Tuesday, June 29, 2021

False Positive (2021, John Lee)


“Welcome to the family.”

Hints of Swallow, Rosemary’s Baby, and Gaslight, it’s the movie that will terrify you, especially if you are a woman.

Gretchen Mol’s role as Nurse Dawn calls to mind Kirsten Dunst in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in a way.

In the Q&A for Film Independent, director John Lee explained that the genre is psychological satire. What a relief! Before knowing that, I felt guilty/weird for laughing at some bits. Note that lead actress Ilana Glazer wrote the screenplay! Justin Theroux and Pierce Brosnan will forever haunt me, because of their performances in this film. 

 Rating: 7.5/10

Vegan alert:
-Boss orders tuna
-Roasted duck as an option at the restaurant 

Film Independent screener
Available to watch on Hulu

Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Hunt (2020, Craig Zobel)

"Why do you own 7 guns?"
When I heard about this movie, I thought it sounded in absolute poor taste. Certainly, I wasn't going to go to the movie theater to see this film. However, due to circumstances beyond my control, this was Saturday's film. For the first time, I ended up at the AMC in Arcadia, CA.
"Just calm the f*** down!"
The movie opens with a group text. The film title is written in one of the texts, which made for an interesting transition. Its strength is so many strong characters. There's a rumor on the internet that a bunch of "elites" are shooting up "deplorables". Athena (Hilary Swank) thinks using that word is better than "rednecks". I felt that the film showed the ignorance of people who resorted to name-calling and violence.
"Ava DuVernay liked one of my posts."
Even though the film is littered with familiar faces like Emma Roberts and Ike Barinholtz, The real star of this film is Crystal (Betty Gilpin). With her street smarts, she sees through everything and is physically prepared to take anyone or anything on. The couple at the gas station played by Reed Birney and Amy Madigan also make for a nice balance of comedy and horror.
"Who has the hand sanitizer?"
I have been writing about animal abuse on-screen and behind the scenes in my "vegan alerts". Sometimes I'll note abuse to humans if it is so horrific or if it can't be ignored. Never before have I felt that there was such a level of abuse toward humans that it felt like they were being treated like animals or worse.
"Don't First Amendment me."
What could have been an absolute mess, though, was handled with such eloquence. The action scenes were all choreographed so well and increased the tension. It was a whip-smart socio-commentary that was both brutal and humorous. It showed that with hate, it is possible for both sides to cut deeper and deeper until there is nothing left. People can think they are right and that the other side is wrong; hopefully in the real world, we will not resort to anything like this.
"It's f***ing great."
Beyond this film, it was crystal clear that without some kind of discussion and without empathy, we are just brainless morons fighting and destroying each other. And is that what anybody wants?

Rating: 8/10

Vegan alert (light spoilers):
-Guy on plane requests fish
-Pig in a crate and used for bait
-Deer heads at gas station and Athena's house
-Story about box turtles being smashed with hammer
-Athena uses butter and gruyère on her grilled cheese
-Reference to cow falling on head

Vegan points:
Don (Wayne Duvall) makes a reference to vegans.

Friday, March 13, 2020

A Faithful Man (2018, Louis Garrel)

This is a public service announcement. With all the closures and cancellations due to the Coronavirus/COVID-19, more and more people are staying at home. Netflix is okay and all, but I recently resubscribed to MUBI. It wasn't because of the panicking; they actually had good films programmed.

Director Louis Garrel has a very famous father: director Philippe Garrel. It must be hard to live in his shadow. As an actor, Louis has been doing well for years. This is Louis' second feature that he's directed. The first: Les Deux amis (2015) is pretty unknown to me, even though I'm a French film fanatic.

A Faithful Man stars model-turned-actress Laetitia Casta (who also played Brigitte Bardot in the Gainsbourg biopic directed by Joann Sfar). In France, I once bought an issue of Vogue just because it featured Casta with the most amazing fuchsia hair on the cover. Whether blonde, brunette, or otherwise, Casta's presence is electric. Her character, Marianne, and Louis Garrel's Abel live together. What starts out as a very standard film quickly turns out to be the blackest of black comedies.

Co-written by Jean-Claude Carrière (co-writer of several Buñuel films including Belle de jour and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie), the film is very sophisticated. It turns in a weird direction when it shifts to the POV of Ève (Lily-Rose Depp). Ève has a crush on Abel and turns up at every corner, trying to prove her love for him despite the fact that he is in a relationship with someone else. Lily-Rose Depp, like Louis Garrel, also has famous parents: Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp. Bearing a very striking resemblance to her mother, especially in this film, she is like a young Paradis that never aged at all. Lily-Rose holds her own, but I would have liked to see her character developed in a more interesting way.

Thanks to MUBI for bringing his second feature to the very small screen. It expires at midnight tonight for U.S. audiences, so get on it!

Vegan alert:
Animals at farm (intended for slaughter)