Movie Mondays ~ Monday, May 13, 2019

Movie Mondays ~ Monday, May 13, 2019

Well, here’s an interesting coincidence. It was only when I began to put together this week’s #MovieMondays blog that I discovered two of the three films I watched this week (an old favorite and a new one I enjoyed) happened to be written by the same person! And this talented scribe has written a few other screenplays that I’ve truly enjoyed and directed a couple films including that later film from this week’s set, that I found to be gems. I do believe I have discovered that I’m a fan of… writer-director-producer Gary Ross. And I didn’t even know it!

 

Without further ado, let’s dive into a glimpse at this week’s trio of films and my personal critiques.  And as always, thanks for reading! ~ Chris K.

 

FILMS VIEWED WEEK OF 05/06/2019 – 05/12/2019

(click on images to enlarge on the screen!)

 

60. Dave

Comedy (1993)
Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Charles Grodin, Frank Langella,

 

This film is 26 years old (hard to believe!) but it swept over me in the same charming and endearing way it did all those years ago.  Kevin Kline is Dave Kovic, a nice guy who runs a temp agency in the heart of Washington, D.C. Love and marriage have come and gone for the likable Dave, so he’s thrown himself into his work, and this is definitely a man devoted to helping others and fighting to place people in jobs wherever he can find them. He also just happens to bear an uncanny resemblance to the President of the United States Bill Mitchell. Enter a few slimy, self-serving politicians in his cabinet with ill intentions (where have I heard this scenario before? oh wait…) and an unexpected and quite inconvenient stroke on top of the secretary in bed for the Prez creates a new gig for Kline’s character hired only for temp work but whose role suddenly transitions into much grander proportions.

 

Kline is wonderful as Dave, and Langella and Kevin Dunn (VEEP fans will no doubt recognize ‘Ben Cafferty’ from that classic comedy) are almost too good as the smarmy political predators. Grodin isn’t on the screen long but when he is, we’re reminded of why we adore this quiet scene stealer. Still, I think it’s Weaver, perfectly cast as the First Lady who has been estranged from the real Prez and quickly notices a change in temperament coming from the Oval Office, who scores my vote of awesome! Her chemistry with Kline is off the charts, and I found this low-key, no frills comedy left me feeling just as romantic as I did when I watched it way back when (and next to a different date — I was a mere 23 then…)

 

Given how dejected and blue so many of us feel about the state of politics in this time, I say see it and embrace the enthusiasm, the sweetness and joy of serving that we watch some of these key players embody. It’s exactly the kind of movie I know that I needed, and I’m willing to wager there are others facing a similar funk when it comes to political junk polluting our minds and our hearts right now. Enjoy!

 

 

Score: 88

 

Dave

 

 

 

61. Ocean’s 8

Action, Comedy (2018)
Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson

 

 

When I looked up the last film and discovered it was written by screenwriter Gary Ross, I had no idea that he would be at the helm of my next film that I watched. Isn’t that wild? Completely unplanned, believe me! (As another interesting bit of entertainment trivia, when I dug a little deeper, I learned that not only did Ross write DAVE  and write and direct this film, but he also wrote one of my all-time favorites BIG, and wrote/directed two other films I enjoyed immensely, PLEASANTVILLE and SEABISCUIT. He also happened to direct and adapt the screenplay for the first HUNGER GAMES, a book set and film series I thoroughly enjoyed! So clearly, Ross has my number when it comes to entertainment value!)

 

In OCEAN’S 8, Ross directs a bevy of smart, talented, beautiful actresses in this fast-paced, clever, witty and oh-so-cool take on the OCEANS 11 series featuring instead an all-female cast of Sneaky Petes (I guess that would make them Sneaky Petras?) plotting to sneak away with hundreds of billions of dollars in diamonds, all while the eyes of the world are upon everyone at the Annual  Met Gala. (Can I also admit that I had absolutely no idea that this year’s Met Gala was taking place the same week that I was watching this flick? The kismet moments just keep on coming, don’t they?)

 

I won’t tell you how they plot to steal away this heavy necklace to die for or if they succeed (without anyone dying for it!), but I will tell you that this cast is incredible. I don’t think there is one person out of place here. Bullock and Blanchett stand out but Hathaway is terrific as the self-absorbed Red Carpet regular, and I adore the use of Kaling, Awkwafina and Rihanna in contributing roles of the heist process that are every bit as cool and clever as you’d expect from those three. Everyone delivers and holds their own among a cast, perhaps only rivaled by BIG LITTLE LIES.

 

OCEAN’S 8 is entertaining, suspenseful, funny and smart. I do hope that there is more to come from this screenwriter featuring some or all of the cast (if they all survived this one, that is…hmm…#notaspoilerhere). See it. #ChicksRule

 

Score: 87

 

Oceans8

 

 

62. Catfish

Documentary, Mystery (2010)
Nev Schulman, Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost, Angela Wesselman-Pierce

 

 

Let’s do a complete 180-degree turn to something very different than my other two films this week. I am familiar with the web term ‘catfish’ (used to describe someone who represents themselves falsely online, and typically seduces someone under the guise of this false identity), but I had never seen the documentary that really propelled this term into conversation and spun off into a related TV series. The documentary appears to have begun like many powerful documentaries — completely by accident. We are introduced to photographers and videographers Nev Shulman, his brother Ariel and friend Henry, who chronicle local arts including area dance troupes. As Nev begins interacting on Facebook with an extraordinary young painter, 8-year-old Abby, he grows closer to the rest of Abby’s family including mom Angela and Abby’s 19-year-old sister Meg. Over time, Nev develops feelings for Meg as the two become more intimate during private conversations on social media and over the phone, and his brother and friend express some concern about how quickly the two have grown close. Nev tries repeatedly to set up opportunities to meet up with Meg and her wonderful family. As Nev and the others begin to dissect communications, this complex and intricately woven ball of yarn begins to unravel and the three set out to do some investigating of their own.

 

This road trip will be unlike anything you’ve ever experienced on film before. You will squirm and grimace, pull back and shake your head as you watch a very patient, thoughtful storyteller take this ‘love story’ to its ultimate conclusion. That it is hard to watch does not make it any less compelling. I found myself completely gripped by this story, and I’m so thankful that I didn’t Google any of the backstory beforehand. All that I knew is what I’ve just laid out here, and nothing more. I encourage you to do the same and avoid reading any more than this if you aren’t familiar with the players and where this story leads.

 

CATFISH is an intriguing documentary and a lesson for us all about who, how and why we engage on social media the way we do. This one’s definitely worth seeing.

 

Score: 86

 

Catfish

 

 

 

 

 

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