Films and TV of the month: September






Mother! (2017) (Darren Aronofsky)
A film I'll be thinking about for a long time. A strange, unconventional story. Easily one of the most original and surprising horrors of recent years. I had no idea where it was heading. Some critics complained about the tonal shift in the last 45 minutes, but you need the build-up for it to work. As indiewire wrote: "The director creates a feeling of absurdity from the outset that signals to the viewer not to take these events literally".
8/10




2048: Nowhere to Run (6 min short) (2017) (Luke Scott) 
Set in 2048, a prequel short to the upcoming Blade Runner 2049. The setting looks very similar to Blade Runner, despite 29 years after the events of 2019.
Introduces Sapper ( wrestler/actor Dave Bautista) , a man with different sides to his personality. The book mentioned is The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene.
6/10




Blade Runner: Black Out 2022 (16 min short) (2017) (Shinichiro Watanabe)
The most beautiful and expansive of the three Blade Runner 2049 prequel shorts. But the storytelling is rather messy and tough to care about any of the characters.
6/10




Unforgiven (1992) (Clint Eastwood)
Well-acted, nice cinematography, and a well-told western. Though I do think the film establishes violent revenge (both in the mission and ending) as the right choice, which I feel is a questionable message. But the 1880s was a different era and the film is a time capsule. It's interesting that the lead (Eastwood) used to be a monster yet we root for him. Police brutality is certainly a theme that's still relevant and the film would be less intense if all the characters were non-violent.
8/10




Tales of the Grim Sleeper (documentary) (Nick Broomfield) (2014)
True crime documentary about Lonnie Franklin aka the Grim Sleeper. Could have told this story in less than 105 mins. Kept repeating the same points and other suspects are glossed over. But it did have an important message that the murder of homeless black women was (and maybe still is) a low priority for the LAPD. Not warning the community about a serial killer is a tragedy, especially because it took them 20 years to get the info out there. A woman is quoted as saying "The lack of concern allowed a lot more people to be murdered”. From eye witness accounts, victims, neighbours, and family, we are given an impression of who Lonnie is, both the good and the bad.
6/10




Twin Peaks: The Return (2017) (Review of Season 3, Episode 18) (David Lynch)
I was planning to review Episodes 13-17 but decided not to due to lack of time and because I feel I would just be retelling/summarizing.
What I will do is write about the final episode which is the most ambiguous, mysterious and thought-provoking of season 3. There are spoilers ahead, so be warned.
Episode 18 is a bit slow and storyless, but with a lot of tension. The more I think about it, the better I like how it played out. I see Dale Cooper and Laura Palmer as confused members of the red room, no longer knowing what is real and reality, past, present or future. All this travelling between worlds has caused them to lose a sense of who or where they are. Kind of reminded me of The Pledge (2001), Jack Nicholson’s dutiful character sort of lost his mind by working on the same case for a long time. Odd that Cooper doesn’t address the fact there is a corpse in Carrie’s home, he just sits passively in silence while driving to Twin Peaks. Episode 18 is illogical and dream-like, taking place in a parallel universe where things are different to the real world. Perhaps the entire episode is Cooper’s or Laura’s dream. Carrie’s /Laura’s hair color changes from brunette to blond from one scene to the next. As The Vox wrote: “You go to bed in one reality and wake up in another one, where everything and everybody is different, up to and including yourself. You wake up from one dream right into another one.”
Episode 18 will be debated and analysed for years to come. If this is Lynch’s farewell as a director, he went out on a high!




What do you think? As always, comments are welcome

17 comments:

  1. Of these, I've only seen Unforgiven. I think it's a brilliant film, and one of the best of its genre.

    "'Deserve's' got nothing to do with it" might be the most important line/moment in the film.

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    1. @SJHoneywell: That quote is memorable, although I don’t know what it means.
      Unforgiven is among the better westerns since 1990, though the revenge left a bad taste in my mouth. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say the film endorses violence, as Ned’s wife gives him a long, disapproving stare, and ’The 'Schofield Kid' on the mission obviously reveals how he feels about killing. So there is a case to be made that Eastwood shows both sides, not just the violent angle.

