Yesterday’s/today’s dumb controversy runs something like this: During a meeting with some people from California about illegal immigration, Donald Trump called MS-13 members “animals,” which the Democratic Party and its militant wing, the media, misrepresented as Trump having said that all immigrants are animals. See, for instance, how the NYT describes Trump’s statement:
I mean, not literally. Donald Trump is not drone-striking humor. But his mere existence is really making it hard for institutions that have long dabbled in political humor to do anything remotely funny, as Harry Cheadle at Vice recently noted about SNL’s terrible—terrible—string of recent cold opens.
Godard Mon Amour (originally titled Le Redoubtable) is a searing condemnation of the ways in which politics have a tendency to creep into every nook and cranny of life, from artistic endeavors to love affairs to friendships. Given the heightened tensions of our age, it couldn’t be more timely or more timeless.
You Were Never Really Here, the latest from Scottish director Lynne Ramsay, is an occasionally frustrating, evasive picture. That evasiveness is best captured in a scene toward the end of the first act, when Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) stalks through a New York apartment building that has been converted into a brothel filled with underage girls, taking a ball-peen hammer to those who operate, and those who frequent, the joint.
If Marvel had any guts, they would’ve called this movie Thanos and made it like a straightforward superhero origin story in the mold of Iron Man or Thor or Ant-Man or any of the others. Every emotional beat belongs to Thanos (Josh Brolin), every piece of the action is driven by his effort to complete the Infinity Gauntlet (a glove that allows him to channel the power of the Infinity Stones), every effort in the movie is undertaken to move him one step closer to eliminating half of the universe.
Stanley Kubrick’s body of work gifted us a number of larger-than-life performances, from Peter Sellers’ triple duty in Dr. Strangelove to Malcolm McDowell’s wide-eyed rapist in A Clockwork Orange to Jack Nicholson’s deranged, ax-wielding dad in The Shining. He loved to get actors out of their boxes, to get them to go what they might think is a step too far; he famously had to trick George C. Scott into hamming it up during Dr. Strangelove in order to capture the true madness of Gen. Buck Turgidson, suggesting they do just one over-the-top take of each shot and then using most of those in the final product.
Chappaquiddick feels a bit like two distinct, competing-yet-complementary movies. The first is a character study of a tragically flawed individual, the son who can never live up to the expectations of his father or the example of his brothers yet masters the clan’s tools for success, achieving public acceptance and private disgrace. The other is a comedy of errors, a farce, a darkly comic examination of the end result of seemingly hereditary immorality festering in a corrupt bloodline; imagine The Godfather if Fredo were the only surviving Corleone son at the saga’s beginning.
I couldn’t say for sure whether Rampage is a “good” movie, exactly. I’m not entirely certain if I can recall a line of dialogue from Rampage, and I’m pretty sure I can’t remember a single character’s name without the aid of IMDB. It would be fruitless to discuss Rampage in terms of camera movement or the 180-degree rule or montage or zooms and pans and all that jazz. I’m just an Unfrozen Caveman Movie Critic; my primitive mind can’t grasp these concepts.