Love So Special (Film Thoughts: Keep The Change)

keepthechange2018I wish I hadn’t read before hand that ‘Keep the Change’ starred non-actors, well autistic non-actors, playing characters that are autistic. Because it really doesn’t matter. This film, directed by Rachel Israel, is about two people in New York City, who fall in love. This is one of those charming little independent films that I would love to recommend to people who want something small, intimate, heartfelt. And good.

David and Sarah (Brandon Polansky and Samantha Elisofson) meet into some kind of group meeting – David has been sent there because he told a cop a very inappropriate joke. I want to say their being autistic isn’t important but of course that would not be true. it’s a huge important part of these character’s lives, and how they live it. David and Sarah do not belong in the same spectrum of autism – David’s is a lot more advanced, and Sarah more awkward, yet of course these do not serve as hindrance to what they feel for each other. They only matter to people around them, and perhaps to us, as the audience. “I like her because she is weird. I am weird,” he says.

I couldn’t help but be affected by the film. Here I am alone, on a Friday night, and I want to say to myself – don’t let these hangups keep you from falling in love. Everyone falls in love. If only I would listen.

She’s A Lady (Film Thoughts: Lady Bird)

ladybird_fin11_onlineNow that I am middle aged, I look to large parts of my life with fondness. I remember those times I wanted to break free from family – I wanted to go on and live my life. Now I realize I was already living my life then. All the differences I had with parents – I would gladly acquiesce just to go back in time, so I could spend even one day with them.

‘Lady Bird’ took me to a reflective mood, as I am sure we can all relate to the story of Catherine (‘Lady Bird’) who is in the cusp of adolescence and young adulthood. She is struggling along her senior year in High School, wanting to be free of middle California, yearning to be in the East Coast, ‘where culture is.’  She has a complicated relationship with her mother, and they volley back and forth between arguing and hunting for dresses.

Written and directed by actress Greta Gerwig, you can easily discern her voice here. I am probably one of the few people who do not appreciate her as an actress (she annoys me, mostly, if I have to be truly honest) and I still hear her cadence her, but Saoirse Ronan eases the character well, so that even if Lady Bird sometimes veer into unlikable category, we still appreciate and empathize. I love that she is surrounded by these rich characters: Laurie Metcalf as her mother is subtle and bombastic, and I was particularly drawn to Lucas hedges’ Danny. (He has one scene that was particularly touching and unforgettable)

But I wish i was truly in love with the movie. Right now, I just merely like it, and perhaps the near unanimous praise it is getting (100% on Rotten Tomatoes) raised my hopes too high. I do think that this is one of those movies that gets better after a second viewing, so I will still be open. For now, though, I won’t complain if this gets all the nominations it deserves.

The Newness Of You (Movie Thoughts: Newness)

1200x630bbThere were a couple of things that excited me about this movie. First of all, it is directed by Drake Doremus, whose last movie, ‘Like Crazy,’ I loved. (He even dedicates this movie ‘For Anton,’ presumably because he starred in that movie) Second, this stars Nicholas Hoult, who is one of my favorite young actors working today. And, this film has been dubbed as the ‘Tindr movie,’ because the whole premise is about a couple who meets on a similar dating app (It’s called Winx in the film) and how that affects and changes dating and relationships in this day and age.

The answer is that, of course, it is a different world out there and at the same time the core values of what we want from a relationship really define how successful it will be. I thought this was a very interesting film, and what it has to say really depends on how you view relationships. It is anchored by realistic performances by Hoult and Laia Costa. But it goes on a bit too long, and at times the film feels like friends of yours who can never decide about their relationships, and the constant are-they-on or are-they-off tugs feel tiresome after a while. But, like it or not, this film shows how the world is today, and explores how we find love and how we keep them.

The Words Are Over Say Goodbye (Film Thoughts: Goodbye Christopher Robin)

Goodbye-Christopher-Robin-movie-posterPerhaps I had a wicked childhood, perhaps I had a miserable youth. Why, you ask? Because I never read any of the Winnie the Pooh children’s literary series. I am more familiar with its merchandise, those cutesy bear things. I remember as a child I had a pencil case with the imagery.  So I went into Simon Curtis’ ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ quite blindly. I didn’t even know the name of its author: A A Milsne (here played by Domhnall Gleeson)

Milsne had been a famous playwright before he was shipped to fight the first World War, and he came back with PTSD-like symptoms – the buzzing of bees affect him. While at war, his wife bore a son, Billie . At first, he has trouble connecting with the kid, until a circumstance had them spending time with each other alone, and from their exploits he has the idea of the Winnie the Pooh stories, based on his son’s stuffed toys. He writes the books and voila they are hits. The poor kid (Will Tiltson, a child star find) has trouble with this sudden fame – he becomes treated as a product, mostly from the prodding of his mother (Margot Robbie) The mother is written like a cardboard – is she just a gold digger? One never knows.

Then we get the musical strings and the film becomes manipulatively emotional. I won’t lie and say that I didn’t feel the change of gears, but it felt really dirty afterwards, because you know you have been manipulated into feeling a certain something. I appreciated the story, to be honest, and I feel better knowing I now know the story of the man (and child) behind the Winnie the Pooh books, but one has to ask the question – do you have to be played to do so?

