Saturday, April 30, 2022

Films That I Saw: April 2022

 

I am so glad I don’t live in Florida. I would hate it there. The fact that it is now a Fascist state at this point in banning LGBTQ ideas, certain textbooks, more laws to oppress minorities in election, and then going to war with Disney. Yeah, I’m so glad I live in Georgia no matter how fucked up it is. Plus, the best thing about living in Georgia is that I have sport teams I can root for such as the Atlanta Braves, the Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta United FC, and the Georgia Bulldogs football team. Sure, they don’t win everything and I will always vent if the Braves lose to the fucking Marlins. Still, I will root for them. I grew up on the Braves and Hawks as a kid and I will die rooting for them.

Florida used to be a fun place in the 80s and 90s but things changed the last time I went in 2003 in one of the most unpleasant vacation experiences I had in boarding a cruise ship which I hope to never board on ever again. Why would I want to go into that shithole? There are very few things that came out of Florida that is any good such as AEW, orange juice, Burt Reynolds, Kelly Reichardt, Miami Sound Machine, Universal Studios, a Cuban restaurant in Orlando that my parents liked a long time ago, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Disney World, and the Miami Hurricanes. The rest can fuck off.





It’s among the things in the world that is just fucking insane as France almost went into the far-right during their most recent election and had Emmanuel Macron lost. Europe would be in deep shit as the last thing they need is France becoming allies to Vladimir Putin. I know things are still intense in the Ukraine yet I will applaud them for just keep fighting and I do hope this country at least put some effort and money into helping them. Otherwise, we’d look bad if we don’t help them as some European countries such as Denmark, Spain, and Germany are willing to help because they fucking hate Putin. It’s not just these leaders of the world that is willing to stand up for the Ukraine but also the arts as I never thought I would hear something new from Pink Floyd at all as I’m glad that they made a song out of support for the people of Ukraine.
In the month of April 2022, I saw a total of 25 films in 15 first-timers and 10 re-watches with only one film directed by a woman as part of the 52 Films by Women pledge. An improvement over the previous month mainly due to the many first-timers that I saw as the highlight of the month is definitely my Blind Spot film in Army of Shadows. Here are the top 10 first-timers that I saw for April 2022:

1. The Northman
2. The Velvet Underground
3. CODA
4. The French Dispatch
5. Mood Indigo
6. Shark: Greg Norman and the Collapse of ‘96
7. The Eyes of Tammy Faye
8. Heaven Knows What
9. Gente del Po
10. N.U.
Monthly Mini-Reviews/What Else I’m Watching

Gente del Po
One of three shorts by Michelangelo Antonioni that I saw this month as this short is currently available on YouTube for free. This short from 1948 does play into Antonioni’s recurring study of alienation as it play into a group of people who live in river barges and aren’t part of the society of the times. It is a documentary that do play into the world of Italian neorealism as it has Antonioni keep things simple to show a lifestyle that is struggling to keep up with the modern world in post-war Italy.

N.U.
Another documentary short film, like its predecessor, that is available as an extra for the Criterion DVD/Blu-Ray release for Red Desert focuses on street sweepers and garbage men in Rome. It is another neo-realist short that do play into how these individuals do what they can to keep Rome clean yet aren’t appreciated by the modern world at that time as it is something for fans of Antonioni need to see.

Gianna Nannini-Fotoromanza





A music video made in 1984 for the Italian pop artist Gianna Nannini is something of an anomaly from Antonioni as it is probably one of the rare times he would helm something like this. Let alone a music video as very few filmmakers at the time would take part in this. Yet, it manages to have sensibilities that do play into the song while also having some visual touches that are definitely Antonioni as it’s something that Antonioni fans also need to watch.

Tip-Top-Aline





Directed by Wes Anderson, the video for the song that is sung by Jarvis Cocker as Tip-Top is presented in hand-drawn animation similar to The Adventures of Tin-Tin. It is a hilarious video yet the song is incredible as it presented in a style that is definitely Wes Anderson. It is an incredible music video that just works as a nice accompaniment to The French Dispatch.

ASSEMBLED: The Making of Eternals
As part of the MCU documentary series from Disney+ is this documentary about what it took to make Chloe Zhao’s film. It does show a lot of what goes on and Zhao’s desire to have a sense of physicality and realism into the film. Even if it features insight from the cast as well as the art directors and visual effects team who do put in a lot of work into the visuals. It is definitely an amazing documentary even though the final film itself wasn’t that great.

Shark: Greg Norman and the Collapse of ‘96
From 30 to 30 is a new documentary from the ESPN doc series as it explore the career of famed Australian golfer Greg Norman. Norman is undoubtedly one of the greatest golfers in the game yet he is among those that never won the Masters and wear that green jacket. The documentary isn’t just about Norman’s career as well as his rivalry with Nick Faldo in the 1990s but also Norman’s own style and how managed to be successful despite lackluster attempts to win the Masters in the 1980s. Then came 1996 as it seemed like Norman was finally going to win it but the final round is where everything crashed as Norman himself observes exactly what went wrong yet it is how he accepted his defeat that makes him the revered player that everyone knows and love as it is a tremendous documentary from ESPN.

Manufraktur
A short film by Peter Tscherkassky that I saw on MUBI is a three-minute experimental short film that largely consists of found footage involving cars. With its dazzling edits, it is a short film that is intriguing to watch as it is one of the reasons why I’m enjoying MUBI right now.

Moon Knight (episodes 2-5)
With one more episode coming, it is clear that this show is definitely something of its own and it manages to be really incredible. Notably for the performance of Oscar Isaac in the roles of Steven Grant/Marc Spector as the most recent episode explore who this person is and why he has dis-associative identity disorder. The show also has Ethan Hawke in a great performance as the show’s antagonist Arthur Harlow while May Calamawy’s performance as Spector’s wife Layla is a real standout as she can kick ass but also be her own woman. The third episode featured a great appearance from Gaspard Ulliel in one of his final acting performances as he was awesome in that episode and I’m glad the show did a dedication to him. This is already becoming a great show as I await for what will happen next.

Wrestling Match of the Month: FTR vs. the Briscoe Brothers for the ROH World Tag Team Championship at Supercard of Honor XV





If there’s one tag team right now that is the hottest thing in professional wrestling, it’s FTR. Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler are a relic of the old school as they were the guys that were inspired by what Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard did in the NWA in the 1980s but also with a love of technical wrestling. They were one of the teams that were loved when they were in NXT for the late 2010s but when they got promoted into the main roster in WWE. They were treated like a joke as their arrival in AEW in 2020 gave them not just a new home but a place where they can be appreciated. While they arrived mainly as heels, the fact that these are two guys from North Carolina who don’t really do anything flashy nor play to the trends of other tag teams while also admitting to just being guys that wrestle to make money to feed their families somehow connected with the crowd.

