not sure what potential there was for this, but I think one legitimate criticism, past going after the performances or (for the most part) the filmmamking in general, is that we don't really get to see much of the girls even *in* the hospital as the nurses doing their work; that might be fine for others, but it seemed odd to have a movie with this title and about 10 minutes of it is spent with the girls actually seeing them do what they do (including, here and there, getting it on with other doctors/patients/etc).

Point is, it seems like once I double back to Armitage and Jonathan Kaplan's films, I should likely expect... well, MORE of whatever it is.

probably the least imperfect Corman production and a major highlight of Price's career, 12 July 2017

How valuable was Vincent Price as an actor; I don't mean simply as a star, that should be obvious even to casual horror fans much less people who watch a lot of movies. But it might be too easily assumed - I'm not sure exactly by who but I'm guessing it's by some who only watch these and other horror movies for the (cheap?) thrills - that Price could only do the creepy-spooky voiced character, the man who speaks that inimitable narration in Jackson's 'Thriller', or The House on Haunted Hill or House of Wax or House of Usher or any of the Houses. Watching Pit and the Pendulum and you can get another take on him, that, as hammy as he might appear, it's not something that he's doing inauthentically. I'm not sure he had it in him to do anything that wasn't deeply felt - Corman, in his book about his life and work, said that Price was trained in the method, of some sort at least - and you can see that 10-fold as Nicholas Medina, the (ex?) husband of Catherine (Luana Anders), as he comes apart over the course of this story. It's a tour-de-force really and it sneaks up on you.

The rest of the production is actually pretty good; some of that reaction may be that one may not immediately think of Corman as someone who could make classy, atmospheric horror movies, the kind that could actually feature a character (like Price as Nicholas does at one point in the film) walking down a hallway/stairwell littered with spiders and rats and cobwebs with terrifying music and that it would make one's skin crawl. I think it also helps knowing that it's doubly impressive considering, if one knows their history, how little Corman and AIP usually put into their films - this looks like the real deal, as far as a low budget production could go, and (like 'Usher'), the giant house and the dark cavern and hallways of Medina are exquisite and do the job.

I think if there's a weak spot here it's not totally in the script but in John Kerr; I think it may be due to being up against Price and even other decent players like Steele, Anders and Carbone (Anders, though her screen time is limited and some of the time only seen in blue or red tinted flashbacks, well photographed by the way), but he seems a little stiff and wooden. I don't think it's being misdirected or even miscast, he's just the... straight man, in an odd way one could say, where Price gets to have all of the BIG emotional scenes, or can even walk away with a scene when it seems like he's doing very little.

At the heart of Pit and the Pendulum is one of Poe's great stories, one that has been if not ripped-off then certainly done the homage- route - I could see heavy traces in something as recent as A Cure for Wellness to a degree, or really any movie that has to do with an outsider going to a dark, bad place to discover what happened to 'A' character and if 'B' is responsible or not. What also helps is that it's not long at all - 77 minutes before credits (though those are given a wonderful, psychedelic tinge) - so it's compact and doesn't waste time. Yet at the same time it uses every minute it's got in spellbinding intensity and intrigue, and when Price has to breakdown or, later on, turn (or even when he plays Nicholas's father - the one who "punishes" the "adulterers"), he's gangbusters. If this isn't Corman's masterpiece then it may be Price's.

it's okay, no more no less (depending on your point of view), 9 July 2017

Once again we get the origin story of Peter Parker becoming the Spider-Man. Once again we get Gwen Stacy, though this time its a substantial character (something that even I'll say, as one of a handful of big fans, was a problem in Spider-Man 3). Once again we get a scientist who meddles too much into his own business and finds that what it changes him into is a living nightmare. And once again we have a teenager who can throw out the occasional quip - though Garfield's Parker is more jerkish in some of his comments than Maguire ever was - while taking out the bad guys, whomever they are. Oh, and of course we get to see (spoiler? no, not a spoiler, screw you, this is 50+ years old now) Uncle Ben dies. Derp.

