Saw two movies back to back with young woman at the center of both and thought I should probably write about it jointly.
First up is Drake Doremus’ ‘Endings Beginnings’ starring Shalaine Woodley as a young woman who finds herself in relationship with two men – whoa re best friends. I wish there was more nuance to the story but there isn’t. She just can’t choose between the two, or refuses to. I don’t even know what the point, too, because in the film, the two men, played Jamie Dornan and Sebastian Stan look alike so I find it hard to discern the difference between the two. When she gets pregnant later on in the film, my first thought was: well. it’s fine because she is sleeping with both and either one could be the father and it will not matter. The three actors are all good, so you can kind of see where each is coming from, but in the end it’s seem like rich white girl problem. They are all good to look at so you don’t mind everything that’s going on but when you finish you know there wasn’t much substance there.
Sally ‘Potter’s ‘The Roads Not Taken’ has Elle Fanning as a young woman taking care of her father (played by Javier Bardem) who is a writer suffering from early dementia. But Bardem plays the character as too much like a cliche that he has lost all dinity. Poor Fanning has to lug him round through his dentist and doctor appointments, and both are medical professionals who have the worst bedside manners. there are flashes of his life – Salma Hayek plays his first wife and their son dies, and Laura Linney gets one scene as Fanning’s mother. But the film is dead on arrival, nothing can make it rise from the dead.
I didn’t want to see ‘Like A Boss.’ I saw the trailer a couple of times and I could tell it’s juvenile and probably really unfunny. As a matter of fact, I reserved twice on A-List and cancelled, because I just couldn’t. But the other night, I just said sure why not. It was a little bit of a tiring day and I wanted to see something ‘light,’ and there really were not many choices out there.
So make me mistake, it’s bad. It baffles me how you can put it all these talents together and not have a great movie. And it’s such an awesome collection of talent – Tiffany Haddish , Rose Byrne, Jennifer Coolidge, Salma Hayek. They all work triple time, and to be honest, not all the jokes land, but I was surprised to find that a lot of them did. I have to confess there were some that made me chuckle, and I am usually so jaded with these things. All the actors are great, but I was very impressed with Hayek playing a conniving CEO out to take control of Haddish’s and Byrne’s cosmetic company (Okay, so the lot has some huge holes, but it’s all forgivable) I also appreciated that the film is a relatively scant 183 minutes, so it’s easy breezy. All in all, the film is not a total waste of time and energy, but you be the judge.
One of the blurbs used for ‘Beatriz at Dinner’ is the quote: “The first great film of the Trump era,” and while that may be true or not, there are a lot of things in this film that says things about the times we live in right now. Salma Hayek plays Beatriz here, a massage therapist/healer who gets ‘stranded’ at her rich client’s mansion in Orange County, California. She gets invited for dinner at said client, Kathy’s and her husband (Connie Britton and David Warshofsky) We then see right away that Beatriz is out of place once the guests arrive. One one side are members of The Real Housewives of Orange County, and on the other rich mogul husbands. Beatriz thinks she recognizes one of them, Douglas Strutt, (John Lithgow) a ruthless real estate developer who destroys natural habitats for hotel and golf courses, hunts in Africa, and is merciless – reminds you of someone yet? The vagueness here is not really masked, and we get to see the good and the bad. But there are no angels here – Beatriz is pushy and talks out of turn, and is passionate about what she believes in: everything that Strutt doesn’t. There is a delicious mouse and cat play between Hayak and Lithgow, and whose side you take depends on whether you are deplorable or not. There are some big things to think about here – greed, politics, nature, even good manners and social etiquette. The ending is a bit strange, but not unreal, and I wish it was more ambiguous, so viewers can be left thinking, not seething. This is a great little film with big things to say.