This month alone has been FTR’s time as their match at the Supercard of Honor XV against the Briscoe Brothers for the ROH World Tag Team Championship is a match that is tag team wrestling at its most pure. You had a more unconventional and aggressive style the Briscoes are known for but FTR managed to find a way and win while also playing fair. It was a match that fans of tag team wrestling need to see while the match FTR had days later against the Young Bucks in which FTR would defend both the ROH and AAA tag titles showed exactly why they’re considered the best tag team working today. It’s no question that they should be next in line to win the AEW World Tag Team Championship for the 2nd time but why stop there? There’s a big AEW-New Japan Pro Wrestling show coming in June in Chicago at the United Center so why not go for the IWGP Tag Team Championships as well? FTR all the way baby!

Book to Read: Cimino: The Deer Hunter, Heaven’s Gate, and the Price of a Vision by Charles Elton
I don’t consider myself an avid book reader as I buy a book every now and then yet I heard about this book from both Indiewire and Criterion as I got it at Amazon since my mother likes to buy a few books at Amazon. It is a book about the controversial filmmaker Michael Cimino as it goes into a lot of details about his life as well as his career as a commercial filmmaker and how he got into Hollywood and being discovered by Clint Eastwood. It also play into the what went wrong during the production of Heaven’s Gate as there are some revelations into not just what Cimino did but also the fact that the executives at United Artists really should’ve taken responsibility for the production to become troubled. It is an incredible book that I think fans of the filmmaker should read as it also play into his struggles to recover from the failure of Heaven’s Gate and why he stopped making films after The Sunchaser.

Top 10 Re-Watches

1. The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly
2. Doctor Strange
3. Fernando Nation
4. Four Days in October
5. Jordan Rides the Bus
6. Milk
7. Dog
8. Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor
9. Final Cut: The Making and Unmaking of Heaven’s Gate
10. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
Well, that is it for April. Next month from May 17 to 28, I will be doing the Cannes Festival Marathon but I will not announce any line-up as I decide to improvise instead where I will just watch whatever is available that did play at Cannes including a few DVD/Blu-Rays I have. Other than that, there will be my next Blind Spot as well as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as that’s all I have planned for next month. That is all I have planned including whatever is in my watchlist as I am now counting the final days of my time with cable TV as the most recent cable bill my mother and I received has us really upset and we’re taking serious consideration in getting rid of it for good and go full-on streaming. Until then, this is thevoid99 signing off…

© thevoid99 2022

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Heaven Knows What

 

Based on the memoir Mad Love in New York City by Arielle Holmes, Heaven Knows What is the story of a young heroin addict living in the streets of New York City as she deals with an on-again, off-again relationship with a young man while trying to get her next fix. Directed by Josh and Benny Safdie and screenplay by Josh Safdie and Ronald Bronstein, the film is an exploration of drug addiction and a young woman dealing with her own issues as well as a tumultuous relationship with another junkie. Starring Arielle Holmes, Buddy Duress, Ron “Necro” Braustein, Eleonore Hendricks, Caleb Landry Jones, and Yuri Pleskun. Heaven Knows What is a gripping and evocative film from the Safdie Brothers.

The film follows a young woman who is addicted to heroin as she tries to get her next fix while roaming around New York City as she also contends with her on-again, off-again boyfriend who treats everyone like shit. It is a film that is really the study of a woman who is homeless and needing a fix where she deals with trying to scrounge money for her fix but also contend with her abusive boyfriend. The film’s screenplay by Josh Safdie and Ronal Bronstein is largely straightforward in its narrative yet it focuses on the life of Harley Boggs (Arielle Holmes) as she roams around the city while dealing with the coldness from her boyfriend Ilya (Caleb Landry Jones) to the point that she slashes her wrists in front of him where she goes to the hospital. Following her release, she continues to pursue Ilya but also befriends the low-level dealer Mike (Buddy Duress) by trying to get money and such as well as be around him to get her fix. Throughout the film, Mike questions why Harley continues to be around Ilya who is cold and abusive as he is reluctant to give her heroin though he has to do whatever to continue his business as well as feeding his own addiction.

The direction of Josh and Benny Safdie definitely has a raw quality to the overall presentation as if they’re showcasing everything on location in and around New York City through a form of cinema verite. Yet, it is a style that does give the film that realism it needed to showcase the grit and grime of Harley’s own lifestyle as she would often sit in a place with a sign needing money while would often take part in thefts at convenience stores. There are some wide shots the Safdies use to not just establish certain locations but also wisely avoid notable landmarks of the city by grounding the film in the streets where they use medium shots to play into the characters in certain spots. Notably a scene where Harley and Mike steal some mail to see if they can find something they can make money from as it play into the way junkies and dealers survive.

The Safdies also maintain this sense of desperation of how junkies live and go for their fix as the usage of close-ups play into that desperation including these shots of Harley on a bed with a pink neon light all over her. The film also showcases some graphic moments of violence such as a moment early in the film where Harley cuts herself in front of Ilya to prove her love to him as well as a fight between Ilya and Mike. It is among these moments that do feel real but also in Harley’s own blindness in her love for Ilya even though a lot of what Mike says about him is spot-on as it does play into this cycle of abuse. The third act doesn’t just showcase Harley’s own devotion towards Ilya but also some truths about Ilya as he is someone that can show love but it is only fleeting. Overall, Josh and Benny Safdie craft a mesmerizing yet harrowing film about the life of a heroin addict in the streets of New York City.

Cinematographer Sean Price Williams does brilliant work with the film’s cinematography as it is largely straightforward to play into the air of realism where it is shot with available light for many of its exteriors with bits of lighting for some of the interior/exterior scenes at night. Editors Benny Sadie and Ronald Bronstein do excellent work with the editing as it does have some style in its usage of jump-cuts and other straightforward cuts to play into the drama. Production designer Audrey Turner and art director Blake LaRue do fantastic work with the look of some of the homes that the characters crash at as well as a home where Mike lives in.

Visual effects supervisor Adam Teninbaum does terrific work with some of the film’s visual effects as it largely relates to a key moment late in the film that would play into something big. Sound mixers Evan Mangiamele and Benny Safdie do superb work with the sound as it play into the natural elements of the locations as well as how music is played on a location. The film’s music by Paul Grimstad and Ariel Pink, with additional pieces by Isao Tomita, is incredible for its eerie electronic score that play into some of the dark moments of the film with some somber pieces from Tomita as well as music from Burzum, James Dashow, Headhunterz, and Tangerine Dream for its soundtrack.

