The Movie Elf --'The Lighthouse'

11.12.2019

~~~Learn~~~

Movie Mate Terry Woosley and Your Movie Elf (YME) saw this movie Tuesday, Nov. 12.  If there was ever a doubt in our* mind of having the intellectual prowess of a true critic of the cinema, it is there no longer; and at 73, the likelihood of developing it is greatly diminished.

 

A brief synopsis is in order before we proceed. Willem Defoe is a lighthouse keeper, Thomas/Tommy, somewhere off the coast of Massachusetts in the late 1800’s. Thomas is a man determined to utilize his helper mercilessly. Robert Pattinson, long and thankfully removed from Edward Cullen, is Winslow. His assignment is to help Thomas for a couple of weeks with the maintenance of the lighthouse and provide some much needed human company. The work is back-breaking, hauling coal from what seemed on end of the island to the other, stoking the furnaces, and doing whatever else Thomas ordered him to do. What was initially meant to be a two week gig turned into eternity when a monster storm prevented any replacement helpers or supplies. 

 

We try NOT to read any reviews prior to a movie and especially after, lest our immediate reaction to the movie be tainted or influenced in any way. Well, fellow Movielfsters, today we depart from that. While searching for a photograph to use, we inadvertently found our eyes diverted to some sidebar comments. We almost always use Internet Movie Database (IMDb) because it has substantial information all in one spot. Today, we also touched briefly on Rotten Tomatoes, actually by accident. YET, in both locations, we could not HELP but see some highlights which flashed before our very eyes. Words like “Brilliant!”, “Powerful”, “Masterpiece”, “Gripping” to name a few. We were actually stunned. Seriously. So, we decided to use these descriptions to assist us with our review. Buckle up.

 

“Brilliant!”

Since the movie IS about a lighthouse, one would HOPE, nay expect, the light is brilliant. And it was. Next.

 

“Powerful!”

OK, this gives us a bit of a pause. The story is purportedly based on lighthouse keeper diaries describing the stress and impact of the severe and often lengthy isolation that comes with being a ‘keeper’ of the light. There is a plethora of emotional upheaval in this movie, with good reason.  If only we could have understood the actors as they spoke, there is likely some important conversation(s) that were completely missed because they were either mumbled, garbled, or otherwise distorted out of comprehension. If screams, screeches, foghorns, and squawking seabirds count; if crashing waves, drinking from a cistern of human excrement, incessant physical/mental altercations, and violent retching count; this was indeed a powerful movie. There is little left to the imagination.

 

“Masterpiece!”

Without a doubt, the intent of the movie is to portray the descent into madness of two men stranded without provisions, save a case of whiskey which only fueled the madness. It certainly did just that. Everything was frightfully over-wrought; a bit of subtlety may have helped us simple folk focus on the story rather than the starkness. So Masterpiece is a stretch…of epic proportions.

 

“Gripping”

The starkness of the lighting, shooting in black and white, and depictions of hallucinations that accompany mental and emotional implosion are intended to grip us like a vise. The brutality of the work, the isolation that tends to amplify and intensify all sound; the potential friendship/collaboration overshadowed by Thomas’ need to dominate Winslow. Basic human needs and instincts are transformed and deteriorate into savagery and violence. With graphic imagery, neither man was ‘Master of His Domain’, which is the only part of the movie we thought was gripping.

 

And we thought “Annihilation’ was bad. 

 

*YME is loathe to write in first person, therefor, the  use of the words our/we/us are a personal reflection and do not necessarily mean to include Movie Mate Terry. We tried desperately to throw this review her way…she politely and wisely declined.

The Movie Elf --'Motherless Brooklyn'

11.5.2019

~~~Learn~~~

Urban blight, ethnic discrimination, and devious urban corruption. Mid to late 1950’s when cars had fins. Private Investigators sporting Fedoras. Illegal landlord practices. Tourette’s Syndrome and a brilliant mind.  Smoke-filled jazz clubs in Harlem. Shades of ‘Boston Blackie’ and his pencil-thin mustache. Fists, guns, and car chases. Red lipstick, spectator shoes, and dresses. Relationships gone awry; relationships found.  Good against evil; intrigue galore.

These are all of the ingredients of Motherless Brooklyn; a film noir written, directed, and starred in by Ed Norton. This is the movie YME and Movie Mate Terry saw on Tuesday, Nov. 5. This movie has some strengths and some weaknesses, as most do. 

