Die Another Day (Movie Thoughts: Four Good Days)

Fresh from Glenn Closes’s another Oscar defeat comes ‘Four Good Days,’ which is another bait-y role for her. I don’t know why the Academy just won’t let her win as she certainly deserves one for her body of work (I thought she was very good in ‘The Wife’ and should have won for that) Yes, I know that sometimes she can be on the over-acting side. But then again they gave one to Al Pacino, and he is the poster child for that, so…

Anyway, I liked this film. It veers more towards a PSA, After School special, and is a little on the soapy overwrought side but both Close and Mila Kunis, who plays her drug addicted daughter, are believable enough to sell the story. It shows addiction as an ongoing process, and something that can not be solved quickly. I have to say that the story can sometimes be exhausting, but maybe that’s the point. That’s how you would feel if you were in that situation. As a film, though, it’s okay but probably not something you want to see over and over.

Caught In Middle America (Film Thoughts: Hillbilly Elegy)

When I started hearing that ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ was bad, I did not know how to react. J.D. Vance, the author of its source book, is a big Trump supporter and there’s a part of me that wants to sock it to him. but I also feel for the cast, most of whom I really like, especially Glenn Close and Amy Adams, two actors who have both been ignored by The Academy. But I know I still wanted to see the film and gather my own thoughts about it. I think Netflix is the perfect avenue for this film, too, as it will reach a much wider audience than it probably would have.

Well, the film isn’t the worst thing in the world, to be honest. But it also isn’t good. I have not read the book, but from what I gather, it spews out a lot of Republican talking points. The screenplay by Vanessa Taylor has no time for the politics so she whittled the story down to a family drama, and I can’t say I blame here. What we get is prime melodrama about a family and its struggled with drug addiction, poverty, infidelity – you know, the usual. Close and Adams do sometimes chew the scenery, but what else are they going to do here? Close fares just a tad better especially when you see how successfully they transformed her to Mamaw, the family matriarch. Sure, I got caught in a bit of the story, but then at the same time, I forgot the film as soon as I finished watching it.

The Better Half (Film Thoughts: The Wife)

large_wife-posterAfter watching ‘The Wife,’ I will now be officially rooting for Glenn Close to win a Best Actress Oscar. She has been nominated six times and has never won, and if the Academy wants to give statues for ‘body of work,’ then by all means just hand the trophy to her. And it’s not like they would be giving it for a slouchy performance. Her titular role in this film is the heart and soul of the piece – it ties it all together, and it’s a great piece of restrained acting. In the hands of another actress, it could have gone hysterical, or showy, but Close knows how to show restraint, and it all adds up to a weighty and credible performance, and surely worthy of awards and accolades.

I also really liked the film. Swedish Director Bjorn Runge has fashioned an intelligent film, about an author (Jonathan Pryce, also fantastic by the way) who wins the Nobel Prize for Literature. His wife has always been there by his side, and in the course of the film, we also learn that she has profound contribution to his achievements. You get swept into the story right away (with some parts told in flashback) and you get immersed in the low key if a little predictable. suspense of the narrative. Runge’s direction is also on the predictable – if solid – side. I hope the film finds an audience, even in the late summer doldrums.

Wind Wilde (Movie Thoughts: The Wilde Wedding)

large_The-Wilde-Wedding-posterI had such high hopes for Damian Harris’ ‘The Wilde Wedding.’  I mean, just look at that cast: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Patrick Stewart, Minnie Driver! I knew it may one of those ‘lighter’ films but, really, I did not think it was going to be bad, like stinky bad.

The main matriarch Eve Wilde (Close) is getting married, and of course her whole extended family is coming, from all her marriages and all the accouterments that come with all her tangled relationships. And they do all come, each manufactured personality after another, presents, exes, futures. And they all get their own entanglements. But it’s all so confusing  you cannot tell one relationship from another, and you stop caring not just about one or some of these characters but, really, all of them. By the time there’s some kind of big conflict towards the end, you roll your eyes, and when that conflict is given a ‘surprise’ twist, you continue to roll your eyes even as you have not unrolled them from your previous rolling. All I can think of is all the wasted talent in the space they are occupying. This was a total waste of my time.