As I recall from watching this movie, the (must qualify here) first 'reboot/remake' of the Spider-Man franchise from Sony, on DVD right after it came out - I skipped it in theaters, probably I was too busy working that summer or something, I can't remember - is that this wasn't any crime against humanity, and it was probably more watchable and understood its world a little better than, say, Trank's Fantastic Four or the majority of something like Batman v Superman). Webb, pun intended, does a competent job with the character stuff involving Garfield and Stone, albeit I'd rather see them as a couple in a totally different film, so that one can excuse the action from being rote.

At the same time, this also solidified my belief that, if movies last this long, we can go another, oh, 55/60 years before needing another Uncle Ben death scene again. Or, for that matter, Peter Parker in a skateboarding slo-mo shot. It's too same-old to stand-out from the pack, but full of too much personality to be a train-wreck or a fun disaster. It's a perfectly eh-OK-ish blockbuster, and despite this rating and a lot of game supporting players (Sally Field, Irfan Khan, Rhys Ifans... got paid I guess). I'll never see it again intentionally.

16 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
does a lot as a friendly neighborhood mega-franchise; one of the better 'reboots', 8 July 2017

For the most part, if you were among those that saw Spider-Man/Peter Parker appear in Civil War and found him entertaining and, more to the point, *right* as that character and icon, then you will like him all the more in his first movie in this iteration. It's amazing to think that this is the sixth Spider-Man movies in 15 years, and yet this is the first in over a decade that understands this character, in large part making close to the comic books (I haven't read them religiously, but it seems to follow pretty close to the Ultimate run at the least, if not others). I don't know if every action scene is terribly original, but every one has massive stakes for Parker, and yet at the same time they're not the usual apocalyptic, end-of-the-world scenarios that sometimes can make a super-hero movie feel too big, even if the stakes are still strong. Everything is down to the personal here with Parker, and even more than the Raimi movies these get right the high school, awkward teenager part of Parker down pat.

Now, was this all even necessary? I don't know, and that may be cause for debate among people for a long time. I got to look at what's put in front of me to say whether it works or not as its own thing; the previous try by Sony to get Spider-Man back into theaters after getting rid of Raimi, Amazing Spider-Man, felt tired and had its moments amid a very spotty story. I'm not even sure if it's necessarily that Marvel Studios *solely* could have brought Parker et al back, or then some, to former glory, but I think with Civil War being the dipping of the toes into the pool and this being the big dive and 1000-meter lap, that they got it right as they could. It all comes down to what makes any of these gigantic corporate products work, regardless of if it's Marvel or DC or whoever: are the actors convincing enough to bring the characters to life, and does the writing do right by them with a story that makes sense and characters that give them something to do?

Holland found just the right note in Civil War as like a half of the time innocent-looking puppy of a teenager, the kind that we almost don't want to see get hurt, vulnerable and caring and showing the conflicts so perfectly that Parker has to deal with everyday in his balance as just a regular kid in extraordinary circumstances... but, other half of the time, he can certainly mouth-off and be convincing in that way that Spider-Man just was int the comics (that doesn't mean the comics are sacrosanct or anything, that they *had* to do that to get it right, it's merely to point that this Parker is a wise-ass but funny as hell at doing it, even down to a moment in a montage early on when he stops a guy stealing a bike). Meanwhile, the writers give Parker a best-friend/comic relief, a tired trope that feels totally revitalized here because a) the kid he's paired with is wonderfully dead-pan and yet excitable (kudos to Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds getting it right), and b) he proves himself useful... maybe oddly, a lot, conveniently useful for a teenager, but I can suspend disbelief for a little while.

And then there's Keaton; is he used properly, given how damn talented he is? Yes, but only up to a point. There's some moments, like a very tense exchange with the hero in a car, that have a crisp intensity that Keaton can just turn on as if it's nothing. Other times, he's having to work more in what the plot requires, and under his Vulture get-up - obviously, without question, right, a meta-comment in an ironic way regarding BIRDMAN - we don't get to see as much of it. It's in the third act he gets to flex his chops the most, without saying exactly why it's a wonderful twist that we don't see coming but makes sense. Even when he is in the midst of certain story continuity things (an 8 year jump is a bit odd, but again, we try to let it go on q first watch), he is... Michael Keaton. He's a lot of fun to watch.