Strength - the performance of Ed Norton as the brilliant private investigator with Tourette’s. He plays the role superbly, capturing the pathos, physicality,  and humor (yes, humor) of living with Tourette’s. The tics, the OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), and the explosive language outbursts are magnificently portrayed. And what makes his character more moving is both his acceptance of the condition and his capability to tell people with complete honesty that something is wrong in his brain.

Weakness - as much as YME likes Alec Baldwin (the actor/not the man), his performance was kind of over done. Bruce Willis wasn’t in it enough, and nobody else really stood out. Willem Defoe is a terrific actor but his role was not developed as well as we think it could have been. Other characters were just substantial enough to warrant discussion.

Strength - the look of a bygone time. The clothing, cars, sets—one feels like they are in a neighborhood gone the way of leaking pipes, broken windows, and no utilities. The early days of social justice awareness and demands for fair housing.

Weakness - for YME, the plot was almost too complex and hard to follow. And, we actually dozed off a couple of times.

Strength - the music was just the right touch for this movie. We have to thank Movie Mate Terry for this observation; though, it was reminiscent of a time gone by when one could go to a club, listen to great music/performers without having the noise of the crowd get in the way.

Weakness - YME is NOT a fan of jazz. We know that’s sacrilege as it’s truly America’s music. Sorry…just don’t like it. Our weakness but it interfered with enjoying the movie.

 

All in all a watchable movie; not great, not awful. It is most worthy for Ed Norton’s talent. We never realized he was that good, especially as a writer/director as well as participant.  This is a movie you'll have to see for yourself; it was ok and partly really good. 

The Movie Elf --'Judy'

10.9.2019

~~~Learn~~~

Your Movie Elf (YME) and Movie Mate (MM) Terry Woosley traveled to the Cinemark in Pearl Tuesday October 8 to see this long anticipated movie, touted as a 'tour de force' for Renee Zellweger. The Dictionary defines the phrase ‘tour de force’ as follows; “an impressive performance or achievement that has been accomplished or managed with great skill”.  The Thesaurus offers the following alternative and supportive words or phrases, ranked from most meaningful on down: "triumph, masterpiece, supreme example, marvelous feat, feather in one’s cap, wonder, sensation, master stroke, coup de maître, hit, knockout”.  ALL of these apply to Ms Zellweger’s transformation from actor to person as she becomes Judy Garland from head to toe, from expressions to performance gestures, from impaired to sober with all the emotional volatility that Ms Garland was famous for.

So, this review will be an unabashed release of emotional response to this movie for which YME has little ability to stifle. There is not only the unbridled admiration for Ms Zellweger’s performance but the parallel connection with YME’s mother who made us watch Judy Garland many, many years ago when Ed Sullivan ruled Sunday night. Mama taught YME about Ms Garland’s struggle with her weight, alcohol, stage fright, drug use, and emotional fragility not only from Mama’s description but also her own personal struggles with the same issues. There was also an uncanny physical resemblance coupled with musical talent. It was indeed an afternoon of intensity.

The intelligence with which this movie was developed is reflected in the fact that it was not a linear timeline from child star to financially strapped, emotionally fragile woman; instead we get two of the pivotal sequences of her life. Indeed the child star of 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz’, completely and utterly controlled by the leadership of MGM studio (think Louis B. Mayer). Though 17 years old and already a veteran performer of vaudeville, Judy's every waking and sleeping moment was directed. She was deprived of food to keep her weight down (some accounts indicate she was only allowed a bowl of soup for her daily meal), provided with drugs to both stimulate her to complete 18 hour days and to reverse the synthetic energy to allow her to sleep. Flash forward to the years when she was considered too difficult to deal with, washed-up, struggling to keep her children with her and provide a home for them. In 1968, she opted for a last chance opportunity to make some much needed money by performing in London, where her talent and star-power had not faltered.  Yes, there is a lot of ‘story’ in the years not covered…marriages, divorces, movies (A Star is Born among others), children, extreme highs and dreadful lows.

One of the more entertaining side-bars of this movie is the recollection of a venue gone by—the supper club where formally attired patrons, dined, drank, and delighted in live entertainment. We think this still occurs in Vegas, but not nearly the scale of post-Depression America.

Ms. Zellweger does indeed radiate the older adult Judy, even carrying out the demanding vocals; Darci Shaw’s performance as child Judy, was an admirable and nuanced performance in her own right.

Almost everyone on this planet has seen, more than once, The Wizard of Oz’; so, the ending of this wonderful movie will no doubt take your breath and bring on some tears. Go see this movie and let 'your troubles melt like lemon drops’ at such talents as Ms Garland and Ms Zellweger. And, we might selfishly add, Annie Patterson.

The Movie Elf --'Downton Abbey'

9.27.2019

