Cinema Clash podcast: Incredibles 2; Tag; A Kid Like Jake; Hearts Beat Loud; The Misandrists

Currently browsing posts by Jill Boniske.

Review: Hereditary

I saw a blurb before I went to Hereditary that said it was “the scariest movie since The Exorcist.” I think they must have seen a different film. Yes, there are disturbing scenes and the usual horror flick tropes all over the place, but I was never really scared and I didn’t take it out of the theater as I did with The Exorcist. Hereditary is from first time director Ari Aster who assembled a first rate cast including Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense), Gabriel Byrne (The Usual Suspects), Alex Wolff (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), newcomer Milly Shapiro and character actress Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale, Aunt Lydia). He also has a very talented cinematographer who loves to show off his tricks of the trade. But the film felt like two stories. The first half is about grief and the second is the horror part. And at 2 hours and change, it takes way too long to get to the scary stuff.

Review: Bye Bye Germany (Es war einmal in Deutschland)

This “based on a true story” movie takes place in 1946, in a displaced persons camp, where those who survived the Nazi death camps are being held until they can get themselves to America. But they need money to do that. Enter David Bermann (Moritz Bleibtreu), a man with a plan. His family had a linen shop before the war, and he recruits a group of salesmen to sell high-end linens to the gullible Germans surrounding them. But while the biz goes well, he’s also being interrogated by an American Army Investigator (Antje Traue) who suspects that he collaborated with the Nazis. The film is by turns funny and sad and sweet and horrifying. And well worth seeing.

Review: RBG

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg aka The Notorious RBG is a fabulous role model for the masses. At 85 and with 15 years on the highest bench in the land, it’s time that her story be told. She may be tiny, but she is formidable! This wonderful documentary is based on the autobiography she read in her own confirmation hearing, the story of her professional ascent to the Supreme Court along side the truly touching love story of her life with fellow Harvard Law grad Marty Ginsburg. It’s a must see film!

Review: Foxtrot

This moving Israeli drama begins with a scene every parent with a child in the army fears — the knock at the door and the soldiers with solemn faces. They don’t even have to hear the words to know their world has been changed forever. When Daphna (Sarah Adler) and Michael (Lior Ashkenazi) Feldmann are informed of the death of their son Jonathan, she is immediately sedated by the soldiers and put to bed, as Michael is forced to deal with the funeral arrangements and a slew of other people’s emotional needs, while still numb and unable to find out what exactly happened to his child.

Review: The Guardians (Les gardiennes)

Most World War One movies are set in the battles and the trenches, but The Guardians takes place at home on a farm in rural of France. There the women keep the home fires burning and the crops in the fields harvested as they await news of their husbands and sons. At the center of the film is the matriarch of the family, Hortense Sandrail, played by one of France’s great actresses, Natalie Baye. She has two sons and a son-in-law in the fight, and with only her daughter Solange (Laura Smet) not enough help to keep the farm running. So she hires young woman, Francine (Iris Bry), who fits right in grows to be almost one of the family. But just under the surface of the bucolic farming tale is the horror of the war and the fear that their little isolated corner of the world will never be the same and their men will not all be coming home.

Review: You Were Never Really Here

Joaquin Phoenix is a phenomenal actor, but his choices of roles lately tend to be odd loners in strange situations (Inherent Vice, The Master, Her, to name just a few)) You Were Never Really Here continues that trend. It’s a very arty film that some have compared to Taxi Driver, with Phoenix playing Joe, a hired gun (or hammer, his weapon of choice) who specializes in tracking down missing and sex trafficked girls. He’s got a lot of personal demons that intrude on his life, but he’s good at the job. But when his latest assignment goes sideways, and he’s surrounded by violence and death, nearly dragged down by it, he keeps himself going by thinking of the missing little girl. It’s grizzly.

Review: Modern Life Is Rubbish

The movie has little to do with modern life or rubbish (though I’d think twice before putting the latter in the title of any movie.) It’s the name of an album by a Britpop band called Blur, a favorite of the couple at the center of this music-centric romantic dramedy, Liam (Josh Whitehouse, Poldark) and Natalie (Freya Mavor, Cezanne et Moi) who meet cute in a London record store, brought together by the albums of Blur. He’s a struggling musician. She’s an artist, too, but more pragmatic about her life. And before you know it, they’ve moved in together. But we start their story as they are dividing their belongings after a break-up and flashing back to their years together. It’s a story we’ve all heard before, but it has a nice soundtrack, if you’re into that sort of music.

Mini-Review: The Leisure Seeker

I was looking forward to this road trip flick with Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren. But sadly, while they are both pretty great, the script for this movie, itself an adaptation of a well-reviewed book, feels hastily written without nuance or empathy for the characters. It’s the story is of a retired couple, John and Ella, he a former college professor with some sort of dementia and she his loving and patient wife with some unnamed, but advancing disease, taking off from their Boston home in their old Winnebago, heading for Key West to visit Hemingway’s house. Their kids are freaked out about it, but it could be John’s last chance to see the home of one of his favorite writers.

Review: Isle of Dogs

What a fun movie! I don’t think Wes Anderson has made a film I didn’t like, so that’s no surprise, but the creative choices he made in this one are even more entertaining than usual. The story takes place in a town in Japan and all the humans speak untranslated Japanese, except for some public occasions where there is a simultaneous translator. Only the dogs speak English, voiced by a veritable A-list cast. (Bryan Cranston, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Ed Norton, Greta Gerwig, Scarlett Johansson, and many more) The only thing that’s clear is that Mayor Kobayashi hates dogs (cat lover!) and he’s determined to rid his town of every last one, exiling them to a garbage covered island. But human hero to the rescue! Kobayashi’s 12-year-old nephew/ward Atari goes in search of his beloved pooch and uncovers a conspiracy at the highest levels.

Review: The Death of Stalin

If you saw In the Loop, you know what you’re in for in Armando Iannucci’s latest political satire — dark, hilarious, and sometimes creepy. As the title announces, the film is about the death of the ruthless dictator in 1953, though that only takes up a few minutes at the beginning. What it’s really about is the political wrangling that begins before he’s even left this world. There are three men vying to be the new Soviet leader: Stalin’s second-in-command, the idiot Georgy Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor), the ambitious Party chief Nikita Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi), and the truly sick secret police chief Lavrenti Beria (Simon Russell Beale). Malenkov didn’t have a chance, but Khrushchev and Beria would stop at nothing. The film is adapted from a comic book telling of the story, and everything that happens has a darkly absurd quality. And even though it’s based in reality, I’m sure the actual men were never as hilarious as they appear in this telling.