A lightning round of second chances fill this week's selections.
- The Emmys were Sunday! No one watched them. Here's all that matters from it: "Schitt's Creek" swept the comedy categories, getting what amounts to lifetime achievement awards for its farewell season, and "Succession" rightfully won Best Drama, with Jeremy Strong also winning Best Actor for portraying our favorite sad adult-boy, Kendall Roy. If you haven't watched it, now's the time.
- Here's the newest trailer for "The Haunting of Bly Manor," which hits Netflix on Oct. 9. It's the spiritual sequel to "The Haunting of Hill House," a good show, and is still directed by Mike Flanagan, a good director. If A+B=C, I expect "Bly Manor," which is based on Henry James' "The Turn of the Screw" and carries over some "Hill House" actors in new roles, to also be a good show.
- Everything I've heard about "The Trial of the Chicago 7" makes it seem like a near-lock for a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars. The ensemble film, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, hits Netflix on Oct. 16.
- Studio Ghibli put up hundreds of high-quality screenshots from a handful of its film for people to use how they please, "within the scope of common sense." So don't sell them for profit, but otherwise, go nuts. This isn't breaking news, but man, does this studio do gorgeous work. I'm not writing a whole thing about it because my feelings are still too raw, but I watched "The Tale of The Princess Kaguya" this week, and I don't think I have ever seen another full-length film that looks like it does, like the film is a moving watercolor painting. Thinking about how long each frame must have taken to paint and draw over with charcoal gives me anxiety, but I'm glad someone did it.
So here's the deal for this column. It's a slow week on the release front, and frankly, "Princess Kaguya" has kind of broken my brain, so I'm not writing my traditional long-winded takes. Instead, I'm doing something new.
Believe it or not, some movies and TV shows don't explode in popularity after I write about them in Binge Blog. I know, I know. Seems too out-there to be true, but it is. In fact, sometimes I feel like I am the only person online to be talking about some of these things! So this week I'm starting something I might do periodically from now on, something I'm calling "The Reshoot." I'm going to give a handful of things I've written about in the past a signal boost, a second chance at latching onto some of your brains. I'm only going to be doing this with that need it, so you won't see big hits like "Lost" here. (You can still read my original take on the show, of course.)
You will see things like this:
"The Old Man & The Gun" (2018)
Amazon, rated PG-13, 93 minutes
I don't know why this hasn't found a following. I mean, I do: Four of its five main characters are senior citizens and the biggest tension point in the movie is whether Forrest (Robert Redford) is going to get arrested, something that has already happened to him dozens of times during the gentleman bank robber's life. He can just break out again if he's caught. These aren't the easiest selling points for wide audiences.
But I also don't understand because this film is so damn charming. It's mostly Redford and Sissy Spacek flirting for 90 minutes, with a few gentle bank heists in between. And that's not sarcasm; the bank heists are done without violence. The title comes from the fact that although Forrest (politely) tells people he has a gun in his jacket pocket, he might not. It's Schrodinger's Gun.
Director David Lowery tells this true story at a purposefully slow pace. You experience the film as Forrest experiences life: soaking in every second. You could lie in your swimsuit while watching this and get a tan from the glow this film emanates.
My original post on "The Old Man & The Gun" is here.
"Personal Shopper" (2016)
Amazon, rated R, 106 minutes
Kristen Stewart's career-best performance. A script that examines how modern technology has affected our feelings of grief. Ghosts, maybe? There's nothing to dislike here, is what I'm saying.
In a world where films like "The Invitation" have found new life on streaming services, "Personal Shopper" should get one too. Never before has a film made a sequence of text messages so tense.
My original post on "Personal Shopper" is here.
Netflix, rated R, 148 minutes
Love triangles! Elusive cats! Dancing to soul music in the nude! Revenge! Lee Chang-Dong's "Burning" has it all, and it has even more than that. It has mystery, not just in plot (though it has that too) but in tone, in feeling.
It's not clear what, exactly, this movie is trying to be until the final act. Then it becomes abundantly clear in a shocking sequence that releases all the previously held tension in a ball of fire. You'll want to watch the whole thing again immediately, which is the best type of film, no?
It also has a world-class performance from Steven Yeun ("The Walking Dead") that you have to see. I mean, you just have to. That's all there is to it!
My original post on "Burning" is here.
"Speed Racer" (2008)
HBO Max, rated PG, 135 minutes
Everything is bad. Why not watch a movie where everything is good? Or at least turns out good in the end. I'm fairly sure the Wachowskis made this movie to make people smile a whole bunch.
This is a family movie, and it knows it. "Speed Racer" is not exactly trying to win Best Picture. That's OK because the action sequences are exquisite, and the script is full of enough winking one-liners to fill my quota for a year. It's a Good Time at the Movies, and because we can't (read: shouldn't) go to theaters right now, this is the closest you'll get to replicating that experience.
My original post on "Speed Racer" is here.
"First Man" (2018)
Cinemax, rated PG-13, 141 minutes
A movie ostensibly about the space race but really about how men can only show their emotions when 238,900 miles away from the rest of humanity.
Ryan Gosling plays Neil Armstrong as a man haunted by the death of his daughter and by the destruction surrounding his life's work. He's so hurt that he swan dives headfirst into reaching the moon, ignoring everything else in his life, including his family, until the job is done. All that pain he's experienced, all the lives affected by the space race, it has to be worth something, right? Because if it isn't, what the hell are we doing? What is any of this for?
Armstrong gets the answers to these questions, but I'm not sure they're the answers he wanted to hear. Just a gutting film (in a great way).
My original post on "First Man" is here.
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