January 4th, 2018

storyteller doll

4th Quarter 2017 Movies

I got home late last night and am slowly trying to catch up at work. I also need to find time for my year-end review, but, in the meantime, I saw 5 movies over the past three months. (And 3 more already this year, but that's another story.)

The Big Sick: This is Kumail Nanjiani’s autobiographical film about his courtship of Emily Gordon, which included her serious illness. The culture clash aspect is interesting, with amusing scenes in which his family has a series of Pakistani women just happen to be in the neighborhood while he is over for dinner. There’s a different sort of clash with her parents. I didn’t really buy the scene in which a doctor pushes Kumail to say he is Emily’s husband so he can grant permission for her to be put into a medically-induced coma. But that’s a minor nit. There was a lot of genuine, character-based humor. Recommended if you like romantic comedy.

Inside Out: This is pretty strange as animated movies go, dealing with the conflict between emotions running a young girl’s life. Riley is in despair over her family’s relocation to San Francisco and the cartoon characters representing her emotions need to keep her memories (and, hence, identity) intact. It was an interesting concept and well-executed. I particularly liked her long-forgotten imaginary friend. But I have to admit I am hard pressed to figure out who the intended audience for this was. It seems to me it would go over the heads of most children, while feeling somewhat obvious and preachy to adults.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: I saw this in an actual movie theatre. My main reason for doing so was that I am a huge fan of Martin McDonagh, who wrote and directed it. The story involves a woman, Mildred Hayes, who is trying to use the titular billboards to stimulate police activity on solving her daughter’s murder. This brings her into conflict with much of the town, with lots of twists along the way. Mildred isn’t very likeable, who makes Frances McDormand’s performance in the role particularly notable. Sam Rockwell also gives an excellent performance as a cop who is more complex than the dumb, angry racist he seems to be. This isn’t a movie I’d recommend to everyone, however. You have to tolerate a lot of violence along the way. But if you’ve liked McDonagh’s other work (e.g. In Bruges), this is worth seeing.

Calendar Girls: Yes, this is from 2003, but I don’t think I had seen it before and I think I would have remembered it. The story involves a Women’s’ Institute fundraising calendar – with the twist of a bit of semi-nudity. It’s mostly a quirky character-based story, with Helen Mirren playing the quirkiest of all the women. The best part is that it is based on a true story. It’s very sweet and well-worth watching.

Gifted: This is the story of the conflict between two relatives over what is best for a gifted child. The girl’s grandmother wants to exploit her mathematical genius, while her uncle wants her to be a normal girl. There’s a backstory involving the girl’s mother, which adds an interesting dimension to the story – and something of a solution to the real issues. It’s a bit predictable, but that’s a minor flaw in what is, essentially, a heart-warming family drama. Highly recommended.

This entry was originally posted at https://fauxklore.dreamwidth.org/399245.html. Please comment there using OpenID.