I don’t think I ever actually wrote about the original Happy Death Day, it came out in one of those periods when I hadn’t the energy for anything. Yeah, I actually have two and a half paragraphs about it sitting in the draft folder that constitutes my recycle bin. It was a fun and poppy flick. I compared it to other Groundhog Day x whatever genre movies and found it to be well placed in the pack.
Dammit I was not expecting to cry during this movie. Wahlberg reuniting with the director of Daddy’s Home 2 does not sound like the setup for a emotional rollercoaster. The bland, gauzy cinematography with which these people’s airy, open plan homes are shot should deaden one’s senses. Everything about it seems like it packs the punch of a half tablet of asprin, but god damn if by the ending I ain’t welling up at the ability of this unlikely family to make it work.
The heroes of Can You Ever Forgive Me? are lonely and sad, trying to grapple with the fact that they’ve achieved far less with their lives than intended. I am twenty four, I shouldn’t be able to relate in the way I do. The title is not just a reference to a particularly witty bon mot Melissa McCarthy’s forger, Lee Israel, puts into the mouth of Dorothy Parker — it’s also a question I ask of a younger version of me late at night, for letting their prodigious (and possibly imagined) potential go to waste.
Alright, Venom is bad. Not like interestingly bad, or creatively bad, there’s honestly very little of merit to be found in this feature. What makes it redeemable is that it is the exact sort of bad that makes it really fun to watch.
In basically the first scene of A Simple Favour Anna Kendrick’s character explains that the sequence of events leading up to her best friend’s disappearance happened on their kids’ school’s World Food Day. We then cut to a flashback, the banner in the classroom reads Ethnic Food Day. And so it becomes clear that, even when tasked with directing what on the outset appears to be a serious and sexy mystery thriller, his primary tendency is always going to lean towards comedy.
I didn’t cry at all watching The Miseducation of Cameron Post, which seems to suggest that there’s something wrong with the film. Given my background I was sure that I would be a wreck the entire way through. But Desiree Akhavan is not interested in mining the story of young queer folks in enrolled in full time conversion therapy for the bleak, helpless, tragedy that many of those who suffered through such experiences describe it as. Instead we spend much of the time here looking at the moments that would help one survive it.
Here’s the thing about Steven Soderbergh, the director of this decade’s Ocean’s 11-13. He’s not a very cool filmmaker. Sure, his films are cool, and as he’s grown they’ve only become more effortlessly so. But the way he approaches them is like watching a masterclass in restraint. He is interested in the primacy of the story, everything must flow out of that. And if the story is cool, that’s great, you follow the story and the characters’ truths and piece by piece the cool will make itself.
I’ve been struggling on the how of criticising Deadpool 2 (what no witty subtitle?) for just about a week now. Not because there’s loads to criticise, or even that I really disliked it. No, the problem lies in its relationship to itself, or more accurately Deadpool’s relationship to the entire construct that surrounds him.
The twist at the end of Tully comes pretty much as expected for anyone familiar with Diablo Cody’s body of work, it plays right her preoccupations as a creator. You know how people enjoy dismissing artists work by pointing out the themes that they enjoy exploring, reciting the trivia list of their IMDb page as though that amounts to substantive criticism. Whatever, Cody’s writing has always been intergenerational, the interesting part of her evolution is in where she chooses to lay the focus.
I guess if this were being produced a decade ago, you’d expect a comedy about a group of parents trying to stop their teenage girls from getting laid would be gross. Not in a normal sex comedy way but in a weird patriarchal way. I’m trying now to think about what else was going on a decade ago but female led comedies never really found their place in the Apatow family until Bridesmaids. Even then there’s a level of security that comes from Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Amy Schumer all being grown adults. Like we can trust them to not embarrass themselves because their messiness comes from a place of security.