Quickie Review: YES DAY

Who can say no to a YES DAY? This movie is as simple as its premise, and that’s okay. It’s family-friendly entertainment that gives adults and kids alike pause – and cause – to ponder the boundaries of responsibility, and the joys of embracing a ‘can-do’ mindset. Within reason.

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.

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. 

Quickie Review: Raya and the Last Dragon

The only opinion that really matters here would be that of a kid who likes animated movies. Especially Disney animated movies. And for that particular demographic, Raya and the Last Dragon is a pretty safe bet. The movie stays true to the conventional Disney formula with a story, animation and voices that kids can embrace and parents can easily tolerate. It’s not top-tier classic Disney, but it’s a pleasant enough family-friendly diversion if you have Disney+ with Premier Access (i.e. it’ll cost ya extra). It’s also being released in select theaters, but I still can’t suggest anyone of any age go that route before we reach something close to herd immunity.

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: Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry

Billie Eilish (aka Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell) first came to the music world’s attention in 2015 when the teenager uploaded her song “Ocean Eyes” to Soundcloud. But she didn’t capture my attention – or the cultural zeitgeist in general until she – of the green hair, baggy clothes and producer brother Finneas – swept the Grammys in 2020. Those two seminal moments bookend the new documentary about the quirky and talented singer-songwriter, now all of 19.

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?