~~~Learn~~~

You know, movie friends, we go to movies, to laugh, to cry, to be scared out of our wits, to see good triumph over evil, and perhaps most of all, to escape the world for a while. Well, we are here to tell you that Downton Abbey doesn’t get any ‘escapier’ than that. With all the pomp and circumstance and ‘Up the Down Staircase’ that the British Empire can muster, this movie picked up seamlessly from the series that ended in 2015 to reel (no pun intended) us right back in. If nothing more than the opening, it was magnificent. The scenery, hustle and bustle around Downton, the arrival of the letter informing the Crawleys that ROYALTY would be spending the night and the immediate frenzy, that majestic Downton music building to a crescendo at the the appearance of that iconic building that was/is Downton—my goodness, it was damn near as perfect a start as any show we’ve seen lately. But it WAS so much more than the opening!

 

After two weeks of really awful movies (Ad Astra and The Goldfinch), today we luxuriated in a really fun and delightful one. It was a reunion of family and friends; a relapse to a time well spent; a delight to the eye, the brain, the sense of humor, the gentility and heartbreak of lords and ladies; the drama and intrigue of the landed gentry and those that served them; and the appreciation of all that is British. Once again, the writing secured our awareness that though the aristocracy and the serving class are worlds apart in ‘status’, they are still human. The ‘haves’ retain that ‘stiff upper lip’ capability while emotions run rampant under the skin; the ‘have nots (who really do have quite a bit) share the same emotions but put them on full display. 

 

 

There are so many highlights to this movie…we just want to share a few. First, the storyline and writing were so crisp and tight; the inimitable Maggie Smith and Penelope Wilton have maintained their capability to raise biting sarcasm and repartee to an art form; and, gosh darn and golly gee, the costumes were simply breath-taking. Both Movie Mate Terry and YME said we’d snatch the dress that Lady Mary (far left) was wearing at the end right off her AND the return of the cloche was the icing on the cake.

The sole concern YME had was the often hard to discern British accent. Those with hearing issues may do well to opt for a closed caption service to be sure to hear all the delightful barbs that are tossed about.

 

There seems to be room for yet another as we walk through the twilight of the Empire that was Great Britain, with some trepidation. One can hope. Enjoy this quite lovely movie!!

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The Movie Elf --'Ad Astra'

9.20.2019

~~~Learn~~~

When this movie was over yesterday (9.20.19), YME leaned over to Movie Mate Terry and said, “This review will be short. Only two words.” Her response was, “Don’t bother?” Our response was, “Well, four words. It sucked and don’t bother.”

Seriously, if you have a real need to see Brad Pitt’s face (with no acting involved); enjoy the scenery of outer space exploration; have no real need for a plot and good writing; or just need a quiet place for a nap…this may be your cup of tea.  Otherwise...two words.

 

In all fairness, the trailer for this movie looked pretty interesting. Brad Pitt is the son of the Mother of All Astronauts, Clifford McBride (played by Tommy Lee Jones). Following in his father’s space steps, he too is a famous astronaut. As the earth is experiencing unexplained and catastrophic power surges (from outer space), Younger Astronaut, Roy McBride, is tapped to be a part of a super secret mission to find the source of these surges. Turns out, the surges appear to be coming from the vicinity of his father’s last mission seeking extra terrestrial life AND his father, long thought to be dead, has surfaced via space tv. Younger McBride is engaged to determine if indeed his father can be contacted and ostensibly brought home. But, things aren’t always as they seem; the plot (and we use that term loosely) thickens and Young McBride becomes a renegade astronaut hell bent on finding Daddy Dearest.  All of this is set, obviously, in a future where space travel is advanced, the moon has been colonized and used as a ‘jumping off point’ for further exploration. 

 

The underlying theme, as such, is really a look at the toll that the isolation of long space flights, the extreme distances from earth, the demands that being confined with fellow crew members, and the stress of interplanetary exploration takes on the human psyche. Crew physical responses (heart rate, respirations, response to crises) are assessed along with frequent psychological questioning. In other words, are the verbal responses to computerized questioning such as ‘how are you feeling?’ compatible with the physical responses. In other words, if one’s heart rate is 120 beats per minute and the person responds verbally with ‘I am fine’, there’s a problem…or is there. THAT part of the movie is interesting, especially after Young McBride orders a response to an SOS from a Norwegian space craft and runs into some very disturbing scenes of complete psychological deterioration.

 

Tommy Lee Jones’ role is minimal and could probably have been much more powerful and intense if the Father/Son was explored more. The talented Donald Sutherland is completely wasted in the few minutes he is on screen as is the also talented Liv Tyler.

 

This movie, in our opinion, had promise…but does not deliver. After checking some of the ratings (only after seeing do we EVER look at them and/or reviews), it seems we are in the minority. Oh well…

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The Movie Elf --'The Goldfinch'

9.13.2019