The Funk In Dysfunctional (Movie Thoughts: We Don’t Belong Here)

We-Dont-Belong-Here-movie-teaser-posterGeez, talk about a depressing film about a depressing family. Peer Pedersen’s ‘We Don’t Belong here’ is about a family that is so messed up and dysfunctional that you will probably go home and hug your own (dysfunctional) family as a result.

Catherine Keener plays the matriarch here and all her kids are messed up, and on drugs (both recreational and prescription) It is exhausting to watch, and I wish there was just a little bit of humour here to lighten the darkness (Maya Rudolph tries to squeeze some, but not nearly enough for anyone to notice)

This is one of Anton Yelchin’s last films and even in this crowded film (too many characters to keep track of) you will notice him and hi sensitivity playing Max, the troubled gay son, though it was just a little disturbing to see his character in a freak accident, as he suffered from something similar in real life. Actually, most performances here are good, particularly Keener, who is subtle and effective in an otherwise showy role.

Ultimately, the film is too much of a downer for me. Don’t see this if you are anywhere near razor blades.

Watch You Like Crazy (Film Thoughts: Dirty Beautiful)

dirtybeauLove will make you crazy, for sure. It’s that thing that will take over you, intoxicate your life, but at the same time you will want it all day, all hour, all minute. You see all of this in all its nasty glory in Tim Bartell’s ‘Dirty Beautiful.’  Ricky Mabe plays David, one of those guys geeks who has never fallen in love, and you can tell in how obsessive compulsive he is with his post it notes that he will apply the same obsessive compulsiveness when he falls in love. And when he meets Kat (Jordan Monaghan) a homeless prostitute and takes her in his apartment you know that the crazy is just starting. And the crazy does commence, in all its beautiful glory. This is the kind of film that will infuriate and exasperate you. You know they are totally wrong for each other and you just want them to just leave each other right there and then. It’s like listening to a friend tell his problems to you and keep on making the same mistake over and over again. In both cases, you just keep quiet, accept their decisions, cross your fingers and hope there won’t be a lot of collateral damage. This is a crazy beautiful film that will make you feel you are alive, in the best and worst sense of that phrase.

Chronicles (Movie Thoughts: Chronically Metropolitan)

Photo Sep 04, 8 54 39 AMI don’t understand the title of this movie but it intrigued me.  Anything that has Mary Louise Parker cannot be bad, right?  But it’s not too bad,  and also not too good. Basically, this is a story about rich people from the Upper East Side, and probably those are also the only people who can relate to the stories here. A young man returns home after leaving his family and friends because same family and friends were shamed by a short story he wrote about them in The New Yorker.

I get it. Films about New Yorkers always interests. I have been on a wistful mood lately, as I face crossroads in my life and think of happier times.  That was only redeeming factor here, as I look at familiar streets and corners in the city where I once lived.

Regarding the film. I really have no interest in these rich privileged people’s problems.

P.S. Still have no clue about the title

The Lady’s In Love With You (Film Thoughts: Lady Macbeth)

f2682c1a30a95dd67c3d32de5c0e56deSet in 1800s countryside of England, ‘Lady Macbeth’ starts out unassuming, but based on the tone, you can sense there is somebody foreboding. There’s horror in the film, and there’ suspense, and in the end there’s a ghost looming.

Florence Pugh is a revelation as Kathrine who is bought as a wife parceled with some land (was she bought with the land, or was the land bought with her?)  But once she is inside the house, you know there is more behind the seemingly innocent lass. She powers through the house and asserts herself. And there’s a whole lot more.

To tell you more would be a betrayal to the film. Needless to say, the film goes on different journeys that will infuriate you.  Some parts of it you will not bear to see. This is the kind of film that will assault your sense. However you will feel about it, I assure you that you will not feel bored. This film is one of my favorites so far this year, and I am positive Pugh will emerge as the name to hear during Awards Season.

Merely Marvelous (Television Thoughts: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Amazon Prime)

Photo Sep 07, 7 23 36 PMIt really seems that this is the new Golden Age of Television, because you really great television anywhere, and I just found a show I will be following and perhaps I will be writing about weekly. Minutes after watching this, I knew it looked and sounded familiar – it has tht familiar feel of an Amy Sherman Palladino  show with a strong female character.

Only In Miami (Movie Thoughts: After The Rain)

img_1037I always say that a relationship will never never work out if the people in it do not want the same thing. In ‘After The Rain’ young married couple’s relationship goes through the ringer  when Diego (played by Nick Puga) wanting to finish his in-the-works novel, goes to Miami Beach before he starts working in Finance, courtesy of his wife’s (Edy Gamen) family connections. Ha hasn’t even been there two days when he meets Vanessa (Kandis Fay) the bartender at the hotel where his staying. One thing leads to another when they start hanging out. And there is sexual tension in the air. And I think you can guess, or can you, what happens next.

I like the low-complexity here of the conflict. At some point, you question yourself what you think how all this would be resolved. Puga and Fay give subtle performance, and they do have chemistry.  don’t know if I really like the ending, to be honest. It felt like the characters took the easy way out. But then, it real life, that happens a lot.