Archive for March, 2018|Monthly archive page

“The Party” celebrates life. Just kidding. 

In Entertainment, Movies on March 18, 2018 at 16:39

Patricia Clarkson shines in “The Party.” Or is it Bruno Ganz? Maybe it’s Kristen Scott Thomas or Timothy Spall?  “The Party” is a dark comedy about a series of events, disclosures really,  that could ruin any get together. One thing that makes the film so funny is that the people are so full of themselves and lack self awareness that we like to see them suffer. Well, mostly. And the all star cast makes the absurdity work. 

One scene I could watch again and again is when Bruno Ganz, playing mystical philosopher Gottfried to the hilt, discusses life, love, and loss with Tom, played by Cillian Murphy. Ganz looses himself in the role and Murphy plays Tom the angry wealth manager with aplomb. Tom has lost it, and by the time we learn why, it’s too late to go back.  It’s another in a complicated mix of betrayals and misunderstandings.  

“The Party” is a movie that ended too soon for me. Unlike the guest that won’t leave, “The Party” leaves us in the third act without a forwarding address. We want more, but we don’t. Is it good? Well, it’s brilliant. Is it entertaining? Well, that depends on what the experts say. Isn’t how we feel about life based on our outlook? Well, Gottfried would say that. 

The movie unfolds like a stage play. It’s not grandiose, there are no inventive angles or shots or fabulous edits. It’s in black and white, and that makes the stark dialogue work. It won’t change film forever nor will it kick off a genre, like I hope “Get Out!” will. 

It’s funny, but I wouldn’t recommend if for everyone. You have to be ready to pay attention, and you must have your wits about you. If you want generic entertainment, don’t watch. How ready are you to go to “The Party.”

Rating: Pay full price. 

It great to see Ganz have fun on the screen again after years of suffering from Downfall where he played Hitler. Yep, real upbeat film that. And Clarkson has great comedic timing.

Tex Shelters

Una Mujer Fantástica: Una Pelicula Maravillosa!  

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2018 at 16:41

A Fantastic Woman is a Chilean film about the challenges of being transexual in a heterosexual male dominated world. Marina, played by Daniela Vega, confronts the tragic end of her partner Orlando. What ensues are a series of indignities that are a hallmark of life as a transexual. 

Few people in the film use her real name, Marina. They either call her names like Magdelina, a similar female name, or like the police and medical professionals, insist on using her birth name, Daniel. Most of the people she interacts with can’t accept that she is female and the name confusion is emblematic of their resistance. Her relationship with Orlando is invalidated, for they are unwilling to accept that their dad or husband could have loved a transexual woman like Marina. 

One of the amazing accomplishments of the film is showing how attractive Marina is to the audience while keeping the repulsion others feel about her from being cartoonish. Moreover, not all of Orlando’s relatives are bigots. Gabo, Orlando’s brother, accepts Marina as she is and is understanding. Of all the characters in the film, Marina has the most dignity. Even though we might not like them all, siding with Marina as the audience does, the characters are true to their nature and the dialogue and acting make it work. 

The look of Una Mujer Fantástica reminds me of some Italian Neorealism. For example, when Marina is wandering through the streets of Santiago it is reminiscent of scenes from La Strada, Fellini’s classic. The use of rain and wind is an element that helped Kurosawa, one of Japan’s master filmmakers, become an international phenom. The weather is used to great effect in Una Mujer Fantástica as a stand in for society pushing against Marina. She triumphs, for now. 

Rating: Pay Full Price

Una Mujer Fantástica works as a drama and as social commentary. Though it is slow at times and the romance in the beginning of the film is awkward, the film triumphs like Marina does.