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Arty Chick’s Seven Flicks: Week 14

This week I chose films from the 40s, 50s, 60s, 90s, and 00s. Two are from the same director. They take place in Rome and Paris and Berlin and Tokyo and Washington. Several of them are considered to be the greatest films of their genres. There’s comedy, political satire, civil unrest, a hitman double-cross, and what we do for those we love is a recurring theme.

This week’s films are:

 Bicycle Thieves,  Dr. Strangelove,  Lost in Translation,  Run Lola Run,  La Haine,  Le Samourai, and  Umberto D.

Review: Two Lottery Tickets

This little comedy is one of the biggest box office hits of all time in its native Romania. And it’s easy to see why. It’s the story of three friends who buy a couple of lottery tickets and hit it big. Six million euros big! Only wrinkle in their millionaire dream is that the one keeping the tickets is robbed. And that kicks the trio into gear to track down the thieves before they cash in. What follows is a humorous buddy odyssey that revels in the absurdity of modern Romanian society.

Review: Drunk Bus

Slacker comedies aren’t usually my thing. So I approached this little indie with a dose of skepticism about being its target audience. But it’s not at all what I feared. It’s a heartwarming flick about an odd couple comprised of a recently graduated artist who’s pining for his lost girlfriend while driving a campus bus at night, and a heavily tattooed Samoan bodyguard who is hired to ride along with him after the kids on the bus get too rowdy, while offering him advice on how to move on with his life. Fortunately the script doesn’t go exactly where you’d expect from that setup.

Review: Cruella

Cruella is a campy comedy crime caper that tells the origin story of one of the most iconic villains in cinematic history – especially if you’re a dog lover. It’s a prequel to the 1996 live action adaptation of Disney’s 1961 animated classic 101 Dalmatians based on the 1956 novel by Dodie Smith. Got all that? Like the character herself, there are a couple of different sides to Cruella the film. It’s based on a “kids movie” but is rated PG-13 and has a soundtrack that will land squarely in the wheelhouse of many adult viewers. The dialogue is witty and the themes are dark. And it stars two Emmas — Stone and Thompson — who both know how to land a dramatic punch and a punchline. Cruella could use a nip and a tuck here and there to bring the film under two hours (it runs 134 minutes) but overall it’s a fun watch.

Quickie Review: Emily @ the Edge of Chaos

Looking for something funny and quirky and thought provoking? This live performance documentary by the late stand-up performer Emily Levine will keep you laughing and scratching your head for all its 61 minutes.  It’s a hard one to describe. She’s telling jokes and stories, but relating everything in the world to the physics that controls the entire cosmos. Animated scientist characters voiced by John Lithgow, Lily Tomlin, Leonard Nimoy and others add to the fun. Her stories about her life and an illness that robbed her for a time of the wit and intelligence plainly on display here are an entré into her view that we are in the midst of a huge paradigm shift. It’s a lot to take in, but entirely fascinating!

Arty Chick’s Seven Flicks: Week 13

This week’s picks are heavy on big name directors: Louis Malle, Akira Kurasawa, Volker Schlöndorff, Ingmar Bergman, Billie August, Hal Ashby, and John Huston. Many of these are their first films and one is the director’s final film. And only one is a comedy. They hail from France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Hollywood. Most of them were Oscar nominees, and many of them winners.

Except for one they’re from the 70s and 80s.

The films are: Lacombe Lucien, Dersu Uzala, The Tin Drum, Fanny and Alexander, Pelle the Conqueror, Harold and Maude, and The Maltese Falcon. 

 

Review: Thunder Force

The latest action-adventure comedy from celebrity couple Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy is not exactly a Thunder Force to be reckoned with. It’s barely watchable. So don’t be fooled by its cute trailer and impressive roster of actors. Thunder Force is a dud that takes way too long to get to what might be considered the good stuff if you’re in a forgiving mood… and happen to have a Netflix account… and managed to find some escapist value in critical bombs like Superintelligence, Tammy, Life of the Party, and the The Boss — all starring McCarthy and co-written and/or directed by Falcone. Seems their talents are far better served by other people’s material. And Octavia Spencer? The Academy-Award winner seemed to have far more fun playing super bad in the 2019 creepy horror movie Ma, and that wasn’t exactly a film to write home about.  Here, she’s a newly-minted superhero out to save the world — or at least Chicago — from genetically-altered supervillains known as “miscreants”.

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: 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.