Welcome to another installment of Movies, Movies, Movies!
Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Brendan Gleeson, Marisa Tomei, Jérémie Renier, Pascal Greggory, Greg Kinnear, Vinette Robinson, Ariyon Bakare, Carloto Cotta, Sennia Nanua
Director: Ira Sachs
Genres: drama, vacation, art house
Synopsis: Frankie, a famous actress, is terminally ill. She invites her good friends and family on an exquisite vacation at the beautiful hilly town of Sinta, Portugal, right on the ocean.
Impressions: It’s a family interaction focused movie. I like how Frankie does not stew in her prognosis and tries to share as much love and caring as she can while she can. Slow-paced, so not for everyone. There are a few standout scenes in this I will not soon forget.
Etc.: Made in Portugal; English, French, and Portuguese spoken (with subtitles); classical soundtrack; gorgeous landscapes!
Awards: nominated for 6 other awards
Frontline: Right to Fail (2019) (TV show, 54 minutes)
Director (and Writer): Thomas Jennings
Genres: investigative journalism
Synopsis: Blurb from PBS’ Frontline website:
Thousands of New Yorkers with severe mental illnesses won the chance to live independently in supported housing, following a 2014 federal court order. FRONTLINE and ProPublica investigate what’s happened to people moved from adult homes into apartments and find more than two dozen cases in which the system failed, sometimes with deadly consequences.
Impressions: The show focuses on one particular individual who is going through the system under the new legislation. What you see in this may outright shock you. In my work in the juvenile justice system, which interacted with the same types of agencies, institutions, and individuals as seen in here, nothing was surprising. The reality is that our US government is ill-equipped to do a quality job when it comes to human services. I don’t blame anyone, it is a systemic inadequacy of resources. Maybe if the military budget was diverted to human services it might help, but there is no guarantee. Some things can’t be fixed, only managed.
Etc.: Frontline has been around since 1983. 38 seasons. You can watch episodes at their website (see link above)
Eagle Eye (2008)
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan, Rosario Dawson, Michael Chiklis, Anthony Mackie, Ethan Embry, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Azizi
Genres: action, sci-fi, terrorism
Synopsis: Two total strangers begin receiving phone calls from a mysterious woman who continues to give them instructions every step of the way, to some end. The two strangers are thrown together and begin to work as a team to try and survive the increasingly difficult tasks – or else. The power of the woman or those she represents seem to have omnipotent power over every electronic device capable of surveillance and/or remote control. While this is all going on there are subplots interwoven involving the strangers’ families.
Impressions: I liked “Eagle Eye” way more than I expected to. How I missed it back in 2008 is a mystery. The budget was ~$80million and cumulative worldwide gross was about $180million, per imdb.com. It shows. Lots of chases, crashes, explosions, high-tech equipment. (Blade Runner 2049 lifted a room concept from this movie!) So many fantastical high-tech things are going on it. The chemistry between LaBeouf and Monaghan is really good. Good support cast, although underutilized (one of the bad things about shorter movies, although it was almost 2 hours.)
Awards: 3 other wins and 8 other nominations
Starring: Franz Rogowski, Paula Beer, Godehard Giese, Lilien Batman, Maryam Zaree, Barbara Auer, Matthias Brandt, Sebastian Hülk, Emilie de Preissac, Antoine Oppenheim, Ronald Kukulies, Justus von Dohnanyi, Àlex Brendemühl, Trystan Pütter, Grégoire Monsaingeon
Director: Christian Petzold
Genres: drama, art house
Synopsis: Georg, a German refugee, leaves Paris for Marseilles, trying to get out alive while fascists are rounding people up all around him. He finds himself in Marseilles amongst a large assemblage of others trying to get out alive and uses his wits and his survival instincts while navigating institutions, agencies, and relationships along the way.
Impressions: Georg is a quiet, sensitive individual who connects in significant ways with those around him. The film is understated and powerful. A thinking person’s movie. There are a couple of profound scenes that can’t be forgotten.
Etc.: Why wasn’t this movie nominated for Academy Awards????? German movie set in France, German and French language with subtitles.
Awards: 8 other wins and 23 other nominations
Jojo Rabbit (2019)
Starring: Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Taika Waititi, Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, Alfie Allen, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, Brian Caspe, Luke Brandon Field
Director: Taika Waititi
Genres: dark comedy, WWII, spoof
Synopsis: A 10 year-old boy in a Hitler youth group has Hitler as his imaginary friend. Hitler, as Jojo’s goofy advisor and sidekick, starts to get a bit concerned when Jojo finds a female Jewish teenager living in the closet of his dead sister’s bedroom. Jojo’s mom (Scarlett Johansson) is concerned for her son’s Nazi fanaticism and does what she can to bring him back to being an ordinary kid.
Impressions: Outstanding performance by everyone in this movie. It’s hilarious and absurd one moment and terrifying the next. There are moments that made me weep. It touches on the horrible propaganda that kids were fed about Jewish culture in hopes of brainwashing them into being warriors for genocide.
Etc.: Director Taika Waititi plays Hitler in the movie!
Awards: nominated for 6 Academy Awards and won one of them (best adapted screenplay); 152 total nominations and 34 total wins
Starring: Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Aaron Eckhart, Nick Jonas, Mandy Moore, Dennis Quaid, Woody Harrelson, Etsushi Toyokawa, Tadanobu Asano, Luke Kleintank, Jun Kunimura, Darren Criss, Keean Johnson, Jake Manley, Alexander Ludwig, James Carpinello, Jake Weber, Brennan Brown, Jacob Blair, Peter Shinkoda, Brandon Sklenar, Rachael Perrell Fosket, Russell Dennis Lewis, Nobuya Shimamoto
Director: Roland Emmerich
Genres: military action, historical event
Synopsis: Revolves around the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 and events that unfolded 6 months later between the Americans and the Japanese navies and air force branches that culminates at and near Midway Island. Much of the plot focuses on the pilots of the American planes and the strategists and code breakers trying to find out what the Japanese had planned. Also shows the strategists and military leaders of the Japanese side.
Impressions: I really liked the format of the movie, where it makes sure you know what’s happening through notes, comments, etc. as well as how it shows the real people and what happened with them at the end of the movie. I liked the character development and comaradarie between the the levels of the military people and between the pilots and their buddies and families. Skrein has a outstanding performance in Midway.
Awards: 1 other nomination