It's hard I think for me to fully analyze this right away as some profound work of art that may have more depth that needs a dive in. That may be all good now for the Raimi movies, but that's looking back over a decade. This is still too fresh, and the only thing I can say is that the writing of the story if 90% of it all tight and gives Parker and Spider-Man a solid, if a little predictable, arc as far as his hero's journey, and the dialog is consistently comedic. I found myself laughing far more than in any previous Spider-Man entry, and that's the key to its success: it knows it's silly in a way, or at least Parker recognizes it, and while the MCU is known for doing that (this year with GotG most of all), this feels even sillier. It knows it. We are let in on the fun. Despite any nitpicks and misgivings, and there are more I won't mention (one involving a character reveal that is right out of, of all things, Dark Knight Rises), it's among the better summer blockbusters in years because of that. 8.5/10

this is magical Japanese exploitation joy, 6 July 2017

The joy of Yakuza Apocalypse is that it's Takashi Miike doing that Takashi Miike does, what he has done, since the 90's and yet it's a filmmaker even more confident in his skills and more assured in the timing of his shots and cuts. Thinking back to another gonzo-Yakuza movie like Dead or Alive or even Ichi the Killer, he reveled in more of a sloppy, throw-lots-of-WILD-things-at-the-wall approach to his compositions and how he would cut, but now he's gone through films like 13 Assassins and Hara-Kiri, where he found a way to balance action and a more (what's the damn word here) patient way to get the audience into the drama. And yes, drama may sound strange in a movie that could also be called YAKUZA VAMPIRE SHOWDOWN and be entirely accurate. But it is a joy as a fan to see Miike in full command of his powers as the truest Gonzo filmmaker in the world. Does it mean he's the best? I dunno.

All I do know is that in Yakuza Apocalypse, if you're on board for the kind of insanity as far as action set pieces, characters, and plot turns that Miike has done in his career - the kind of 'don't give a f***ery' that has made him a household name for cult film enthusiasts - you get things like... a man in a green frog suit who can do martial arts to such a point where Bruce Lee runs for the hills, a duck-billed... man, no, really, he has duck bills in his mouth (and refers to this green-frog-suited man as "the world's most dangerous terrorist"), and, of course Yakuza vampires. How our hero, a young Yakuza who just has always wanted to do right by his boss - and that his boss gets his ass kicked and head chopped off by a rival looking to take over (you can tell since he speaks English and has like a Shakespeare-style neck collar, and his own bad-ass kung-fu fighter that can kick anyone into oblivion), gets turned and then makes others vampires.... well, you have to see it for yourself.

I think the biggest knock I had against this, at least during the first half, was that it is too long. At 115 minutes I'm sure where are scenes here or there that could have been cut, things involving some of the lower-rung Yakuza gangster men (the ones who, you know, are especially idiots but loyal and tough Yakuza guys, they more or less last until the climax too), and made it a little tighter. At the same time, I'm not sure looking back I'd want Miike to close and bottle up his full Miike-ness from the audience. By the time he and his writers go into action over-drive, which involves the entirety of this whole small... town, village, whatever you call it (there are also Western influences that are impossible to miss involving showdowns in the street and shots aping such things), it becomes one of the director's high points of a long career.

He and especially all of the insane stunt performers, who are fighting in such intense set pieces and choreography that I almost felt bad for them, but just almost (that poor guy in the frog suit, what he must've gone through) give it their all, up until the final frames where I threw up my hands going, "SURE?! WHY NOT!!??!"

19 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
a drama with some very funny moments, and one that is overflowing with truth, 3 July 2017

At the heart of The Big Sick, which is the story of how Kumail Nanjani met his wife Emily Gordon (no, really, he's basically playing himself, or at least what would see a true version of himself, and Zoe Kazan is Emily - both Nanjani and Gordon wrote the script) and how they had their ups and downs, though the down majorly was when Emily was life-threateningly sick, is this question: what does the truth mean to you? This is a brutally, surprisingly honest movie about honesty, not only in relationships with a significant other (though that's certainly a major part of this), but also with ourselves.

