Friday, October 6, 2017

What I've Been Watching, iv

It's been a while - five months by my count - since I've done a silver screen based roundup. Now that I'm back to not working - except for the working to find work - I have plenty of time to watch returning fall shows, new Netflix arrivals, and recent Redbox finds.

Image via Netflix
Gaga: Five Foot Two
I've never been a big Gaga fan; I enjoy her songs when they come on the radio and I remember the meat dress incident, but otherwise I don't pay much attention to Gaga's life. But, everyone was raving about this documentary chronicling the creation of Joanne and the preparation for her Superbowl halftime show, so I sat down and watched it one afternoon. Five Foot Two is really well done and I was completely engrossed in all of its details, and I have a much greater respect for Gaga as an artist after seeing it. But I couldn't help but also be saddened by it; celebrityhood seems so isolating and intense, and it's no wonder people at her level of fame crack under the pressure.

Image via Netflix
Little Evil
I've loved Adam Scott since Parks & Rec, and coupled with the appeal of a dark comedy I was more than ready for this Netflix original. Little Evil follows Gary (Scott) as he moves in with his new wife Sam and stepson Lucas. As time goes on, Gary and his therapy group of fellow stepdads becoming increasingly convinced Lucas is the Antichrist. There's nothing revolutionary or surprising about this one, but it's a fun, ~spooky~ watch.

Image via Netflix
Inspired by a 2012 documentary about the original Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling league of the 80s, GLOW follows fourteen women as they attempt to make a televised female wrestling league. GLOW features both comedic and dramatic moments, as it deals with home/career balance, marital infidelity and its impact on friendships, and sexism and racism in the industry. It took for a few episodes for Alison Brie's character to grow on me, but by the end I was rooting for her every move.

Image via The Hollywood Reporter
The Good Place
The first season of The Good Place was very hit or miss for me until the twist in the final episode, and now I'm hooked. Kristen Bell stars as Eleanor, a recently deceased woman who finds herself in The Good Place, a version of heaven, by accident. The second season is only a couple episodes in right now but it promises to be a, ahem, good one, as several characters must band together in the face of unexpected adversity.

Image via The Hollywood Reporter
The Big Sick
I've had my eye on this one for a while but never got a chance to see it until it came to Redbox. The Big Sick tells the real life story of Kumail Nanjiani (who plays himself) and Emily V. Gordon: how they met and worked through the struggles they faced early in their relationship, including Emily's unexpected medically induced coma. It's one of the most heartwarming and hilarious movies I've ever seen. I watched it with my brother, and we laughed so hard we were gasping for air during the drive through scene.

Image via PopSugar
 Get Out
This is another one that had been on my list for months. As Jordan Peele's directorial debut it's less funny than I anticipated, but it's a sharp take on race relations and the horror genre. Get Out follows a young interracial couple, Chris and Rose, as they visit Rose's parents' house. Chris quickly begins noticing strange behavior from the other black people in the neighborhood and tries to figure out what's happening to them.

Image via LA Times
Their Finest
Set during World War II, Their Finest tells of the British Ministry of Information film team making a film about the Dunkirk evacuation from the perspective of a set of twins who helped rescue soldiers. The Dunkirk script is written by Buckley (Sam Claflin) and Catrin (Gemma Arterton), who develop a friendship of their own while working together. Their Finest has an unexpected plot twist about two-thirds of the way through which could alienate viewers, but I thought that it helped the film avoid genre cliches and pushed the characters on to do better things.

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