The casting by Eleonore Hendricks and Josh Safdie do wonderful work as it feature some notable small roles from Diana Singh as a woman who let Mike and Harley live at her home as long as they pay rent, Yuri Pleskun as a drug dealer named Tommy, Mike Patellis as Mike’s supplier Marcos who gives Harley a motorcycle ride, Aaron Keller as a Hasidic man who gives Harley money to get high, Benjamin Hampton as Mike’s friend Antoine, Eleonore Hendricks as Ilya’s friend Erica who would be a girlfriend to Mike during his break from Harley, and Ron “Necro” Braustein as a friend of Ilya and Harley in Skully who is hoping to help Harley out following her suicide attempt. Buddy Duress is amazing as Mike as a drug dealer who makes Harley his assistant of sorts while also giving her the fix she needs while also having issues with Ilya.

Caleb Landry Jones is brilliant as Ilya as Harley’s on-again, off-again boyfriend who is quite cold and verbally abusive towards her as he is also someone dangerous despite the fact that he does have some love for her. Finally, there’s Arielle Holmes in a phenomenal performance as Harley Boggs as a young heroin addict dealing with a tumultuous relationship as well as her own addiction where she deals with a self-destructive lifestyle and lots of uncertainty as there’s a raw nature to her performance as well as showcase the reality of how junkies live.

Heaven Knows What is a phenomenal film from Josh and Benny Safdie that features a great leading performance from Arielle Holmes. Along with its ensemble cast, gripping character study, raw visuals, and a hypnotic music score and soundtrack. It is a film that explore the life of a drug addict as she deals with trying to find a home and win back her boyfriend despite the fact that he’s cruel to her. In the end, Heaven Knows What is an incredible film from Josh and Benny Safdie.

Safdie Brothers Films: (The Pleasure of Being Robbed) – (Daddy Longlegs) – (Lenny Cooke) – Good Time (2017 film) – (Uncut Gems)

© thevoid99 2022

Sunday, April 24, 2022

The Northman

 

Based on the legend of Amleth, The Northman is the story of a prince who witnesses the murder of his father in the hands of his uncle who has also taken his mother prompting the prince to go on a two-decade journey to become a Viking and seek vengeance. Directed by Robert Eggers and screenplay by Eggers and Sjon, the film is a revenge story of sorts but also how a boy becomes a man in not just reclaiming his family’s honor but also to find his own identity. Starring Alexander Skarsgard, Any Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Claes Bang, Bjork, Willem Dafoe, and Nicole Kidman. The Northman is a visceral yet ravishing film from Robert Eggers.

The film is the story of a young prince who witnesses the murder of his father by his uncle forcing the young prince to flee as he later grows into a man seeking revenge as he is aided by a slave in reclaiming his throne. It is a film with a simple premise where it isn’t just about revenge but also a boy becoming a man and trying to find himself and the fate of his quest. The film’s screenplay by Robert Eggers and Sjon is largely straightforward in its narrative yet it is more about the journey that its protagonist Amleth (Alexander Skarsgard) takes from the time he witnesses his father in King Aurvandill (Ethan Hawke) be murdered by his uncle Fjornir (Claes Bang) when Amleth was a child (Oscar Novak) as its first act is about Amleth making an oath to get revenge on his uncle and save his mother in Queen Gudrun (Nicole Kidman) from his clutches. The first act also shows him becoming a Viking where he helps attack villages and such until an encounter with a Seeress (Bjork) who tells him that Fjornir has been exiled from Norway and is in Iceland with his mother, his eldest son Thorir (Gustav Lindh), and their youngest in Gunnar (Elliott Rose).

The second act revolves Amleth going to Iceland by posing as a slave where he meets another slave in Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy) who claims to be a sorceress as she would help Amleth in seeking revenge. Yet, things become complicated as Amleth learns about Gunnar and the new world that Fjornir and Gudrun live in as they kept a low profile while Amleth also learns that his father’s jester Heimir (Willem Dafoe) had also been killed by Fjornir where Amleth meets the He-Witch (Ingvar Eggert Sigurosson) who serves a medium for Heimir for Amleth. Amleth doesn’t reveal himself directly to his mother as he and Olga continue to work in secrecy as they would fall in love but things do get more troubling following some revelations leading into its third act. Notably as it does play into Amleth’s own devotion to his father and his father’s devotion to the spiritual world and nature itself.

Eggers’ direction definitely has elements of style but also this element of physicality into the world that these characters live in as it is intense and at times, unforgiving. Shot on various locations in parts of Great Britain as well as Ireland and Iceland, Eggers maintains this sense of physicality in these locations with the first twenty minutes set in this cold mountain forest where there are these gorgeous imagery with the daytime exteriors and interiors having this sense of the cold and the scenes at night were it is all about natural lighting that include this spiritual ceremony hosted by Heimir for the young Amleth and King Aurvandill. The usage of close-ups and medium shot in that ceremony also include these surrealistic images that play into this connection with the spiritual world as they would occur often in the film including a shot of a young Amleth on a horse running towards the light that is Valhalla.

Eggers also uses a lot of wide shots to get a scope of these locations but also these surroundings the characters are in as it also play into a moment in time that is brutal but also entrancing. Notably in shots where Eggers uses the wide shots in using these dolly-tracking shots to showcase the places that Amleth is in whether it is the palace building he’s in as a child or the place to retrieve a sword that he needs for his quest. The usage of the dolly-tracking shots would also play into the suspense including scenes late in the second act where Fjornir deals with these mysterious attacks where Eggers also maintains this air of brutality in the violence as it would intensify in the third act. Notably the climatic showdown between Amleth and Fjornir as it is told in a stylized manner that owes more to the prophecy that Amleth had to follow yet there are these surrealistic elements that bring a lot of power to this climax. Overall, Eggers crafts a mesmerizing yet unsettling film about a young Viking prince going on a quest for vengeance against his uncle.

Cinematographer Jarin Blaschke does amazing work with the film’s cinematography with its stylish usage of filters for a few surrealistic shots while much of it is natural in some of the interiors with its usage of fire as light as well as its emphasis on available light for some of the exterior scenes. Editor Louise Ford does excellent work with the editing as its emphasis on having shots play out while also emphasizing on jump-cuts and rhythmic cuts to help play into the suspense and action. Production designer Craig Lathrop, with set decorators Pancho Chamorro and Niamh Coulter plus art directors Robert Cowper and Paul Ghirardini, does incredible work with the film’s art direction in the design of the village and castle that the young Amleth lived in to the fortress that he would attack as a Viking and the home that Fjornir would live in with Gudrun. Costume designer Linda Muir does fantastic work with the costumes from the design of some of the gowns that Gudrun wear as well as the armor that Fjornir and King Aurvandill wore as well as some of the wool clothes the other characters wore.

