#ThreeBillboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The movie begins with three derelict billboards on a rural road fallen into disuse because of a freeway. A woman named Mildred played by Frances McDormand has a plan for them. I'm glad I knew nothing about it before watching because I enjoyed how the characters transformed and how played with my expectations. It explores the aftermath of a horrible event and other horrible events and how people in an imaginary small southern town respond. Seems to reflect the frustration and rage of so many people these days. Yet some hope for humanity lingers. Or maybe that is just my hope.

Crazy Rich Asians movie

I enjoyed this romantic comedy of a Chinese American woman facing the machinations of her boyfriend's unexpectedly crazy rich Singaporean Chinese family and friends. I had only heard the audiobook sequel borrowed from the library, so it was interesting to see the origins of those characters. I don't really care for these kinds of money vs love stories, but the rare thing for me was to see the variety of roles for Asians speaking English as locals (English is apparently common in Singapore), so that I could actually imagine myself as the lead, if I were younger ;-)

The Disaster Artist

This is a meta movie based on the true story of a strange rich guy who makes his own movie, which was unintentionally funny. I don't understand the main character but when he does something weird in the movie, he refers to it as human behaviour, like people are unpredictable. I wonder if Franco, who has done some other weird movies, admires someone who does what wants. The reception of a thing is out of your hands. You might have talent or not, but you put your art out there and let things go as they may.

Jim and Andy

This meta-meta movie or perhaps a post postmodern film fascinated me. It combined footage of the original Andy Kaufman, whom I had sort of heard of but never really watched, video that had been hidden away for twenty years by Jim Carrey of Jim Carrey playing Andy Kaufman in Man in the Moon which I never saw, as well as a current interview of a mountain man  bearded Jim Carrey reflecting on the film, his experience, and Andy Kaufman. Trippy. Carrey seemed to have been outrageously ambitious but apparently was not happy when he achieved his wildest dreams. Sad.

Hidden Figures movie

This important movie is fascinating for so many reasons. I found it amazing they got an astronaut into space using the limited technology they had. I was appalled at how racial segregation was so pervasive. And it seems absurd that they made such a big deal about women being able to do intellectual work. Some people still try to uphold primitive views, some projects do blow up, and people still suffer discrimination based on race, gender and other distinctions. I go back and forth between being grateful that things have improved and disappointed that they are not better.

 

 

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The movie Lion (spoilers)

This film intrigued me, with its exploration of an Indian boy accidentally separated from a poor but loving family, old enough to know what happened, without being able to do anything about it. They glossed over his experience of growing up a brown kid in a white Australian world. As an adult, he is grateful to his adoptive parents and concerned his quest for his past might upset them. My daughter’s circumstances were quite different, but I’m sure we would support her, should she ever wish to explore her origins. I wonder if Google Earth could help with that.

Kubo and the Two Strings

I quite enjoyed Kubo and the Two Strings. I kept wondering why it was called that when his shamisen (Japanese banjo-like instrument) has 3 strings. I liked the surprises in the story and creepiness. I read somewhere that more people die in kid's movies for some reason. I loved the look of the film, the humour, and harshness, although the very end with the grandfather seemed weird to me. The magic of animation allows Charlize Theron and Matthew McConnaughy to play Japanese people. Plus in the credits you a time lapse view of them doing the stop motion animation.

Eddy the Eagle

I must have been in Japan when Eddy the Eagle soared in Calgary at the 1988 Olympics, but somehow I was aware of his name. He was an antidote to the obsession with owning the podium. According to this movie, despite a childhood handicap, he was obsessed with getting into the Olympics one way or another. Ski-jumping was a semi-calculated alternative path to his goal. His mother encouraged his dreams while his father tried to plaster over them. This kind of follow-your-dream-no-matter-what stories probably inspires a lot of people to get into trouble.

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Screenagers

Our PAC sponsored screening this interesting documentary about technology and people, particularly from the standpoint of parents concerned about their children. The concern for kids is their developing brains might get messed up without enough “real” interactions. Screens raise so many possible issues: video game addiction, online bullying, issues around body image and self-esteem. But hypocritical parents preferring phones to families don’t help. Afterward, one parent compared technology to cocaine and another talked about just not having any technology at home. Those people are naive. Technology is a whole world you have to learn to navigate, not shut out.

The Big Short

I enjoyed this movie about the 2008 economic crisis. It attempted to explain the financial terms with fourth wall breaking scenes. And it used popular actors to play characters that recognized the fraudulent basis for the housing bubble. None sought to correct the problem. They made a whole bunch of money off it. Made my stomach turn, but the film Dishonesty on the work of behavioural economist Dan Ariely pointed out conditions that foster dishonest behaviour. So maybe if I had a similar job, I would do similar things. So much for unfettered capitalism. Apparently, Canada’s banks have more regulation.

The Intern

I enjoyed the contemporary themes in The Intern and the way it brushed on many aspects of our society — ageism, sexism, tech entrepreneurs, and relationships. Maybe I had the most problem with the pathetic stay-at-home dad but I enjoyed the Pollyanna optimism of The Intern in the way deNiro portrayed a retired widower as the senior intern looking for something to do, who becomes a valued mentor to Hathaway's harried young entrepreneur of a web-based clothing company. I thought it was fun to contrast these roles with deNiro as a gangster or Hathaway as an ingenue. 

Mr. Holmes

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I found Mr Holmes a beautiful film, about old age humbling the once powerful mind of the 93-year-old Sherlock Holmes. I loved how they interwove his snatches of memory and scenes of his fragile life as a beekeeper in the country with a smart young boy and the boy's mother, who is Holmes' housekeeper. I enjoyed the unexpected strange glass musical instrument in one thread and the post-war visit to Japan in the other. Holmes often commented on the fiction he had become through Watson's writings, which seemed like an excuse to take liberties with Holmes' behaviour.

Train Wreck

I liked Train Wreck more than I expected. The ads suggested the Amy Schumer character was a kind of drunken mess that might seem cool when you're younger but seems pathetic when you're older. Though she does play the messed up one who has to sort out her priorities, generally it fits a rom-com mould with a few raunchy scenes that were verbal more than visual. Basketball star LeBron James is unexpectedly fun playing himself as a compassionate friend. Maybe because of evolution, films where people end up happy not being together seem to only be for art houses.

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