Saturday, February 9, 2019

Three Films Make A Post: Clean. Fast. Professional.

I, Tonya (2017): Ah, the underclass, what’s easier to make fun of, and get loads of film price nominations in the process? After all, it would be way too much effort to do something interesting and instead of pointing and laughing at the poor, the uneducated, and those who never had much of a chance, perhaps use one’s powers of mockery to point and laugh at a society that produces them exactly so that they can point and laugh at them and look down on them.

In other words, this piece of crap directed by Craig Gillespie (also responsible for the bad Fright Night remake that interestingly enough shows the same lack of empathy and understanding) really got my goat. Classism is alive and well.

Josie (2018): This thriller about a high school girl (Sophie Turner) coming to a US small town in the South and provoking obsession in a lonely, broken middle-aged man (Dylan McDermott) and a teenager Marcus (Jack Kilmer) as directed by Eric England on the other hand doesn’t really result in much emotional turmoil, good or bad, in this viewer. There are all the elements of a really good neo noir or a sleazy trash film in here – the actors are certainly game – but as England plays it, the most interesting aspects of the plot are never explored much, if at all, and all the dangerous and/or uncomfortable ideas it could have or directions it could take are underplayed at best, ignored at worst. It’s the kind of psychological thriller that balks from actually diving too deep into its characters’ psychology, and consequently, there’s little more to it than decent actors, a slick look, and the inevitable plot twist a lot of viewers (me included) will have seen coming from miles away.

I Kill Giants (2017): I’m a bit underwhelmed with Anders Walters adaptation of Joe Kelly’s and J.M. Ken Niimura’s comic (as scripted by Kelly himself) too, but at least here I’m being underwhelmed on a high level. The film looks great, is well designed, well paced, the acting – particular by kid actors Madison Wolfe and Sydney Wade though Zoe Saldana turns out to be no slouch at all when she’s cast for her acting chops more than for her looks – is spot on, and the script does clearly know what it wants and why.

My problem with the film is that where it does want to go and what it has to say about the connection between fantasy and bitter reality, and about the way people have to cope with grief and pain in real life is as banal as possible. “You’re stronger than you think!” and “You have to face reality!” is as far as the film’s meagre philosophy gets. Which is not very far given all the build for it.

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