Hair/makeup designer Maralyn Sherman, with special effects makeup designer David White, does brilliant work with the look of a few characters with the Seeress being a major example as well as the look of a few spiritual figures that Amleth meets. Special effects supervisor Sam Conway, along with visual effects supervisors Angela Barson, Colin McCusker, and David Scott, does terrific work with some of the visual effects that include some of the film’s surrealistic imagery as well as some of the animals the characters encounter. Sound editors James Harrison and Steve Little, along with sound designers Jimmy Boyle and David Volpe, do phenomenal work with the sound as it help play into the atmosphere of the locations as well as the usage of layered dialogue for some of the surrealistic moments as it is a highlight of the film. The film’s music by Robin Carolan and Sebastian Gainsborough is remarkable as it is a highlight of the film with its usage of percussions, discordant strings, and other sounds to help create an unsettling tone for the film.

The casting by Kharmel Cochrane is marvelous as it feature some notable small roles and appearances from Ralph Ineson as a ship captain Amleth and Olga meet late in the film, Magne Osnes as a berserker priest who had become a father figure for Amleth, Kate Dickie as a senior slave who sort of runs Fjornir’s farm, Olwen Fouere as Fjornir’s priestess, Hafpor Julius Bjornsson as a rival tribe champion that Amleth fights during a game of knattleikr, Eldar Skar and Phill Martin as a couple of Fjornir’s housecarls with the former who lost his nose from a fight with the young Amleth, and Ingvar Eggert Sigurosson as the He-Witch as a spiritual figure who would serve as a medium for Heimir. Oscar Novak and Elliott Rose are terrific in their respective roles as the young Amleth and his eventual half-brother Gunnar as two young boys who both adore their fathers with the former feeling the need to get revenge while the other is struggling to prove to himself as a prince. Gustav Lindh is superb as Fjornir’s eldest son Thorir the Proud as a prince who is eager to rule over the slaves as he takes a disliking towards Amleth unaware of his true identity.

Bjork is fantastic in her brief role as a Seeress as this mysterious spiritual figure who would guide and remind Amleth of his quest for revenge while Willem Dafoe’s brief role as King Aurvandill’s jester Heimir is excellent for its sense of energy and intrigue as someone who doesn’t just favor the spiritual world but also the physical world. Ethan Hawke is brilliant as King Aurvandill as a man of simple ideas as he has a close bond with his son while he is also a man who loves nature and the spiritual world. Nicole Kidman is amazing as Queen Gudrun as a woman who is Amleth’s mother but is unaware of his identity believing he had died where she is devoted to her son and stepson/nephew as she also brings a lot of ambiguity to her role. Claes Bang is incredible as Fjornir as King Aurvandill’s brother who would take the throne feeling that his brother is too much of a savage as he is also someone that wants to make his own mark following his own exile.

Anya Taylor-Joy is sensational as Olga as a slave who claims to be a sorceress as she befriends and later falls for Amleth where she doesn’t just help him in getting his revenge but is also someone who also has a connection with nature and the spiritual world in the hope that a better future would come. Finally, there’s Alexander Skarsgard in a phenomenal performance as Amleth as a young prince who goes on a quest for vengeance to avenge his father and save his mother where he deals with the complexities of his mission and the added stakes as it relates to his family as well as his uncle where Skarsgard brings in a lot of restraint but also an intensity into his performance where it is a major breakout performance for him.

The Northman is a tremendous film from Robert Eggers that features great performances from Alexander Skarsgard and Anya Taylor-Joy. Along with its ensemble cast, gorgeous yet grimy visuals, intense music score, eerie sound design, its study of revenge and fate, and its idea of myth and spirituality. It is a film that doesn’t play by the rules when it comes to revenge films while it is also a study of a man trying to do what is right while facing obstacles that would push him further into his quest. In the end, The Northman is a spectacular film from Robert Eggers.

Robert Eggers Films: The VVitch - The Lighthouse (2019 film)

© thevoid99 2022

Saturday, April 23, 2022

2022 Blind Spot Series: Army of Shadows

 

Based on the novel by Joseph Kessel, L’Armee des ombres (Army of Shadows) is the story of various individuals in the French Resistance during World War II as they deal with the sacrifices and struggles during the war against Nazi Germany. Written for the screen and directed by Jean-Pierre Melville, the film is a study of the live in the Resistance as well as what people had to do to fight against Nazi Germany as well as making uneasy decisions in the war. Starring Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel, and Simone Signoret. L’Armee des ombres is a rapturous and chilling film from Jean-Pierre Melville.

Told in the span of a year from 1942 to 1943 in Vichy France during World War II, the film follows the lives of a few individuals who are involved in the French Resistance as they deal with fighting and scheming against Nazi Germany while also making uneasy decisions. It is a film that explore a few key individuals who are part of this resistance against the Nazis as they all have to make uneasy decisions as it would involving having to kill those who become a liability in exposing the Resistance. Jean-Pierre Melville’s screenplay is straightforward in its narrative yet it has strands of characters it follow with a Resistance leader in Philippe Gerbier (Lino Ventura) who is first seen arriving at a prison camp where he is later transferred to the Gestapo only to escape as he runs a network with longtime friend Felix Lepercq (Paul Crauchet), a burly veteran in Guillaume Vermesch aka Le Bison (Christian Barbier), and a young recruit in Claude Ullmann aka the Mask (Claude Mann). The first act is about Gerbier’s brief time in prison, his escape, and also uncovering a traitor prompting him to take action.

The second act is about an unexpected meeting between Lepercq and a former pilot in Jean-Francois Jardie (Jean-Pierre Cassel) whose older brother is the philosopher Luc Jardie (Paul Meurisse) whom Gerbier admires. Jean-Francois would also gain the support of a woman in Mathilde (Simone Signoret) who would become part of Gerbier’s network and later run things during the third act when Gerbier is captured. Still, there are a lot of complexities in the film’s second half about the demands of being in the Resistance but also the fact that someone can’t carry any sentimental value as it would have them link to family who might know something or be used as blackmail. Even as a few would be captured and endure brutal torment by the Nazis as it play into how dangerous things were during Nazi Germany’s occupation of France.

