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.
Bob Zemeckis is too straight to make a movie about a homophobic hate crime.
Shortly after my screening of Aquaman I was chatting with someone who was considering going to see it. ‘I’m not too sure yet, people have told me it’s cringy.’
‘I wouldn’t say “cringy”,’ I replied, ‘but it’s definitely silly.’
I worked in a call centre for several years. So when, in the very first scene of this movie there’s this archly framed shot of Lakeith Stanfield’s hero in front of a noticeboard on which the contextless word ‘You’ is prominently displayed — I felt that. As he begs for a job with his fraudulent credentials across from the desk of some pasty old dude who is over-friendly and a little lascivious you’re firmly established in the realm of a workplace comedy. There’s echoes early on of Mike Judge’s Office Space, though we can tell that Boots Riley approaches the environment with a more easily apparent political bent.
Mortal Engines was like the YA book series with the best politics. Maybe it was tied with A Series of Unfortunate Events, but those books didn’t go too hard with praxis. These were books that were fervently anti-capitalist and anti-nationalist, written from a clearly defined Anarcho-Communist perspective. Sure, the conceit of autonomous, mobile city states is maybe a big hurdle to overcome — but to reflect a societal condition as fucked as late-capitalism takes some doing.
The Old Man and the Gun is shot on a very creamy stock of 16mm film. It makes everything in this film look soft. When Robert Redford ambles into the frame with a crooked smile and a gimlet eye, the air around him crackles. He is a very kindly man who also so happens to be a bank robber. I’ve no doubt that this work is a tremendous example of historical revisionism — there ain’t a single person alive who exhibits the genuine unfiltered kindness that the people here do. Even the weary, downtrodden, cop tired of his job and the cruelty he sees in the world — working to take the criminals down — exhibits it earnestly.