Two new films are on Netflix as of July 8th, and both are recommended! Read on for quick takes on each of Netflix's "The Sea Beast" and "Persuasion."
There's no mistaking that "Cyrano" is among the year's best films...that year being 2021. Despite it's late February 2022 release, "Cyrano" was considered as a 2021 movie, which led it to garner some awards, like being named the overall Best Picture winner by the Detroit Film Critics Society...our group also named its star Peter Dinklage as Best Actor.
It's finally arriving in theaters, and I urge you to consider seeing it on the big-screen.
Other than the Best Picture Oscar nominee "Drive My Car" from Japan, there have been no other international films this year that have garnered as much buzz as Norway's "The Worst Person in the World." It's up for Best International Feature Film at this year's Academy Awards, and it also scored a surprise-but-well-deserved nomination for Best Original Screenplay. It's a wild and unpredictable romance-coming-of-age-story featuring an unforgettable performance from Norwegian actress Renate Reinsve.
Valentine's Day weekend has seen its fair share of romantic comedies, and this year there are two...one of them represents everything that is wrong with the genre (see "Marry Me," or then again, don't) and the other shows how enjoyable the genre can be when things are done right.
"I Want You Back" is incredibly FUNNY, and that above all else makes it worth watching. It's a showcase for its two stars, Jenny Slate and Charlie Day, who are two of the very best, underrated comedic actors of their generation. Romantic comedies are often only as good as its central characters, and these two deliver in ways that we haven't quite seen since the days of "When Harry Met Sally," where Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal elevated an already hilarious script (by the late, great Nora Ephron) with their magnetic personalities, creating a classic in the process.
Slate and Day are that good, and even if "I Want You Back" stumbles in its final stretch, it's still the best rom-com in many, many years.
There is definitely a shortage of comedies that can actually be viewed in movie theaters these days, but "Marry Me" acts as a cautionary tale of being careful what you wish for.
Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson are likeable and enduring, but "Marry Me" is an excruciatingly corny, unfunny rom-com that makes "Gigli" look like "When Harry Met Sally."
There are usually two types of critiques of a Paul Thomas Anderson film: The film is either a masterpiece, or it is a masterpiece that you just do not understand.
I tend to be told the latter half by those that swoon over everything P.T. Anderson touches. You see, P.T. Anderson films are inherently great because he made them. got it? And if you don't like one, well, you just MISSED its greatness, because it's all in there.
In other words, if you don't like a P.T. Anderson movie, it's not his fault...you're the problem.
"The Power of the Dog" is a slow-burn balancing act, that admittedly, felt like a lot to chew on upon first viewing. But wow does its flavor linger.
A beautifully composed, intimate story of a man, a boy and a couple in the open ranges of Montana set the mid 1920s, "The Power of the Dog" is one of the most stellar achievements in story-telling you'll ever witness, a film that is challenging and compelling all the same, that wraps itself around the viewers, twisting our perceptions, and almost assuredly forces deep, intellectual post-viewing discussions.
"The French Dispatch" is a Wes Anderson film.
While that sounds obvious and direct, it actually says a lot about whether or not you are going to enjoy it or not. Fans of the eccentric filmmaker will experience pure bliss, as this film - frame-for-frame - is everything you might hope for. But unlike his last few films ("Isle of Dogs," "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "Moonrise Kingdom") "The French Dispatch" feels superficial, and is purposely a narrative mess as it tries to honor the spirit of journalism. Instead, it's more of a glossy and colorful magazine you might casually browse through in a doctor's waiting room, devoid of any real substance.
Surprisingly, the key to understanding the ambitious rock opera, "Annette," might be found in a documentary that came out earlier this year. That doc, "The Sparks Brothers," was about the 80s rock band Sparks, made up of brothers Russell and Ron Mael, whose quirky lyrics, music videos and rhythms led them to becoming one of the most influential bands of that decade, despite having never existed in the mainstream.
To call them and their music "eccentric" doesn't quite describe it. But their documentary is a good primer to trying to understand "Annette" - music and script by the Mael brothers - which is a film that by-and-large will not connect with most common movie-goers, and is even so bonkers and "out there" that it hasn't even been a sure-thing with critics either (as of this writing, it's clinging to a "Fresh" score of 70% on RottenTomatoes).
If you've seen "The Sparks Brothers," it may help get you close to the wavelength in which "Annette" exists, but even then, it's an over-long, showy and mostly hollow musical, kept interesting in spite of the Maels, not because of them. That's because one of the finest actors of his generation, Adam Driver, delivers one of the most boldly dedicated performances of his career, giving us an anchor of emotion in a sea of lunacy.
The soapy, melodramatic romance, "The Last Letter from Your Lover" has it all when it comes to what one might expect from such a film: Forlorn lovers, forbidden affairs, characters with amnesia, car wrecks, handwritten letters complete with voice-over, lavish costume designs and sets, chance encounters, and a love that spans decades.
It's a bit predictable and unapologetically cheesy at times, but it's also reminiscent of a different era of film...they just don't make movies like this one anymore, so it feels oddly invigorating to see that this sort of classic romance is still alive and well, at least on the big-screen.
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