It’s hard to know where to begin, every shot in this film aches with such sincerity and affection that by about the twenty minute mark I was already a puddle of tears in an oversized hoody. Sure, I’m a sucker for tragic romance, seeing struggling people pull together to face adversity. The leads of If Beale Street Could Talk are family; their problems are largely private and, while beset by problems from the outside world, they find strength in their unity. Barry Jenkins chooses to centre so much of his movie around acts of care, prioritising the depiction of tenderness in a world that can oft be so cruel.
Clint Eastwood always looks like he’s wearing shoes two sizes two small nowadays. In The Mule he casts himself as a ninety year old failed horticulturalist who — out of a misplaced sense of pride — instead of turning to the family he abandoned years before, starts running drugs in order to make a living. His perpetual irascibility serves him well, he seems like a man that it just ain’t worth the time to fuck with.
Vice ends on a scene where we flash back to a focus group earlier seen determining that ‘climate change’ were a less credible threat than ‘global warming’. In it a liberal and a conservative start getting into an argument over the film’s credibility as a factual document. Off to the side, a young woman already painted as vapid, turns to the person next to her and comments that she can’t wait to see the the next Fast and Furious joint.
Mary Queen of Scots wants to be a big feminist picture. A brutal excoriation of the wrongs done to women, powerful before their time, brought down by men who cannot counteance their position. In truth I have little idea how historical a work it is, writer Beau Willimon (of House of Cards, among others) adapted the work from an acclaimed biography — but one senses that his tastes are a little too contemporary for the material.
I’ll admit, the first shot of Glass didn’t fill me with much confidence. A masculine bodied person, wearing a dress, stalks into a room to intimidate a new batch of abducted young girls. It spoke to everything that I hated about Split: its stigmatisation of non-normative bodies, the casual nature of its depictions of abuse. Our first glimpse into the lives of our self-identifying heroes and villains disappointingly confirms that not much has changed.
When watching stories about queers set before the invention of the horseless carriage; I prefer them to be unsubtle. Hence, Colette gets immeasurably more satisfying once its leads’ decide to cancel monogamy and just start fucking everyone. Keira Knightly plays the young bisexual wife of Dominic West’s publishing magnate: the man who inducts her into Parisian high society, cheats on her, and repeatedly steals credit for her work.
About halfway through my screening of Stan and Ollie, someone sitting behind me said — in reference to the antics of the leads’ respective wives — ‘These bloody women.’ A strange reaction to have, I thought, given that they’re the best part of the film. I mean, the tale of Laurel and Hardy’s farewell tour of the UK is mostly pleasant enough, but lacks definition without a meaningful external lens through which to view them. Up until that point you’re just watching two talented actors do a perfectly serviceable impression of two others.