Hollywood at Play

Our latest movie theater experience was interrupted by a tornado warning coming in over patrons’ phones, but we sat tight and watched on. The theater hung onto its roof and electrical supply, and after the show, the real excitement began! Three recent films:

French Exit
This 2020 film is worth seeing to enjoy Michell Pfeiffer (trailer). Written by Patrick deWitt, based on his 2018 novel, the film was directed by Azazel Jacobs. It takes place mostly in Paris, which is fun too. There are humorous moments and quirky characters, but on the whole, it’s OK, not great.

Pfeiffer plays Frances Price, a high-living Manhattan widow, suddenly broke. Before creditors can descend, she sells all her possessions and moves with her son Malcolm (Lucas Hedges) to Paris to live rent-free in the apartment of a long-time friend. One possession she takes with her is her black cat Frankie, who she believes is possessed by the spirit of her late, unlamented husband. When Frankie runs away, much as she loathed him, she wants him back.

While many of the characters who people Frances’s life are interesting, especially the irrepressible Mme. Reynard (Valerie Mahaffey), Malcolm is totally without agency. Or any demonstrated skills or intellect to bring to their increasingly precarious and complicated lives.

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ rating: 63%; audiences: 43%.

The Little Things
This California crime thriller was written and directed by John Lee Hancock (trailer). Joe Deacon (Denzel Washington) was a brilliant LAPD detective who had a meltdown a couple of years back and lost his job. Now he’s an all-purpose deputy in rural Kern County. Sent to LA to retrieve a bit of evidence for a case in the rural county, he meets Jim Baxter (Remi Malek), his slick young replacement.

A woman’s body has been found, and Deacon is invited to accompany Baxter to examine the crime scene. It bears a striking resemblance to the work of a serial killer he’d been tracking before his exile. The parallels haunt him, and he cannot stop investigating the new crime, whether his help is wanted or not.

That seems far-fetched to me, but it’s the premise of the film, so you have to swallow it and go on, at which point you encounter Deacon and Baxter’s prime suspect, Albert Sparma (played masterfully by Jared Leto). You can’t fault the acting in this one. It’s the story that should be stronger.

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ rating: 45%; audiences: 67%.

The Green Knight
I expected to really like this epic fantasy, based on the Arthurian legend, after the great reviews it received, plus the captivating Dev Patel starring as Sir Gawain. Written and directed by David Lowery (trailer). Alas, I found it slow and kinda dull. What did I miss? If Gawain goes up against the Green Knight, he’ll pass the tests of chivalry, and prove his worthiness to be a knight, but, on the downside, he’ll be dead. No? Apparently, the ending is purposefully ambiguous, as were my feelings about the film. Scenery was great and some nice cinematic effects. I did like the Punch-and-Judys and the fox who adopted Gawain until it started to talk (not so much that it talked, but what it said).

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ rating: 88%; audiences: 49%.

2 thoughts on “Hollywood at Play

  1. Sounds like it was an interesting theatrical experience. I’m glad the theaters are opening back up now. I hope Michelle got her cat back. And the review of The Green Knight reminded me that I once wrote a story based on the King Arthur legend. In my on-going effort to be published in as many different genres as possible, I’m happy to say that the story, “A Knight’s Tale,” appeared in an anthology called Camelot 13 a couple of years ago.

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