Critical MeMe

Time spent watching films, even crappy ones, is time well-spent.

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Location: Missouri, United States
    These aren't comments on ALL of the movies through which I've cried, yawned, laughed, and rolled my eyes, but just about everything I've seen since early 2002 is here plus a few from earlier. Post dates reflect my screening & parenthetical dates are the year of US release (aka Oscar eligibility).
    Yeah, a movie review blog isn't very original. But originality is overrated. Just ask Michael Bay.


Loving (2016)

The story of Mildred and Rich Loving, an interracial couple who were persecuted in their home state for daring to legally marry. It's an important chapter in history told so quietly that it wound up on the boring side. I'm also not quite sure why Ruth Negga was nominated for such a one-note performance.



Lion (2016)

The true story of a young Indian boy who gets separated from his older brother, falls asleep on a train, and winds up far away from his home. He manages to survive for weeks on his own, despite not speaking the language and a terrifyingly close call with a child trafficker. Even when he finds help, he's just too young to be able to provide the information needed to get him back home.

The first half is stirring in all the right ways: it takes away your faith in humanity but then restores it with both hands. Though it gets a little slow in the middle (turns turns out scrolling around google earth just isn’t that interesting on film), the movie's well worth the watch.



The Witness (2016)

Grown brother of Kitty Genovese re-examines the information available on his sister’s death and the 39 neighbors who allegedly heard and/or watched the attack but did nothing to help.

The most interesting thing was finding out that neighbors did call the police and that Kitty died in the arms of a friend but, because that didn't make a good story, it wasn't reported. I have no idea if that’s true, but neither does this film, apparently. It’s just not very well-done.



Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)

From the trailers, I thought this was going to be a comedy: look at the funny lady who can’t sing but doesn’t know it because everyone plays along and pretends she’s amazing!! But this reminded me somewhat of Lars and the Real Girl: a community coming together in kindness to support one they loved and admired.

I wouldn’t call this a great movie, but it was entertaining and definitely feel-good. Hugh Grant really made the movie, though. He deserved more recognition.



Captain Fantastic (2016)

A father is raising his six children out in the wild -- teaching them everything from political science to stalking and taking down prey with a knife. They’re healthy, bright, and seem quite happy. When news of the mother’s death (who’d been in the hospital for months) reaches them, they decide to travel down to the funeral in Arizona, despite the real risk of having the family split up as a result.

This is smart and original and kicked off an interesting conversation.



Jackie (2016)

The set-up is that Jackie is giving an interview a week after the assassination of her husband, so we see the events she’s describing in flashback while coming back to the interview itself periodically.

I have no idea if Natalie Portman does an amazing job here -- I know zero about the actual Jacqueline Kennedy. I do know that it’s a very precise performance and that she seems to be portraying a woman whose every public action was a deliberate performance. So, though it may be accurate, the whole thing also came off quite artificial and very, very cold.



Elle (2016)

Woman is attacked and sexually assaulted in her home, but she doesn’t call the police due to a fraught history with them (her father’s an infamous mass murderer). Eventually it happens again and then things get really weird. And really yucky -- I’d say aggressively offputting.

Yes, it’s well directed and acted and it was difficult not to be interested, but it was kind of a bizarre subject and I was a little skeeved out.



Sicario (2015)

This film is both implausible and so very boring. We were left in the dark for quite some time about what was going on, which was frustrating enough, but the bigger problem was that every single person on screen was an asshole. I hated them all and just wanted them to stop being in my sight.