Currently browsing the "Frances McDormand" tag.

Review: Nomadland

Nomadland is not a film that is easy to categorize. It’s a hybrid drama/documentary, an adaptation of the non-fiction book “Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century“, centered on a 60ish widow whose life has taken a downturn following the 2008 Great Recession, so she lives in a van and floats from campground to campground getting to know the other denizens in the same boat. Directed by Chloé Zhao who helmed The Rider in 2018, it continues her penchant for taking a true story and fictionalizing it with actors alongside non-actors who are part of the real story. The wonderful Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Fargo) stars as Fern. She’s solitary and resolute and not one to feel sorry for herself or her situation. It’s a quietly powerful film, with a dark undercurrent in a subculture of forgotten seniors barely scratching by, but doing it together.

Review: Isle of Dogs

What a fun movie! I don’t think Wes Anderson has made a film I didn’t like, so that’s no surprise, but the creative choices he made in this one are even more entertaining than usual. The story takes place in a town in Japan and all the humans speak untranslated Japanese, except for some public occasions where there is a simultaneous translator. Only the dogs speak English, voiced by a veritable A-list cast. (Bryan Cranston, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Ed Norton, Greta Gerwig, Scarlett Johansson, and many more) The only thing that’s clear is that Mayor Kobayashi hates dogs (cat lover!) and he’s determined to rid his town of every last one, exiling them to a garbage covered island. But human hero to the rescue! Kobayashi’s 12-year-old nephew/ward Atari goes in search of his beloved pooch and uncovers a conspiracy at the highest levels.

Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a darkly funny masterpiece. Oscar nods await, no doubt. It’s the story of Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) a mother who is righteously pissed that local law enforcement hasn’t come any closer to catching her daughter’s killer after seven months. So she puts her anger on display on three billboards just outside town calling out law enforcement for not doing their job, eliciting an immediate reaction from the whole town – some with her, some not, mostly because she singles out the town’s beloved Sheriff Willoughby (Woody Harrelson). One of his deputies (Sam Rockwell) who has some serious anger management issues of his own takes it as a slap to the whole department and retaliates, and things just escalate from there.

Arty Chick’s Middleburg Festival Download

What a great festival! It’s my first year at Middleburg, now in its 5th year, but I was truly impressed by their  selections. It’s a small festival, as yet pretty unknown, but not for long, I suspect. In all I went to 14 films in just over 3 days. It was exhausting, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Films included here are: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri ; Mudbound; Last Flag Flying; Faces/Places; I, Tonya; In the Fade; The Divine Order; Lady Bird; Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold; Meltdown; Loveless; Darkest Hour; The Other Side of Hope; and Hostiles.

Promised Land

Promised Land is a well-acted and well-meaning movie that unfortunately lacks the one key ingredient that every good drama desperately needs… drama. It’s almost too balanced for its own good, raising issues that could easily provoke and placate supporters and opponents of ‘fracking’, the controversial process of using water, sand and chemicals to fracture underground rock formations to obtain gas, oil, etc. That may be the intent of co-writers and co-stars Matt Damon and John Krasinsky. But the result is a movie that plods along at a mellow pace, without any major spikes of heart, romance, humor, horror, or grit.

Moonrise Kingdom

You know from the first frame of Moonrise Kingdom that you are watching one of Wes Anderson’s movies. They’re not like anyone else’s. The textures are more textured, the children are wise beyond their years, in fact all the characters are just a bit off, but in a good way. I have really enjoyed his previous efforts with Rushmore, The Royal Tannenbaums, even The Fantastic Mr. Fox. And happily, Moonrise Kingdom is his best yet. Funny, sweet and totally entertaining, it is one of those indie gems you just have to see.

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

The third (and surely not the last) Madagascar movie picks up where the second one left off – I think. I didn’t see the second one. But that’s okay; I catch on pretty quick – and you will to – in a movie that caters largely to the 10 and under crowd. Fortunately, there is also enough subtle humor and double entendres to keep the tagalong adults relatively entertained. On that front, Chris Rock steals the show (“Circus – Afro! Circus – Afro!”).

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Looking for a good chick flick rental? Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is the perfect little piece of fluff. Set in London between the wars, it stars Frances McDormand as Guinevere Pettigrew, a middle aged governess who is let go from her job with no severance. The agency won’t give her another assignment, but she overhears a phone call about a job working for an American singer/actress and pretends to be the “social secretary” they were looking for. The American actress named Delysia (sounds like delicious) Lafosse is played by the ever-bubbly Amy Adams.