~~~Learn~~~

Friday the 13th was the most recent outing for YME and Movie Mate, Terry. We selected ‘The Goldfinch’ from a paucity of movies that appealed to us. We had seen the trailers and knew a bit of the story. We also wanted to give it a nod because the 2014 Pulitzer prize winning novel of the same name was written by yet another outstanding writer from Mississippi, Donna Tartt.  The book received critical acclaim across the board and was considered an epic work; not only because of the richness and depth of the story itself, weaving the reality of the 9/11 attacks and a fictional account of a child caught up in the maelstrom of that day but also by the length of the book itself (771 pages or 32+ hours in audio). 

With this tremendous investment in a book of such length, it did surprise us that Ms. Tartt was not (notably) a part of the screenplay. We do not know if she declined to be involved or was not invited to be involved but we feel that perhaps her participation might have been helpful in the continuity of the movie version.

 

The book is an epic coming-of-age story of young Theo Decker (Ansel Elgort of ‘Baby Driver’ and ‘The Fault in Our Stars’) who at 13 loses his mother, an art connoisseur, during the World Trade Center attacks. They were visiting a local gallery where they saw ‘The Goldfinch’, her favorite when the attack occurred and hell was unleashed. 

 

Told in retrospective scenes and vignettes of Theo's life as a teenager and a young man, we follow Theo as he finds his way to an art/antiquities dealer and then to a stable foster situation with the family of a schoolmate to life in Las Vegas with a father who wants nothing from Theo but his money to an introduction to drugs via troubled Russian boy (well-played by 'Stranger Things' Finn Wolfhard). Intersperse this turbulence with scenes/vignettes of adult Theo who is now an accomplished art/antiquities dealer many years (and scenes later) after returning to New York following the death of his father, all the while guarding a small package wrapped in newspaper, kept in a backpack. 

 

OK…if you had trouble following the above paragraph, do not bother going to the movie because that’s how disjointed and hard to wrap your mind around it is. And, when the book is touted as a coming-of-age book, you will no doubt feel like you have also aged considerably during the length (2 hours and 39 minutes) of the movie. And, at pushing 73, Your Movie Elf can ill afford to age any faster. Understanding that much of the length of the novel (both written and spoken) consists of extreme attention to detail which can be managed with articulate scenery (which took pages/hours to describe in the book), the movie still doesn’t resonate with consistency and continuity. 

 

And, as good as Mr. Elgort was in ‘Baby Driver’, his performance in The Goldfinch was lackluster and one dimensional. The young man who played Theo as a child (Oakes Fegley) gave a much more substantive and nuanced performance. The remaining characters with the exception of Jeffery Wright (Hobie, the antiquity/art dealer) and Nichole Kidman (Theo’s foster mother) gave performances worth watching, though even Ms. Kidman’s was woefully underwritten for the talent she is.

 

So, not wishing to delay further, it’s not on our list of movies to recommend. And we have a feeling that had we even read or listened to the book, it still wouldn’t be.

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The Movie Elf --'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'

