Movies

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Lucky – a man near the end of his days, Lucky follows a rigid and routine existence in a small California town. Yoga, the same seat at the diner, puzzles. With fear of the end, he moves forward, sometimes awkwardly, always with intention.

Paddleton – two loner best friends live a small existence of regularity and routine, watching the same movie over and over, making pizza, playing their favorite game. All is upended when one learns he has a terminal illness and asks the other to help end his life. So touching!

Shirkers – Teens make a movie only to have it disappear along with the strange friend who helped them with its creation. Decades later, they seek to learn what happened.

On Body and Soul – One of the most magical films I’ve seen in a long while. Co-workers discover they share a strange dream time connection which sparks a tenuous romance. A stunning meditation on love and the beauty and sanctity of life. A word to vegans and vegetarians – contains scenes from a slaughterhouse. I should hope to die in such peace.

Dean – A man struggles to find his mojo, creative and otherwise, after losing his mom and breaking with his fiancee in short order.

The Other Son – A Jewish and Palestinian family learn their sons were mistakenly switched at birth, the anguish and reconciliation.

Dead in a Week (Or Your Money Back) – A man inept at suicide outsources the job only to discover he might have something to live for.

The Breaker Upperers – best friends help cowards end their relationships for a living, via cowboy songs and elaborate schemes, depending upon how much the client wishes to pay. All is rolling along nicely until they meet a former victim in need of a friend.

p.s. The woman on the right looks like Bethie, one of my best childhood pals. Love….

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If you, like me, happen to be suffering from the throbbing pain of a bunionectomy or just need some quality toes-up time to binge watch, have I got some recommendations for you! Let’s begin…

Seymour: An Introduction – Seymour Bernstein was a revered concert pianist who left the stage without telling a soul. He found his joy in teaching and immersing himself in the solitude of his craft. How wonderful that he and Ethan Hawke were brought together so his touching story, marvelous philosophy of life, and most especially, his music, could be shared with a broader audience.

Tim’s Vermeer – With enough money, time, and patience, even the non-artist among us can create a pretty fine imitation of a masterpiece. Follow Tim as he conceives of and executes, down to the last detail, Vermeer’s Music Lesson. Fascinating!

Thunder Soul – With the right teacher, just about anything is possible. This is the inspiring story of the class-act Kashmere Stage Band – Houston high schoolers that sound like the tightest, most bad ass funk band of the 70s – and their inspiring teacher as they reunite some 35 years later to pay tribute to the man who led the way. Oh, and DO buy the music, if you can. We absolutely love it!

Godless – This cliche-filled Western is worth the hype. A bad, bad man searches for the gunfighter who left his gang. Mayhem ensues. I love how it explores the strength and independence of women and the notion of family. Blood or not, the one we create is most important.

Under an Arctic Sky – a small band of surfers go after epic waves in w i n t e r in I c e l a n d. Crazy insane blizzards and the coldest of water under the aurora borealis. Eeek!

Jouney to Greenland – More cold. More snow. A pair of friends named Thomas take a trip to Kullorsuaq, Greenland to visit one of their fathers. They live among the inuit, hunting, eating as the locals do, experiencing the perils of middle of nowhere internet, and facing the truths of life.

My Happy Family – Manana leaves the apartment shared by her husband, children, and parents to live on her own. Though it is a great shame in her community, she does not waiver, her motivations revealed incrementally, as the film progresses. Also, the first Georgian (the country not the state) film I think I’ve ever seen – a fine window into a community I do not know, yet so much like home.

Tangerine – A transgender sex worker learns from her best friend that her boyfriend/pimp cheated on her while she was in jail. A taxi driver who leads a double life goes home for Christmas Eve dinner. An unvarnished glimpse into the sex trade and the cruelties and complications of being transgender, all while tackling the everyday complexities of relationships – the tenderness, the betrayals.

 

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Movie Time…

Captain Fantastic follows the unusually rigorous life of a family living on the outskirts of society. They are survivalists, skilled at killing and growing their own food, living thoughtfully and intellectually, all while keeping at the peak of fitness. They know so much, yet so little. All is upended when their mother dies and they must face the actual world and determine their awkward place in it.

Following – Bored and in need of inspiration, an aspiring writer follows people on the streets of London, involving himself in a twisted game. A gem from Christopher Nolan, who, it seems, is perpetually obsessed with time. Love the Batman sticker on the door – aspirational or, even better, he saw into his own future.

The Lunchbox – A woman hoping to reignite her marriage sends delicately crafted meals to her husband, only to have them delivered to the wrong man. She begins a relationship with the recipient via tiffin tin notes, each revealing their lonely and sad worlds. A great story of love, loss, and aging and the families we make when our own fail.

Before I Go to Sleep – A once in a long while fil-um to keep me guessing. A woman without a memory begins to question her existence. Her husband. Her friends. The son she swears she once had. Thriller!

Enemy – A colleague recommends a film to a man recovering from a difficult divorce, only to discover a man identical to him in looks is a bit player. Obsessed, he finds the man and begins to follow him, and a host of bizarre events unfolds.

Demolition – Two with Jake Gyllenhaal – he’s got our number! A man finds odd ways of coping with his wife’s sudden death – corresponding with vending machine companies and tearing his house apart are chief among them. An honest look at the way we grieve.

Found Memories – A woman wanders into a small town of ordinary folk, doing as they always have. She begins to question and photograph them and becomes part of the fabric herself. Simple, meditative, beautiful.

