Thumbnails Oct 17
by Tony Medley
Even though I avoid animated films like the plague, this film blew me
away. It’s not your normal animation with hundreds or thousands of
cartoonists sitting in a room drawing their panels or with modern-day
computerized animation. Rather, is an amazing work consisting of 65,000
frames of film each of which is oil painted by hand by 125 oil painters
who traveled from all across the world to the studios in Poland and
Greece to participate in the production which can only be described as
one-of-a-kind. Telling the true story of Van Gogh’s death (almost
certainly not suicide), every scene is drawn like a Van Gogh painting;
it has to be seen to be appreciated. If it doesn’t win the Oscar® for
Best Animated Film, there’s something rotten in Denmark.
Victoria & Abdul
Who knew? Apparently aging, obese Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) had the
hots for a studley young Indian clerk, Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), called
“Munshi” which means teacher. It was apparently love at first sight for
the 68 year old monarch when she first set eyes on the 24 year old
Muslim. For the next 14 years they were fast friends despite the
opposition of her family, staff, and government officials.
While this is a well told, Little known,
eye-opening story, it is extraordinarily slow in parts. The acting is
very good, as is the ambience created by the production design.
Based on the
relationship between, “Winnie the Pooh” author AA Milne and his wife (Domhnall
Gleason and Margot Robbie) and their son Christopher Robin (Will Tilston),
from whom sprang most of Milne’s stories, this is a tear-jerking biopic
with a smashing performance by Tilston. It shows how his parents
exploited Christopher and robbed him of his childhood. The only negative
is that it took me 45 minutes to really get into the story as the first
half of the film drags.
Fans of Vince Flynn’s excellent Mitch Rapp series will be disappointed
by this Hollywood Pap that changes the story and is little different
from your standard Jason Bourne thriller. While
is a pretty good Rapp, the same can’t be said for the rest of the
players, who are mostly miscast. If they make sequel(s) they better get
director, better writers, different players for the sub-characters, and
stick with Flynn’s stories as he wrote them.
Mark Felt: The Man
Who Brought Down the White House (7/10):
Shot so darkly it
might as well have been in Black & White, this is a completely different
take on Watergate than seen in “All the President’s Men.” It portrays
Felt as a troubled, ambitious man with a distressed wife who acted out
of patriotism to the FBI, even though what he did was contrary to FBI
rules, if not the law. While some feel he was a traitor to the country,
the FBI, and the oath he took, this film is more sympathetic.
Battle of the Sexes
This title has a double meaning. It’s not just about the Bobby Riggs
(Steve Carell)-Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) tennis match; it’s equally
about LGBTQ rights. In fact the first half is a snorer that concentrates
on the latter. Also unmentioned is the rumor that Riggs threw the match
in return for forgiveness of a gambling debt to the mob. Oh well. The
tennis part in the last half is pretty good.
Kingsman: The Golden
The first one was a
pretty good, tongue in cheek takeoff on James Bond films. This one is
ridiculous. Colin Firth is too good an actor to waste his talent on
stuff like this.
psychobabble is a desolate, dystopian view of society. The ending is as
disgusting a stretch of film as you will ever see, unless you are a
devotee of horror, as it slowly dissolves into phantasmagoric mayhem.
One interpretation of the meaning is that the house is the U.S. and the
people who invade are illegal immigrants who are invited in only to
destroy the legal residents’ house, lives, and world. But given the
political orientation of the writer/director, it’s hard to believe that
this was what he was trying to say. Regardless of the
pseudo-intellectual "inspiration," content, and meaning (which is opaque
to say the least), anybody who ventures into the theater to sit through
these two hours does so at their peril and will see disturbing images
that might be difficult to forget.