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Showing posts from October, 2019

Halloween Movie Update

Parasite (South Korea 2019 ) South Korean writer-director Bong Joon Ho received the coveted Palme d’Or for this savage caricature of class divides and duplicity in a status-conscious society.   The consummate con artists are the Kim family foursome of slovenly scroungers living in a messy sub-basement apartment and eking out a marginal living by folding pizza boxes.   The con begins when a friend of the son Ki-Woo goes to study abroad and recommends Ki-Woo to be a replacement English tutor for Da-hye, the high-school daughter of the Parks, an affluent family of four living in a palatial landscaped residence.   Her kid brother Da-Song is a hyperactive handful obsessed with pretending to be an Indian.   Ki-Woo had his sister Ki-jung forge his academic credentials. He then recommends her to give “art therapy” to the precocious boy. Ki-Woo is called “Kevin” and Ki-Jung “Jessica” as she in turn schemes to have the Park’s chauffeur fired and her dad

October Movies Update

Grace à Dieu (“By the Grace of God”, France/Belgium 2018) Veteran writer-director François Ozon’s dramatization of actual events in the childhood sexual abuse scandal that has shaken the Roman Catholic diocese of Lyon in recent years was awarded the “silver bear” grand jury prize at this February’s Berlin film festival, and deservedly so. The predator at the centre is an aging priest, Bernard Preynat (Bernard Verley). Outwardly many of the faithful had considered him to be charismatic, indeed “exemplary”.   At the same time, he was molesting numerous young boys.   Even after the hierarchy knew he was a pedophile guilty of criminal acts against minors, he had been allowed to continue in the ministry and have access to children.             The story begins with one of Preynat’s victims, a father of five Alexandre Guérin (played by Melvil Poupaud; victims’ real names have been changed) who remains a devout practicing Catholic including having his two older sons confirmed. At first

Thanksgiving Movie Update

I’ll start with the season’s most controversial and polarizing film. Joker (US/Canada 2019 ) Winner of the “golden lion” at the Venice film festival, it’s helmed by Todd Phillips (best known for “The Hangover” trilogy) and features a no holds barred performance by a skeletal Joaquin Phoenix in the role of Arthur Fleck, a bitter unhappy middle-aged loner who lives with his ailing mother Penny (Frances Conroy) in a grungy apartment. The scene is a rat-infested New York/Gotham City circa 1981 during a garbage strike.   Among Arthur’s afflictions is an uncontrolled maniacal cackle that is more grimacing cry of pain than laughing fit.   The mother used to work for the wealthy Wayne family which leads to a backstory connection to the comic legend of Batman (aka Bruce Wayne) with the Joker as nemesis. Channeling allusions to Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy , Arthur, who aspires to be a standup comedian, is also obsessed with a late night T

October Movies Update

Britt-Marie was Here (Sweden 2019) Adapted from a novel by Frederik Backman ( A Man Called Ove ) this modestly entertaining Swedish drama centres on the character of the middle-aged Britt-Marie (a wonderful Pernilla August) who exits a 40-year marriage in which she was content with the routine of domestic chores.   A homebody, she has no interest in her frequent traveler husband’s passion which is watching soccer.   But then, in the wake of his suffering a mild heart attack, she discovers he’s been cheating on her with a younger woman.   Britt-Marie abruptly splits and takes a job as a youth worker in the small town of Borg that requires her to coach a team of multiracial kids. It seems improbable at best but we’re on her side as she wins over the hearts of the townsfolk (including a lonely policeman), inspires the kids, and expands her horizons. B+ Brittany Runs a Marathon (US 2019 ) In writer-director Paul Down Colaizzo’s dramedy,