By: Henry J. Fromage –
Back from vacation, it was time to catch up on all of those worthwhile theater movies that have started to pop up all of a sudden.
158. The Big Sick
I was expecting something a bit more up the middle- it’s really been awhile since Apatow Productions have hit one out of the park- so I was unprepared for how much I would truly enjoy this true life story of a relationship blossoming in about the worst of situations possible. It’s hard to come back from breaking up with a girl, then putting her in a coma (the medically induced kind, because it was an emergency and there was nobody else around to sign off on this life-saving measure, but still…). Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon spin gold out of their unique meet cute story, as well as the travails of convincing one set of parents that you’re not the bad guy their daughter convinced them you were before the whole coma thing, and another set to go against centuries of tradition and not kick their son out of the family for daring to marry a white woman instead of a nice arranged marriage with a good Pakistani girl.
159. The Beguiled (2017)
Make no mistake, this is a Sofia Coppola film, and I couldn’t be happier with that fact. Taking some pretty salacious source material (see bellow) and turning it into both a subtle and astute study in several female psychologies and a crackling thriller is worthy of the Best Director accolades Coppola secured at Cannes. Perhaps a bit slow for some, and a bit unwieldy in a scene or two, but overall a case study in remaking a film without changing anything flagrant, but still producing an entirely different experience, tone, and theme.
160. The Beguiled (1971)
The Don Siegel original pretty much opens with a wounded and bloodied Clint Eastwood telling his twelve year old discoverer “old enough for kisses!” and planting one smack on her, again, twelve year old lips. Yeah, this isn’t the first film I would’ve expected a Sofia Coppola to remake, as in its original form it’s very much a bold, stylish (moreso than Coppola’s feature), anti-War (ditto), and perhaps excessively masculine vision of a story primarily about women… and the likely fox that has entered the henhouse. I think Siegel could have gone a tad further with Eastwood’s character in the end, but still liked this for what it was, entire lack of political correctness be damned (although another note- this one does include a slave character, which Coppola curiously avoids entirely, written well and acted to great impact by Mae Mercer).
161. Baby Driver
This is what Edgar Wright does- remix a veritable smorgasbord of pop culture cues and references into a blindingly cool amalgam of style and pizzazz. Baby Driver has all of that in spades, essentially a musical of percussive action and idiosyncratic soundtrack choices that does feel like a step in a different direction for Wright. This is an action film, first and foremost, with comedy an accent, not the whole cloth. And, as such, it’s as effective an entertainment as Scott Pilgrim (although I’ll have to watch this a few more times to definitely state it measures up to that one in my estimation). It’s just too bad Wright didn’t have any real substance to bring to the table like in his Cornetto trilogy of films- or perhaps Simon Pegg & Nick Frost are fairly essential to that. Still, very entertaining.