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Arty Chick’s Seven Flicks: Week 1

What are you streaming this week? When the COVID-19 pandemic began, I started a list on my Facebook page, posting a film I love every day. That list has grown, and is still growing, edging up past 150 films. It is getting a little harder to choose a new film. But I’ve remembered a lot of great movies that I’ve watched over the years and they span all genres and eras. And sometimes one film will remind me of another or an actor that I’d forgotten. I’ve stayed away from the last decade because there are a million “best of” lists that included them. These are films that have stayed with me. Some are obscure, and some no doubt skew to my more “arty” taste. But I am sure you’ll find something to watch that will fill that pandemic hole.  I’ll be posting them in batches of 7 each week, until I have nothing more to say. That could take a while.

 

Enough Said

Enough Said is really Julia Louis Dreyfus’ movie. She shines as Eva, a funny, cynical, hard-working masseuse who could probably use a massage or two to de-stress. But as soon as James Gandolfini’s Albert comes on screen, you can’t help but feel a sharp pang of sadness at Gandolfini’s recent, sudden death – and at the loss of a talent that obviously went far beyond his portrayal of Tony Soprano. In this movie, he plays a guy who’s got some flaws, but is also sweet and loveable and funny – especially when he’s exchanging banter with potential love interest Eva. Both are divorced single parents to teenage daughters about to head off to college. They meet at a party and romance blossoms. But so does doubt – at least where Eva’s concerned, after she unwittingly befriends Albert’s ex-wife Marianne, a seemingly near-perfect poet (Catherine Keener) with plenty to say about her ex and the aforementioned flaws.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone won’t blow you away any more than (or even as much as) Oz the Great and Powerful. But if you’re looking for a generally innocuous, sometimes funny, and occasionally gross cinematic outing, Wonderstone does the trick. Even more so if you grew up with one of those magic kits that came with a long multi-colored handkerchief, fake quarter, top hat, and a loaded deck of cards. That will kick the nostalgia factor – and enjoyment factor – up a notch.

Zero Dark Thirty

What a thrill to be reviewing the movie at the center of a huge political controversy! Zero Dark Thirty is a great piece of film making, but since it is about a significant episode of our recent history, and purported to be based on “first hand accounts” of the people who were there, there is the expectation that it will be treated in a documentary fashion, with no artistic license allowed. The major kerfuffle is all about whether the use of waterboarding during the Bush years actually gave the intelligence people any credible information that ultimately led to Bin Laden. The film suggests that it did and lots of our people in the government beg to differ, and that question swirls around the film obscuring the more important question — for a viewer, does it matter?