Welcome to another installment of Movies, Movies, Movies!
This week features 2 from my collection (Death Proof and Blade Runner 2049)
Grindhouse: Death Proof (2007)
Starring: Kurt Russell, Zoë Bell, Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Tracie Thoms, Rose McGowan, Jordan Ladd, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Genres: Action, Thriller, Slasher, Grindhouse
Synopsis: A serial killer stalks and kills beautiful women. He comes up against some beautiful women who aren’t that easy to kill.
Impressions: It may sound strange to see Death Proof as a feminist movie, it being focused on a serial killer who stalks and kills beautiful women and all, but it is. Women step out of their societally constructed gender confines in many Tarantino movies, and this is one of them.
Awards: 7 nominations, 0 wins
Etc.: One particularly disturbingly graphic scene of violence (I close my eyes when I get to that part of it now.) Lots of swearing. For foot fetishists, the feet are in full display. Sydney Tamiia Poitier is the daughter of Sidney Poitier.
This movie originally showed in theaters as one of two Grindhouse features. The other movie was Robert Rodriguez’ horror masterpiece, “Planet Terror.” (Beware the clip for Planet Terror is quite graphic!) Guess who was there, baby, to see them at the late night show at the theater? Yep. Moi.
Always at the Carlyle (2018)
Starring: George Clooney, Sofia Coppola, Tommy Lee Jones, Jeff Goldblum, Anjelica Huston, Wes Anderson, Lenny Kravitz, Naomi Campbell, Jon Hamm, Anthony Bourdain, Harrison Ford, Alan Cumming, Roger Federer, Elaine Stritch, Vera Wang, and the assorted workers at The Carlyle
Director: Matthew Miele
Synopsis: from wikipedia: The Carlyle Hotel, known formally as The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel, is a combination luxury residential hotel located at 35 East 76th Street on the northeast corner of Madison Avenue and East 76th Street, on the Upper East Side of New York City. Opened in 1930, the hotel was designed in Art Deco style and was named after Scottish essayist Thomas Carlyle. Owned since 2001 by Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, the Carlyle is a cooperative with 190 rental rooms and suites, and 60 privately owned residences.
The 90-minute documentary includes lots of shots of inside the hotel, interviews by the stars who stay there (mostly done in the rooms themselves,) and many of the hard-working individuals who keep the place going. There is an air of mystery about the place as well, along the lines of, “what happens at The Carlyle stays at The Carlyle.”
Impressions: It looks like a place with Old World charm that has a jumping entertainment (fine dining and live music) scene. It is an aging beauty that anyone with good taste – and lots of money – would be drawn to. I’d love to win the lottery or a contest and get to stay there for a night or two. (Even lunch there and a walk-around would be nice!) The architecture and artwork are what draws me in.
Le Bonheur (Happiness) (1965)
Starring: Jean-Claude Drouot, Claire Drouot, Marie-France Boyer
Director: Agnès Varda
Genres: Romance, Drama
Synopsis: Beautiful couple with a small child who love each other live in a small French town. The man falls in love with another woman and has an affair on the side. He sees no issue with maintaining both relationships and does not consider how his partners may be affected.
Impressions: It’s a deceptively simple story, but at the time it was made it stirred massive controversy. It would be a good film for students of cinema to study. Idyllic location, so well-filmed.
Awards: 3 wins (1 French, 2 German)
Etc.: French movie, subtitles, the husband and wife in the film were real husband and wife, and the wife had never acted before. The Criterion Collection disc has special short films with the director giving insights; where Jean-Claude visits the virtually unchanged village 50 years later and talks with the villagers; and also interviews with Claire and Marie about the filming then and their current feelings.
Two for the Road (1967)
Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney, Eleanor Bron, William Daniels, Gabrielle Middleton, Claude Dauphin, Nadia Gray, Georges Descrieres, Jacqueline Bisset, Judy Cornwell
Director: Stanley Donen
Genres: Romance, Drama, Comedy, Road Trip
Synopsis: Two free spirits meet on the road in (France?) and bum around here and there for a summer. When it’s time to part, they don’t and end up getting married. Their adventure continues. Flashbacks between those times and their jaded and unhappy selves in the present weave together. There is a tremendous amount of deep dialogue going back and forth between them about relationships, theirs in particular.
Impressions: Hepburn and Finney have a genuine chemistry going on between them. Both have such screen presence it is hard to focus on either one. The scenery in this movie is magnificent! They travel all over the place, from oceans to mountains and everyplace in between.
Awards: Academy Award nomination for Best Writing, Story, & Screenplay
8 total nominations and 4 wins elsewhere
Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto, Ana de Armas, Robin Wright, Dave Bautista, Lennie James, Sylvia Hoeks, Barkhad Abdi, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Edward James Olmos
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Genres: science fiction, thriller, mystery
Synopsis: Blade Runners are still “retiring” earlier-generation replicant models that ended up rebelling against humans but mostly now are hiding out to stay alive these days. Gosling is one of the new models, designed without rebel spirit. When he retires one he finds evidence that starts a mystery that gets bigger and bigger with every clue.
Impressions: There are many nifty sci-fi gadgets in BR2049. Watching a special feature on it, the director was very green-screen-intolerant so many of the gadgets, sets, etc. are real, not cgi (BIG PLUS in my book.) There are deep existential questions about what it means to be human vs. artificial intelligence and where the lines may blur. Gosling is the perfect choice for this role. He plays it just right. Robin Wright is really good in this movie. Wonderful hand-to-hand combat scenes.
Awards: Academy Award wins for Cinematography and Visual Effects;
Academy Award nominations for Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Production Design; 159 total nominations and 99 wins
Etc.: some disturbing scenes of graphic violence