Tremendously Taraji (Movie Thoughts: What Men Want)

wwwI never saw the original ‘What Women Want’ movie because I pride myself in not seeing Mel Gibson movies. I knew way back when that he is a homophobe so I just refuse to give him back support. I knew the movie’s premise and I know that in ‘What Men Want,’ now directed by Adam Shankman, the gender has changed on the story and now Taraji P Henson now stars as Ali, a young woman who can hear men’s thoughts. This helps her as she tries to navigate her way into the world of sports management, as she gets being passed as a partner in the film. The film weaves the character in and out of sticky and funny situations, and for me, the conceits only worked half of the time. But Henson is funny, is game, and gives her all here that you can’t help but just give her a big sparkling A. I wish The film was as good as she was, but it’s fine enough for a Saturday afternoon matinee for me. I don’t know if I would recommend this, but if you are a Taraji fan, then I would say you will have a fine time.

Alone Together (Movie Thoughts: Untogether)

untogetherNothing really much happens in Emma Forrest’s ‘Untogether,’ so I was set to think that this is one of those character-driven movies. Only, I wish the characters were more interesting. We have Nick (Jamie Dornan) a writer who write a best selling memoir about his tour in Gaza, and there’s Andrea, an author experiencing writer’s block. They connect, but have trouble defining what they have. I mean, welcome to today. There are two other characters – Andrea’s sister and her musician husband, and we have Billy Crystal as a rabbi. There’s too much here, but seemingly not enough for something. And with about twenty minutes left in the movie, we get a bombshell turn of events, which is supposed to be shocking, but because the character is mostly unpleasant anyway, you don’t care much. Everyone is fine here, and I guess I should mention Dornan because his looks was the only thing that kept me watching. Everything else in the movie made Los Angeles look dull and dreary.

Body Dusting (Movie Thoughts: To Dust)

To-Dust-1It seemed a good idea at the time – seeing this film. But ten minutes into it, I knew it wasn’t for me.  Geza Rohrig plays a man who has just lost his wife to cancer – and he gets obsessed with finding out what happens to her body after she is buried. With the aid of a Science Professor, played by Matthew Broderick, they play a variation of an odd coupe who sets out how a body decomposes. I am squeamish about these things, and spent a good amount of time covering my eyes. So I really did not enjoy this film because of that.

Unbearable Lightness (Perfume Thoughts: La Cri de la lumiere, Parfum d’Empire)

o.51064I sometimes forget about Parfum d’Empire – they do these elegant perfumes but don’t get the mainstream love. But maybe that’s better. I recently discovered a sample I have had – it’s ‘Le Cri de la lumiere’ from their house.  And it’s quietly wonderful, with much emphasis on quiet.

Someone wise once told me, ‘the universe most times do not shout symbols to you, it most always whispers them.’ And I thought of that quote when I wore this scent. It is such a distinct and beautiful whisper, but you hear the message loud and clear.

‘Le cri de la lumiere’ has a wonderful floral heart of iris, rose, and ambrette. But it’s flanked by aldehydes not unlike a Chanel scent – this is not dissimilar to a face powder smell, but with a little more heft to it. It’s very abstract, and a bit hard to describe, but it certainly is beautiful. I imagine an Anna Wintour wearing this with great confidence. I like it, and want it now.

The Main In Spain (Film Thoughts: Everybody Knows/Todos Lo Saben)

Everybody-Knows-posters-1-218x340I was drawn to ‘Everybody Knows’ because of its Director, the Iranian Asghar Faradi. I liked two of his earlier work: ‘A Separation,’ and ‘The Salesman.’  This is his first film in Spanish, and I know he did a French language one before, though I have not seen it. ‘Everybody Knows’ (Spanish title: Todos Lo Saben) is a kidnapping thriller movie, but it is also, and more, a melodrama. If you came looking for an edge-of-your-seat thriller, you probably will be disappointed. I had to re-callibrate my expectations myself, but once I settled in that this is a slow-burning kind-of-sexy Spanish story, I was fine.

And it stars two of the biggest films of Spanish cinema – Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, and they both sizzle here. Cruz plays Laura, whose daughter gets kidnapped. I kind of knew that something was going to happen tot he daughter the way it was set up. Irene (Carla Campra) is beautiful and luminous in the early scenes you just want to tell her “you in danger gurl,” and the party scenes aren’t over yet and she is gone. The story’s focus moves into the peeling of the layers of the relationships of the people left behind, that the kidnapping at some point would hardly matter.  I thought at times that the pacing slowed, but then I got that it needed to slow so we can fully know all the other characters. I was always a little lukewarm about Cruz but she is great here, giving a pained performance that never gets to ‘too much.’ And Bardem is wonderful, an empty slate in the beginning that becomes more and more complicated as the story evolves. I know that the buzz on this was fairly negative coming out of Cannes, but I liked it enough. It probably would end up as a lesser Farhad, but a lesser Farhad is a solid effort.

Who You Love (Film Thoughts: Giant Little Ones)

1549491425_poster-large‘Giant Little Ones’ now has the distinction of being the first movie for 2019 that has made me cry. Yes, yes I know that it is kind of easy to do that, but to be the first to make me ‘ugly cry’ is  a good thing. I love coming-of-age stories, and this one is not necessarily a gay coming of age one – its message is more for fluidity. But nonetheless, it packs a lot of emotions in a touching story.

Frank (Josh Wiggins) has been best friends with Ballas (Darren Mann) until one night that somethign happens between them. It drives Ballas away, and complicates their friendship. But Franky isn’t necessarily gay – he is also attracted to Natasha, Ballas’ sister. Or maybe he is too young to really get the nuances of sexual attraction. It doesn’t matter, as the film teaches tolerance for young people to explore what is in their hearts. Wiggins is great, echoing a young Matt Damon with his floppy hair. We see his character very cool with their father – it turns out that he left their mother for another man (Kyle McLachlan and Maria Bello play his parents) and of course that makes matters more complicated. Sure there are a lot of politics and messages here that can be interpreted in very different ways, but I am not interested in that. This is a warm story that made my heart melt, and for me that is always worth more than anything else.

 

I See Me (Film Thoughts: The Invisibles/Die Unsichtbaren)

mv5bntm3ntblnmytndzhzc00mzm5lwexnmitmjvlm2m4mmm0ymjmxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymjq3nzuxotm@._v1_sy1000_cr0,0,706,1000_al_Since yesterday was Holocaust Remembrance Day, i thought it would be fitting that I saw ‘The Invisibles.’ (Die Unsichtbaren) From Germany and directed by Claus Rafle, it tells the real story of four Jewish people who were ‘left behind in Germany during World War II as they try to disappear and blend in with everyone. The film is told part documentary style, with the four narrating their stories as ‘re-enactments’ are shown. The format reminded me of those old television show wherein a televiewer would send their stories to be told and there would be dramatic scenes so the tales can be visualized. On the biog screen, it minimizes the drama. Still, I thought these stories were compelling enough to get my attention. For some reason, I am now always fascinated with these WWII stories, perhaps this is because Past couple of years, I have visited all these European cities that have been affected by the war. I sitll for the life of me cannot understand how the Nazis were able to do this, but I take a look at the United States today and basically Trump is trying to do the exact same thing. I liked this film, and I thought it was a fitting tribute to remember Holocaust Remembrance Day,