Melville’s direction is entrancing in its presentation as it is shot on various locations in France including parts of Paris including a shot of the Arc de Triomphe where Nazi soldiers are marching in the foreground with the Arc in the background. Melville’s direction definitely emphasizes less on many of Paris’ familiar sites in order to create an atmosphere of a world that is bleak and intense. Melville’s usage of the wide and medium shots do play into the world that is Vichy France where there is a lot of attention to detail in the prison camps, the prison cells, and other places as location is key to the film. Notably in the scene where Gerbier first escapes and then hides at a barbershop where a barber (Serge Reggiani) would help him as it helps set a tone for some of the moments of suspense. One of which include Gerbier trying to get aboard a British submarine to meet with British officials in aiding the Resistance as well as the return back on plane where they had to endure anti-aircraft attacks. There are also these elements in the direction such as a scene where Jean-Francois is stepping out on a train as he is carrying something important to the Resistance as he has to find a way to pass the Nazi guards.

Melville also maintains some offbeat elements such as Gerbier in London where he finds himself in a dancehall where British military personnel are dancing while bombs are falling around them as well as a scene in a prison where the Nazis give the prisoners a chance to survive. There are also these intense moments where Melville would use close-ups as things do intensify in the third act as it relates to not just setbacks and uneasy decisions but also what is at stake for the Resistance. Even as things get personal and an air of uncertainty emerges into who to trust and how the Resistance can move forward. Notably as the climax and its aftermath is about all of the uneasy decisions one have to make during war and the sacrifices they are forced to make to free their own country from the hands of another. Overall, Melville crafts a gripping and intoxicating film about the life of a few individuals working for the French Resistance.

Cinematographer Pierre Lhomme, with additional work from Walter Wottitz, does amazing work with the film’s cinematography with its emphasis on natural lighting along with soft light for some scenes including its emphasis on grey and blue colors to help set a visual tone for the film. Editor Francoise Bonnot does brilliant work with the editing with its stylish usage of transition wipes, jump-cuts, and other stylish cuts to help play into the suspense and drama. Art director Theobald Meurisse and set decorator Roger Volper do excellent work with the look of the prison cells, the houses the characters hide out at, and some of the places they go to. Costume designer Madame Colette Baudot does fantastic work with the costume as it does bear some style with the men wearing suits as well as the uniforms the French police and the Nazis wear with Mathilde wearing all sorts of clothes including a nurse’s uniform during an attempted prison break.

The makeup work of Maud Begon is terrific for the way two major characters look following their interrogations with the Nazis in how badly they were beaten by them. Sound designers Jacques Carrere, Alex Pront, and Jean Neni, with sound editing by Robert Pouret, do superb work with the sound in the way gunfire sounds as well as these scenes where it revolves around the location to play into the suspense. The film’s music by Eric Demarsan is incredible for its eerie music score with brooding string arrangements as well as its usage of an organ to help maintain a suspenseful mood as it is a highlight of the film.

The film’s marvelous cast feature some notable small roles from Adrien Cayla-Legrand as Charles de Gaulle, Nathalie Delon in an un-credited appearance as Jean-Francois’ date at a bar, Anthony Stuart as a Royal Air Force major, Colin Mann as a British pilot who gives Gerbier instructions on his return to France via parachute, Albert Michel as a policeman at a train station, Alain Mottet as a commander at a prison camp, Serge Reggianni as a barber who helps hide Gerbier following his prison escape, Alain Libolt as a young man who is revealed to be a traitor to the Resistance, Jean-Marie Robain as a baron who aids the Resistance in giving them a temporary home base and such, Denis Sadler as a Gestapo doctor, and Andre Dewavrin in a brief appearance as himself in the role of a Resistance colonel. Christian Barbier and Claude Mann are superb in their respective roles as the Bison and the Mask as two members of the Resistance who take part in some of the killings and such with the former being the most loyal including towards Mathilde while the latter is a newer recruit who proves to be resourceful.

Paul Crauchet is fantastic as Felix Lepercq as an older member of the Resistance who is close with Gerbier as he would later be captured by the Nazis and endure some of the most physical brutality in their interrogation methods. Simone Signoret is amazing as Mathilde as a member of the Resistance who helps in organizing things including an attempted prison break for Lepercq as well as other things as she proves to be loyal despite her own faults as it relates to her life at home. Jean-Pierre Cassel is excellent as Jean-Francois Jardie as a former pilot who joins the Resistance while giving Gerbier access to his older brother only to find himself at odds with some of the ideals of the Resistance. Paul Meurisse is brilliant as Luc Jardie as a philosopher who joins the Resistance as he is someone that Gerbier admires while also being someone who has ideas with the Resistance that would alienate some. Finally, there’s Lino Ventura in a phenomenal performance as Philippe Gerbier as a leader of the Resistance who gets captured while trying to maintain his rule as well as keeping the Resistance a secret from the Nazis as well as having to make uneasy decisions knowing what is at stake as it is a restrained yet unsettling performance from Gerbier.

L’Armee des ombres is a magnificent film from Jean-Pierre Melville. Featuring a great ensemble cast, mesmerizing visuals, an eerie music soundtrack, and chilling suspense in its relation to life during World War II in German-occupied France. It is a film that definitely showcases a lot of the actions of the French Resistance as well as why they had to operate in the shadows as well as doing things that others might not want to do in war. In the end, L’Armee des ombres is an outstanding film from Jean-Pierre Melville.

Jean-Pierre Melville: (24 Hours in the Life of a Clown) – Le silence de la mer - Les enfants terribles - (Quand tu liras cette letter) - Bob le flambeur - (Two Men in Manhattan) – (Leon Morin, Priest) – (Le Doulos) – Magnet of Doom - Le deuxime souffle - Le Samourai - Le cercle rouge - (Un flic)

© thevoid99 2022

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Thursday Movie Picks: Environmental Wrongs & Disasters (like Chernobyl)

 

For the 16th week of 2022 as part of Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks. We go into the subject of environmental wrongs and disasters that are similar to what happened at Chernobyl back in 1986. Either real-life events or fictional that do play into dangers that would harm an environment as well as a community of people. Here are my three picks:

1. Dead Ahead: The Exxon Valdez Disaster
A 1992 made-for-TV movie from HBO starring John Heard, Christopher Lloyd, Rip Torn, and Michael Murphy is an obscure gem that explores what happened as well as the effects it had on the community. It is also a film that explore this conflict between a small town, the fishing industry, and those at Exxon with the Exxon people trying to find out who should take the blame. It is a film that is really underrated and needs to be seen as it play into all of the environmental chaos as well as the bureaucratic mess within Exxon.

2. K-19: The Widowmaker
Kathryn Bigelow’s 2002 is about the real-life story about the Soviet Union’s first ballistic nuclear missile submarine and how its crew dealt with a nearly-fatal nuclear disaster that would’ve launched World War III. It is a film that is flawed in its script but Bigelow does manage to maintain this air of suspense as it play into officers arguing with one another but also a crew that is unprepared for this major meltdown. It is a film that is often overlooked in comparison to other submarine films but it is worth watching mainly because of Bigelow and the performances of Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson.