9.2.2019

~~~Learn~~~

Well, never say never. In spite of the fact that an actor YME typically does not like stars in this movie; in spite of the fact that this movie contains flagrant and gratuitous violence; in spite of the fact that hard-core profanity is a major part of the dialogue; and in spite of the fact that this movie initially had absolutely no appeal to us whatsoever....we loved it. Go figure, it’s Quentin Tarantino. For every twist, there is a turn and for every turn, there is a twist. It is both hilarious and chilling, primarily due to the excellent writing and damn fine performances by DiCaprio and Pitt.

Leonardo DiCaprio (the actor we do not particularly like) plays an aging TV actor whose time as a leading man (Rick Dalton) is drawing to an end; Brad Pitt (the actor we DO like) plays the part of his stunt double (Cliff Booth) and for many years has been his loyal companion. These two men are attached to each other like, well, a ball and chain. 

If you are not a child of the 60’s, this movie might not make as much sense to you; don’t let that discourage you, though. Go home and research California in the year 1969. Without offering up too much in the way of spoiler information, the research will prove helpful.

If you ARE a child of the 60’s and remember things like the hippie movement, the psychedelic music, Flower Power, spaghetti westerns, shows like Bounty Hunter, The FBI, and Hogan’s Heroes, and the Playboy Mansion…you’ll quickly get where this movie is going…or so you think.

There is a terrific mix of real people with fictional folks and the casting is superb. Not only do we have two outstanding ‘guys’ who play fictional characters,  we also have a strong supporting cast playing real people of the day such as Bruce Lee (Mike Moh), Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), James Stacy (Timothy Olyphant), and Steve McQueen (Damian Lewis) to name a few. Other surprising names that appear in cameo or brief on-screen time are Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, Al Pacino, Luke Perry, Rumer Willis, Brenda Vaccaro, and, hold your hat…Clu Gulager!! And finally, a stunning performance (albeit brief) is turned in by youngster Julia Butters. This little gal is something special. 

And then there is the relationship between DiCaprio who lives in wealth couched in the Hollywood hills and Pitt who lives in a single-wide behind a drive-in movie with his Staffordshire Terrier. We watch as that ball and chain begin to stretch thin as work for DiCaprio’s character slows down and with it, his self-confidence. Pitt, always in the background, remains dependent on DiCaprio for his livelihood. Pitt hides his growing concern with his typical boyish and laconic attitude; DiCaprio sweats bullets as a man desperate to remember lines and stay sober. To YME, his best role ever was as the mentally challenged child in 'Whatever Happened to Gilbert Grape?' Yet, he carries this current role with an engaging and completely believable performance.

The ending of this movie is a surprise to many but there are clues along the way which give the title more meaning than just a way to identify the movie. This is a rich movie and even with all the previously mentioned concerns, a most worthy film.

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The Movie Elf --'Blinded by the Light'

8.27.2019

~~~Learn~~~

In keeping with our penchant of late for rock music related movies, today Movie Mate Terry and YME saw ‘Blinded by the Light’. A coming of age movie based on the true story of a young Pakistani high schooler (Javed) who becomes enchanted by the music of Bruce Springsteen. Set in Margaret Thatcher’s England during a recession, Javed’s passion is writing rather than studying economics as his father wishes. There is a strong anti-Pakistan/NeoNazi component to the movie which compounds Javed’s ‘stranger in a strange land’ angst. Not only is he a writer being pushed to a career in economics but also a dark-skinned foreigner in a sea of white. However, once he is led to Springsteen’s music and lyrics, a world of being understood opens up to him. He shares his poetry with his high school literature teacher who realizes his talent and serves to encourage him to pursue writing further. The rest is history as his confidence and commitment grows...confidence in his writing and his commitment to see Bruce Springsteen in person. He pesters himself into a published piece in the school newspaper where his talent is again realized. The side story is the impact on all children in this household of the cultural differences and the need for teenagers to be independent from their parents.

This is a predictable movie that is fraught with the music of Bruce Springsteen made even more manifest by having the lyrics superimposed as well. If anyone out there remembers the Beatles’ first movie, “A Hard Day’s Night!”, then there is the memory of the frenetic/exaggerated chases, cavorting, and gamboling around whatever country they were in.

Of course, there is the customary parental distress, especially when Javed’s father loses his job and finances are desperate.  As the control over his livelihood dissipates, the control over his family increases ultimately reaching a breaking point.  Javed is the recipient of an award which would take him to America, specifically New Jersey where he could visit the home of his idol. His father forbids it and he goes anyway, banishment from the family be damned.

The culmination of the movie is nothing startling...Javed receives yet another accolade during graduation, looks up to see his parents/siblings in the audience (thanks to a visit by his Literature teacher). All is forgiven and the show is over.

What we DO learn in the credits is that Javed is indeed a real person who has now been to more than 130 Bruce Springsteen concerts and is considered a friend of the Boss. It’s not a well put together movie, has WAY too much Springsteen, and does not particularly resonate. However, YME and MM have seen worse. See at your own pleasure.

