Currently browsing posts by Jill Boniske.

Arty Chick’s Seven Flicks: Week 12

This week I chose a comedy thriller, a political thriller, a classic screwball comedy, a wartime romance, a storybook romance, a Japanese existential drama, and a loving ode to an Italian childhood.

All of them received Oscar nominations and several of them were big winners. Three of them were up for the Best Foreign Film award.

 

This week’s picks are: Sleuth, My Man Godfrey, Casablanca , The Princess BrideWoman in the Dunes, Z , and Amarcord .

 

 

Review: The Courier

This is another “based on true events” film. The story begins in 1960 as Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev is threatening to bury the West. The CIA and MI6 are scrambling for ways to get some inside info on the Soviet nuclear program, and to that end they make the unlikely decision to recruit a British salesman, Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch). He’s done business for some time in Eastern Europe so heading to Moscow wouldn’t be a red flag to Soviet intelligence. And he’s not expected to do anything except be a courier for leaked intel. Former Soviet military intelligence colonel, now trade minister Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) has already made contact. He has unfettered access to all the crucial intelligence, and he’s got a conscience. He may be a believer in the Soviet Socialist system, but he’s willing to work against it to stop the march towards what he sees as inevitable nuclear war. And together Oleg and Grenville save the world. Really.

Review: Dark Web: Cicada 3301

This cyber-comedy/thriller takes its premise from a very real internet mystery. According to Wikipedia: “Cicada 3301 is a nickname given to an organization that, on three occasions, has posted a set of puzzles to recruit codebreakers from the public … It has been called ‘the most elaborate and mysterious puzzle of the internet age’ and is listed as one of the ‘top 5 eeriest, unsolved mysteries of the internet.'”  Connor (Jack Kesy) is just a brilliant hacker working as a bartender when he stumbles into the Cicada mystery. With the aid of hot librarian and fellow hacker Gwen (Conor Leslie, “Titans”, “Man in the High Castle”) and his best friend and art expert Avi (Ron Funches, Trolls, “Black-ish”) he follows the clues, outruns the NSA who are also trying to get to Cicada, gets in more than a few tight spots, and finally gets an invite to Cicada’s exclusive party in London. Of course it isn’t everything he hoped. 

Arty Chick’s Seven Flicks: Week 11

Most of this week’s films come from the 80s. There’s a jewel heist, a race riot, a dystopian bounty hunter, an academia story, three murderers, a couple of divorces, and a lot of intrigue.

They received 10 Oscar nominations between them, and a lot of other accolades.

This week’s films are:  A Fish Called Wanda, , Do the Right Thing, Blade Runner, Educating Rita, Dance With a Stranger, Brother’s Keeper, His Girl Friday.

 

 

 

Review: Keep an Eye Out

One of last year’s most strangely entertaining films was Quentin Dupieux’s Deerskin about a man’s bloody obsession with a deerskin jacket.  Dupieux is back this year with another black comedy, this time a police procedural with a decidedly absurdist twist. There’s a murder and a witness/suspect who’s being interrogated, and a death in the room that the witness/suspect covers up while the police inspector is out of the room, and some weird time manipulations in the flashbacks of his testimony. And it’s all played pretty deadpan. And it’s strangely entertaining in a trés French sort of way.

Review: FTA

This fascinating documentary is a time capsule from 1971. It follows Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland and the rest of the theatrical troupe Free Theater Associates around America’s Pacific army bases as they perform an anti-war comedy show for the troops. Fonda and Sutherland had just finished working together on Klute and were both anti-war activists. All the skits were taken from military newspaper stories and as you can see in the film, it was a huge hit with the soldiers, many of whom had become anti-war supporters despite still being in the military. The film cuts back and forth between the performances on stage and groups of soldiers talking about their experiences in Viet Nam and the military in general. Black soldiers talk about the racism. Women talk about the sexism. They all talk about the problem of being in a war that nobody wants. It all feels way too familiar. 

Arty Chick’s Seven Picks: Week 10

This week is heavy on movies about couples. They include rom-coms and complicated relationship stories, and the characters range from criminals to musicians to politicians, from kings to bakers. The genres include classic dramas, and film noir, and brilliant satire. And there’s a good dollop of sex, for good measure.

They’re mostly from the 80s and 90s, though one is from the 60s. And something they all (except one) have in common is that they were nominated for a lot of Oscars, and won quite a few.

 

The films are: Moonstruck, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Body Heat, Nashville, Out of Sight, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and The Lion in Winter

Review: The Independents

There are no big stars in this musical dramedy. It’s a total indie flick. And it’s a lot of fun. It tells the tale of three singer/songwriters all struggling to find a way forward, who bump into one another by chance and team up for one last stab at making it in the music world. It’s no A Star is Born take though. It’s a heart-felt buddy movie with some fine three part harmonies and well-drawn characters.

Review: La Llorona

This political horror film takes its title from a Meso-American folkloric legend about the ghost of a woman who roams waterfront areas mourning her drowned children. In the film La Llorona comes into the lives of a powerful family as they’re sequestered in their house and slowing pulls the patriarch’s very dark past to the surface. Set in Guatemala, the film centers on Enrique (Julio Diaz), a retired general who has been tried and convicted for the genocide of the country’s Mayan-Ixil population during the civil war there. Just after his conviction though, a higher court overturns the it, but the public is up in arms. And Enrique and his family become prisoners in their own home. All the indigenous servants except one quit, fearing for their safety. And then a young woman shows up at the door, the new maid. But who is she really?

Quickie Review: 17 Blocks

I saw this one at AFI DOCS in 2019, back when we could still go to festivals. And it’s just now coming into theaters virtually. 17 Blocks is a sad and personal gun violence tale. Shot over two decades by a family in Washington, DC, you see kids growing up in a single parent house. Mom is a junkie, though she does try to keep it together. Her three kids do their best.  But there is one kid who is the star, Emmanuel – good grades, nice girlfriend, plans for the future. He lives with his older brother Smurf who he idolizes and sister Denice. And then there is a tragic shooting.