Wed Aug 04 2021 12:03 July Film Roundup:
- Portrait of a '60% Perfect Man' (1980): Billy Wilder
rambles about whatever for an hour, in this weird documentary that's
kind of like a reverse Italianamerican (1974). We heard about
it, wanted to watch it, couldn't find it online, but fortunately it's
on one of the DVDs of the Criterion edition of Ace in the
Hole. Due to the director's technique of just following Wilder
around listening to him talk, this film preserves a core sample of some
lesser-seen portions of 1980s LA. As a kid, I spent time in plenty of
old peoples' houses that felt very similar to Wilder's apartment. And
Wilder's screenwriting office at the studio (I'm assuming MGM) is
truly a land of contrasts: an ugly, windowless room covered in
pegboard, on which Wilder has hung priceless works of art from his
collection. At least they gave him an office.
- Furious 7 (2015): I really should have written the review
immediately after seeing the movie because it's now all mixed up with
the others. How many super-hackers does one franchise need? It was
fun, though; good to see Kirk Russell still getting action roles. I
remember being really proud at recognizing "Azerbaijan" as being
filmed in Colorado based on the geology of the road cuts—Mom
would have been proud, too.
I will mention one thing about this movie that's really special:
after Paul Walker's death during filming, the easy route would have
been to change the script to kill off his character as well. But that
would have been a metafictional violation of the themes of the
series. Instead, they put in a lot of effort and CGI to establish that
Walker's character ends up completely happy and no one's going to
bother him with heist stuff ever again.
- The Fate of the Furious (2017): We're not going into a
theater to see F9, but the other day I was at a subway stop where
someone had ripped down layers and layers of ads, I saw an old ad for
this film and it felt fresh. Anyway, we're in flat-out James Bond
territory now, a third super-hacker is in the mix, and
there's no going back. Missiles, submarines, aeroplanes... it's a duck
This film does have the coolest action scene in the series so far,
and one of the coolest action scenes I've ever seen, period: the
"zombie cars" sequence, which implements a huge amount of vehicular
mayhem with minimal injury to human beings. Thanks, evil super-hacker!
- Spotlight (2015): We're now getting historical recreation films from my adult lifetime. What does this mean for my already precarious mental state? Answer: it's fine. I was originally going to skip out this one due to the heavy subject matter, but it's an effective story of low-tech data journalism. Especially good at dramatizing how learning the full extent of a problem can make it seem like the problem itself is growing out of control. But it was always that bad!
- Trees Lounge (1996): It's the Buscemi-ist! Watched without
Sumana, whose opinion of Steve Buscemi I just realized I don't
actually know. (Sumana: "I guess my opinion is he is a good actor.")
This was all right—pretty typical 90s indie film about losers,
but just watching Buscemi be pathetic/creepy "warms" my heart.
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