And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

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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: Coming 2 America

Hard to believe it’s been more than 30 years since Crown Prince Akeem Jaffer (Eddie Murphy) and his sidekick Semmi (Arsenio Hall) fled the palace – and an arranged marriage – in the wealthy African nation of Zamunda, and landed in Queens, New York, on a comical quest for true love. The 1988 comedy classic Coming to America was a real gem. Its sequel, Coming 2 America, is more like cubic zirconia. It has a bit of sparkle but pales against the original.

The trip is still worth taking, for nostalgia’s sake and a few good laughs. Just keep the expectations in check.

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.

Quickie Review: Disney’s Flora & Ulysses

I’m not exactly the target demo, but I thoroughly enjoyed Disney’s Flora & Ulysses. It’s a family adventure comedy based on the Newbery Award-winning book “Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures” by Kate DiCamillo (whose novel “Because of Winn-Dixie” was turned into a movie in 2005). Flora & Ulysses stars Matilda Lawler as 10-year-old Flora, a highly-imaginative, self-professed cynic who saves a squirrel (CGI) from a tragic accident involving a vacuum cleaner. The squirrel is “born anew” as a rodent superhero with powers that include strength, flight, poetry, and a knack for antics that will unite Flora’s fractured family and inspire a message of hope.

Review: Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is an extremely campy comedy that plays like an overlong skit on Saturday Night Live. It stars SNL alum Kristen Wiig (Wonder Woman 1984), and Annie Mumolo as longtime friends who embark on the adventure of a lifetime when their dream jobs at Jennifer Convertibles go belly-up. They decide to leave their small Midwestern town for the first time ever, to “find their shimmer” at a cheesy resort in (fictional) Vista Del Mar, Florida – a hot spot for singles in their “middle years.” There they meet the hunky sad sack Edgar Pagét (Jamie Dornan, Wild Mountain Thyme, Synchronic, Fifty Shades), who’s been sent by an evil villainess to unleash killer mosquitos on Vista Del Mar, as part of a nonsensical revenge plot. Did I mention this movie is really quite silly? I’d venture to call it silly bordering on stupid, if not for the flashes of funny and splashes of heart that offer escapist redemption.

Review: French Exit

If this film does one good thing, it’s that it reminds us what a wonderful screen presence Michelle Pfeiffer is. She stars as Frances, a New York socialite who, following her husband’s death, somehow spends all the money left to her and in her social embarrassment, runs away to Paris where a friend has offered her an apartment she isn’t using. (Why don’t I have a friend like that?) She takes along her son Malcolm (Lucas Hedges), snatching him out of school and away from his girlfriend and they board an ocean liner where he meets and beds Madeleine (Danielle Macdonald, Dumplin’), a fortune teller. Frances also takes her cat Little Frank (perhaps a reincarnation of the dead husband Frank) along, sneaking him aboard. Once they get to Paris and the small apartment (small by a rich New Yorker’s standards, that is) they meet a series of quirky people and have a series of peculiar encounters. The movie has a Woody Allen meets Wes Anderson vibe, though it doesn’t rise to either of their levels. It’s one of those flicks without much of a plot that depends on you wanting to spend some time with its characters. I’m not sure I did.

Arty Chick’s Seven Flicks: Week 9

Week Nine of films that I remember fondly. It’s amazing how many great films come to mind when I go down my cinematic memory lane. A lot of this week’s picks are from the 80s. The oldest is from 1979. And the newest from 2003. So it’s a fairly modern bunch. No black and white. No foreign films this time. We’ve got comedy, war, feminism, even a Western in the mix. Big films and indies. But all of them are highly recommended.

 

The films are: Crimes and Misdemeanors, The Thin Red Line, Silverado, Broadcast News, Ordinary People, The Station Agent, My Brilliant Career

 

Arty Chick’s Seven Picks: Week 8

This week’s picks include classics and cult faves. There’s only one foreign film in the bunch for a change of pace. Two of the films come from the same director, though one is a frightening drama and the other is a sci-fi. There’s a screwball detective comedy and a Spanish psychopath on the Amazon drama. It’s heavy on the 30s and the 70s.

 

The films are: Aguirre Wrath of God, It Happened One Night, Don’t Look Now, Notorious, Fight Club, The Thin Man, The Man Who Fell to Earth