Movie Diary 5/16/2016

The Nice Guys (Shane Black, 2016). This is about what you’d expect, which is not a terrible thing at all. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling get each other, and one moment offers the unexpected perk of Gosling channeling Lou Costello. Like, explicitly. Not as hard as Black’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but still bruising enough. (full review 5/20)

Uncle Howard (Aaron Brookner, 2016). The title refers to Howard Brookner, a film-school classmate of Jim Jarmusch, who did very good documentaries about William S. Burroughs and Robert Wilson and then a pretty bad narrative feature, Bloodhounds of Broadway. Nephew Aaron laid his hands on a huge cache of unused footage (lots about Burroughs’ world in the early 80s); the results are evocative. Shows at the Seattle International Film Festival.

Southside with You (Richard Tanne, 2016). The first date of Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson, rendered in conversational style. An unusual idea for a movie, but sympathetic (duh) and nicely laid-back. Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers do fine work as the future White House occupants. Shows at the Seattle International Film Festival.

Weiner (Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg, 2016). A cringe-fest (in a good way), shot during Anthony Weiner’s 2013 run for NYC mayor. Weiner’s sexting scandals return in the midst of the campaign, and the filmmakers are right there during some extremely uncomfortable moments. This question will frequently occur to you: What is Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, thinking at this moment? Shows at the Seattle International Film Festival. (full review 6/3)

Microbe and Gasoline (Michel Gondry, 2015). When Gondry works from his own scripts, the whimsy can get thick. So it is in this tale of two lads lighting out for the French countryside in their homemade vehicle. Shows at the Seattle International Film Festival.

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