Calvary – An unknnown parishioner tells a priest in a small town that he is going to murder him in a week’s time. The intervening week is a soulful one, with the priest carefully tending his deeply flawed flock, including himself. A skillful and very human tale.

Talk to Me weaves the fact and fiction of the always interesting and often controversial Petey Green – an ex-convict turned D.J. in Washington D.C. He tells it like it is, inspiring and engaging his listeners and the ire of his employers, but never once flinching.

The Guard – In writing about the previous two, I was reminded of one of our favorite fil-ums of all time. A highly irreverent and hilarious fish out of water tale. A black F.B.I. agent comes to Ireland in hopes of busting a multi-billion dollar drug ring. Great one liners and quick wit get the job done in a highly entertaining fashion. Movie time, indeed!

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Man From Reno – A lonely writer gets involved with a mysterious stranger, diving down a noir-style rabbit hole she could have written herself. Full of surprises!

Pretend We’re Kissing – An insecure guy falls hard for a woman he meets at a concert. Sparks and pops and fizz. A true-to-life portrayal of how others take advantage of kindness, awkward intimacies, and the dialogue constantly running in our heads.

Girlfriend’s Day – Another trip down noir lane. A greeting card writer, who has already lost his wife to his rival, loses his mojo and his job. Will he find inspiration AND love AND write an award winning card for Girlfriend’s Day? Funny and witty and gritty…

Girl Asleep – I think there must be something in the water in Australia. Or perhaps the fact the country is surrounded by it? So many loveable oddball fil-ums come from down under, and this is no exception. Awkward and new-to-town Greta has one friend (that’s him there, Elliott) and is filled with dread about the fifteenth birthday party her mother is foisting upon her. Great one-liners, odd camera angles, and a wild and dreamy story line. I want to live in her house!!

Operator – A software developer creates a program to help people with their health care needs and uses his wife’s soothing voice as the interface. Things get weird when he starts to rely upon the AI version more than his actual spouse.

Rectify – The fourth and final season! Boy was this good – loose strings tied fairly neatly. Anything else might be a spoiler.

Glitch – Six people from different centuries emerge perfectly intact from their graves in a small Australian town. Who are they, how are they linked, and why did they come back? Mysteries abound!

Escape to the Country – A lovely BBC series, with four hosts showing buyers three different country escapes. Unlike their American counterparts, this is not “canned.” They might buy a house, they might not. Super fun and charming hosts, too. And now I want a country house, well sort-of.

Grand Designs – Another great British show! Watch families build their dream homes, the real, day-to-day struggles: the expenses, the permits, the delays. No melodrama, just the facts, and some g o r g e o u s homes. Yes, indeed.

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Slow West – A wealthy boy from Scotland travels to America (Colorado, in fact!) to find his love, Rose. Unbeknownst to him, Rose has a price on her head, and his quest to reunite is unwittingly leading a pack of killers right to her door. The sweetness of first love, the innocence of youth, the wickedness of cynicism and greed. Beautifully filmed, not in my fair state of Colorado but New Zealand. It does a bang up job at imitation!

 

Lovesick – the first time I wrote about this series, it was called Scrotal Recall. The name is is a softer version of its slightly vulgar former self, but the story remains the same, a man looking for love while contacting a list of mates he’d once slept with. It’s funnier now, the hubster and I both agree, thanks to Angus! Watch and see.

The End of the Tour – Based on David Lipsky’s five day trip with David Foster Wallace, their conversations on writing, life, and being. I have read David Foster Wallace, though not the book of the tour, Infinite Jest (I am mightily preparing for it as a result of seeing the film – soon!), and was not expecting this softness, this caring, this joy, though the last sentence of this quotation should have at least given me an inkling. It was a marvelous gift, really.

The Moaning of Life – Carl Pilkington travels the world to experience how different cultures approach the biggest questions in life. As with anything Carl does, it is thoughtful, irreverent, and full of laughs! Take, for instance, the giant Twix package in the photo. It’s a coffin for Carl and his love, Suzanne.

Galaxy Quest – An oldie the hubster and I couldn’t believe we hadn’t seen. Aliens, after believing a television show was real, take the disgruntled actors to their world help them save it from destruction.

Morris from America – He’s a black kid living in Germany. He barely speaks the language. He struggles to see eye to eye with his father. He likes rap. He’s in love with a girl who is out of his league. He is Morris from America.

The Family Fang –  Two adult children of outlandish performance artists attempt to determine if their apparent murder is just another stunt. Fascinating! Jason Bateman stars and directs, impressive.

Sensitive Skin – Kim Cattrall stars in this poignant and often funny glimpse at a couple’s attempt to stay relevant. It is a thought provoking look at aging, marriage, and the aftermath of death.

The Nice Guys – Two private detectives, one a shyster who would be completely lost without his daughter, the other on the brutish side, join forces to find a missing girl and solve the mystery of a murdered porn star. A very fine nod to Elmore Leonard.

And, finally, Only Lovers Left Alive, which I reviewed here, but we watched it again last night, and the magical day we first saw it is worth revisiting. The act of revisiting also got me thinking about mid-life, more precisely mine, and how I am looking backward as much as forward now. I am savoring the memories of a multitude of ordinary days, knowing full well that their collection and care are what make life extraordinary. It is why I am here, literally, in the blogosphere. I want to see where I have been, what I have felt, and who I was with with the simple click of a mouse. Hard evidence. And what a joy it is, both the writing and the gazing. Then there is YOU, dear reader, an interesting and delightful side benefit. Thank you for being and for being here, too.

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