Thumbnails Jul 17
by Tony Medley
The amazing but
true story of world-famous folk artist Maud Lewis (Sally Hawkins) and
her relationship/romance with difficult-to-like Everett Lewis (Ethan
Hawke), the first 10 to 15 minutes are so dark and depressing I was
ready to bolt. That I didn’t exit, however, was a boon because this
turned into one of the best pictures of the year highlighted by a
bravura performance by Hawkins (who should win an Oscar®) and an almost
equal performance from Hawke.
13 Minutes (8/10):
This is near the top of the list of films I wish everyone could see this
year. It’s tells the virtually unknown story of George Elser (Christian
Friedel) who came within 13 minutes of assassinating Hitler in 1939.
This movie captures the awfulness it must have been to live under the
Nazis in the 1930s. But it also tells how an ordinary man of no
particular background or training can perform heroically. In German.
(N.B. originally reviewed in March, reprinted due to delayed opening of
Beatriz at Dinner
While the plot is a collision of values between Beatriz (Salma Hayek)
and Doug (John Lithgow), what sets this film apart is the party dialogue
of the exceptional script (Mike White)
translated to the screen with unusually good pacing by
director Miguel Arteta. Most movies that
try to display slice of life dialogue fail dismally because it is so
stilted and phony. But the dialogue in this film is so good, so true to
the respective characters, that it keenly captures the essence of such a
group of people I call Chardonnays.
My Cousin Rachel
Reprising a movie starring superstars Richard Burton (B.E., Before
Elizabeth) and Olivia de Havilland is no easy task, even though the
movie was made more than 60 years ago. But this outing, directed and
adapted from Daphne Du Maurier’s best-selling novel for the screen by
Roger Mitchell, can stand on its own with Sam Claflin and Rachel Weisz
replacing Burton and de Haviland. Set in the eighteen thirties this
well-paced film is enhanced by fine cinematography (Mike Ely) and
exceptional production design and costume design (Alice Normington and
Dinah Collin, respectively.
Baby Driver (7/10):
writer-director Edgar Wright claimed at my screening that he talked to
several real getaway drivers, this opening car chase defied what I
always thought was the primary purpose of a good getaway driver, one who
could get away unobtrusively. Contrary to that idea, Baby lays rubber,
drives down one-way streets, makes two wheeled turns and generally does
everything he can to draw attention to himself and his gang. Despite
this, and the other car chases that completely fail the smell test, this
is actually a well-crafted movie with a good cast and an attractive love
Wonder Woman (5/10):
If it were
up to me there would be no superhero movies regardless of their sex.
These films are intellectual and entertainment diarrhea, filled with
absurd incidents and fights, and this one is no different. Instead of
fictional characters, locations, and events (like “Batman” and
“Superman” movies), this one shows Wonder Woman winning WWI and killing
real people who in truth lived for decades after the end of the war (no,
Virginia, there is no Wonder Woman). There is absolutely no tension or
dramatic uncertainty, a total waste of 2 ½ hours.
Last Knight (1/10):
I thought last
month’s “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” was about as bad as a movie
could get. But that was before I endured the ordeal of this senseless 2
½ hour special effects-laden assault on sanity.