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  2. I still cannot decode that TP finale. I hope it's not the last from Lynch, he is such an amazing director

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    1. @Sati: The end of Twin Peaks S3 is a challenging mystery for sure, as with Inland Empire it's weird and almost impossible to understand. I agree Lynch is among the best living directors, though I prefer his earlier work.

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  3. Will make a point of seeing Mother! - Sounds intriguing. I remember enjoying Forgiven when it came out but haven't revisited it since - Think you summed it up well.

    As for Twin Peaks - Have never, ever entered that alternate reality either first time round or now, so definitely one to add to the long list of "to be watched when time is available"!

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    1. @Alyson: If originality is important in your film-watching, I think you’d appreciate Mother! Although it is strange and surprising.
      Unforgiven is a western that even those who don't usually watch western seem to have taken notice of because of its oscar wins. For some (maybe not all) viewers who experienced police brutality, I could see them having a cathartic reaction to the movie.
      Twin Peaks is a tv-series I think everyone should try at least once in their lifetime, especially season 1 which is basically a soap opera whodunit. Season 2 and 3 are less essential.

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  4. Great post. I agree with you on Mother! and on Blade Runner shorts. I am still to see the latest Twin Peaks, but you have really piqued my interest there.

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    1. @dbmoviesblog: Thanks, hope you get to watch Twin Peaks season 3, the funniest thing Lynch has ever done, and the last episode is the best of the season for me.

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  5. Twin Peaks has spoiled all other television for me this year. I can't think of any more original and thought provoking pieces of art/entertainment in recent years. I have my own theories about the final episode but I'm glad no definitive explanation will be provided. I prefer to be left pondering. That show was like nothing else I've ever watched- nothing like the original, but that was the point.

    Aronofsky though... No, thanks. Not half as clever as he thinks he is.

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    1. @Rol: I’m afraid I don’t have any recent shows to compare with, as I don’t follow TV shows that closely.
      Think I like Aronofsky a far bit more than you do!
      To me, Twin Peaks S3 was sporadically great (especially for Dougie, and the brilliant e8 and e18). But also flawed, with needlessly slow pacing, and too many brief performances that I’m not invested in emotionally.
      Spoiler ahead! As you say, it does leave us pondering and attempts to be a different thing to the 90s. I think the end scene is the clue to episode 18. To me, she is telling him about her dream. But it’s open to interpretation.

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    2. I subscribe to the theory that they entered our world, breaking out of fiction, because that makes the final moments really dark and twisted.

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    3. I think it's a pretty good time for TV at the moment - more so than cinema. Ozark, Tin Star & The Leftovers have all been excellent recently.

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    4. @Rol: VERY interesting reading of Twin Peaks episode. I hadn't even considered that interpretation.

      They say it's a golden era for TV. I'll take a look at the trailers for those shows.

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  6. I'm glad you enjoyed mother! It is unlike many horror films that have been out I really liked the shorts that help expand the world of Blade Runner: 2049. I hope they keep doing these instead of doing a third movie.

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  7. @TheVern: Yes, Mother! had the boldness to be original and divisive. Can't say the same for most safe new films today.

    I found an 11 min unofficial Blade Runner short on YouTube (from Jan 2017) called Tears In The Rain by Christopher Grant Harvey

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  8. Unforgiven is a masterful western. Glad you enjoyed it. I am very much looking forward to seeing Mother! Less excited about the new Blade Runner, but that's because I'm not all gaga over the original. The fact that all these prequels to 2049 exist is bothersome to me, actually. I think a movie must be good as a self-contained unit. Whether or not I like a full-length feature shouldn't depend on a series of shorts. Hopefully, it won't.

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    1. @Wendell: Will look out for your review of Mother! Blade Runner (both original and sequel) should be seen on the biggest screen possible for the visuals. The short films are ok, adding a little back story, but are by no means essential.

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