This week I’ve let you down a bit, as I watched a couple good films for a change! Never fear: I will be back on my bullshite in full force, next week! – K.
The Disaster Artist (2017)
Equal parts buddy movie, riotous making-of comedy, and Hollywood in-joke, The Disaster Artist deftly hits it out of the park. If you are reading this you likely know a little (or too much) about The Room, a 2003 drama made by then-unknown personality Tommy Wiseau. The Room is undeniably a bad film, and so awfully silly and overwrought – not to mention surprisingly costly – it is no wonder it gained a solid cult status. I was quite familiar with the film by 2017 (and I won’t reveal how many times I’ve seen it), but if you’d told me James and Dave Franco would be able to portray Tommy Wiseau and his friend/collaborator Greg Sestero, I would have said it wouldn’t work. And I would have been wrong. Franco also directed what ended up being an ambitious and wholesome love letter to filmmaking and unconditional friendship. I think this particular making-of project was, in many ways, low-hanging fruit and was already likely to be a success with anyone’s engaged approach. But in Franco’s capable hands, The Disaster Artist was more delightful than I would have thought possible. Boasting two capable leads, an astonishing number of cameos, and a wicked yet sweet comedic melody, I can’t imagine anyone having anything other than a good time with this film. Oh HI MARK! 4.5/5
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
The film handily picks up what worked so well for the first film: curmudgeony Michael Douglas as scientist Pym, charming Paul Rudd as the titular bug dude, down-to-earth comedy, fun special effects, and low stakes capers (when compared to the massive save-the-world themes of most contemporary superhero films). The creative team also capitalizes on a charming mechanism that enthralls audiences: the Big/Small play that the Pym particle and Ant-Man suit afford. Ant-Man and the Wasp capitalizes on these oppositions, by turns making several characters super-big, or super-super small, or big and small together, or (in one of the funnier sequences in an elementary school) half-pint sized. The two villains of the film (Hannah John-Kamen as Ghost and Walton Goggins as Sonny Burch) aren’t particularly well-rendered or compelling (although Ghost’s suit is legit cool), because the screenplay makes it obvious one of them will eventually ally with the good guys and one will fail. Michael Peña, Tip “T.I.” Harris, and David Dastmalchian return as Scott’s crew, providing light comedy warmth. And in the character of Hope (Evangeline Lilly) we once again cringe to see her a foil to Rudd and Douglas’ hijinx; the first film was especially egregious in this regard. Still, there are improvements in the sequel. The Wasp is afforded some excellent fight scenes and, this time a round, a few funny lines. Hey… it only took the MCU twenty films to put a female superhero’s name in the title! Baby steps! 4/5
“The Sinner” (2017)
A psychosexual series that is near perfect, featuring two compelling leads. Read my full review. 4.5/5