3. Dark Waters
Todd Haynes’ 2019 film is another film based on real-life events as it play into a corporate lawyer who is asked by his grandmother to help a farmer whose cows had died because of contaminated water. Though the lawyer in Robert Bilott is at first skeptical, he ends up getting a closer look where he confronts the company in DuPont as well as revelations into what he discovered. It’s not just in the contaminated water near this farmer’s land but also the chemicals that appear in simple appliances such as skillets and carpets with many people living with this chemical in them. It is a startling film to watch that showcases not just a corporation’s irresponsibility in what they did to a small town as well as many people but also how they try to maneuver their way through the legal system and not accept responsibility.

© thevoid99 2022

Monday, April 18, 2022

CODA (2021 film)

 

Based on the 2014 film Le Famille Belier that was written by Victoria Bedos, Thomas Bidegain, Stanislas Carre de Malberg, and Eric Lartigau and directed by Eric Lartigau, CODA is the story of a young woman trying to balance her own life aspirations and her family’s struggling fish business while being the only person in the family that isn’t deaf. Written for the screen and directed by Sian Heder, the film is the exploration of a young woman who is given an opportunity to reach her dreams but also struggle with having to leave her family who are hampered by their own disabilities. Starring Emilia Jones, Troy Kotsur, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Daniel Durant, Eugenio Derbez, and Marlee Matlin. CODA is a riveting and somber film from Sian Heder.

Set in Gloucester, Massachusetts, the film is about a family of fishermen with a teenage girl being the only person in this family of four being the only person that isn’t deaf as she joins the school choir where her choir master is convinced that she has a chance to make it as a singer. It is a film with a simple premise as this young woman is torn between having to help her family who decide to start their own business but also go after her own dreams. Sian Heder’s screenplay is largely straightforward in its narrative as it play into the life of Ruby Rossi (Emilia Jones) who the youngest of two in a family of four that include her parents in Frank and Jackie (Troy Kotsur and Marlee Matlin, respectively) and her older brother Leo (Daniel Durant). Ruby does a lot of interpreting for her family when it comes to business or health reasons though Leo wants to be more involving in handling the business.

Yet, the family is dealing with new sanctions that prevent them and other fishermen from making ends meet prompting the family to go on their own but also have to deal with authorities and such as their deafness makes them a liability. There is also this air of conflict where Ruby joins the school choir where its choirmaster Bernardo “Mr. V.” Villalobos (Eugenio Derbez) notices that Ruby does have the talent as he trains her for an audition to go to Berklee College of Music in Boston. Even as she begins a relationship with classmate Miles (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) who is also trying to go to Berklee as it would take up her time from her duties with her family where they depend on her to communicate with those who don’t know how to do American Sign Language. Still, the family has to contend with the fact that they can’t depend on her all the time as Leo has managed to know a lot while is embarking on a relationship with Ruby’s friend Gertie (Amy Forsyth).

Heder’s direction is largely straightforward as it is shot on location in Gloucester, Massachusetts as it is a fishing town with many of the locals playing real people in the film. While there are some wide shots to get a scope of the location including a few shots in Boston for the film’s third act, much of Heder’s direction uses a lot of close-ups and medium shots. Notably in the latter with some medium-wide shots to a look into where the family eats and then move into a more straightforward medium shot as they all have a conversation though American Sign Language as Heder brought in Alexandria Wailes and Anne Tomasetti to help play into the usage of American Sign Language. Heder’s close-ups also play into how Ruby is so desperate is trying to communicate with her family but also feel burdened by them as they need her to handle things though there’s a moment in the third act with Leo as she becomes aware that he is trying to the one to step up and knows they can get someone else to talk for them. It does add to the drama as well as Ruby’s own desire to wanting to become a singer through Mr. V’s help as he is quite stern but is also understanding of her situation.

Heder also play into the perspective of how Frank, Jackie, and Leo see things even though they couldn’t hear yet Frank likes gangsta rap music because he can feel the vibrations of it. Their deafness may not have them be part of this community of fishermen yet they accept him when he’s against these newfound sanctions as it is a slow process for them to be accepted as well as learn how to communicate with them. The film’s third act is about Ruby’s desire to wanting to go to Berklee as her family are reluctant with Jackie admitting her own selfishness about Ruby as well as her own faults relating to her own relationship with her mother. The third act also play into a family taking the next step not just for themselves but also for Ruby in her need to find herself but with her family’s support. Overall, Heder crafts a touching and engaging film about a deaf family and their non-deaf daughter who is striving to find her own voice.

Cinematographer Paula Huidobro does excellent work with the film’s cinematography as it is largely straightforward in capturing the vibrant daytime exterior scenes of the sea along with some low-key lighting for some of the interior/exterior scenes at night. Editor Geraud Brisson does nice work with the editing as it is largely straightforward with a few montages to play into the evolution of the story. Production designer Diane Lederman, with set decorators Vanessa Knoll and Amy Morrison plus art directors Paul Richards and Jeremy Woolsey, does brilliant work with the look of the house that the Rossi family live in as well as the fishing ports where fishermen sell their fishes. Costume designer Brenda Abbandandolo does fantastic work with the costumes as it is largely casual with the exception of a red dress that Ruby wears for her school performance.

Visual effects supervisor Francois Trudel does terrific work with the film’s visual effects as it is largely bits of set dressing for a few exterior scenes. Sound designer Paul Lucien and sound editor Martin Pinsonnault do amazing work with the sound in not just the way sound is presented on a natural location but also the usage of no sound to get a perspective of Frank and Jackie are seeing. The film’s music by Marius de Vries is wonderful for its low-key piano-based score with elements of orchestral touches while a lot of the music performed on the film is all presented on location with performances of songs by David Bowie, Joni Mitchell, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, and Kiki Dee while music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas creates a soundtrack that features an array of music including the Clash, the Shaggs, Etta James, Black Oshin, Soul Exotics, Horslip, and Dave Chafin.

