Marriage Story (2019) Film Review

Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) are divorcing. They have been based in New York, but Nicole is from LA and returns there with their son. The film goes through their separation and the lead-up to their divorce. We don’t see any real back-story, only the characters interpretations of what their relationship was and how it ended up where it was. Once you add in lawyers, things start getting ugly.

I didn’t mind this, it was fine. I guess it showed that relationships can sour and how tricky things can get once the law and children are involved. It felt like so much of the story could have been bypassed if the characters took the time to actually listen to each other, and in this way, it’s really reflective of the real world.

Marriage Story was nominated for Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Scarlett Johansson), Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Adam Driver), Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Laura Dern) Best Original Screenplay, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score). It won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Laura Dern) and was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama (Scarlett Johansson), Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama (Adam Driver), Best Screenplay – Motion Picture (Noah Baumbach), Best Original Score – Motion Picture and Best Motion Picture – Drama.

The Circle by Dave Eggars vs The Circle (2018) – Book Review, Film Review

The Circle by Dave Eggars – Book Review

This is a world similar to ours. We have social media technology which connects us all. But what if a little is not enough? When Mae is employed by The Circle, she is over the moon. Highly paid, with an amazing campus filled with excitement and all of the best of everything, she wants to succeed. The longer she is there, the more she buys into the philosophy that the only way to live is to have your whole life on display.

I loved that the protagonist of the book buys into the whole system, and that as we, the reader, see red flags, she is swept up in the excitement of the world. We want her to fight the system, but we can also see how charismatic leaders and groupthink can influence the individual. It’s a scary world and a scary thought, but a truly wonderful read.

The Circle (2017) Film Review

It’s impossible for the entirety of a novel to be translated into a film and choices need to be made about what to leave out. This is a film I wish I’d seen before the book, because it felt like a waterer-down version of the book, and perhaps it would hold its own without the background of the book. We had to lose the overwhelmed feelings of Mae, the amount of pressure put on in this new job and for her to commit to the world of The Circle, and this meant that it lost some of the dread and suspense. It was good but just a bit weak – I’d love to have seen it as a television series, even just a three- or six-parter.

 

Untouchable (2019)-MIFF Review

This documentary interviews several of the high-profile accusers of Harvey Weinstein as they tell their stories, and looks at the world he created that gave him the power to do really whatever he wanted. Allegedly.

It was never going to be an easy watch, and while I found at times, it was a little slow, that slowness gave respect to the victims and their stories. At the time of writing Weinstein is, only just being tried in New York and has had charges laid in LA. I can only hope that our culture is changing so that predators with this kind of power are not only stopped, but also brought to justice.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) Film Review

Steven Zissou (Bill Murray) is a deep sea explorer who makes documentaries on his ridiculous ship with his intensely loyal crew. But when his partner is killed by a never-seen shark, plus his reputation is flagging, his next documentary is under high pressure to be a hit. Add into the mix a heavily pregnant journalist (Cate Blanchett) a long-lost son (Owen Wilson) and Zissou’s need to succeed regardless of the danger it poses to himself or his crew.

I loved this. It’s so beautiful, Anderson has such a distinct style, and I particularly love the shots of Murray leading the cast through the streets of, perhaps, Naples. While his absurd humour doesn’t appeal to all, it really tickles me. Plus, what a cast. Angelica Huston, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Gambon, Noah Taylor… the list goes on.

The Dead Don’t Die (2019) – MIFF Review

Jim Jarmusch is back. Either I haven’t been paying attention (entirely plausible), or it’s been a while for a Jarmusch film. And he’s done a zombie film, how wonderful. A small town is being hit by zombies and it takes a while for them all to figure it out. And then… what to do?

I loved it. The cast is amazing, from the somewhat innocent police department (Bill Murray, Chloe Sevigny and Adam Driver) to the mysterious hermit (Tom Waits) to the creepy new funeral director (Tilda Swinton). It’s dumb and funny and crazy and weird and I just dug it a lot.

The Day Shall Come (2019) MIFF Review

Moses (Marchant Davis) has a tiny religious commune in Miami who preaches about a black uprising, but has no power and no real hope of wielding any. However, when the FBI have a case go disastrously badly, they need a win, and when chatter shows that Moses could be a threat, they go after the win no matter what.

This is an extremely hilarious film until it isn’t, and then it really isn’t. It makes such a comment on the way things can go hugely badly when politics and law enforcement influence each other. I loved it, but geez, it was hard. It was funny and wonderful and fantastic.

Spider-Man – Into the Spider-Verse (2018) Film Review

A superhero film that’s animated? Awesome. I probably wouldn’t have bothered with this except that everyone was just so hugely raving about it. Friends who I know get superhero movies, so I felt safe trusting them. And it was totally and utterly awesome.

The basic story is that there’s someone who’s not Peter Parker who get super spider powers. And there are, like, parallel universes with different Spider-men who all come together to try to beat the bad guy.

And it’s so cool. Animation allows them to go nuts all over all the different spider-folk, exploring different styles of animation and just doing wild stuff. So much fun. I loved it heaps.

Ready Player One (2018) Film Review

Based on the book by Ernest Cline, this film is about a dystopian future world where everyone is obsessed with a computer challenge that has been running for years with a prize of huge wealth. The challenge is to know everything about the popular culture loved by the creator, mostly 80s stuff.

While in the book, I found the constant references to the 80s a bit much, it worked really well in the film. And being directed by Stephen Spielberg meant it was had a lot of the feel of the popular culture that it was referencing, It was pretty decent.

Parasite (2019) Film Review

There’s a family who are struggling – none of them have a job, they live in a tiny flat in the worst part of a poor neighbourhood. Then the son,  Ki-woo (Choi Woo Shik) gets a job tutoring a girl in a wealthy and, one-by-one, they all end up enmeshed with this family. But things are never quite as they seems, and things get… strange. So strange. So funny.

I loved this film so much. It was weird and strange and funny and unexpected and crazy and sad and funny and weird… Oh, I seem to be going around in circles.

Parasite was nominated for Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Directing (Bong Joon Ho), Best Original Screenplay, Best International Feature Film, Best Achievement in Production Design and Best Achievement in Film Editing. It won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language and was nominated for Best Director – Motion Picture and Best Screenplay- Motion Picture.

Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist (2008) Film Review

There are a group of young folks heading out on the town in New York, trying to see a surprise gig. Nick (Michael Cera) is trying to get over his ex-girlfriend, Tris (Alexis Dziena) and hanging out with his bandmates. Then there’s Nora (Kat Dennings) who is hanging out with her mate Caroline (Ari Graynor) who gets really trashed and ends up getting a bit lost). Then the rest of the night is going from venue to venue, friendships and love and generally New York cool times.

I feel like I wanted to love this more. Maybe I’m too old, maybe I’m not cool enough, maybe I left it too late to see it. I enjoyed it, it was certainly way cool. It just wasn’t quite my thing.