Movie Diary 8/21/2017

Good Time (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2017). Robert Pattinson as a lowlife, scrabbling through a cold night in Queens as he tries some very desperate maneuvers on behalf of his brother. When I wrote about the Safdie’s Daddy Longlegs, I compared the main character to the hustler played by Richard Widmark in Night and the City; same deal here. (full review 8/25)

Victoria and Abdul (Stephen Frears, 2017). Judi Dench slipping back into the togs of the Queen of England – yes, it’s that Vicky – this time matched with a young Muslim chap from India. (full review 9/29)

The Nutty Professor (Jerry Lewis, 1963). Memorial viewing. One thing to note is that at the center of the movie is anxiety about a performer’s sudden loss of control in mid-performance – it’s all about somebody dying on stage. And other things, too.

Lucky Hitman (This Week’s Movies)


Salma Hayek, Samuel L. Jackson: The Hitman’s Bodyguard (courtesy Lionsgate)

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

Logan Lucky. “This movie does not aspire to greatness or significance; being extremely clever and thoroughly competent is the goal here.”

The Hitman’s Bodyguard. “There are worse ways to spend a late-summer evening at the multiplex.”

The latest Framing Pictures is online now at the Seattle Channel site: From Scarecrow Video, the critics speak of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit, take a moment to mourn the passing of the great Jeanne Moreau, and muse on what we talk about when we talk about movies. Participants are Richard T. Jameson, Kathleen Murphy, Bruce Reid, and me. Here’s the link. The program is broadcast on the Seattle Channel over the next days, including tonight (Friday) at 10 p.m. The schedule is here.

Movie Diary 8/16/2017

Three Coins in the Fountain (Jean Negulesco, 1954). I like 50s movies and I like movies about Americans in Europe. This example is rolled up into a big cheeseball featuring three actresses who had rather curious careers: Jean Peters, Dorothy McGuire, and Maggie McNamara. Lotsa widescreen scenery, and Sinatra sings the title tune. Rome looks positively depopulated, raising the possibility that there was a time when the great tourist destinations were not overrun all the time. Clifton Webb gets top billing.

Movie Diary 8/15/2017

The Hitman’s Bodyguard (Patrick Hughes, 2017). The standard touches of the cynical action flick, but served up with no small amount of zest – there are no dull, obligatory scenes, which is a rarity for a movie that requires a certain amount of exposition and connective material. Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson do the bantering and the battering. Not bad for late summer. (full review 8/18)

Movie Diary 8/14/2017

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (Nunnally Johnson, 1956). Adaptation of the Sloan Wilson novel that gave its name to a certain kind of ’50s male striver. The movie’s quite faithful to the novel, and adds some amusing jibes at the allure of television. Stolid in style, but the widescreen color looks very well-preserved. How Gregory Peck and Jennifer Jones got all the way to the suburbs from Duel in the Sun is a mystery.

In the Heat of the Night (Norman Jewison, 1967). Winner of the Best Picture Oscar over worthier titles, but when isn’t that the case? Poitier and Steiger and a cast of very twitchy actors, all pitched in some flavorful Deep South locations.

Wind Castle (This Week’s Movies)


Jeremy Renner, Gil Birmingham: Wind River (courtesy Acacia Entertainment)

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

Wind River. “A gratifyingly solid movie for grown-ups.”

The Glass Castle. “Woody Harrelson gives another huge, fearless performance, with maximum turbulence and precious little order. He’s the main reason to see this uneven but forceful film.”

Join the talkers at Framing Pictures tonight at 7 p.m. for another session at Scarecrow Video. From the FP Facebook page: “What makes a movie come to life in a uniquely cinematic way? That was the founding principle and has been the running theme of Framing Pictures. This month we take our cue from the passing of Jeanne Moreau, who, as the boys in Jules and Jim say, “taught us Shakespeare”–and maybe taught the cinema as well. In theaters now, Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit merit particular attention. And because movies are an eternal present tense, we’ll probably tip our hats to a few vintage titles coming out on disk. None of which rules out the possibility that *you* might introduce something entirely unanticipated into the discussion. But for that, you have to join us at 7 p.m. Friday, August 11, Scarecrow Video Screening Room, 5030 Roosevelt Way N.E. For you, no charge.”

Movie Diary 8/8/2017

The Glass Castle (Destin Daniel Cretton, 2017). Another big, authentic performance from Woody Harrelson, as a chaotic father who shapes the life of a long-suffering daughter (Brie Larson). A better movie than Cretton’s Short Term 12, although there are some shortcuts – the flashback structure, for instance – that seem easy and conventional. Based on the bestselling memoir by Jeannette Walls. (full review 8/11)