The casting by Deborah Aquila, Tricia Wood, and Lisa Zagoria is superb as it feature notable small roles and appearances from Rebecca Gibel as a government official monitoring what Leo and Frank does, John Fiore as a foreman at a fishing factory, Lonnie Farmer and Kevin Chapman as a couple of fishermen who aren’t friendly with Frank at first until he rebels over the sanctions, and Molly Beth Thomas a mean girl that Ruby doesn’t like. Amy Forsyth is fantastic as Ruby’s friend Gertie who begins a relationship with Leo despite not knowing sign language as she also helps the family out. Ferdia Walsh-Peelo is superb as Ruby and Gertie’s classmate Miles as an aspiring musician whom Ruby has a crush on as he is eager to go to Berklee as he gets to know Ruby and her family. Eugenio Derbez is excellent as Mr. V as the school’s choir teacher who is this passionate and exuberant figure that sees something in Ruby but also implores her to take her love of singing seriously as there’s elements of humor in Derbez’s performance but also a lot of heart from a man who sees someone that has a gift.

Daniel Durant is fantastic as Ruby’s older deaf brother Leo as a young fisherman who loves to fish but wants to do more whether it is to socialize or handle the business as he is also aware of Ruby’s passion and feels like he’s holding Ruby back. Marlee Matlin is amazing as Ruby’s mother Jackie as a housewife who prefers to drink wine and have sex with her husband while is reluctant to socialize with those who aren’t deaf where she does realize her own faults in not opening herself up to others. Troy Kotsur is incredible as Ruby’s father Frank as a fisherman who owns a fishing boat as it is all he knows but is also eccentric as he doesn’t try to be a bother to anyone until sanctions emerge where his defiance gains him allies while he also contends with Ruby’s own desires as he is conflicted in letting her reach her own dreams but also needing her for his own business ventures. Finally, there’s Emilia Jones in a brilliant performance as Ruby Rossi as the sole member of her family that isn’t deaf as she often deals with having an odd family but also being overwhelmed in helping her family while realizing she has a voice and wants to use to reach her own dreams as it is a somber and lively performance from Jones.

CODA is a sensational film from Sian Heder that feature great performances from its main ensemble cast including Emilia Jones and Troy Kotsur. Along with its naturalistic images, touching music soundtrack, and an engaging coming-of-age story that explores an unusual family dynamic. It is a film that is sort of a conventional family comedy-drama but it also has a lot of heart as well as being unconventional in telling the story of a family that largely consists of deaf people just trying to live their own lives and become part of a bigger community. In the end, CODA is a phenomenal film from Sian Heder.

© thevoid99 2022

Saturday, April 16, 2022

The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2021 film)

 

Based on the 2000 documentary film by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, The Eyes of Tammy Faye is a film about the life of Tammy Faye Bakker from the moment she met an ambitious young preacher in Jim Bakker and then became part of an evangelical culture that eventually turned ugly as she struggled to find her own voice. Directed by Michael Showalter and screenplay by Abe Sylvia, the film is a dramatization of a woman who was part of a massive culture of televangelism with her husband who would be involved in a scandal just as she is trying to find her own voice and eventually become a supporter for the LGBTQ community as she is portrayed by Jessica Chastain. Also starring Andrew Garfield, Cherry Jones, and Vincent D’Onofrio as Jerry Falwell. The Eyes of Tammy Faye is a wondrous and compelling film from Michael Showalter.

The film is about the life of Tamara “Tammy” Faye LaValley who was just a girl fascinated by faith as she meets a young preacher in Jim Bakker (Andrew Garfield) whom she would marry as they would create the Praise the Lord Satellite Network only to fall into scandal over money they stole and Jim’s own extramarital affairs. It is a simple story that largely plays by convention in its narrative as well as taking some dramatic liberties into Tammy Faye’s life through Abe Sylvia’s screenplay. Yet, the film does manage to look into how Tammy Faye becomes fascinated by faith despite the fact that her mother Rachel (Cherry Jones) is only invited to the local congregation because she can play piano as she is seen as a pariah for being a divorced woman. Still, upon meeting Jim Bakker at the North Central Bible College in Minneapolis where she is charmed by his charisma that lead to both of them dropping out of school to become preachers. Tammy Faye’s own idea that includes creating a hand puppet and going on the road all across America to spread the word of God to children and families had made them popular.

While Bakker would often be the one running things and form the PTL network following some bitter disputes with Pat Robertson (Gabriel Olds) over who made The 700 Club successful. It is Tammy Faye whose idea of wanting to help many including the poor, disabled, and others without the need to make faith into a political issue that would put Bakker at odds with other televangelists including Jerry Falwell. Notably as she would later talk to pastor Steve Pieters (Randy Havens) who is gay and has AIDS on her show where she becomes a supporter of the LGBTQ community much to the dismay of both Falwell and Bakker. Still, Sylvia’s script also play into Tammy Faye’s own struggles as she strives to win her mother’s approval although Rachel is rightfully suspicious about Bakker’s own activities and raises concern about the money he and Tammy Faye are making. There is also this story about Tammy Faye’s own attraction towards her music producer Gary S. Paxton (Mark Wystrach) leading to a brief affair that would only bring more trouble and a dependency on prescription drugs.

Michael Showalter’s direction is largely straightforward in its overall presentation as it is told from the early 1950s to 1994. Shot largely on location in and around Charlotte, North Carolina, Showalter plays into this world of a woman who is raised in a small town as a lot of Showalter’s compositions are straightforward in the close-ups and medium shots to play into Tammy Faye’s interaction with faith and such. Even in scenes where she feels lost as she is often praying to God where there’s some wide shots to play into a room where Tammy Faye is all alone except in the idea that God is with her. There are some unique shots that Showalter creates as it play into the evolution of Jim and Tammy Faye’s television presentation as well as how they got into television when they saw that their car got stolen and then meet a man who saw their sermon and knows Pat Robertson with a light shining on him as if God answered their prayers. It’s among these moments of humor that occur in the film including some of the musical presentation on the Bakkers’ shows including some of the Christmas shows where Tammy Faye is wearing silly costumes and her look becomes almost cartoonish as the years progress.

The film’s tone definitely darkens by its second half and into the third act once Tammy Faye’s own addiction to prescription pills come into play as well as Jim’s own financial mishandling and extramarital affairs along with suggestions that he’s bisexual when he’s play-fighting with PTL associate Richard Fletcher (Louis Cancelmi) after Tammy Faye hears Jim making fun of her. The third act does play into the PTL scandal where it is clear that Jerry Falwell is someone that Tammy Faye doesn’t trust knowing he has a political and social agenda. Most notably in the scene where she interviews Pieters as the interview is recreated word-for-word but it is Falwell’s reaction that is chilling as his actions in what he does to the Bakkers following the scandal showcase a man who is truly evil. The film’s ending is a bit of a let-down since it doesn’t play more into Tammy Faye’s work with the LGBTQ community though it does play into Tammy Faye’s unique optimism and the persona of a woman who just wants to be inclusive to everyone. Overall, Showalter crafts a heartfelt and lively film about the wife of a preacher who defy the wishes of other religious figures to spread the word of God and love to everyone.

