At the advance screening for Isle of Dogs I attended, there were several moments within the film that got laughs, gasps of delight, and rounds of clapping from the audience. As of this post’s writing, Isle of Dogs sits at 93% on Rottentomatoes.com. It is a stop-motion movie about dogs with an amazing voice cast, a creative if not super complex story, and a delightful look. I should have liked it.
I did not.
Maybe it’s because I’m not a Wes Anderson devotee and am not inured to his unique voice, comedic flourishes, or banter. I enjoyed The Life Aquatic and outside of that I have few impressions of his films, other than they employ bright colors and have a lot of neurotic people struggling to manage family relationships.
Although Isle of Dogs did many technical things very well, it did some pretty major things poorly. The story is not charming or heartwarming enough to compensate for these missteps, and ultimately the whole thing felt like the film version of an ill-conceived rainy day craft project.
My friend and co-blogger Tanya and I went to see Lady Bird, a movie directed by Greta Gerwig, this past weekend at the Enzian. Afterwards, we had thoughts. Some of them (including spoilers) follow.
But what is Lady Bird? In short, it’s the story of a young woman’s relationship with her mother during a year of transition between high school and college. The story is set in Sacramento and deeply embedded within the politics of the city, especially economic and racial ones. It was also great, awkward, fun.
Happy belated Star Wars day! May the Forth is Star Warth Day, ath everyone knowth.
Unfortunately life has ramped up, and I didn’t have time this week to write up my piece on stop-motion animation. I will go ahead and disappoint you ahead of time by saying I won’t have time next week either, OR the week after. Although I will try to get something done, I can’t promise anything and it makes me sad. Work basically exploded, so it’s keeping me mega-busy with no time to blog. It sucks, but hey, it’s a new opportunity to learn some neat new stuff. So, a mixed bag!
In the meantime, please enjoy reading about two new species of Tarsier that were discovered. If you don’t know what a Tarsier is, here is a helpful video.
Have a great couple of weeks! Look after yourself!
Still buried under personal projects, I am also sick this week. Yay me. In lieu of real content, please have:
This beautiful song from Kubo and the Two Strings, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Written by George Harrison, there are many versions of this song, including one with Tom Petty and Prince, but this one includes the shamisen and other Japanese instruments.
Some Texts From Superheroes. These ALWAYS make me laugh and are a great way to lose an afternoon. If you have even a passing knowledge of the Marvel and DC movies, you’ll be able to keep up.
Check back next week for A Stop-Motion Celebration! Have a great weekend!
The IMDB description for Get Out is comprised of eleven hilariously understated words:
“A young African-American man visits his Caucasian girlfriend’s mysterious family estate.”
Eleven words that anyone with a pulse and/or functioning intellect would understand to be incredibly complex and full of subtextual nuance, especially in the USA.
Chris, a successful photographer in New York, takes a weekend trip with his girlfriend Rose to meet her family at their estate in the country. The trip is off to a troubled start when he asks if her family knows he is black, a point she glosses over as unimportant. She just can’t believe her family would care about such things! Obviously Chris, having a little more experience with such things, has misgivings.
Yeah, he’s right.
Lots of people will go into the theater expecting a horror movie. They will get one, and walk out sated on violence, witty dialogue, and thrilling suspense. It has a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes (I feel very proud that I guessed the one bad review was by Armond White). They will also get a brilliant and subtle psychological thriller that unpacks a variety of racial tensions in the US without doing a disservice to the audience’s intelligence.
Although the action and violence are well-done, for my money the awkward social situations were where the movie really came to life, particularly the dinner scene with Rose’s prep-school/ivy league psycho brother. So did a heartbreaking and also terrifying scene with the family maid, Georgina. Overall the tone in the film is tense and foreboding, and although there are jokes, they are of the nervous laughter type and mostly come from Chris’s interactions with Rose’s vast number of elderly white relatives or Chris’s best friend Rod.
You should totally go see Get Out. Great performances and tight writing all around. I suspect it will be a sleeper hit, and I cannot wait to see what writer/director Jordan Peele, of Key and Peele fame, does next.
And just because it’s Friday, here’s one of my favorite skits of theirs, which showcases the utterly bugnuts flavor of their comedy, if you are somehow unfamiliar.
My new life goal is to become a character actress just so I can play a creepy white person in Peele’s next movie. I think I’ve got a pretty good shot at ‘scary bar hag’ at least!