Welcome to another installment of Movies, Movies, Movies! This installment is all over the board.
The Space Between (2021)
Starring: Kelsey Grammer, Jackson White, Paris Jackson, William Fichtner, Ashley Eskew, Delon de Metz
Director: Rachel Winter
Genres: comedy, drama
Synopsis: good synopsis from imdb:
Golden Globe(TM) Winner Kelsey Grammer stars in the inspiring coming of age story, set during the iconic 90s LA music scene. Micky Adams (Grammer), an eccentric has-been rock musician, loses his grip on reality all while his record label is looking to drop him and his newly created “unique” albums. In hopes of breaking out of the record-label mailroom, a young Charlie Porter is tasked with traveling to the musician’s bizarre home and forcing Micky Adams out of his contract. Micky realizes Charlie could be the key to an artistic break through, and the pair’s unlikely friendship grows. The odd but powerful bond helps both gain perspective from each other on the music industry, life, love…and the space between.
Impressions: I liked seeing Grammer as the recluse guru, and I felt there was good chemistry between him and the main character played by White. The location was great with lots of good ocean view shots. I liked how all of the characters seemed to be searching for something. I enjoyed how they threw oddball things into it every once in awhile. It’s a mostly light-hearted atmosphere with a few heavy bits thrown in.
Etc.: filmed in L.A.; Paris Jackson is Michael Jackson’s only known biological child; one (the only!) bit of trivia from imdb:
Mickey Adams may be inspired, in part, by the real-life genius songwriter/musician Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys. Mickey keeps a piano in an inspired location to write. Brian Wilson famously kept a piano in a full-sized sand box in the living room of his former Hollywood Hills home so that he would think of the beach as he composed new songs. Additionally, Brian Wilson was obsessed with the song “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes, going so far as to listen to the recording an estimated 1,000 times. Mickey’s doorbell plays the opening to “Be My Baby.”
Starring: Jessica Barden, Gus Halper, Austin Amelio, Becky Ann Baker, Larry Jones
Director and Writer: Nicole Riegel
Synopsis: Blaze (Halper,) a young adult brother and Ruth (Barden,) a high schooler are forced to fend for themselves at home when their mom is jailed for drug charges. The bills are due and the tax man is after them. Blaze works at the factory in the daytime and scrounges for pop cans at night to help make ends meet. Ruth is a brilliant student but real life is becoming a barrier to success for her. Ruth is smart enough to see that if she and Blaze hook up with Hark (Amelio,) the guy who owns the scrapyard, they can make a lot more money scrapping under Hark’s direction than they can with pop cans. Things turn a little shady, with a better outcome for some than others. Ruth comes to a crossroads of which way she wants to take her life.
Impressions: I appreciate the plot and I’m sure it mirrors real life for so many people that it is difficult to outright dismiss it. The cast in this one are all talented; but the way the plot played itself out was not very well-done.
Etc.: filmed in 4 locations in Ohio
Awards: 4 wins and 5 nominations
I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)
Starring: Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, Antoni Corone, Brennan Brown
Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Genres: biography, comedy, crime
Synopsis: Very short blurb by imdb:
A cop turns con man once he comes out of the closet. Once imprisoned, he meets the second love of his life, whom he’ll stop at nothing to be with.
Steven Russell (Carrey) is the cop-turned-con man and Phillip Morris (McGregor) is the love of his life. Russell’s creativity in managing to reconnect again and again with his beloved is impressive.
Impressions: This is 142 minutes of extremely fast-paced, or dare I say frenetic, action. It’s one hilarious joke after another. It took some adjustment to see Carrey and McGregor as gay lovers, but it is done in good taste. It’s definitely a love story that you don’t see every day but it doesn’t mean it isn’t as valid as any other love story. Carrey is brilliant in it.
Etc.: LGBTQIA+ -themed; terrible pervasive swearing; filmed in 5 locations in CA, FL, and Louisiana; The film is based on the real life story of Steven Jay Russell.
Awards: 6 wins and 11 nominations
Much Ado About Nothing (2012)
Starring: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, Reed Diamond, Fran Kranz, Jillian Morgese, Sean Maher, Spencer Treat Clark, Riki Lindhome, Ashley Johnson, Emma Bates, Tom Lenk
Director: Joss Whedon
Genres: comedy, drama
Synopsis: The story opens when an important member of government chooses to spend the weekend at a summer house with a fairly large group of individuals. I’m sorry to say I don’t remember who played who, but there are two sets of man and woman. One set are two single individuals who constantly state how they will never fall for love and are happy to be single. The other set are a shy woman who is the daughter of the owner of the summer house and a handsome eligible man who is the son of the visiting government person. While the first set bicker back and forth, the other set are falling in love with each other. This is a modern telling of the William Shakespeare play but the language remains Shakespearean.
Impressions: I liked its sleek black and white style, the mixing of modern settings and dress with Shakespearean dialogue, which gives the underlying message that human nature is what human nature is, and love will have its way with humans. The acting is superior and I commend each one of them for memorizing their lines so flawlessly. I like the intimate setting of a summer house. The humor is clever and liberal. Very entertaining in all ways.
Etc.: In the special features part of the disk I learned that the home belongs to the director, Joss Whedon and his wife/partner. The special features disk was enjoyable as well.
Awards: 1 win and 8 nominations
After Yang (2021) netflix
Starring: Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja, Justin H. Min, Orlagh Cassidy, Ritchie Coster, Sarita Choudhury, Clifton Collins Jr.
Genres: drama, sci-fi
Synopsis: Jake (Farrell) and Kyra (Turner-Smith) are the parents of Mika (Tjandrawidjaja.) Mika has had the ongoing companionship of Yang (Min) since infancy. Yang is a young adult male who is an android AI. As the story opens, Yang has had a terminal malfunction. Jake and Kyra must decide how to proceed from this point, as they not only need to deal with Yang’s repair and/or disposal if he cannot be repaired, but they need to process this present situation with Mika, who has become virtually inseparable physically and emotionally with him. During all of it, mysteries arise about what and who Yang is. The parents also understand how much they had come to depend on Yang to raise Mika.
Impressions: It’s a very low-key movie that continues at a steady pace throughout. There aren’t any raised voices or out of moderation moods in it. There’s little physical stimulation to the plot. It’s pretty matter-of-fact, which seems contradictory to the huge impact Yang’s loss of consciousness has had on everyone around him. It feels like the kind of movie that needs to be seen more than once to pick up on all of the subtleties. It’s a cerebral and philosophical exercise where the action takes place in the viewer’s mind more than on the screen. The cinematography is elegant.
Etc.: from imdb: The home of the family was based on mid-century “California Modern” structures developed by Joseph Eichler. In fact, one of Eichler homes just outside of New York City in suburban Rockland County, the only three built on the East Coast, was used by production team by completely renovating the house in the process of prepping it for a tight 29-day shoot.
Awards: 1 win and 1 nomination
More from imdb:
There’s a passage from Walker Percy’s “The Moviegoer” that has always stayed with filmmaker Koganada: “The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everyday-ness of his own life. To become aware of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.” The filmmaker explains, “I found myself returning to this idea as I was writing and making After Yang, especially as it related to the father, who is struggling to feel connected to this world.”