Ruben Ostlund, director-writer of The Square (’17) and the forthcoming Triangle of Sadness (Neon, 10.7), isn’t into building audience identification with any of his characters a la Preston Sturges or Billy Wilder. His kind of detached, absurdist, scalpel-like social satire precludes this. During the first act of Sadness you’re thinking that Harris Dickinson‘s “Carl” and Charlbi Dean‘s “Yaya” are the ones we might root for, but bit by bit Ostlund divests us of that notion. Same deal with Claes Bang‘s museum director character in The Square — initially sympathetic and intriguing as far as he goes, but gradually smaller, less in command and more overwhelmed as the film goes on.
Biloxi Blues opened 34 years ago, and I haven’t given a moment’s thought to re-watching it. And yet it’s fine. Well written by Neil Simon, nicely acted by everyone. Set in the 1940s, and dealing with the then-taboo subject of homosexuality in the ranks. Directed by Mike Nichols, shot by Bill Butler, edited by Sam O’Steen. Good film, character-driven, nothing especially wrong with it, better than decent. Okay, maybe I will re-watch it.
The cheapest fare from the NYC area to the Telluride-adjacent town of Montrose, Colorado requires a three-leg journey of 13.5 hours — American all the way.
Leaving Laguardia on Wednesday, 8.31 at 10 pm. Arrive at D.C.’s Reagan National at 11.:17 pm. Six-hour layover. D.C. to Dallas, departs 5:25 am, arrives 7:40 am. Dallas to Montrose, departs 8:25 am (only 45 minutes between flights!), arrives at 9:30 am. And then a shuttle of some kind. I’ll probably hit town by noon or thereabouts.
In hopes of catching a few zees during the Reagan National layover, I’ll be carrying (a) a self-inflating Powerlix Sleeping Mat (3 inches thick, built-in pillow, carry-on bag) and (b) a sleeping mask.
Maya Forbes, Wally Wolodarsky and Thomas Bezucha‘s The Good House, a boomer-booze-recovery relationship film set in suburban Massachusetts, premiered at the 2021 Toronto Film Festival.
Universal had the domestic distrib rights, but then they bailed; Lionsgate/Roadside stepped up to the plate last June. The smartly-written film, which seems to feature a strong Sigourney Weaver performance, opens on 9.30.22.
“Hildy Good (Weaver) is a real-estate agent with an alcohol problem. She is half-heartedly in recovery, having been forced into rehab by her adult daughters, a couple of castoffs from a Nancy Meyers movie about spoiled children.
“There’s a provocative imaginary line to be drawn between being accused of witchcraft and being accused of drinking too much, both of which are so damning that the trial is over before it’s begun.
“The Good House rejects anything like ambivalence. It’s the same old song of hitting rock bottom — here tied to an autistic child in a way that feels exploitative — and getting a second chance and stating your name and disease before God and literally sailing off into the sunset. That may be what some folks need to hear, though it isn’t profound.
“The Good House repeatedly finds Hildy breaking the fourth wall and addressing us directly, High Fidelity-style, and Weaver can’t quite sell the wine-mom Ferris Bueller monologues she’s asked to deliver in these moments. Online excerpts from Ann Leary‘s source novel suggest the first-person narration was much more searching on the page, which may have proved a better match for Weaver’s vaguely patrician air. I don’t know.
“What I do know is that nothing that includes blackout drinking, suicide and the tragedy of gentrification should go down so smoothly, even if the filmmakers’ sensibility is fundamentally comic. (Co-writers/co-directors Maya Forbes and Wally Wolodarsky previously made The Polka King, and Forbes wrote for The Larry Sanders Show.)
“After Hildy reveals that she’s descended from witches, Donovan‘s ‘Season of the Witch’ cues up on the soundtrack; I felt like a little old lady being helped across the street.
“For what it’s worth, Weaver’s frequent onscreen love interest Kevin Kline is in this, too, as a handyman who hauls garbage and fixes up boats. I guess you can only be in so many fake John Sayles movies before they finally cast you as David Strathairn.” — from Bill Chambers’ 9.20.21 TIFF review.
Roughly two months ago a very early draft of Eric Roth‘s screenplay for Killers of the Flower Moon (dated 2.20.17,...More »