One may be tempted to say Kumail's family are the antagonists of the story. This might be true if one is trying to parse out this or that or the other with the characters, but this is over-simplification. They are an obstacle for Kumail, but really his biggest enemy is himself, how he views what his family has put on him, what his own culture has done to his mind, and at the same time reconciling with being a modern American given all the relative opportunities everyone else has. And it is at heart a love story, but what is likable and appealing is that Nanjani and Gordon cleverly make sure that the attention isn't all gone from having another love story being depicted, that of Emily's parents and their own struggle after so many years of marriage and during a stressful time.

But, of course, this stressful time isn't the only part of why their marriage is frayed (you learn more as it goes on in little bits, and it's important only for character learning/growing sake, so I dare mention it here); Holly Hunter and Ray Romano are the parents, and for the first time ever, by the way, Romano is *affable* and fun on screen. This is my own bias as I wasn't a fan of his sitcom, but more to the point I didn't get his appeal as a star or an actor or any kind of comic presence. Here I actually do as he's playing a guy who is like how one pictures a lot of dads, stumbling over some words in the presence of the guy his daughter's dating (that he's of middle-eastern descent brings up an awkward conversation at the hospital cafeteria that rolls into the biggest laugh of the movie, by the way), but he feels as real as the mother does, and the vulnerability he's in - doing things like writing down as much as he can, every medical term, when the doctors describe what's going on with their daughter - is so thick you couldn't suck it through a straw. He's so good here as is Hunter, as is everyone really, including all of Nanjani's family.

It can be difficult to depict a relationship on film, any relationship, due sometimes to what the genre of a romantic comedy or a romantic drama puts on screenwriters. Nanjani seemed to have his back covered by Apatow as there's not a shred of any of that false BS that comes sometimes into the genre. The main conflict that actually breaks up Kumail and Emily isn't contrived. (Emily by the way as played by Kazan is that lovable girl you might recall from Ruby Sparks, but *very* different here from that, except for the slightly quirky/upbeat persona). As a nitpick, it could be said Kumail's method of how he holds on to these girls his mother tries to set him up with that he refuses, all in a box on his dresser, is the one note that isn't believable, but I can actually buy that it sort of folds into how he is still unsure what to do with so many, many options at his feet (there's even one woman, later in the film, that, at another time or place, could've been the match, but he turns her down in one of those terribly uncomfortable scenes that rings true and is hard to watch).

How can Kumail reconcile this? I felt such empathy for him in this situation even as I had not gone through anything quite like what he went through, since there is still a universality that is felt through expectations from others. How does one stand up for oneself? Is it always so easy? Nanjani is a stand up comic in real life as he is in the film, and stand up at its most prime-cut is about the person on stage making honest connections and, sometimes, opening oneself so that that connection can be made purer (and, often, the laughs much more fulfilling). It's not that Kumail is at all weak as a stand-up when he talks about cheese or things, but it's when he gets his breakthrough about two-thirds of the way in, as he just breaks down on stage and, technically speaking "bombs", that he hits that spot of connection. If he can stand up as a stand-up, so to speak, then he can at least try to move on to the harder stuff, the message might be.

Or, as I originally stated, The Big Sick, a movie filled with funny and truly heart-wrenching moments and characters that all feel richly developed (even the parents and Kumail's brother, who kind of are types deep down, but nevertheless given wonderful personality by the actors playing them), it's all about the truth and how it sometimes just isn't easy, at all. It may be slightly mis-marketed as a romantic comedy though; it has romance and comedy, but at the same time the drama overwhelms and takes over that. It's not a classifiable movie except that, well, it's a Judd Apatow production - sharp, brutally honest writing, and a few s*** and d*** jokes here and there (and here less than usual). It's one of his best and a triumphant calling card for Nanjani as a leading man. 9.5/10

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