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I, Tonya (2017)
Australian director and actress...
It's a good movie that stayed with me the next day---but, the Australian Margot Robbie just wasn't the right actress to play the American Tonya Harding. There was a flavor missing in Robbie's performance. It didn't help that she actually looked a lot like Nancy Kerrigan (who also deserves a movie).
Gillespie's direction is very good---the last 5 minutes contains an amazingly edited sequence showing Harding's rise and downfall (literally). Janney was hard to forget, too.
Lady Bird (2017)
Wait a minute...
Saoirse Ronan has an interesting aura, but that doesn't keep this from being a mediocre story about uninteresting teens (and an unlikable mother). We needed two apologies the audience never gets: Her first boyfriend never says he's sorry he was unfaithful, but instead asks Lady Bird to cover the fact he's gay.
And it should've been the mother to write or call Lady Bird to apologize for not seeing her off to college--instead we get Lady Bird saying thank you to her overly critical mother. The acting was fine--Tracy Letts was good as a sympathetic dad.
Sacramento looked great. But the story does not deserve all the great raves. So just a warning--you might be disappointed.
some new stuff --back then.
This second episode had those strange infra-red rifles making a sound I'd never heard before back in 1964. And to add to this new strangeness, Donner filmed these black-suited guys in barely perceived slow-motion. So in both sound and sight, it made TMFU a show with a difference. These rifles appeared later to great comic/action affect in 'The Never-Never Affair'. By then, TMFU was on its way to becoming a TV phenomenon.
one of the best
The relationship between Vaughn and Montalban is great--tongue-in-cheek, with unexpected and clever dialogue by Robert Towne, who later wrote 'Chinatown'. The black and white photography helps create the Cold War atmosphere of Eastern European intrigue. The nice added touch of innocent June Lockhart with her troop of teenagers getting involved with the spy vs. spy scenario gives this episode some heart. I would pick this episode for any newcomers to the series, which became a phenomenon of the mid- sixties, and it started from this first season, all in black and white.
Wait for Your Laugh (2017)
Good for entertainment history fans
As well as lovers of the Dick Van Dyke Show--we see the whole cast in color film taken on the set during rehearsals. And if you're interested in how Las Vegas became the neon capital of the world, you'll like the early 8 millimeter color footage of the opening of the Flamingo Hotel, and Rose Marie tells of her relationship with Bugsy Siegel and other mob guys. A well-made documentary that covers her whole nine decade career, including her 20 year marriage to trumpeter Bobby Guy.
The close-ups of Hamilton and his surfer friends are remarkable. Their eyes have taken on a similar pale, greenish/blue/tan -of a life in water. There's great footage of various waves, of course--and Hamilton's talent on them can be observed easily with awe. The 8 millimeter color home movies show Laird at different stages of his life, along with his cocky attitude---it was a surprise to learn of the racial bullying he suffered in Hawaii---because he was the only white kid in his class. I wanted to learn more about his mother later in her life---Laird sprang from an interesting woman.
Battle of the Sexes (2017)
Even though Emma Stone and Steve Carell don't look too much like King and Riggs, they convey the characters in a way that's believable and entertaining. The directors use Carell to perfection--the silly clown is visually surprising and fun to watch, along with a sadder side that isn't over- done. Emma Stone's portrayal of King has a subtlety that lasts in this viewer's mind. She displays the quiet determination of an athlete along with the emotional hesitance in dealing with her sexuality back in 1973. The actress playing her lover is British, playing an American, and she's very good. Elisabeth Shue has aged impressively --she now looks like a beautiful, middle-aged matriarch of an old, powerful family. In fact, all the faces in this movie are interesting to watch, as people of the 70s, and finally, just as people.
Rebel in the Rye (2017)
It's difficult for a movie to capture and display the magic of writing, and this movie proves it. The actor playing Salinger is given a pompous screenplay to work with. Salinger comes off as dogmatic and humorless, and maybe he was, to some people, but I think this would've worked better if we heard some of those magic descriptions spoken. Every one of Salinger's Nine Stories is a gem. I know there's intellectual property laws, but I saw a documentary on Charles Bukowski and we see his lines printed out on the movie screen as Bukowski speaks them. It's Salinger's art that fascinates and touches. We should see it, up there.
The Big Sick (2017)
Could've been better
(some spoilers) The 2 main characters have the potential of being people you can care about--but I found Zoe Kazan's Emily a person not easy to like. She dumps Kamail even after he gives a reasonable explanation about 'arranged marriages'. Zoe's a college-educated woman who's been divorced, yet she can't accept or even understand his position? And at the height of their relationship, when he returns a complement back to Zoe, she cuts him down for it. So it's tough to have sympathy for Emily (even in her coma). After all, Kamail didn't really do anything for Emily to cut him off so completely.
Both the Pakistani and American families seemed cliché'd cut-outs (though Holly Hunter was very good.) So I think 'The Big Sick' will be popular, but keep in mind some of the negative reviews here--they have validity.