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The Movie Elf --'The Lion King'

8.7.2019

~~~Learn~~~

Yesterday, YME and Big Solid (Mr. Movie Elf) saw The Lion King in 3-D. Today, the movie is still with YME. We have some mixed feelings about this movie, so we’ll start with the things we liked and appreciated. As you know, YME cries at the drop of a Kleenex (or a Kroger opening), so it was no small surprise that the tears began at the opening rendition of ‘The Circle of Life’; what a magnificent song and an absolutely stunning presentation.

The CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) is beyond phenomenal. There is no telling how many hours of study went into translating the animals the the screen with such realism, seriously! The  detail that went into gaits and movements, the musculatures, the bearings, and the coats were beyond extraordinary. One would wonder how they got all those REAL animals to ACT! From even the smallest of roles/appearances to the ‘stars’ of the show; from the impressive giraffes, to the always adorable meerkats, to the shadowy hyenas, to the royal family of lions, it truly was like seeing them for real! AND, the anthroportification (is that a word or did we make it up?) had us totally engaged and believing that these creatures could really talk, sing, dance, and cavort together like one big family. The facial expressions of emotion, the speaking, the cleverness of the script, and the marvelously done voice-overs all contributed to making this such a real experience of the world of these animals and the overall story. In addition, equal care was taken to replicate the environment…the waterfalls, deserts, lush jungles, vast plains, sunsets and rises…my goodness, though we’ve never been to Africa, we most certainly felt as if we had.

The story does not differ markedly from the original; good versus evil, survival of the fittest, betrayal and redemption, and the importance of family remain the key components of the story. The music that we have come to know since the first Lion King movie and ensuing theatrical presentations is terrific, as always. The characters of Mufasa (the always perfect James Earl Jones), Adult Simba (Donald Glover), Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Zazu (John Oliver), Sarabi (Alfre Woodard), Pumbaa (Seth Rogan), Timon (Billy Eichner) and Adult Nala (Beyoncé)—all these voices and many more completed the anthroportification we spoke of earlier. The timing of the delivery of the script was quite well done as was the cleverness of the script, for the most part.

What we had second thoughts about had more to do with the nostalgia of the ‘old’ cartoon movies that really did take us away from reality. We KNEW these people/creatures were not real, they were drawings that were made into a movie. And sometimes, we long for those days. We also thought the violence among the animals at the end was really hard to watch and not for small kids (or adult kids). Realizing that the animal kingdom is not all sweetness, understanding, and following the Golden Rule, it’s still hard to watch sometimes. And finally, to us, the movie was a bit on the long side.

Overall, it was a splendid movie and most certainly view worthy. With the rate of species decline in the animal kingdom, we may well look at this film in the future and have our grandchildren ask, “Is that what a lion (substitute zebra, giraffe, cheetah…) looked like?”

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The Movie Elf --'Faces, Places'

~~~Learn~~~

Since there has been such a dearth, paucity, and downright cinematic drought of substantive movies over the summer, we have no choice to look beyond the current offerings in theatres and see what Amazon and Netflix have to offer. Well, boy howdy, do we have a DANDY for you. ‘Faces, Places’ is one of the most creative endeavors YME (Your Movie Elf) has ever watched. When an aged (83) and famous French movie director, Agnés Varda, meets a young (33) innovative muralist/photographer, JR, an idea is sparked, a movie evolves, and a friendship forged.

This is a documentary, so understand that from the get-go BUT it has as much passion, drama, poignance, humor, and whimsy as any movie out there. Traveling to various communities, villages, and businesses throughout France, these two artists take pictures that are literally transformative.  And the pictures are not your ordinary photo booth fare...they are enormous and wind up as murals that impact in a  most dramatic, endearing, and powerful way.

Just a heads up, the movie is in French with English sub-titles; even if sub-titles give you pause, they really do not detract from the movie at all.

The photographic session about the miners affected YME very strongly, though it was hard to single out one that was more potent than another. Perhaps it was because this was the first of many murals developed. Truth be told, there are none that are in the least unimaginative or boring.

This is a documentary, so understand that from the get-go BUT it has as much passion, drama, poignance, humor, and whimsy as any movie out there. Traveling to various communities, villages, and businesses throughout France, these two artists take pictures that are literally transformative.  And the pictures are not your ordinary photo booth fare...they are enormous and wind up as murals that impact in a  most dramatic, endearing, and powerful way.

Released in 2017, 'Faces, Places'  was name one of Time Magazine's top ten movies (2017) and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary. It is available for purchase or rental on Amazon Prime or Vudu. We wound up buying it because it’s a treasure of a movie.