Cinematographer Mike Gioulakis does brilliant work with the film’s cinematography as it is straightforward but with some unique lighting for some of the daytime interior/exterior scenes in the day with some lush colors for a few bits along with unique lighting a few scenes at night including at the Bakkers’ home. Editors Mary Jo Markey and Andrew Weisblum do excellent work with the editing as it has elements of style in some montages as well as some straightforward cuts to play into the drama and humor. Production designer Laura Fox, with set decorator Barbee S. Livingston and art director Charles Varga, does amazing work with the look of the studio sets that the Bakkers use to host their shows as well as their home in all of its lavish glory. Costume designer Mitchell Travers does fantastic work with the costumes ranging from the casual period look of the 1950s to the early 1970s to the more lavish look that Tammy Faye would wear throughout the 80s as well as a more reserved style of clothing in the 1990s. Makeup designers Linda Dowds, Stephanie Ingram, and Justin Raleigh do incredible work with the makeup look of Tammy Faye in the way she evolves from being clean-cut to being more lavish including the way her eyelashes look as well as the layers of makeup that she wears that add to her legendary persona.

Special effects supervisor Larry Dean Bivins and visual effects supervisor Tim LeDoux do terrific work with the look of some of the television imagery including the way TV shows looked at the time as well as bits of set dressing for some scenes. Sound editors Wayne Lemmer and Derek Vanderhorst do superb work with the sound as it help play into the atmosphere of some of the locations including the film’s ending in its sparse moments as well as some of the way TV shows sounded from a TV back then. The film’s music by Theodore Shapiro is wonderful for its low-key orchestral score that also has elements of country and gospel to play into the world of Christian music while music supervisor John Houlihan cultivates a soundtrack that features a lot of the songs Tammy Faye did sing that are performed by Jessica Chastain as well as a song performed by Jim and Tammy Faye’s real-life daughter Tammy Sue Bakker-Chapman.

The casting by Avy Kaufman is incredible as it feature some notable small roles from Lila Jane Meadows as Jim and Tammy Faye’s daughter Tammy Sue, Grant Owens as Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Sanders, Jess Weixler in a voice cameo early in the film as a makeup artist, Coley Campany DeDe Robertson, Jay Huguley as Jimmy Swaggart, Fredric Lehne as Tammy Faye’s stepfather Fred Grover, Gabriel Olds as the televangelist Pat Robertson who would take credit for the success of The 700 Club from Jim Bakker, Louis Cancelmi as PTL producer Richard Fletcher who might be one of Jim’s lovers, Chandler Head as the young Tammy Faye, Sam Jaeger as the building contractor Roe Messner whom Tammy Faye would later marry in the 90s, Mark Wystrach as music producer Gary S. Paxton who would produce many of Tammy Faye’s recordings and later engage in a brief affair with her, and Randy Havens as the gay Christian pastor Steve Pieters whom Tammy Faye does an interview with where he talks about dealing with AIDS and being gay only to feel loved by Tammy Faye.

Vincent D’Onofrio is excellent as Jerry Falwell as this religious figure who wants to politicize faith and get the Bakkers involved as he would later rat them out to the authorities where D’Onofrio brings that air of sliminess to the role. Cherry Jones is brilliant as Tammy Faye’s mother Rachel Grover as a woman who is disliked by her community for being a divorcee as she is later baffled by her daughter’s success and other aspects relating to the business even though she is someone who does care for her daughter even though she doesn’t show it.

Andrew Garfield is phenomenal as Jim Bakker where he displays this sense of charisma as someone who really does care about the word of God yet ends up becoming consumed by greed and temptation as well as becoming distant and cruel towards Tammy Faye where Garfield brings a lot of nuances and complexity to a real-life person who is still an awful individual. Finally, there’s Jessica Chastain in a tremendous performance as Tammy Faye Bakker where Chastain brings that liveliness and optimism to the character whenever she’s on TV trying to spread the word of God but also this vulnerability of a woman who wonders if she’s doing the right thing but is also a radical for the fact that she wants to help everyone where she becomes a voice for the LGBTQ community as it is a career-defining performance for Chastain.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye is a marvelous film from Michael Showalter that features a spectacular leading performance from Jessica Chastain. Along with its supporting cast, dazzling visuals, and its study of a woman trying to devote herself to God but also wanting to help everyone. It is a film that does play the rules of a bio-pic but it also an interesting character study of this real-life figure who ended up doing some good in the world as well as bring some inclusivity to a world that isn’t inclusive. In the end, The Eyes of Tammy Faye is a remarkable film from Michael Showalter.

Michael Showalter Films: (The Baxter) – Hello, My Name is Doris - The Big Sick - (The Lovebirds (2020 film)) – (Spoiler Alert)

© thevoid99 2022

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Thursday Movie Picks: Diaries/Journals

 

For the 15th week of 2022 as part of Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks. We go into the world of diary/journals as it play into the perspective of those who recall their own experiences and write them down on something. Sometimes, it play into real-life stories or sometimes an exploration from within. Here are my three picks:

1. Diary of a Country Priest
Robert Bresson’s adaptation of George Beranos’ novel about a priest who goes to a small French town to begin his first parish as its local priest only to be rejected by the congregation. It is a film that explores a young man trying to be accepted but also questions his own devotion to God and himself but also a group of people who feel like he’s doing nothing to help them as they already have enough problems. It is a film that explore a world where faith doesn’t do bring enough help as there’s characters the priest would try to help as he couldn’t find any answers as it is one of Bresson’s quintessential films.

2. Diary of a Chambermaid
Luis Bunuel’s adaptation of Octave Mirbeau’s novel is the first of a series of collaborations with co-writer Jean-Claude Carriere that explores a chambermaid who works for a rich family full of people who are quite cruel as she also has to deal with a strict madam and a political groundskeeper who spouts a lot of nationalist, right-wing, and anti-Semitic rhetoric. The chambermaid, played by Jeanne Moreau, is also this object of affection as she wears these small leather heel-shoes that serves as a turn-on to the elderly house master where Bunuel maintains this air of sexuality as it play into what was taboo in those times.

3. The Motorcycle Diaries
Walter Salles’ film about the journey of a young Che Guevara who goes on a trip from Argentina to travel across South America with his friend Alberto Granado on a motorcycle. It is a film that explore how a young doctor from Buenos Aires with asthma would see things that would make him the man that the world would later know him for. It is a film told with an air of richness of how two men go on a trip from Argentina to Venezuela but also come across other aspects of South America where they both feel the need to change the world as well as ponder some of the things that lead to the way of what the world has become.

© thevoid99 2022