Movie Review – Marriage Story

Marriage Story (2019)
Written & Directed by Noah Baumbach

I have never been divorced and have no plans to ever be. Noah Baumbach explores the time that makes up the dissolution of a relationship in his latest film, Marriage Story, and it feels real and painful. As Adam Driver’s Charlie says at one point, “It feels like I’m in a dream.” Even if we haven’t been divorced, we can relate to those moments in life that are so massive and painful that your brain goes hazy and disconnects from reality, simply to save your sanity. Yes, this is a film that features a couple getting divorced, yet it is so brimming over with love and sentiment.

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Movie Review – Knives Out

Knives Out (2019)
Written & Directed by Rian Johnson

Knives Out appears on the surface to be a modern take on the classic Agatha Christie murder mystery, and on a certain level, it is precisely that. However. writer-director Rian Johnson has cleverly managed to subvert our expectations and tell the story he’s interested by dressing it up in the tropes and formulas in this genre. About a third of the way into the story, the audience is privy to the circumstances of the murder, and it seems as though the rest of the picture will be a cat & mouse game. The murderer will be continually trying to be one step ahead of the law and will likely get caught. But that’s still not the story Johnson is telling.

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Movie Review – The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017)
Written & Directed by Noah Baumbach

In the same way, Woody Allen made his career focused on movies about intellectual types in New York, Noah Baumbach has taken that motif and added a genuine examination of family. Allen’s characters were always nebbish & neurotic but always seemed to be swinging singles. Baumbach’s characters are caught up in familial dysfunction. The Meyerowitz Stories delivers its narrative at a fast pace and will remind viewers of one of Baumbach’s contemporaries and sometimes collaborator, Wes Anderson. The picture is a more grounded take on the near fairytale-like world of The Royal Tenenbaums, complete with Ben Stiller as one of the siblings. Though this may sound incredibly derivative, the film has a familiar & seemingly forgotten tone you don’t find in movies these days.

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Movie Review – The Love Guru

The Love Guru (2008)
Written by Mike Myers and Graham Gordy
Directed by Marco Schnabel

Sometimes I ask myself why I am doing this marathon, why I am making myself sit through such revolting movies. This is probably the worst one I’ve watched so far, and that’s after last week’s Dragonball: Evolution debacle. I would say that Mike Myers was an actor I enjoyed once. I love the Wayne’s World movies and think So I Married An Axe Murderer is his best picture. Shrek always left me lukewarm but was forgivable. Austin Powers was silly and inoffensive, and I definitely laughed quite a bit at the first two. Riding high off the successes of all of these pictures led us to The Love Guru, a movie that just hits the same handful of jokes over and over without ever being funny.

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Movie Review – A Bread Factory Parts One & Two

A Bread Factory Part One: For the Sake of Gold (2018)
A Bread Factory Part Two: Walk With Me a While (2018)

Written & Directed by Patrick Wang

This duo of films tells the sometimes quiet, sometimes loud, epic & modest tale of The Bread Factory, an arts space in the fictional town of Checkford, New York (a thinly disguised Hudson). Based on the real-life Time and Space Limited, a forty-year-old center for creative arts in upstate New York, the film attempts to tell a story both fragmented and centered around the creeping loss of these small nooks of self-expression. The primary threat in Part One is the arrival of May Ray, a Chinese performance art duo that is given tax breaks and compensation by the city government to make their new headquarters Checkford. The owners of A Bread Factory, Dorothea and Greta, must jockey the city council to keep May Ray from killing their place for local arts & performance.

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Movie Review – Disney’s The Kid

Disney’s The Kid (2000)
Written by Audrey Wells
Directed by Jon Turteltaub

Why am I doing this? I perfectly reasonable question to ask. As someone who watches lots of movies, reads up on actors, directors, writers, genres, etc., I will eventually come across movies I half-remember or never even knew got made. These are not low budget, indie picture but films with considerable financial backing, starring well-known performers, and distributed by major studios. Yet, they have been forgotten, very intentionally. There are approximately 700 English-language films released in the United States annually. With all of the quality control mechanisms and studio notes, we still get complete stinkers put on the big screen. Or the studio realizes in the wake of filming that they have just financed a disaster and try to cobble together something palatable in the editing room. Regardless, these movies are released and then systematically ignored by the people who made them, hoping general audiences allow them to fade into obscurity. Well, I’m here to watch them and write about them for this “We’d Rather You Forgot’ film series.

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TV Review – The Righteous Gemstones Season 1

The Righteous Gemstones Season 1 (HBO)
Written by Danny McBride, John Carcieri, Jeff Fradley, Grant Dekernion, Edi Patterson, Kevin Barnett, & Chris Pappas
Directed by Danny McBride, David Gordon Green, and Jody Hill

Growing up in the Southern United States, the early morning airwaves, even on weekdays, were populated with televangelists like Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, and Jimmy Swaggert. There was the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) that ran 24-7 with regular sermon segments, a variety show, children’s programming, and always a number at the bottom of the screen imploring you to donate to keep the ministry going. Even as a child, something felt dissonant between the teachings of Jesus and the wealth-obsessed gaudiness of these television ministers. The Righteous Gemstones explores the world of a family involved in this ministry, a global multi-million dollar enterprise.

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