Welcome to another installment of Movies, Movies, Movies! There are only 4 movies this week, as I’ve been binge-watching Season 2 of Rake. But! The local library system is up and running again, doing curbside service as of Monday. Today I pick up 3 movies and drop off 6 that have been on lockdown with me.
My Joy (2010)
Starring: Viktor Nemets, Vladimir Golovin, Dmitriy Gotsdiner, Olga Shuvalova, Maria Varsami, Boris Kamorzin, Vlad Ivanov, Olga Kogut, Aleksei Vertkov
Director: Sergei Loznitsa
Genres: dark, absurdist drama
Synopsis: A driver heads out with his truck to make a delivery in the Ukraine and decides to take an alternative route in more ways than one.
Impressions: Shows the ugliness of a society where dog-eat-dog rules. Not an easy movie to watch, as nobody wants to see how ugly things can get when almost everyone is corrupt. Naivete’ has no place in the world depicted here. Much fodder for discussion.
Etc.: Ukrainian movie, subtitles. Warning: the title is misleading. There is no joy in this movie!
Awards: 8 nominations and 6 wins
The Lovebirds (2020) (netflix but also available on dvd)
Starring: Kumail Nanjiani, Issa Rae, Anna Camp, Kyle Bornheimer, Moses Storm, Paul Sparks
Director: Michael Showalter
Genres: romance, comedy, mystery
Synopsis: A serious-minded couple on the verge of breaking up get drawn into intrigue and adventure. During the process they learn things about themselves and each other that affects their decisions for the future.
Impressions: I like the couple (Kumail and Issa.) Their ongoing reparte throughout the movie feels authentic. Unfortunately the plot is weak, punctuated by their being placed in some ludicrous and extreme circumstances. It’s light-hearted, non-cerebral adventure geared more for a younger crowd. Not bad, but not all that good either.
Birds Of Prey And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020)
Starring: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett, Rosie Pérez, Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco, Ali Wong, Ewan McGregor, David Ury, Derek Wilson, Joe Bucaro, Francois Chau, Matthew Willig, Michael Masini, Steven Williams, Charlene Amoia, Robert Catrini, Dana Lee, Bojana Novakovic, Bruno Oliver, Paul Lasa
Director: Cathy Yan
Genres: action, comic book
Synopsis: There is so much going on in this movie it is hard to keep track of it all. Harley (Robbie) broke up with The Joker and is trying to get a sense of who she is aside from a cute chick hanging on someone’s arm. On a mission given to her by the big villain “or else” Harley meets up with other tough women who are tired of their relegated places in the world for various reasons. The big villain is Ewan McGregor, who is freaky and capricious. His enforcer, played by Chris Messina, is appropriately menacing.
Impressions: There is an extreme amount of gratuitous violence that saturates this movie. Not only that, but those inflicting the violence have sadistic expressions of joy on their face while they are doing it. Nobody in this movie is likeable, even the brat teenager shoplifter. McGregor and Messina do a fair job with what they have to work with, but that’s about it. I’m disappointed in the film as if it would have been done right it could have truly been fantabulous!
Awards.: Nominated for 3 California on Location Awards (COLA)
Ghost Town (2008)
Starring: Ricky Gervais, Téa Leoni, Greg Kinnear, Kristen Wiig, Alan Ruck, Billy Campbell, Danai Gurira, Aasif Mandvi, Dennis Albanese, Megan Byrne
Director: David Koepp
Genres: romantic comedy
Synopsis: Ricky Gervais stars as an unsociable dentist who, after he has a minor medical procedure where he is anaesthetized, can see dead people. When the dead people realize he can see them, they are clamoring for him to do favors for them so they can rest in peace. Greg Kinnear is one of the ghosts who is able to coerce Ricky to help him with a request involving his widow.
Impressions: I loved this movie! I have yet to come across something with Ricky Gervais in it that I don’t like. Ghost Town is even better than the others. The cast has so much to do with it. Greg Kinnear is one of my favorites. Tea Leoni is exceptional in this as the intelligent archeologist who immediately gets suspicious when the dentist who has been an ass to her suddenly becomes super friendly. The support cast is skilled. There are some downright hilarious scenes in here, as well as some that will make you weep.
Etc.: Filmed in NYC, good street shots
Awards: 2 nominations and 3 wins