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Thread: Winter doldrums FILM JOURNAL Jan.-Feb. 2019

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    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area

    Winter doldrums FILM JOURNAL Jan.-Feb. 2019

    Tableau of Jim and the lads in Postcards in London

    Winter doldrums film journal, Jan.-Feb. 2019

    There is never much happening this time of year other than bad weather and the run-up to the Oscars. There can be so-bad-it's-good movies, or surprise gems, or catching up. And of course plenty of cable TV series. (Recently watched among the latter: "The Romanoffs," "Bodyguard," "Peaky Blinders.") Or film series, which include in a month or so Film Comment Selects, the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema and New Directors/New Films at Lincoln Center.

    LADY IN THE LAKE Robert Montgomery (1946). It was probably my first experience of film nor, seen when I was eight. You remember this particular Raymond Chandler adaptation because it's shot from Philip Marlowe's POV: the camera is his eyes. When he gets knocked out, the screen goes black. Re-watched on YouTube 29 Dec. 2018.

    SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE ( Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey 2018). This omnibus animation is wonderful. It takes in many versions of the myth and shows them in many styles. It won Best Animated Film at the Golden Globes, blasphemously, over Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs. It is joyous, bright, and fun, and nobody much was watching it that Sunday because they were crowded into the biggest auditorium for the leaden Aquaman (budget $160-200 million - but Spider-Man isn't cheap; it cost $90 million). I watched some of Aquaman too. I was not thrilled. Metascore, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 87; Metascore, Aquaman,55. Watched 30 Dec. 2018 at Hilltop Century, Richmond, California.

    POSTCARDS FROM LONDON (Steve McLean 2018). A posh study of an aspiring too-beautiful-to-be-true rent boy who comes from Essex to London's Soho to be a "raconteur" and then a "muse" but gets stopped in his tracks by "the Stendhal syndrome." A series of theatrical tableaux with precisely intoned dialogue featuring Beach Rats' Harris Dickinson and stealing from Derek Jarman's Caravaggio, it's very pleasing to the eyes but lacks substance. Released at the Quad Cinema in November, now available in video from Strand Releasing. Watched on a Strand screener, twice. TRAILER. Metascore 42 (but see Bilge Eberi's kind review in the NYTimes.)

    CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? (Marielle Heller 2018). This serous drama vehicle for Melissa McCarthy is an adaptation by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty of the memoir of Lee Israel, a New York writer in the early Nineties whose declining career as a literary biographer led her into swindling book and manuscript dealers with forged letters from Dorothy Parker, Noel Coward, and other celebrities. Richard E. Grant is perfect as her seedy HIV-infected accomplice and fellow alcoholic. On the one hand, a great role for McCarthy and the rest of the cast, precise in its details. Some find it hilarious and delightful, but it seemed to me too sordid and sad to see that way. Metacritic 87. Watched at Rialto Elmwood, Berkeley, 4 Jan. 2019.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 01-11-2019 at 09:35 AM.


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